17. FRESNO, CA
Although Fresno made some progress in fighting organized crime after a major crackdown on the Fresno Bulldogs gang, the city is far from a safe place to live. According to FBI statistics, there were 543 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2013, better than most major cities, but still worse than the national rate.
Apart from violence, Fresno’s poverty rate of 31.5% is one of the highest among large cities in the States. Additionally, the city’s unemployment rate is higher than the national rate. In May 2014, Fresno-County saw an increase in jobs and its unemployment rate dipped to its lowest point in years, to 12.1%.
Though Fresno continues to improve in some aspects, it still faces a number of challenges.
When it comes to education, 25% of the adult population didn’t have a high school diploma in 2014 (the nationwide average is 13.6%), while less than one-fifth had at least a bachelor’s degree. Like many other least literate cities in the country, Fresno also had few bookstores – one per 10,000 residents. Further, inhabitants of Fresno were among the least likely to use the Internet to read and inform themselves.
According to Forbes, Fresno is the dirtiest city in America. Not only are the city’s residents exposed to groundwater pollution from agriculture, but they also have the 5th worst particle pollution in the nation, according to the American Lung Association.