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Ahead of Tuesday’s
Democratic primary
Washington, D.C.
, was ranked the worst-run city in
based on its financial stability, education, health, safety, economy, and infrastructure and pollution.

Ranking second and third to last are San Francisco and New York City, respectively.

According to the study by
, the capital has the highest long-term outstanding debt per capita, as well as the fourth-lowest high school graduation rate compared to 149 other cities.

Nampa, Idaho, on the other hand, was ranked the best-run city in America. The Idaho city has the lowest long-term outstanding debt per capita, 37 times lower than that of D.C.


California cities largely had the lowest infant mortality rates, with San Jose reporting the lowest rate of all cities considered. However, California cities also led the pack with the worst road quality. Huntington Beach, San Jose, Oakland, Fremont, and San Francisco ranked lowest for road quality.

Baltimore, Maryland; Birmingham, Alabama; St. Louis, Missouri; Detroit, Michigan; and Memphis, Tennessee, all tied for the highest violent crime rate. Warwick, Rhode Island, has the lowest rate, which is 29 times lower than that of Memphis.

The West Coast ranked worst in air pollution levels, with Riverside, California; Mesa, Arizona; and Phoenix, Arizona, tying for last. Billings, Montana, has the best air quality, according to the study.

“The metrics used do not create a disadvantage for DC, despite its unusual status as a city/state, with the exception of the Outstanding Long-Term Debt per Capita metric. However, even with that metric removed, DC still ranks last. Thus, the District was included in this report,” wrote Adam McCann, a financial writer for WalletHub.

According to Senior Faculty Fellow Robert E. Wright of the American Institute for Economic Research, “The overall quality of life has declined since 2020 due to COVID restrictions, civil unrest, and crime. All were self-inflicted as shown by well-run cities that quickly dropped unnecessary COVID restrictions, nipped unrest in the bud, and maintained criminal deterrence policies.”

“City leaders must rise above political theater and address issues of equity and opportunity in the way they govern and manage public resources and being a reason for us to come together on common goals while respecting differences,” said Terry L. Clower, a professor of public policy at George Mason University.


D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser faces off against three Democratic challengers in Tuesday’s primary election.