Oklahoma, a state known for its diverse landscapes, vibrant cultural heritage, and friendly residents, also has areas that are less than ideal for living. These particular locales face challenges such as high crime rates, limited income opportunities, inadequate education options, and various other obstacles that discourage both residents and visitors. In this article, we explore the city in Oklahoma that has gained a reputation as the least desirable place to live, supported by a thorough analysis of multiple factors and statistics.
The Worst City to Reside in Oklahoma
In 2023, Idabel has gained a rather unfortunate reputation as the worst city to live in within Oklahoma. Located in the southeastern region near the borders of Texas and Arkansas, it is home to a population of 6,879 residents. With a score of just 89.5 out of 100, Idabel faces a number of challenges that contribute to its less than desirable living conditions.
Idabel bears the ignominious distinction of boasting the highest violent crime rate in the state, registering 1,301 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. This translates to a staggering 1 in 77 odds of falling victim to a violent crime in Idabel, far surpassing the state average of 1,106 per 100,000 residents.
The city also lays claim to the highest property crime rate within the state, with 8,795 property crimes per 100,000 individuals. This disheartening statistic equates to a sobering 1 in 11 chance of being a victim of property crime in Idabel, a figure that far surpasses the state average of 4,977 per 100,000 residents. Furthermore, Idabel contends with the second-highest unemployment rate in the state, with 9.9% of its labor force grappling with unemployment. This rate significantly exceeds the state average of 5.4%.
The city suffers from the third-highest poverty rate in the state, with a staggering 35.7% of its population living below the poverty line, a stark contrast to the state average of 15.6%. Idabel boasts the lowest median home value in the state, with properties valued at a meager $54,800, well below the state average of $147,800.
To compound matters further, the city wrestles with the fourth-lowest median household income in the state, with an average income of just $30,833, again trailing the state average of $54,449.
City Under the Microscope: A Closer Look
While several Oklahoma cities have faced criticism for various issues, some reports have pointed towards Shawnee as a contender for the dubious title of “worst city to live.” Let’s delve deeper into the specific challenges this city grapples with:
1. Crime and Public Safety:
- Higher Crime Rates: Shawnee’s overall crime rate surpasses both the national average and the average for Oklahoma cities. Violent crime rates are particularly concerning, with incidences exceeding the national average.
- Limited Law Enforcement Resources: Critics argue that Shawnee’s police department is understaffed and underfunded, leading to challenges in effectively addressing crime.
2. Economic Woes:
- Limited Job Opportunities: Shawnee’s economy is primarily driven by manufacturing and service industries, which have faced challenges in recent years. This translates to a higher unemployment rate compared to the national average and limited career prospects for residents.
- Poverty and Income Inequality: Shawnee has a higher poverty rate than the national average, and income inequality is also a concern. This economic disparity can exacerbate other social issues.
3. Educational Challenges:
- Lower-performing Public Schools: Shawnee’s public school system faces challenges, with standardized test scores falling below the national average. This raises concerns about educational opportunities for children and the city’s future workforce.
- Limited Access to Higher Education: Shawnee lacks a four-year university, limiting options for residents seeking higher education and potentially hindering upward mobility.
4. Lack of Amenities and Cultural Offerings:
- Limited Entertainment Options: Compared to larger Oklahoma cities, Shawnee offers fewer entertainment options, such as museums, theatres, and diverse nightlife. This can be a drawback for residents seeking a vibrant cultural scene.
- Limited Outdoor Recreation Opportunities: While Shawnee boasts some parks and green spaces, access to diverse outdoor recreational activities like hiking, biking, or water sports is limited compared to other parts of the state.
Idabel, Oklahoma, stands out as the least desirable city to live in, based on our rigorous criteria. The city is plagued by alarmingly high crime rates, low income levels, depreciated property values, and elevated poverty and unemployment rates. While there may be some positive aspects to life in Idabel, such as its proximity to nature and cultural diversity, these advantages are unfortunately overshadowed by the prevailing challenges. Therefore, we cannot, in good conscience, recommend residing in or visiting Idabel unless there is a truly compelling reason to do so.
FAQ on the worst city to live in Oklahoma
Q: Why is Idabel considered the worst city to live in Oklahoma?
A: Idabel faces challenges such as the highest violent and property crime rates, second-highest unemployment rate, third-highest poverty rate, lowest median home value, and fourth-lowest median household income in the state.
Q: What are the crime rates in Idabel compared to the state average?
A: Idabel has a staggering 1 in 77 odds of falling victim to violent crime and a 1 in 11 chance of being a victim of property crime, both exceeding the state averages significantly.
Q: How does Idabel’s unemployment rate compare to the state average?
A: Idabel’s unemployment rate of 9.9% is significantly higher than the state average of 5.4%, earning it the second-highest unemployment rate in the state.
Q: What contributes to Idabel’s economic challenges?
A: Idabel grapples with the third-highest poverty rate, lowest median home value, and fourth-lowest median household income in the state, indicating economic struggles and limited income opportunities.
Q: Is there another city in Oklahoma facing challenges similar to Idabel?
A: Shawnee is mentioned as a contender for the title of the “worst city to live” due to concerns about higher crime rates, economic woes, educational challenges, and a lack of amenities and cultural offerings.
- City-Data: https://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Shawnee-Oklahoma.html
- NeighborhoodScout: https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ok/shawnee/crime
- Oklahoma Department of Commerce: https://www.okcommerce.gov/
- Oklahoma State University Center for Community Development and Policy: https://reslife.okstate.edu/about/community-mentors.html
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