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Cities You Don't Want to Live In... Yet

Piling on is an age-old tradition. People get a whiff of negative air and, like a pack of wolves, turn against it.

That has happened to a lot of cities, many of which were struggling to reinvent themselves from industrial towns. The recession didn’t help and now that the recovery has gained momentum in the broader economy, many towns are having to work twice as hard to jumpstart growth.

City-data.com came up with a list of 20 cities that, by the numbers, are some of the most beaten-up, undesirable cities in America. But instead of focusing on the numbers, we asked Bert Sperling, whose specialty is “Best Places” to tell us what’s good about each of these cities — what’s improving and what each has to offer.

Several of the cities are older cities, where you’ll find “a tremendous amount of infrastructure … public theaters and concert halls ... that you won’t find in newer cities,” Sperling said.

And true to the cyclical nature of life, opportunists are already starting to move in to some of these places; new seeds of life are being planted.

“A lot of these places are attracting young people, who have a dream but not a lot of money,” Sperling said. In these cities, “they can buy a foreclosed home for not a lot of money — It’s like homesteading in the Old West!”

Here are 20 cities you probably don’t want to live in — yet — and what each has to offer.

By Cindy Perman
Posted 18 March 2011

Photo: Jennie Clemens