Missouri offers a range of attractions, from the lively city of St. Louis to the picturesque Ozarks. Nevertheless, not all areas in Missouri hold the same level of appeal, and some can even be considered hazardous.
According to the most recent crime statistics from the FBI, we have pinpointed the least desirable city to reside in Missouri for the year 2023. That city happens to be Springfield, which is the third-largest city in the state and is known for being the location of the renowned Bass Pro Shops.
Why is Springfield Missouri’s Worst City to Live in?
Springfield is known for its lively culture, economic growth, and deep-rooted history. However, it grapples with high levels of crime, poverty, and unemployment. In 2020, the FBI reported 23,524 crimes in Springfield, including 2,545 violent crimes and 20,979 property crimes.
This results in a crime rate of 144.56 per 1,000 residents, over four times the national average of 34.12. Springfield also bears the highest murder rate among major cities in Missouri, with 22 homicides in 2020, or 0.13 per 1,000 residents.
This surpasses the murder rates of St. Louis (0.87) and Kansas City (0.64), cities known for their violence.
The city’s crime issue is partly due to its socio-economic difficulties. Springfield has a poverty rate of 22.9%, exceeding the state average of 13.4% and the national average of 10.5%. The median household income in Springfield is $36,856, lower than the state median of $57,409 and the national median of $68,703.
Springfield also faces an unemployment rate of 10.7%, higher than the state rate of 6.1% and the national rate of 5.4%. These factors contribute to a lack of opportunities and resources for many residents, leading some to turn to crime for survival or expression.
What Are the Challenges to Living in Springfield?
Residing in Springfield can lead to severe repercussions for one’s safety, well-being, and overall quality of life. Springfield residents are confronted with a heightened risk of falling victim to criminal activities, particularly violent crimes, which can result in physical harm, emotional distress, or even loss of life.
Inhabitants also grapple with the anxiety and strain associated with inhabiting an unsafe environment, which can have a detrimental impact on their mental health and interpersonal relationships.
Furthermore, living in Springfield may constrain one’s economic and educational opportunities, given the city’s scarcity of job prospects, lower wages, and underperforming schools compared to other locales in Missouri.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, Springfield ranks 125th out of 150 metropolitan areas in the nation in terms of the overall quality of life, taking into account factors like health, education, the economy, and infrastructure.
What Can Be Done to Make Springfield Better?
There is hope for Springfield, and various initiatives and efforts are underway to improve the city and its conditions. For instance, the Springfield Police Department has put in place strategies like community policing, crime analysis, intelligence-led policing, and problem-solving policing to reduce crime and enhance public safety.
Moreover, there are organizations and programs in the city dedicated to tackling the underlying causes of crime and poverty. These include the Community Partnership of the Ozarks, the Springfield Dream Center, the Victory Mission, and the United Way of the Ozarks.
They offer vital services and support to vulnerable groups such as the homeless, low-income individuals, the unemployed, those struggling with addiction, and at-risk youth.
Furthermore, Springfield possesses assets and opportunities that can be harnessed to bolster its economy and culture. These include a thriving tourism industry, esteemed higher education institutions, historic landmarks, and a vibrant creative community.
However, while these efforts and resources are a step in the right direction, they alone are not enough to fully address Springfield’s challenges. More action is needed at the local, state, and federal levels.
In 2023, Springfield, Missouri, ranks as the least desirable city to live in due to its elevated crime rates, low income levels, and subpar quality of life. The city confronts numerous obstacles that impact the well-being of its residents.
Nonetheless, Springfield harbors potential for positive change and enhancement. By implementing strategic measures and fostering initiatives, the city can progress towards becoming a more prosperous and secure community.
It’s crucial to recognize that Springfield’s status as the least favorable city in Missouri is not set in stone. With the implementation of effective policies, programs, and collaborative efforts, positive transformation is attainable.