Thinking of Moving? Here’s 10 Cities to Avoid

Where to go and what to do? For a majority of young American college graduates and Millennials, there is a desire to expand beyond what they know and move to a city that can help them to advance further in their careers.

However, there are certain places you may want to avoid if you’re planning on making a change and leaving the safety of your parent’s basement. Known for its seemingly never-ending supply of lists, Forbes recently released its rankings of the most miserable cities in the U.S. Among other factors, they were chosen because of their depressed housing markets, lack of job opportunities and low quality of life measurements.

While some of the cities are not exactly surprises – Cleveland, for example, is not known for its bustling community of young entrepreneurs – there are eight cities from California on the list, some of which have taken turns for the worse over the past decade as the state’s unemployment rate soared. Here’s a list of the top 10 cities to check OFF your list when you’re looking for a change of scenery.

1. Stockton, California
Unemployment in this California city averaged 14.3 percent over the past three years – one of the worst rates in the entire U.S. Moreover, housing prices have plummeted more than 58 percent over the same period of time.

2. Miami, Florida
There are two reasons Miami doesn’t occupy the top spot: It has no income tax and the ample sunshine of Southern Florida can help soften the sadness that comes from living in a city with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country and more than 404 corrupt government officials convicted of crimes this decade.

3. Merced, California
Since 2008, this California town has had an average unemployment rate of 16.2 percent; the median home price has also fallen by 64 percent.

4. Modesto, California
According to Forbes, the median home in Modesto was valued at $275,000 in 2006 – and $95,000 today. If you’re looking to bring a car with you when you move, you’ll definitely want to rule out this city: In 2009, Modesto had the second-highest auto theft rate in the U.S., with 3,712 vehicles stolen.

5. Sacramento, California
For those making $50,000 per year, expect to be hit with a tax rate of 9.55 percent in the state capital. Furthermore, with its one professional sports team, the NBA’s Sacramento King’s, winning only 26 percent of its games the past two seasons, there’s little to cheer about.

6. Memphis, Tennessee
Though Tennessee does not have an income tax, it still levies a 9.25 percent sales tax, one of the highest in the nation. Violent crime was down in 2009, but is still tops in the country.

7. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago has waited 102 years for its Cubs to win another World Series – enough said – and its sales tax of 9.75 percent is one of the highest among big cities in the U.S.

8. West Palm Beach, Florida
Over the past three years, the median home price is down 39 percent in the West Pal-Boca Raton area; analysts also are projecting prices to continue to free fall this year, with some predicting a 22 percent drop as more foreclosures occur.

9. Vallejo, California
Vallejo has the distinction of serving as the largest California city to file for bankruptcy; with its 12.5 percent projected unemployment rate for 2011, there aren’t many job opportunities in this Northern California former Navy town.

10. Cleveland, Ohio
Since Lebron James bolted Cleveland for Miami, there hasn’t been much to be thankful for in this Midwestern city. The weather is lousy by most standards, corruption plagues the government and the city has no sports championships since 1964. 

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