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Worst-run cities in America

  • Worst-run cities in America
    1/ Kevmark58 // Wikimedia Commons

    Worst-run cities in America

    People move to and from cities for a variety of reasons. Some cities are popular for their economies and job opportunities and some are not so popular for their levels of crime and pollution. Typically, how a city is run and how it operates determines many of these factors. Some of the worst-run cities, such as Detroit, Mich., and Nashville, Tenn., struggle with high crime rates, low high school graduation rates, and poor economies. Governments and city councils often enact policies and initiatives to counter some of these issues and promote change. However, sometimes it takes years to see any actual progress.

    Stacker analyzed data from WalletHub's 2019's Best- & Worst-Run Cities in America and used the detailed city services ranking, rather than data that included “total budget per capita” to determine the rankings. WalletHub's data was published July 1, 2019. Full methodology behind WalletHub ranking is available here. Data and statistics surrounding the differences between the best-run cities and the worst-run cities are also found through this data set, including differences in quality of roads, infant mortality rates, percent of the population in poverty, and violent crime.

    The quality of city services is ranked based on each city's average scores in six key categories, which are financial stability, education, health, safety, economy, and infrastructure and pollution. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, and 100 points represents the highest quality of service for each metric. The final score was also out of 100 points. Cities are ranked by their total quality of city service score. The highest total points for the worst-run cities was 50.98 and the lowest total points on this list was 27.79.

    Read on to see which cities are ranked as the worst-run cities in the United States and why.

    You may also like: States receiving the most federal funds

  • #50. Dayton, OH
    2/ Pixabay

    #50. Dayton, OH

    - Overall quality of city services score: 48.55
    - Financial stability rank: #71
    - Education rank: #72
    - Health rank: #126
    - Safety rank: #91
    - Economy rank: #141
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #40

    The nation's first big city to adopt the city-manager form of government, in which a hired technocrat manages city operations and answers to an elected but unpaid council and mayor, Dayton scores low for its stagnant economy and intractable health problems. Dayton's unemployment rate outpaces the national average, and future job growth is also pegged to lag behind the national average. Heavily invested in manufacturing, a sector on the decline for decades, the city has struggled to reinvent itself and grow jobs in new, non-manufacturing sectors.

  • #49. Rapid City, SD
    3/ todd.vision // Flickr

    #49. Rapid City, SD

    - Overall quality of city services score: 48.43
    - Financial stability rank: #95
    - Education rank: #133
    - Health rank: #67
    - Safety rank: #109
    - Economy rank: #38
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #85

    Known as the gateway to Mount Rushmore, Rapid City is earning a new reputation for a growing violent-crime problem. Statewide South Dakota sees less violent and property crime than the national average, but Rapid City bucks that trend with crime rates well above the national average. Per capita, Rapid City sees far more rapes, assaults, and murders than the rest of the country, with a violent crime rate of 640 per 100,000 residents. The national violent crime rate is 383 per 100,000 people.

  • #48. Topeka, KS
    4/ 25or6to4 // Wikimedia Commons

    #48. Topeka, KS

    - Overall quality of city services score: 47.57
    - Financial stability rank: #104
    - Education rank: #79
    - Health rank: #140
    - Safety rank: #86
    - Economy rank: #73
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #58

    Topeka's city council is comprised of nine council members and a mayor. The Downtown Business Improvement District aims to improve, maintain, and promote downtown Topeka and local businesses. The initiative is in addition to other programs already in place that focus on business and city development.

  • #47. Albuquerque, NM
    5/ turtix // Shutterstock

    #47. Albuquerque, NM

    - Overall quality of city services score: 47.44
    - Financial stability rank: #63
    - Education rank: #106
    - Health rank: #82
    - Safety rank: #146
    - Economy rank: #96
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #46

    Albuquerque's city council has nine members and a mayor, and runs a transparent and open government with the current budget and public records posted right on the city website. The transparency spreads to other aspects of government, such as the police department, and council members say that open communication with the community will strengthen it.

  • #46. Indianapolis, IN
    6/ TheMann00 // Shutterstock

    #46. Indianapolis, IN

    - Overall quality of city services score: 47.39
    - Financial stability rank: #19
    - Education rank: #140
    - Health rank: #131
    - Safety rank: #127
    - Economy rank: #90
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #98

    A mission to prevent crime, protect taxpayers, create opportunities for working families, and invest the city's resources back into the community is key for Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. In addition to the mayor, Indianapolis and Marion County are represented by the City-County Council.

  • #45. Lubbock, TX
    7/ Redraiderengineer // Wikimedia Commons

    #45. Lubbock, TX

    - Overall quality of city services score: 47.27
    - Financial stability rank: #77
    - Education rank: #52
    - Health rank: #72
    - Safety rank: #139
    - Economy rank: #79
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #142

    One of the primary focuses of Lubbock city government is health and safety, which is an area where the city ranks among the lowest compared with other U.S. cities. The police department is seeking to become more open to the public to provide a safer environment for its citizens. The Texas city also is concerned about environmental health, including the enforcement of Texas Food Establishment Rules and local ordinances.

  • #44. Columbia, SC
    8/ Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikimedia Commons

    #44. Columbia, SC

    - Overall quality of city services score: 47.16
    - Financial stability rank: #64
    - Education rank: #130
    - Health rank: #88
    - Safety rank: #122
    - Economy rank: #134
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #54

    Columbia's city council has six council members and a mayor, Steve Benjamin. His mission as mayor is to make Columbia the most talented, educated, and entrepreneurial city in the United States. Columbia ranks as one of the lowest in the education category and fairly low in the economy category, thus the focus on education and business is a move to increase this city's rankings in these areas.

  • #43. Nashville, TN
    9/ Paul Brennan // PublicDomainPictures

    #43. Nashville, TN

    - Overall quality of city services score: 47.12
    - Financial stability rank: #111
    - Education rank: #119
    - Health rank: #115
    - Safety rank: #107
    - Economy rank: #63
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #65

    Nashville has one of the highest long-term outstanding debt per capita in the United States, putting this city at a low ranking for financial stability. Mayor David Briley has created policies to better support the community, from the Getting Results by Advancing Degrees program to domestic violence policies within the government and workforce.

  • #42. Kansas City, MO
    10/ Tyler Silvest // Flickr

    #42. Kansas City, MO

    - Overall quality of city services score: 46.98
    - Financial stability rank: #91
    - Education rank: #38
    - Health rank: #96
    - Safety rank: #144
    - Economy rank: #59
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #114

    With a violent crime rate 128% higher than the national average, Kansas City residents are more likely to be victims of violent crime than in 98% of other U.S. cities. The murder rate is six times the national average and overall violent crime rate hovers about four times the national average. Kansas City also needs to upgrade its aging public infrastructure; a voter-approved bill signed in 2017 commits the city to spend $800 million on repairing sidewalks, roads, bridges, retaining walls, and other engineering projects.

  • #41. Springfield, MA
    11/ Roezmv // Wikimedia Commons

    #41. Springfield, MA

    - Overall quality of city services score: 46.88
    - Financial stability rank: #124
    - Education rank: #125
    - Health rank: #99
    - Safety rank: #63
    - Economy rank: #135
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #15

    Superintendent Daniel J. Warwick is an experienced educator focused on improving Springfield public schools to better support students and the community. The Springfield City Council comprises 12 council members and a council president. They are primarily focused on community development to better support and propel the community and its economy forward.

  • #40. Akron, OH
    12/ Sleepydre // Wikimedia Commons

    #40. Akron, OH

    - Overall quality of city services score: 46.69
    - Financial stability rank: #110
    - Education rank: #64
    - Health rank: #127
    - Safety rank: #79
    - Economy rank: #136
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #103

    Akron ranks low in four categories: economy, infrastructure, financial stability, and health. Of all the low rankings, however, its economic rank is the worst. Its 5.2% unemployment rank is over a full point above the national average of 3.9%. Furthermore, with an average annual income of $20,245 compared with the national average of $28,555, the jobs Dayton has pay considerably less than elsewhere in the U.S.

  • #39. Bakersfield, CA
    13/ Robert Hale // Wikimedia Commons

    #39. Bakersfield, CA

    - Overall quality of city services score: 46.62
    - Financial stability rank: #92
    - Education rank: #53
    - Health rank: #108
    - Safety rank: #116
    - Economy rank: #47
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #149

    Bakersfield is ranked as having some of the most polluted air among U.S. cities, with a ranking for infrastructure and pollution of 149. This city is filled with oil refineries and agricultural lands that emit enormous amounts of particulate matter into the air, creating a haze. The city council is focused on improving air quality, no matter how long it may take.

  • #38. Wichita, KS
    14/ Hugh Mason // Wikimedia Commons

    #38. Wichita, KS

    - Overall quality of city services score: 46.40
    - Financial stability rank: #55
    - Education rank: #118
    - Health rank: #101
    - Safety rank: #128
    - Economy rank: #85
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #135

    Wichita was recently named an All-America City, in recognition of the strong community benefits from collaborative efforts by citizens, businesses, and the government. This city is making progress to improve its infrastructure and pollution rank by such measures as the Advanced Learning Library, which provides a safe and productive space for citizens, as well as a green, environmentally safe building.

  • #37. Mobile, AL
    15/ Matthew Nichols // Wikimedia Commons

    #37. Mobile, AL

    - Overall quality of city services score: 46.30
    - Financial stability rank: #62
    - Education rank: #66
    - Health rank: #128
    - Safety rank: #140
    - Economy rank: #113
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #44

    City government in Mobile is focused on building relationships with the community to understand how best to support it. The city council is composed of seven members, plus a mayor. The Mobile County Health Department offers a wide range of services; however, this city ranks as one of the lowest in the health category.

  • #36. Norfolk, VA
    16/ Pixabay

    #36. Norfolk, VA

    - Overall quality of city services score: 46.29
    - Financial stability rank: #74
    - Education rank: #124
    - Health rank: #149
    - Safety rank: #48
    - Economy rank: #98
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #108

    Norfolk's city council comprises eight council members responsible for enacting policies, setting budgets, and establishing taxes. The Norfolk Department of Public Health recently implemented a Community Health Improvement Plan to establish programs and policies surrounding overall community health.

  • #35. Modesto, CA
    17/ Carl Skaggs // Wikimedia Commons

    #35. Modesto, CA

    - Overall quality of city services score: 46.18
    - Financial stability rank: #122
    - Education rank: #93
    - Health rank: #61
    - Safety rank: #121
    - Economy rank: #30
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #122

    Modesto ranks as one of the least safe cities in the country, and the city government is run by six city council members and a mayor. The police department is committed to working with the community to better protect and serve its citizens, as well as its businesses.

  • #34. Tulsa, OK
    18/ Jordan Michael Winn // Wikimedia Commons

    #34. Tulsa, OK

    - Overall quality of city services score: 46.12
    - Financial stability rank: #34
    - Education rank: #84
    - Health rank: #129
    - Safety rank: #132
    - Economy rank: #95
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #145

    Tulsa ranks as one of the lowest in infrastructure and pollution. The Engineering Services Department is focused on creating a safe and productive workforce and work environment by improving water systems, wastewater systems, and transportation.

  • #33. Bridgeport, CT
    19/ Pixabay

    #33. Bridgeport, CT

    - Overall quality of city services score: 45.85
    - Financial stability rank: #144
    - Education rank: #122
    - Health rank: #9
    - Safety rank: #33
    - Economy rank: #144
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #63

    The finance administration for Bridgeport is focused on planning and preparing all official statements for short-term and long-term financing. This department also produces the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which, based on this data, has continuously ranked Bridgeport as among the lowest cities in terms of financial stability and economy.

  • #32. Montgomery, AL
    20/ James Willamor // Flickr

    #32. Montgomery, AL

    - Overall quality of city services score: 45.77
    - Financial stability rank: #116
    - Education rank: #99
    - Health rank: #120
    - Safety rank: #77
    - Economy rank: #130
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #78

    The City Council of Montgomery operates under a mayor-council system with 10 council members and a mayor. The city's Consolidated Plan 2020-2024 will address economic and community problems and development.

  • #31. Columbus, GA
    21/ PghPhxNfk // Wikimedia Commons

    #31. Columbus, GA

    - Overall quality of city services score: 45.04
    - Financial stability rank: #54
    - Education rank: #76
    - Health rank: #150
    - Safety rank: #105
    - Economy rank: #133
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #35

    Although Columbus provides many health programs and services to its community, the city, with a 10-member city council and a mayor, ranks among the lowest in the nation in the health category. Mental health, especially, is a concern, and many residents struggle with depression and other mental challenges.

  • #30. Fort Smith, AR
    22/ Clinton Steeds // Flickr

    #30. Fort Smith, AR

    - Overall quality of city services score: 45.03
    - Financial stability rank: #131
    - Education rank: #17
    - Health rank: #110
    - Safety rank: #114
    - Economy rank: #105
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #87

    Fort Smith operates under a board of directors with Mayor George B. McGill and seven board members. The government's mission is to be a unified team committed to providing consistent citizen-focused services. The Future Fort Smith Comprehensive Plan aims to provide services and programs to improve public safety and economic development, among addressing other problems.

  • #29. Little Rock, AR
    23/ amadeustx // Shutterstock

    #29. Little Rock, AR

    - Overall quality of city services score: 44.65
    - Financial stability rank: #35
    - Education rank: #96
    - Health rank: #113
    - Safety rank: #149
    - Economy rank: #115
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #101

    Little Rock has 14 city departments and a 10-member board of directors that is focused on four aspects of the community: public safety, infrastructure, economic development, and quality of life. This city ranks one of the lowest in the safety category, indicating that it struggles with crimes of all sorts, such as violent crime and property crime.

  • #28. Wilmington, DE
    24/ John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

    #28. Wilmington, DE

    - Overall quality of city services score: 44.26
    - Financial stability rank: #78
    - Education rank: #57
    - Health rank: #94
    - Safety rank: #143
    - Economy rank: #143
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #109

    The mayor and 12-member city council of Wilmington focuses on promoting community health, safety, and general well-being. In its Strategic Plan, the council found the greatest overall quality-of-life issues included crime and the negative effects of violence, quality education, responsible development, and distribution of funds, resources, and services.

  • #27. Jacksonville, FL
    25/ GoodFreePhotos

    #27. Jacksonville, FL

    - Overall quality of city services score: 43.72
    - Financial stability rank: #138
    - Education rank: #69
    - Health rank: #136
    - Safety rank: #102
    - Economy rank: #53
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #56

    Pitiful public health and financial stability rankings hover near epidemic levels in this Florida panhandle city. While still heavily in debt with poor bond sales, in 2018 the city improved its credit rating to a AAA rating. This will help the city sell more bonds and put the public finances back on surer footing. Obesity, diabetes, and other lifestyle disease rates are also reaching catastrophic levels, with drastic cuts to the county public health budget in the wake of the Great Recession plaguing attempts to tackle the health crisis.

  • #26. Chattanooga, TN
    26/ Imilious // Wikimedia Commons

    #26. Chattanooga, TN

    - Overall quality of city services score: 43.27
    - Financial stability rank: #106
    - Education rank: #78
    - Health rank: #116
    - Safety rank: #124
    - Economy rank: #109
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #62

    The vision of the Chattanooga Police Department is to be respected and trusted by all members of Chattanooga's diverse community. The department is attempting to become more integrated into the community to better support and protect it, with goals of decreasing crime and increasing safety.

  • #25. Chicago, IL
    27/ Pixabay

    #25. Chicago, IL

    - Overall quality of city services score: 42.90
    - Financial stability rank: #150
    - Education rank: #45
    - Health rank: #64
    - Safety rank: #69
    - Economy rank: #125
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #24

    Chicago ranks among cities with the highest long-term outstanding debt per capita in the country. Although it ranks high in infrastructure and pollution, and education, Chicago's economy is doing worse than that of the United States as a whole. Unemployment rates are higher in this Illinois city than the national average, and the job market has been decreasing.

  • #24. Milwaukee, WI
    28/ basykes // Wikimedia Commons

    #24. Milwaukee, WI

    - Overall quality of city services score: 42.83
    - Financial stability rank: #118
    - Education rank: #134
    - Health rank: #112
    - Safety rank: #118
    - Economy rank: #112
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #102

    City government in Milwaukee is overseen by 15 council members and a mayor. The Department of City Development is active in creating an atmosphere in which job opportunity grows, neighborhoods develop and strengthen, and there is respect for equity, economy, and ecology. The department says strengthening city and business development will bring prosperity to the city.

  • #23. Gulfport, MS
    29/ PD-USGOV-EPA // Wikimedia Commons

    #23. Gulfport, MS

    - Overall quality of city services score: 42.36
    - Financial stability rank: #129
    - Education rank: #18
    - Health rank: #124
    - Safety rank: #129
    - Economy rank: #124
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #107

    Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes has created a government that has greater transparency and responsiveness to the public. This openness has been critical in the city's economic development, which emphasizes collaboration and example-driven leadership.

  • #22. Philadelphia, PA
    30/ Nick-philly // Wikimedia Commons

    #22. Philadelphia, PA

    - Overall quality of city services score: 42.31
    - Financial stability rank: #136
    - Education rank: #137
    - Health rank: #135
    - Safety rank: #57
    - Economy rank: #140
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #50

    Mayor Jim Kenney has been in office since 2016 and has worked closely with the Philadelphia city council to implement anti-poverty initiatives. The initiatives include expanding the opportunity for quality pre-k and creating community schools, as well as tackling health issues through a tax on sweetened beverages. Keeney, the City Council, and the community are focused on improving educational and economic opportunities in this Pennsylvania city.

  • #21. Providence, RI
    31/ Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

    #21. Providence, RI

    - Overall quality of city services score: 41.80
    - Financial stability rank: #147
    - Education rank: #138
    - Health rank: #78
    - Safety rank: #40
    - Economy rank: #107
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #68

    Providence city officials are focused on the city's EAT, PLAY, LEARN summer programming campaign that increases access to high quality, affordable, and educational summer programs for families. The program, supported by the mayor and members of the 15-member City Council, helps address some of the educational and economic struggles facing residents.

  • #20. Charleston, WV
    32/ David Harmantas // Shuttestock

    #20. Charleston, WV

    - Overall quality of city services score: 41.72
    - Financial stability rank: #68
    - Education rank: #40
    - Health rank: #144
    - Safety rank: #147
    - Economy rank: #126
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #99

    Charleston's city council is made up of 26 members and a mayor. Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin was elected in November, 2018, and is the first female mayor for this West Virginia city. The Charleston Police Department is active in becoming more present in the community, as well as establishing stronger ties with its citizens.

  • #19. Baltimore, MD
    33/ Eli Pousson/Baltimore Heritage // Flickr

    #19. Baltimore, MD

    - Overall quality of city services score: 41.66
    - Financial stability rank: #48
    - Education rank: #148
    - Health rank: #148
    - Safety rank: #126
    - Economy rank: #127
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #84

    Baltimore has one of the lowest education rankings in the United States, as well as one of the lowest high school graduation rates. Although there are over 300 public and private schools in Baltimore, the community's graduation rate is slightly below the U.S. rate and lower than in the state of Maryland.

  • #18. New Haven, CT
    34/ Paul Brady Photography // Shuttestock

    #18. New Haven, CT

    - Overall quality of city services score: 41.48
    - Financial stability rank: #143
    - Education rank: #136
    - Health rank: #56
    - Safety rank: #89
    - Economy rank: #139
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #23

    Mayor Toni N. Harp is focused on a few specific aspects to bring prosperity and a higher quality of life to New Haven, Connecticut: public safety, crime has dropped by 50 percent since she's been in office; education, for which high school graduation rates have increased, along with college enrollment and retention rates; and economic development, including redeveloping certain districts, such as College Street Music Hall and Long Wharf.

  • #17. Fresno, CA
    35/ David Jordan // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Fresno, CA

    - Overall quality of city services score: 40.89
    - Financial stability rank: #139
    - Education rank: #80
    - Health rank: #97
    - Safety rank: #119
    - Economy rank: #86
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #147

    Along with the nine-member Fresno city council, Mayor Lee Brand is focused on economic development, downtown revitalization, and high-speed rail. Crime has gone down, as has the response time for firefighters, 911 operators, and police officers.

  • #16. Hartford, CT
    36/ John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

    #16. Hartford, CT

    - Overall quality of city services score: 40.76
    - Financial stability rank: #149
    - Education rank: #103
    - Health rank: #20
    - Safety rank: #95
    - Economy rank: #145
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #18

    Hartford has one of the highest unemployment rates in the United States, which accounts for this city's ranking in the economy and financial stability category. The city council and the economic development team is working to improve job growth, revitalize real estate, and upgrade public rights of way.

  • #15. Huntington, WV
    37/ Youngamerican // Wikimedia Commons

    #15. Huntington, WV

    - Overall quality of city services score: 40.38
    - Financial stability rank: #2
    - Education rank: #108
    - Health rank: #143
    - Safety rank: #134
    - Economy rank: #129
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #27

    Although Huntington ranks high in financial stability, its economy is one of the worst in the nation. The Huntington Area Development Council is working to attract new businesses to the area, help expand current businesses, and reduce the number of businesses that close.

  • #14. New Orleans, LA
    38/ Karen Apricot // Wikimedia Commons

    #14. New Orleans, LA

    - Overall quality of city services score: 40.12
    - Financial stability rank: #142
    - Education rank: #128
    - Health rank: #106
    - Safety rank: #123
    - Economy rank: #137
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #25

     New Orleans' city council has seven council members and a mayor. Council members believe in partnering and actively participating with the community to help understand and support residents.

  • #13. Kansas City, KS
    39/ Katherine Welles // Shuttestock

    #13. Kansas City, KS

    - Overall quality of city services score: 40.12
    - Financial stability rank: #133
    - Education rank: #135
    - Health rank: #98
    - Safety rank: #137
    - Economy rank: #87
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #104

    Kansas City has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. While the city ranks fairly low in the safety category, the police department is making an effort to be more transparent and open to the public hoping to decrease crime. The department uses a live community crime map to detect and show crime and police activity.

  • #12. Birmingham, AL
    40/ rhapsodyinblue // GoodFreePhotos

    #12. Birmingham, AL

    - Overall quality of city services score: 39.80
    - Financial stability rank: #119
    - Education rank: #25
    - Health rank: #132
    - Safety rank: #145
    - Economy rank: #131
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #100

    Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin is working to improve economic development, neighborhood revitalization, education and career opportunities, and crime. His crime-fighting plan includes putting more police officers on the streets, and his customer service program aims to improve relations with the public to boost employee morale and focus on workforce development.

  • #11. Baton Rouge, LA
    41/ Fang Deng // Shuttestock

    #11. Baton Rouge, LA

    - Overall quality of city services score: 39.63
    - Financial stability rank: #58
    - Education rank: #120
    - Health rank: #141
    - Safety rank: #142
    - Economy rank: #142
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #131

    The Metropolitan Council of Baton Rouge comprises 12 council members and a mayor-president. Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome created a team of residents ranging from millennials to seniors and those who represented various education levels, races, and socioeconomic status to develop a comprehensive understanding of the community. Issues covered included flood recovery, community-police relations, and education.

  • #10. Cleveland, OH
    42/ Eric Friedebach // Wikimedia Commons

    #10. Cleveland, OH

    - Overall quality of city services score: 39.14
    - Financial stability rank: #127
    - Education rank: #114
    - Health rank: #111
    - Safety rank: #131
    - Economy rank: #148
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #105

    Cleveland has one of the lowest median annual household income in the United States. The city council comprises 17 council members and a mayor. The government has focused on improving infrastructure and environmental impacts, which officials hope will lead to better financial stability and economic and business opportunities.

  • #9. Memphis, TN
    43/ f11photo // Shutterstock

    #9. Memphis, TN

    - Overall quality of city services score: 37.78
    - Financial stability rank: #70
    - Education rank: #131
    - Health rank: #142
    - Safety rank: #148
    - Economy rank: #128
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #139

    The City of Memphis has one of the highest violent crime rates in America. The Memphis Police Department is aiming to create and maintain an environment where there is zero tolerance for crime and a focus on preventing and reducing crime in the city. Police plan to increase the number of officers, expand community outreach, and improve emergency services, among other moves.

  • #8. Toledo, OH
    44/ Counselman Collection // Flickr

    #8. Toledo, OH

    - Overall quality of city services score: 37.61
    - Financial stability rank: #130
    - Education rank: #115
    - Health rank: #139
    - Safety rank: #117
    - Economy rank: #132
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #134

    Six members of the Toledo city council are elected from districts and six are elected at-large. This city ranks lower than the U.S. and Ohio averages in residents who have at least a high school education, which helps explain Toledo's low ranking in the education category.

  • #7. Gary, IN
    45/ Paul Sableman // Wikimedia Commons

    #7. Gary, IN

    - Overall quality of city services score: 37.24
    - Financial stability rank: #24
    - Education rank: #105
    - Health rank: #147
    - Safety rank: #73
    - Economy rank: #149
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #144

    Poverty is an ongoing problem in Gary, which has one of the highest percentages of population in poverty in the country. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and the city council have implemented a Financial Plan for Gary to move the city forward through green infrastructure programs and data use.

  • #6. Stockton, CA
    46/ RightCowLeftCoast // Wikimedia Commons

    #6. Stockton, CA

    - Overall quality of city services score: 36.51
    - Financial stability rank: #141
    - Education rank: #110
    - Health rank: #92
    - Safety rank: #141
    - Economy rank: #91
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #150

    Stockton is comprised of a full-time mayor and six part-time council members. Although this city ranks one of the lowest for infrastructure and pollution, the Public Works Department manages a Capital Improvement Program that aims to maintain, improve, and expand the city's infrastructure and public safety.

  • #5. Flint, MI
    47/ Lance Cheung/USDA // Flickr

    #5. Flint, MI

    - Overall quality of city services score: 36.39
    - Financial stability rank: #22
    - Education rank: #141
    - Health rank: #138
    - Safety rank: #110
    - Economy rank: #150
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #71

    The City of Flint, Mich., has the highest percent of the population in poverty in the nation and experienced a major water crisis in 2014. Then-governor Rick Snyder was criticized for policies he enacted during this time and the water crisis has been described by activist Mariame Kaba as one of the largest examples of environmental racism in the nation.

  • #4. Shreveport, LA
    48/ Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau // Wikimedia Commons

    #4. Shreveport, LA

    - Overall quality of city services score: 34.59
    - Financial stability rank: #137
    - Education rank: #112
    - Health rank: #137
    - Safety rank: #138
    - Economy rank: #146
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #112

    The city council of Shreveport comprises seven council members and a mayor. Mayor Adrian Perkins is focused on policy reform, economic development, and smart-city initiatives.

  • #3. Jackson, MS
    49/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #3. Jackson, MS

    - Overall quality of city services score: 32.20
    - Financial stability rank: #146
    - Education rank: #127
    - Health rank: #123
    - Safety rank: #135
    - Economy rank: #123
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #133

    The city council of Jackson operates under a mayor-council form of government, with a mayor who works full time and seven council members who work part-time. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is committed to community projects and justice and is a founding member of the Mississippi Human Rights Collective.

  • #2. St. Louis, MO
    50/ Ron Reiring // Flickr

    #2. St. Louis, MO

    - Overall quality of city services score: 29.81
    - Financial stability rank: #145
    - Education rank: #150
    - Health rank: #145
    - Safety rank: #150
    - Economy rank: #118
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #33

    City government in St. Louis, Mo., is run by 28 aldermen, a president and a mayor. Mayor Lyda Krewson is the first woman to serve as the city's top lawmaker. St. Louis ranks as one of the lowest cities in terms of safety and has a high crime rate. Krewson has focused on public safety, and appointed a new director of public safety and police chief immediately after she was sworn into office in 2017.

  • #1. Detroit, MI
    51/ Andrew Jameson // Wikimedia Commons

    #1. Detroit, MI

    - Overall quality of city services score: 28.77
    - Financial stability rank: #148
    - Education rank: #139
    - Health rank: #146
    - Safety rank: #133
    - Economy rank: #147
    - Infrastructure and pollution rank: #117

    Detroit has the highest unemployment rate, one of the highest violent crime rates, and one of the highest infant mortality rates in the United States. The city council comprises eight council members and one council president who runs an open and public government that actively works with city boards and commissions, as well as members of the community to make Detroit a better-run city.

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