The Most “Sinful” Cities In The United States

In 2020, WalletHub made a comparison of 180 cities across the United States based on different negative qualities that included things such as the amount of alcohol consumed, most adult entertainment establishments, crime rates, lowest charitable donations, and more. Take a look to see what some of the worst cities were and if they come as a surprise at all.

Los Angeles, California

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Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images
Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Of the 180 cities reviewed by WalletHub, Los Angeles, California, was named the second-most sinful city in America. With a Vice Index of 54.76, it ranked as No.1 in terms of “lust” and No. 2 in terms of “vanity.”

Los Angeles translates to mean the “City of Angels,” but it’s clear that it hasn’t lived up to its name over the years. It’s a wonder why some of the world’s biggest celebrities still call this place home.

Atlanta, Georgia

Picture of Atlanta
Prince Williams/Wireimage
Prince Williams/Wireimage

With a Vice Index of 52.37, WalletHub named Atlanta, Georgia, the fifth-most sinful city in the country. Apparently, what makes Atlanta such a depraved place is that it ranks at No.2 for “jealousy”-related crimes, No.4 for “lust,” and No. 7 for “vanity.”

In the end, this isn’t all that shocking when you consider that Atlanta is at the top of the list for the city with the most adult entertainment establishments per capita. Be careful what buildings you go into here!

New York City, New York

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Nicholas Rhodes/Getty Images
Nicholas Rhodes/Getty Images

Although New York might seem like one of the most overwhelming and arguably dangerous cities in the country, it was only named the tenth-most sinful city in the United States by WalletHub.

While the city does well in some areas, what really brings the city down is its score of No. 3 in “lust” and No. 4 in “vanity.” Nevertheless, that’s not all that surprising considering the city’s reputation in recent decades for its extravagance and wealth.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Picture from Baton Rouge
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The 18th-most sinful city in the United States is Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and has a Vice Index of 47.50, ranking an impressive No. 6 in the “anger and hatred” rank. Furthermore, it is also No. 8 in regards to “excess and vices.”

This is almost to be expected, considering that the city is home to two major universities as well as a port. So, it’s not unusual for their alcohol consumption levels to be generally higher.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Picture of New Orleans
Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

It’s no secret that New Orleans is one of the wildest, most debaucherous, and excessive cities in the United States, even beyond its annual festivities. So, it’s no surprise that it is ranked by WalletHub as No. 14 on the list, barely squeaking into the top 15.

Due to the amount of alcohol and other substances consumed during the city’s raging parties, it is No. 7 in terms of “excess and vices” and interestingly No. 10 for “jealousy.”

Cleveland, Ohio

Picture from Cleveland
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Although not everyone may think of Cleveland, Ohio, as a particularly dangerous city in the country, it was named by WalletHub as No. 11 on their list of the most sinful cities.

This high score is likely a result of being No. 7 in the “anger and hatred” category, which includes aggravated assault, hate crimes, death by firearms, and more. Overall, the city has a WalletHub Vice Index of 49.40.

Wichita, Kansas

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Antoine Doyen/Getty Images
Antoine Doyen/Getty Images

The location of Wichita State University, Wichita is also the largest city in the state of Kansas that began as a trading post before becoming a destination for cattle drives, earning the nickname “Cowtown.”

According to WalletHub, Wichita has an overall Vice Index of 44.33, making it No. 29 on their list of the most sinful cities in the country. Although it’s not the worst, it could work on some areas such as “greed,” in which it’s ranked No. 8 out of 108.

Washington, D.C.

Picture from Washington DC
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Unfortunately, WalletHub proclaimed the capital of the United States as the ninth-most sinful city in the country. Yet, this isn’t all that shocking considering how many politicians and business owners are crammed within the confines of the city.

This results in the city having the rank of No. 5 in terms of “anger and hatred” and comes in second in terms of excessive drinking. It is also No. 26 for “greed” and No. 17 for “lust.”

Baltimore, Maryland

Picture from Baltimore
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Besides being known for their football team, the Ravens, Baltimore is also recognized for its number of violent crimes. Named No. 17 on WalletHub’s list, unfortunately, Baltimore is tied for first for most violent crimes with Cleveland, Memphis, Detroit, Tennessee, and St. Louis.

Although Baltimore calls itself “Charm City,” those that live there have less endearing names for it along the lines of “Mob Town” and “Syphilis City,” which is appropriate since it has a “lust” score of 18.

Denver, Colorado

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JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty Images
JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty Images

When it comes to excessive drinking, Denver, Colorado is trailing just behind Washington, D.C., ranking at No. 3 overall. Furthermore, Denver is also in the top five cities for “lust,” at No. 5.

So, it turns out that Denver may not be as wholesome as a place as some people make it out to be. After all, it is No. 8 on WalletHub’s most sinful cities in the United States. Regardless, it is still considered to be a safe place to live.

Columbia, South Carolina

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John Moore/Getty Images
John Moore/Getty Images

Coming in at No. 20 on WalletHub’s list, the category that Columbia, South Carolina, struggles with the most by far is “jealousy,” being ranked at No. 5 in the country. Crimes associated with this category include fraud, identity theft, general theft, and more.

This can be seen as rather ironic when compared to their cities motto when translated from Latin means “Justice, the Queen of Virtues.” Furthermore, the city struggles with “excess and vices” at No. 13.

Memphis, Tennessee

Picture of Memphis
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Interestingly, Memphis may rank as No. 16 on WalletHub’s list, although the city is on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the categories that it’s notable in.

For instance, Memphis is tied for first with a number of other cities for most violent crimes per capita, but it’s also among the top five cities for the least excessive drinking. So, it appears that a lot of the crime in Memphis must be taking place while sober.

Chicago, Illinois

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Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The third most populated city in the United States, Chicago, has made quite the name for itself over the years when it comes to drinking during the prohibition, old-time gangsters, brothels, and current gang violence. However, Chicago’s worst rankings on WalletHub’s list are No. 6 in “lust” and No. 8 in “vanity,” making it No. 13 on the list overall.

At one point, the brothels in Chicago were so notorious that Karen Abbot’s 2007 nonfiction book Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul is based on them.

Miami, Florida

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Known as a hot spot for relaxing on the beach during the day and its club scene during the night, Miami attracts all walks of life from around the world.

For what goes on in The Magic City, it earned itself No. 6 on WalletHub’s list. Its high score is mostly attributed to being No. 4 for “jealousy,” No. 9 for “vanity,” and No. 7 for “laziness.” Essentially, Miami is a good place to be if you want to flaunt your stuff and cut loose.

Portland, Oregon

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Gary Braasch/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
Gary Braasch/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

For the most part, the majority of the country views Portland as a rainy city where its citizens ride bikes, care about the environment, and drink craft beer and coffee. Nevertheless, it has been named by WalletHub as the 30th most sinful city in the nation.

Although Portland isn’t considered to be all that dangerous, it ranks at No. 23 in “greed,” No. 11 in “lust,” and No. 31 in “vanity.” Therefore, Portland may not be all that innocent after all.

Houston, Texas

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Jason Kempin/Getty Images for #Culinary Kickoff
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for #Culinary Kickoff

Houston, Texas has rightfully earned its spot as No. 4 on the most sinful cities in America list for a number of reasons. They are in the top five for two categories which include No. 2 for “lust” and No.5 for “vanity.”

The city also has the fifth most adult entertainment establishments per capita in all of the 180 cities. To top it all off, Houston has the nickname of the City of Syrup for the tradition of people mixing cough syrup with their alcoholic beverages.

Charleston, West Virginia

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BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

With an overall Vice Index of 46.11, Charleston, West Virginia, is named the 23rd most sinful city in the country for a number of reasons, namely for being No. 3 in “anger and hatred,” which is measured through violent acts.

Furthermore, Charleston is also ranked No. 11 for “laziness,” meaning that unemployment is most likely up, and the citizens tend to keep to the status quo without anything major happening in terms of progression.

Orlando, Florida

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Todd Anderson/Disney Parks via Getty Images
Todd Anderson/Disney Parks via Getty Images

Although Orlando, Florida may be a popular tourist spot for families looking to go to Disney World or the other attractions that Orlando offers. Incredibly, it’s ranked the 12th most sinful city out of 180 others.

According to Scott Cooper, a Florida crime expert, “Many people seem to think that tourist hot spots are free of violent crime and criminal activity because of a higher law enforcement presence. This simply isn’t the case.” Currently, Orlando is No. 11 in “jealousy” crimes and No. 13 for “vanity.”

St. Louis, Missouri

Picture of St. Louis
Whitney Curtis/Getty Images
Whitney Curtis/Getty Images

Although “Saint” is in the name, the city of St. Louis is apparently far from being saintly. Some serious work needs to be done here as the city impressively ranks at No.1 for “anger and hatred” and No. 1 for “excess and vice” as well.

As if that isn’t bad enough, the icing on the cake is that St. Louis also ties for No. 1 for the most violent crimes per capita as well as the most thefts. Be careful out there.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Picture of Philadelphia
Mark Makela/Getty Images
Mark Makela/Getty Images

As it turns out, the people of Philadelphia aren’t all that charitable, as they are the fifth-ranking city for the lowest charitable donations in regards to the percentage of income, which makes them tied with Boston.

Philadelphia also doesn’t do well when it comes to violence, coming it at the No. 12 spot for “anger and hatred.” Because of this, the “Athens of America” finds itself ranked as the seventh-most sinful city in the United States.

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

With a nickname like Sin City, it’s no surprise that Las Vegas, Nevada took the No. 1 spot on WalletHub’s list of the most sinful cities in America. Las Vegas is fueled by gambling, drinking, and is a known destination for people to do things they wouldn’t normally do.

However, although it ranks at No. 3 for “vanity” and No.6 for “laziness,” it surprisingly is rather low on the list for excess, ranking at No. 52.

Mobile, Alabama

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PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images
PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

The third most populous city in Alabama, Mobile is the state’s only saltwater port, which is credited with allowing the city to grow and flourish. Although the city is considered to be one of the gulf coast’s most important cities in terms of culture, it isn’t perfect.

For example, it is the 28th most sinful city in the United States on account of being No. 14 in “excess and vices, ” No. 26 in “greed,” and No. 19 in “laziness.”

San Francisco, California

Picture of San Francisco
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

San Francisco, California, is like two different worlds in the same city, having both an extremely wealthy aspect along with impoverished parts. Yet, despite being unique for many reasons, the city still finds itself as the 25th most sinful city in the United States.

San Francisco’s rank can be attributed to being No. 20 in crimes of “jealousy,” No. 15 in “lust,” as well as No. 15 for “vanity.” So, it’s not all that pretty across the Bay Bridge.

Dallas, Texas

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Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Coming in at the No. 15 most sinful city in the United States, Dallas, Texas, earned this ranking by being No. 6 for “vanity” and No. 9 for “lust.”

These scores came from the most tanning salons per capita; Google searches for plastic surgeons, the number of adult entertainment establishments, Tinder users, and questionable Google searches. So, Dallas appears to be the right place for people looking for some action or sprucing up their looks.

San Diego, California

Picture of San Diego
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret

Sunny San Diego, California may seem innocent enough, but it still managed to land the No. 21 spot of 108 cities in the country. One of the city’s biggest flaws is “vanity,” which it ranks at No. 1, which is understandable since the whole city is surrounded by the ocean and prides itself on being the pinnacle of “California living.”

In this city, there is no shortage of salons, plastic surgeons, and other ways for people to work on their exterior.

North Las Vegas, Nevada

Picture of North Las Vegas
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Although it is located close to the No.1 most sinful city in the United States, North Las Vegas, Nevada isn’t the worst, but it certainly isn’t the best at No. 19. Not only is it No. 9 in terms of “greed,” but it’s also the second-laziest city in America.

This is measured by how much time is spent watching television by its citizens, the average amount of weekly work hours, the high school dropout rate, and the number of adults that exercise.

Detroit, Michigan

Picture of Detroit
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The largest and most populous city in Michigan, Detroit is known for its contributions to the automobile industry, music, architecture, and art. However, in recent years, it has fallen on hard times, which makes it the 22nd most sinful city in America.

What earns the city this ranking is the violence that occurs there, making it No. 2 in “anger and hate” and No. 5 in “excess and vice,” two of the more intense categories on the list.

Little Rock, Arkansas

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images
ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images

The capital and most populous city in Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas, is described as the state’s cultural center, although it comes with its own set of issues.

These include being No. 14 out of 108 for “anger and hatred,” No. 7 for crimes of “jealousy,” and No. 22 for “excess and vices.” Combined, these all help to make Little Rock the 24th most sinful city in the United States, which may be surprising to most.

Phoenix, Arizona

restaurant in phoenix
Stephen Osman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Stephen Osman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Ranking as the 26th most sinful city in the country is Phoenix, Arizona. The city is the largest state capital by population and the fifth-largest city in the United States, which makes it susceptible to a number of issues. The main one, according to WalletHub include, “lust,” for which it is No. 8.

Apparently, all those people in one place lead to pretty questionable things happening in the middle of the Arizona desert. But then again, it is the capital.

Knoxville, Tenessee

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Skip Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Skip Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The home of the iconic University of Tennessee, Knoxville is also the location of the headquarters of numerous corporations of the area and is considered to be one of the largest cities in the Appalachian region.

However, the city struggles in the case of “excess and vices,” ranking No. 2 and No. 20 in “vanity.” This isn’t all that surprising considering the university that’s there and the reputation people have come to know Knoxville by.