Washington, San Francisco, New York among the worst-run cities in America

WASHINGTON — America’s politicians aren’t winning many popularity contests lately, and a survey doesn’t like the job they’re doing running our cities either! In a study of how efficiently the country’s biggest metropolitan areas are operating, the nation’s biggest and most famous cities finish at the bottom of the list.

According to a recent WalletHub study, Washington, D.C. ranks as the worst-run big city in the entire country. The nation’s capital finished dead last in the analysis of 150 big cities — measuring the quality of their city services and the total budget they have available per resident.

San Francisco, California and New York City ranked as the second and third-worst, respectively. All three finished at the bottom of the list in terms of total budget per capita, while also tying for the largest amount of long-term outstanding debt per capita.

Failing from coast to coast

In Washington, high school graduation rates are now the fourth-lowest in the country, finishing only ahead of Columbia, South Carolina, Toledo, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia. Meanwhile, in a city that’s home to America’s most important elected officials, Washington only ranks 73rd in terms of safety. Its local economy is doing even worse, ranking 131st.

In San Fran, the city can actually brag about having the second-lowest infant mortality rate in the nation. Unfortunately, it’s also home to the worst-quality roads of any of the 150 cities in the study. In fact, the six cities with the worst roads are all in California, including Fremont, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Ana, and Huntington Beach!

As for New York, the Big Apple may be home to Wall Street, but the local economy looks more like “the big toilet.” According to the study, New York City’s financial stability ranks 103rd and its overall economy is 135th. Although recent reports continue to document the city’s rising crime rate, New York still managed to finish 12th in terms of city safety.

On the other hand, violent crime is at its worst in Memphis, Tennessee, followed by Detroit, St. Louis, Birmingham, and Baltimore.

Rounding out the 10 worst-run cities in 2022 are Chattanooga, Tennessee (147th), Cleveland, Ohio (146th), Detroit, Michigan (145th), Flint, Michigan (144th), Oakland, California (143rd), Hartford, Connecticut (142nd), and Gulfport, Mississippi (141st).

Money matters

When it comes to choosing where to live, one of the biggest questions Americans have to ask themselves is “can I afford to live here?”

The study found that two Michigan cities top the list for having the highest unemployment rate (Flint and Detroit). Cleveland, Gary, Indiana, and Bridgeport, Connecticut round out the “top five” worst job markets.

Unfortunately, if you do find a job in these cities, it likely won’t pay very well. Gary, Detroit, Hartford, and Cleveland all finished among the cities with the lowest median annual household incomes, after adjusting for the local cost of living.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Chesapeake, Virginia boasts the best annual incomes in the nation, along with Fremont, California and Virginia Beach, Virginia. These three cities also land on the list of cities with the lowest poverty rates in the United States.

Best-Run Cities in America

Overall Rank*  City Quality of City Services  Total Budget per Capita 
1 Nampa, ID 21 1
2 Boise, ID 3 3
3 Fort Wayne, IN 62 2
4 Nashua, NH 9 9
5 Lexington-Fayette, KY 34 6
6 Lincoln, NE 11 19
7 Las Cruces, NM 69 5
8 Oklahoma City, OK 65 8
9 Missoula, MT 50 12
10 Durham, NC 51 11
11 Virginia Beach, VA 2 36
12 Rapid City, SD 108 4
13 Raleigh, NC 13 29
14 Billings, MT 77 13
15 Provo, UT 5 38
16 Chesapeake, VA 10 34
17 Sioux Falls, SD 44 21
18 Salem, OR 24 26
19 Manchester, NH 53 20
20 Mesa, AZ 30 25
21 Huntington Beach, CA 1 55
22 Charleston, SC 8 44
23 Albuquerque, NM 115 10
24 Madison, WI 19 42
25 Arlington, TX 27 31
26 Columbus, GA 91 16
27 Greensboro, NC 71 23
28 Cedar Rapids, IA 25 39
29 Huntington, WV 103 15
30 Bismarck, ND 15 48
31 Louisville, KY 100 17
32 Aurora, IL 36 37
33 Tucson, AZ 112 14
34 Phoenix, AZ 46 35
35 Warren, MI 72 28
36 Lewiston, ME 68 30
37 Tulsa, OK 92 22
38 El Paso, TX 33 50
39 Warwick, RI 61 43
40 Grand Rapids, MI 47 47
41 St. Petersburg, FL 28 54
42 Corpus Christi, TX 84 41
43 Worcester, MA 54 52
44 Portland, ME 14 69
45 Colorado Springs, CO 63 51
46 Las Vegas, NV 26 61
47 Reno, NV 67 49
48 Mobile, AL 99 32
49 Fort Worth, TX 66 53
50 Wichita, KS 132 24
51 Eugene, OR 29 71
52 Aurora, CO 81 56
53 Hialeah, FL 23 78
54 Topeka, KS 118 40
55 Des Moines, IA 64 62
56 Spokane, WA 58 68
57 Fort Smith, AR 128 33
58 Baton Rouge, LA 137 27
59 San Diego, CA 4 97
60 Fairbanks, AK 120 45
61 Fargo, ND 43 79
62 Santa Ana, CA 38 81
63 Little Rock, AR 122 46
64 Indianapolis, IN 88 60
65 Jackson, MS 149 7
66 Rutland, VT 87 67
67 Portland, OR 17 95
68 Omaha, NE 52 86
69 Frederick, MD 6 108
70 Casper, WY 76 80
71 Garland, TX 48 89
72 Montgomery, AL 123 58
73 Boston, MA 22 100
74 Gary, IN 147 18
75 Miami, FL 32 96
76 Fremont, CA 7 113
77 Dover, DE 110 64
78 Jacksonville, FL 105 70
79 Columbia, SC 93 76
80 Tallahassee, FL 79 85
81 Akron, OH 116 65
82 Houston, TX 106 73
83 Springfield, MA 125 63
84 Tampa, FL 31 101
85 Austin, TX 12 117
86 San Antonio, TX 45 103
87 Dayton, OH 119 74
88 New Orleans, LA 134 57
89 Salt Lake City, UT 37 106
90 Anchorage, AK 111 82
91 Bakersfield, CA 95 86
92 Columbus, OH 83 92
93 Charleston, WV 126 77
94 San Jose, CA 20 121
95 St. Paul, MN 60 104
96 Providence, RI 127 72
97 Norfolk, VA 107 88
98 Richmond, VA 80 98
99 Burlington, VT 40 114
100 Bridgeport, CT 124 83
101 Dallas, TX 98 93
102 Stockton, CA 130 75
103 Shreveport, LA 141 59
104 Orlando, FL 49 118
105 Anaheim, CA 70 111
106 Kansas City, MO 117 91
107 Toledo, OH 139 66
108 Lubbock, TX 94 101
109 Fort Lauderdale, FL 57 120
110 Cincinnati, OH 78 112
111 Modesto, CA 89 109
112 Charlotte, NC 41 126
113 Knoxville, TN 42 130
114 Nashville, TN 109 105
115 Sacramento, CA 86 122
116 Fresno, CA 121 107
117 Minneapolis, MN 59 133
118 Seattle, WA 18 140
119 Birmingham, AL 135 94
120 Pittsburgh, PA 74 129
121 Riverside, CA 85 127
122 Wilmington, DE 104 119
123 Milwaukee, WI 138 90
124 Syracuse, NY 97 123
125 Atlanta, GA 82 132
126 Long Beach, CA 39 139
127 Buffalo, NY 113 125
128 Cheyenne, WY 90 135
129 Los Angeles, CA 56 143
130 Baltimore, MD 140 110
131 New Haven, CT 131 124
132 Denver, CO 75 141
133 St. Louis, MO 148 84
134 Philadelphia, PA 129 128
135 Memphis, TN 143 115
136 Kansas City, KS 142 116
137 Yonkers, NY 73 144
138 Rochester, NY 114 138
139 Tacoma, WA 102 142
140 Chicago, IL 136 136
141 Gulfport, MS 101 145
142 Hartford, CT 144 131
143 Oakland, CA 96 147
144 Flint, MI 146 134
145 Detroit, MI 150 99
146 Cleveland, OH 145 137
147 Chattanooga, TN 133 146
148 New York, NY 35 148
149 San Francisco, CA 16 149
150 Washington, DC 55 150

Notes: *No. 1 = Best-Run
The columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that city, where a rank of 1 represents the highest quality of city services, and the smallest budget per capita, respectively.

Comments

  1. If you combine Quality of Services and Budget per Capita, the 5 worst cites are:
    150. Cleveland, OH
    149. Flint, MI
    148. Chattanooga, TN
    147. Hartfort, CN
    146. Chicago, IL.

  2. These rankings are useless. Budget per Capita? So a spendthrift city that wastes taxpayers’ money would be ranked high, wouldn’t it? Quality of Services; there’s no explanation of how the quality of a city service is evaluated, let alone whether the right services are being provided.

  3. Those city are the worst run cities because the people in charge are incompetent, they don’t any idea how to run anything. They don’t even have had the experience of selling and orange on the street.

  4. Gee look at that the three worst cities are all run by Democrats and they are held as great cities in the Liberal mind. Why does that not surprise me.

    1. This is a terrible comparison and the article lacks context. There is no control for size, complexity or equity. Comparing Rutland, VT to New York City, NY is just stupid. I’m not saying that NYC is well run, but the statistics just aren’t valid. It’s apples to cucumbers.

  5. Fortunately, most of the cities at the bottom of the list are in states that will continue to allow abortion without restriction. Jes sayin’.

  6. What was the algorithm that combined these two metrics? There doesn’t seem to be a simple weighting.

  7. Hmmm, I wonder what they all have in common? It couldn’t be that they’ve been run by the democrat/socialist/communist party for decades could it? Naw, they’re not interested in total control of the masses and remaining in power no matter what it takes, they only want everybody to be equal…in poverty.

  8. I am not surprised by this list all. San Francisco used to be a great city but it has been ruined by incompetent politicians. But these politicians will read this article and dismiss it as wrong or cite some irrelevant statistic to show why there city is really much better.

  9. They paid someone to do this study? I could have named the top ten simply by the amount of violence and the poor quality of life. I.E. Democrat run cities. In my hometown of Milwaukee for example it has been more than 100 years since there has been a Republican mayor.

  10. The article title is about the worst run but the story only shows a list of the best run. Link the BAD list first. Don’t make people have to search for links. Well written minus the lack of a worst run listing.

    Democrats have run this country’s big cities into the ground.

  11. If legacy media did it’s job we’d not have to continually endure stories of this nature. Sacrificing major cities in the name of “good liberals” is NOT working. My home town; Seattle, has gone to total crap. Been 50 years since an “R” ran this state. I’m embarrassed to call it home and am making big plans to soon leave. Swallowing that pride is never an option, as it must NOT taste very good.

  12. Gee…what a coincidence, the worst cities are run by Dems. Country circling the drain thanks to build back better Joe.

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