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Ranking: The least attractive US cities

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The lion's share of the "20 Most Unattractive Cities" in the US is located in California.
Main pictureYoungstownYessica Rinaldi
The ranking of the US magazine Forbes assessed the lack of attractiveness of US cities in terms of real estate prices, house auctions, tax burdens, unemployment and crime. The average time spent commuting to work as well as "soft facts" such as the weather and the performance of the local sports teams were also included.
(c) REUTERS ( Jason Reed / Reuters)
# 20 Bakersfield, California
Bakersfield is located in the southern part of California. The population has exploded in the last 30 years from around 100,000 to just under 340,000.

The level of education couldn't keep up. Only 15 percent of the people living there have a college degree, nationwide the figure is 28 percent.
# 19 Jacksonville, Florida
In Jacksonville, the Jaguars are the only notable professional team in the city in US sports. The team has won a single playoff in the NFL in the past decade. Fans went on the barricades when owner Wayne Weaver signed unsuccessful coach Jack del Rio for another season, his ninth with the Jaguars.

A high crime rate and numerous seizures of houses do not make the city any more attractive.
# 18 Salinas, California
Salinas, the birthplace of the great writer John Steinbeck, is struggling with sharply falling property prices. In the past three years, house prices have fallen by a staggering 61 percent.

The household income of the two-thirds Spanish-speaking population is below the poverty line for more than 10 percent of the population.
# 17 Fresno, California
With a population of half a million, Fresno, California is in the top five for size. The unemployment rate of 16 percent, the highest of the 75 largest metropolitan areas in the USA, is also top in the negative sense.
The capital Washington is the most economically powerful city in the entire country. Government spending is a major contributor to this.

But the commuters find very bad conditions, only the commutes to work in New York are even worse. And the Redskins, the local football team, won the last Super Bowl 20 years ago.
It's all downhill in the auto city of Detroit. 59 schools have been closed in the past two years. And a study recommends that half of the remaining 142 public schools be closed due to the population decline.
(c) REUTERS ( Andy Clark / Reuters)
In his song "Youngstown", US rock legend Bruce Springsteen describes life in the city from the perspective of an unemployed steel worker. The continuous decline of the steel industry over the past 40 years has led to heavy emigration. The vacancy rate for houses and apartments is 20 times higher than the national average.
(c) REUTERS ( Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters)
# 13 Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The popular holiday destination suffered particularly from the economic crisis. Even if many so-called "snowbirds" from the north spend the winters in warm Florida, the residents of Fort Lauderdale are very badly affected by repossessions. The economic slump between 2007 and 2009 was a sensitive seven percent.
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A recent preview shows a bleak picture for Toledo, hometown of actress Katie Holmes. The employment rate will return to pre-recession levels in 2025 at the earliest.
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Flint is the birthplace of General Motors. In the US automaker's prime, GM employed 80,000 people. Today, Michigan's seventh largest city has a population of just over 110,000. After the relocation of the production sites, 8,000 jobs remained there.

Over 26 percent of the population now live below the poverty line and 40 percent of the properties are vacant.
(c) REUTERS ( Rebecca Cook / Reuters)
Although the real estate market in Ohio has not overheated as in comparable metropolises, the mood in the city on Lake Erie is bad. Not least because of the lack of success of the basketball players. The last championship in town was won by the footballers in 1964 and, to make matters worse, megastar LeBron James left the club in 2010. The news spread like wildfire.
(c) REUTERS ( Aaron Josefczyk / Reuters)
# 9 Vallejo, California
The former naval city of Vallejo had to file for bankruptcy in 2008. Since then, a bankruptcy judge has made sure that the city does not break completely under the demands of the creditors.

In 2004 the city was still one of the places with the strongest job growth. Today unemployment is 12.5 percent.
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# 8 West Palm Beach, Florida
The glamorous holiday region around West Palm-Boca Raton also had to give up. The houses on the beaches and coasts lost a lot of value. After a 39 percent decline, the average home costs only $ 225,000 (approx. 164,000 euros), and a further drop in prices of 22 percent has been forecast.
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The third largest city in the United States may have reduced its VAT by half a percentage point to 9.75, but it is still considered high.

This measure could not comfort the supporters of the Chicago Bulls either. The successors to "Air" Jordan have been without a world title for ages, despite personnel costs of 140 million dollars (approx. 102 million euros).
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There is no income tax in Tennessee. There is one of the highest value added taxes in the country. In Memphis, the former residence of King Elvis, the crime rate has fallen below five percent according to the FBI, but is still one of the highest in the United States.
(c) REUTERS ( Larry Downing / Reuters)
# 5 Sacramento, California
The Californians complain about a high income tax of almost ten percent on annual income of 50,000 dollars (approx. 36,000 euros). The players of the NBA Kings, the local basketball team, are likely to be disappointed too. Supporters of the Kings would have more reason to be angry. The team won only 26 percent of their matches in the past two years.
(c) REUTERS ( Reuters Photographer / Reuters)
# 4 Modesto, California
The average value for a home in the hometown of the former gold swimmer Mark Spitz is now only a third of 2006.

In 2009, over 3700 cars were stolen in the Californian city with a population of just 200,000. In the past five years, Modesto took the top spot four times in this ranking.
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The inland town of Merced became attractive because of the high land prices on the coast. But ultimately, the city's excellent infrastructure with good transport links did not help much.

In Merced, too, the housing bubble, which is accompanied by the highest US unemployment rate of more than 16 percent, burst.
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From a climatic and taxation point of view, the city certainly has its charms. In 2009, however, Miami was ranked third among the most dangerous cities in the United States.

Corruption in particular is very widespread, with 404 government employees alone convicted of this crime in South Florida in this decade.
(c) REUTERS ( Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters)
# 1 Stockton, California
The "pathetic" Stockton has a population of just under 300,000. The city has a very young population, with an average age of 29.

Unemployment has always been over 14 percent over the past three years, and house prices have dropped by 58 percent over the same period.
(c) REUTERS ( Kimberly White / Reuters)