Pennsylvania has a deep history, varied culture, and beautiful natural surroundings. However, not all areas in the Keystone State offer an equally appealing living experience. Certain cities and towns face significant challenges related to crime, poverty, joblessness, and overall quality of life.
By considering a weighted combination of twenty-four social and economic factors, 24/7 Wall St. determined the least desirable place to reside in each state. In Pennsylvania, the small suburb of McKeesport near Pittsburgh is identified as the least favorable place to live.
What Makes McKeesport the Worst Place in Pennsylvania to Live?
McKeesport is a city with approximately 18,000 inhabitants situated along the Monongahela River in Allegheny County. It used to be a bustling industrial hub, renowned for its steel manufacturing and coal mining.
Nevertheless, the decline of these industries in the latter half of the 20th century resulted in a decrease in employment opportunities, population, and overall well-being. Presently, McKeesport encounters numerous obstacles that make it a challenging place to reside.
High Crime Rate
One of the most significant issues facing McKeesport is its high crime rate. According to RoadSnacks, McKeesport ranks as the second most dangerous city in Pennsylvania, with a crime index of 1.
This indicates that it is safer than only 1% of cities in the United States. The city reports a violent crime rate of 1,720 per 100,000 residents, which is over four times the national average.
Additionally, the property crime rate is notably high, at 5,897 incidents per 100,000 residents, which is more than twice the national average. Residents of McKeesport face a 1 in 15 chance of falling victim to either a violent or property crime.
Low Income and High Poverty
In McKeesport, there is a significant issue with low income and high poverty levels. The city’s median household income is $28,525, which is less than half of the national median of $62,843.
The poverty rate stands at 32.4%, which is more than double the national rate of 13.4%. Over half of the households in McKeesport earn less than $35,000 annually, and over a quarter earn less than $15,000 a year.
Due to these economic challenges, many residents find it difficult to afford basic necessities like housing, food, healthcare, and education.
Poor Education and Health Outcomes
McKeesport faces challenges in education and health outcomes. Only 82.8% of adults in the city have a high school diploma or higher, compared to the national average of 88.6%. Additionally, just 11.9% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, while the national average is 32.6%.
The city also experiences lower life expectancy, with an average of 73.7 years, which is over four years below the national average of 78.9 years. This reflects the subpar health conditions and limited access to care in the city.
McKeesport has a high rate of premature death, standing at 548.8 per 100,000 residents, which is more than 50% higher than the national rate of 363.4 per 100,000 residents.
Does McKeesport Have a Future?
McKeesport is not without hope. There are positive signs and potential for the city. One notable aspect is its low cost of living, with a median home value of $43,900, which is less than a quarter of the national median of $204,900.
This affordability makes housing more accessible for residents and also draws in investors and developers who see an opportunity to rejuvenate the city.
Furthermore, the city has various initiatives and programs aimed at enhancing the quality of life and promoting economic development.
For instance, there’s the McKeesport Promise, a scholarship program that offers financial aid to eligible students graduating from the McKeesport Area School District and enrolling in a post-secondary institution.
Funded by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and the McKeesport Area Education Foundation, the program aims to boost college enrollment and completion rates for McKeesport students. It also provides mentoring, tutoring, and career guidance to the students.
McKeesport has received the unfortunate distinction of being labeled the worst place to live in the state. This assessment is based on a comprehensive evaluation of various social and economic factors.
The city grapples with numerous challenges, including high crime rates, low income levels, elevated poverty rates, subpar education, and overall poor health outcomes.
Nevertheless, McKeesport also boasts certain positive attributes, such as a relatively low cost of living, a wealth of cultural and historical resources, and its proximity to Pittsburgh.
Additionally, there are ongoing initiatives and programs, like the McKeesport Rising campaign and the McKeesport Promise program, aimed at enhancing the quality of life and promoting economic growth within the city.
It is important to recognize that McKeesport is not a lost cause, but rather a city in need of increased support and investment to address its issues and unlock its full potential.