The Most-Hated Cities In the United States

The most hated cities in the United States include Detroit, Michigan, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Baltimore, Maryland.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

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Whether you’re just visiting or looking for a place to call home, every city has its share of good and bad. Putting silly stuff like sports rivalries aside, some cities are disliked due to the attitude of their residents and poor quality of life. Now, after conducting an extensive survey, Best Life says Detroit, Michigan tops the list of most-hated cities in the United States.

The most-hated cities data was compiled by creating a list of the 100 biggest locations to determine their place on a favorability scale. Similar surveys were also examined to see how often each place appeared on those lists. This included a 2009 “favorite city” poll by Pew Social Trends, a 2016 Travel and Leisure ranking of “rudest cities”, and two 2017 polls measuring the most underrated and favorites.

This process narrowed down the most-hated cities contenders to 44. The scores of these polls were then combined into a favorability scale which measured how positively or negatively people felt about these places. The lower the score, the more hated the city. Gallup-Sharecare’s most recent well-being index, which ranked 186 metro areas on community happiness, was also incorporated into the study,

Another poll by Gallup-Sharecare, which asked residents if they were proud of their city, was also used to find the most-hated cities. Finally, the population change from 2010 to 2019 was measured using data from the U.S Census Bureau. Those figures were compared to the national population increase of 6.1% to determine which cities grew naturally, and how many people moved away.

These four metrics were assigned a weighted value and examined by the Best Life algorithm to see how each city scored its Hate Index. The results were mixed, with the most-hated and least-hated cities situated in the Midwest. Los Angeles had the lowest score on the favorability scale but scored high in community well-being and population growth.

Following Detroit, Michigan at the top of the most-hated cities list are Las Vegas, Nevada, and Baltimore, Maryland. Los Angeles, California, and St. Louis, Missouri make up the top five, with New York, New York, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Riverside, California, and Miami Florida rounding out the top 10.

Tucson, Arizona, Dallas, Texas, Cincinnati, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois, Cleveland, Ohio, Boston, Massachusetts, Charlotte, North Carolina, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sacramento, California, and Phoenix, Arizona made up the top 20 most-hated cities in America. Despite being unhappy with these places, folks who grew up in these towns tend to visit for various reasons.

In the late 2000s, a few researchers thought it would be a good idea to crash several high school reunions and interview the attendees. The goal was to figure out why people returned to places that ended up on most-hated cities lists. While most return for the nostalgia of it all, the survey via Vox found that people who stayed in their hometown were less likely to show up.

And even when they did, asking them why they never left was a difficult topic to broach. “There’s a stigma associated with not leaving,” one attendee told the publication. “And high school reunions tend to be places where the people who come are relatively more successful.” This highlights the socioeconomic split in America which explains why the most-hated cities are some of the major metropolitan areas on the planet.