15. Camden, NJ
The U.S. Census Bureau deemed Camden to be the country’s most impoverished city with nearly half of its residents living in down and out conditions, according to data reported by NBC. While resident Walt Whitman once forecast the city’s invincibility, Camden has been brought to its knees by race riots, civic corruption, low income and high crime rates, earning it a perennial spot at the top of worst cities lists.
Camden topped the CQ Press City Crime Rankings in 2013 for cities of its size, as well as earned the title of “Most Dangerous City in the U.S.” by CNN Money.
When the governor himself declares your town the most dangerous in America, you’ve got a serious problem. But Christie wasn’t wrong in his assessment, delivered during his 2014 State of the State Address. The FBI identified Camden — with a population of just over 77,000 — as the nation’s most dangerous city, thanks to 57 homicides in 2013, and a crime index of 606.4 based on FBI statistics and compiled by CQ Press.
This broke-down town’s shockingly high crime rates are attributed to everything from drugs to homelessness to poverty, all of which earned Camden a spot on Forbes’ Most Miserable Cities list. Also-rans like Detroit and Buffalo can take heart: there’s always Camden.
When the best your city can come up with to put on a billboard is “Say Something Nice About Camden,” things aren’t going to end well. While one enthusiastic local responded that you can swim with the sharks at the city’s Adventure Aquarium, those looking for an equal walk on the wild side can just stroll down a Camden street.
It takes a lot to earn a reputation as the worst city in a state with an impossibly bad rap, but Camden manages to do exactly that.