New Study Reveals the 5 Worst Small Cities in Colorado
The comprehensive study looked at a total of 1,321 small cities in the country and ranked them on multiple different factors, which include affordability, economic health, education & health, quality of life, and safety. After going through each category for every city, they were given a total score along with a percentile rating.
We’re going to take a look at the bottom five Colorado cities to see what we find. Remember, a bad score is not an indictment of the people who call it home, and there are still plenty of fantastic experiences to be had. In our book, none of these places are an inherently bad place to live. With that being said, let’s take a look at the results.
5th Worst Small City in Colorado: Commerce City
Commerce City serves as a suburb for Denver, a pattern we will see more of throughout the list. It has a total score of 55.8 and ranks in the 37th percentile in the total list. It actually ranks above the median for both affordability (378th) and economic health (581st), which shows the city is going in the right direction.
However, Commerce City ranks low in terms of education & health at 873rd out of 1,321. The two categories that really lower Commerce City’s score are both quality of life and safety, where it ranks 1,166th and 1,011th respectively.
Of course, a major aspect of living in Commerce City is the air pollution from the city’s oil refineries. Recent monitoring projects have shown the air pollution is higher than comparable metro areas, validating residents’ concerns. Let’s hope these findings help turn a corner for the city, as the residents living in Commerce City deserve far better conditions.
4th Worst Small City in Colorado: Fountain
Fountain is a small city that’s within the Colorado Springs Metro Area. The city houses a big military presence, given its proximity to all of the Springs’ military bases like Fort Carson. It has a total score of 54.85 and is within the 32nd percentile overall.
It gets low marks pretty much across the board, with its two highest rankings being in health & education and safety, each at 783rd and 782nd respectively. It also placed 803rd in affordability and 927th in economic health. Its lowest score was in quality of life, placing near the bottom at 1,243rd.
While this ranking seems to paint a negative picture, Fountain was recently named in the top 25 places to live for families by Fortune Magazine, which shows the town is heading in a positive direction.
3rd Worst Small City in Colorado: Brighton
Brighton is a city that also serves as a suburb of Denver, and it historically was founded as a railroad town. In WalletHub’s study, it has a total score of 54.59 and ranks in the 30th percentile.
Brighton ranks just above the median in terms of affordability, coming in at 602nd. However, it begins to fall behind in terms of economic health, education & health, and safety, coming in at 834th, 822nd, and 965th in these categories. Its worst category is quality of life, coming in at 977th.
2nd Worst Small City in Colorado: Northglenn
Another suburb of Denver, Northglenn was planned in 1959 and was called, “The most perfectly planned community in America” by Life magazine back in 1962. In the ranking, Northglenn has a total score of 53.73 and sits in the 24th percentile.
The only category Northglenn finds itself over the median is affordability, just getting over the hump at 659th. It has a slightly below average education & health ranking at 796th. Its lowest rankings are in economic health, safety, and quality of life, coming in at 1,016th, 1028th, and 1072nd respectively.
The Worst Small City in Colorado, According to WalletHub: Pueblo West
Pueblo West is a community that sits outside of Pueblo, and actually was founded as a census-designated place relatively recently in 1970. In the ranking, Pueblo West has a total score of 46.48 and sits in the 3rd percentile overall.
In most categories, Pueblo West ranks quite low. It sits all the way down at 1,155th in health & education. It also ranks low in economic health and safety, ranking at 1,232nd and 1,245th in these categories. Its lowest ranking is in quality of life, coming in at 1,311th out of the 1,321 small cities sampled. This is the lowest ranking for any Colorado city.
However, there is one silver-lining for Pueblo West in the study, and that is its ranking for affordability. It has an affordability ranking of 303rd, which is the highest mark for all the cities mentioned so far.
What We Can Learn From WalletHub’s Study
In conclusion, WalletHub’s study, while extremely comprehensive, is not completely indicative of how great or bad a small city is to actually live in.
As you may have noticed, the overall scores between these cities are not dramatically different. For example, the difference in score between Commerce City and Pueblo West is only a little over nine, which really is not too much of a drop.
You might also expect America’s best small city according to the study, Carmel, Indiana, to have a drastically higher total score than each of the cities listed in this article. However, with a total score of 71.16, it may not be the incredible leap in score one might expect.
Finally, even some of the study’s highest rankings cities rank extremely low in specific categories. For example, Westfield, Indiana, the study’s fourth highest ranking small city with a total score of 69.39, had a quality of life ranking of 937th out of the 1,321 included.
This is to say that all of the towns listed in these studies, even the ones that might appear to have it all figured out, have their problems. Each of the five cities listed here are incredible communities that have tons of beauty, and studies like these are not completely indicative of the state of these cities and the residents who call them home. There are tons of fantastic people to meet and great experiences to be had living in each of these places, and you should never count any of these communities out.
25 Times Colorado Ranked as One of the Worst States in the U.S.
Gallery Credit: Emily Mashak
25 Times Colorado Ranked as One of the Best States in the U.S.
Gallery Credit: Emily Mashak