Nobody wants to hear that the county they live in is the "worst." It's a particularly triggering word that definitely needs more context to avoid coming across as just plain mean.

But the website 24/7 Wall St decided to take a look at the "worst" counties in each of the 50 states, based on three major criteria:

24/7 Wall St. created an equally-weighted index of three measures – average life expectancy at birth, the poverty rate, and the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher – to identify the worst county or county equivalent in each state.

So which county did they claim was the worst in New York state to live?


Cattaraugus County, which is in western New York near the Pennsylvania border, is regarded as the most challenging place to live in New York state. The county's poverty rate of 17.3% stands among the highest of New York's 62 counties, and is notably higher than the statewide rate of 13.5%.

Olean, a city in Cattaraugus County (Google Maps)
Olean, a city in Cattaraugus County (Google Maps)

Here's a breakdown of their findings:

> Poverty rate (5-yr est., 2021): 17.3% (state: 13.5%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree (5-yr est., 2021): 20.0% (state: 38.1%)
> Life expectancy at birth, 2019: 77.7 years (state: 81.4 years)
> Median annual household income (5-yr est., 2021): $53,537 (state: $75,157)
> County seat: Little Valley

But it's not all bad. Nature enthusiasts in particular will be attracted to Cattaraugus County's "Enchanted Mountains", which offer picturesque landscapes and outdoor recreation opportunities.

What do you think, is Cattaraugus County the worst county in New York state? Let us know!

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