10 Worst U.S. cities for raising a family

Nov 25, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. ET
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Before you consider relocating your family to a new city, check out this list of the worst — based on crime statistics, employment numbers and school ratings.

The "best" places to live boast quality job opportunities, affordable housing, good schools, reliable health care systems and ample recreation options — the "worst" do not. With good family support, children can thrive anywhere, but it sure would be nice to rely on a healthy village to lend a hand.

1. Detroit, Michigan

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In the 1960s, Detroit was a mecca of industry with the highest per-capita income in the nation. Today, the nation's "most dangerous city" is known for an 18 percent unemployment rate, empty automobile factories and abandoned homes. Most distressing is that 60 percent of the city's children live in poverty.

2. Miami, Florida

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In a study of 150 major U.S. cities, only one (Detroit) scores worse than Miami. Miami ranks 149 out of 150 for affordability, 133rd for education and child care, 120th for health and safety and 130th for family activities. Forbes called it, "Miserable Miami," blaming high taxes, political corruption and painful commutes.

3. Birmingham, Alabama

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Only two cities fared worse than Birmingham in the "Education and Child Care" rank. Surprisingly, this southern metro area is also considered one of the nation's most dangerous: Residents have a 1 in 66 chance of being a victim of a violent crime.

4. Flint, Michigan

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Flint is second only to Detroit in migration. Residents are fleeing thanks to high rates of violent crime and unemployment. The governor appointed an emergency manager to run the city's paltry finances.

5. Rockford, Illinois

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Don't move here to better your financial situation. Rockford's economy is hurting, the unemployment rate is 11.2 percent, and property taxes are outrageous. Makes it difficult to save for college.

6. Chicago, Illinois

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Chicago is a great city but it is not conducive to raising a family. Home prices are plummeting, foreclosures are skyrocketing and long commutes keep parents and kids apart.

7. Stockton, California

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Of all the cities to file bankruptcy last year, Stockton was the largest. Nowhere else in the U.S. is the foreclosure rate as high, and unemployment and crime continue to plague families who've stayed to tough it out.

8. Camden, New Jersey

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Over 42 percent of Camden families live below the poverty line, which is why the Census Bureau labeled it the most impoverished city in the U.S.

9. Los Angeles, California

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You won't be able to breathe easy if you move your family to LA. The metro area has the worst ozone pollution in the country, says the American Lung Association's State of the Air report.

10. Newark, New Jersey

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Pollution is even worse here: Newark has the most Superfund toxic waste sites in the country.

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