Most Sinful Cities in America (2022)

Las Vegas isn’t the only “Sin City” in America. In other cities, bad things happen and stay there, too. From beer-loving Milwaukee to hedonistic New Orleans, the U.S. is filled with people behaving illicitly. No place is innocent. We all have demons.

But at some point, we all have to pay for our vices. Gambling addiction, for instance, leads to over $100 billion in losses for U.S. consumers every year. In 2020, identity fraud and identity fraud scams took a toll of $56 billion. And every year, smoking burns an over $300 billion hole in Uncle Sam’s wallet.

Luckily for the saints among us, all American sins are not created, or distributed, equally. In order to identify the darkest corners of America, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 37 key indicators of evil deeds. Our data set ranges from violent crimes per capita to excessive drinking to adult entertainment establishments per capita.

Table of Contents

Main FindingsAsk the ExpertsMethodology

Main Findings

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Most Sinful Cities in America

Overall Rank*CityWalletHub Vice IndexAnger & HatredJealousyExcesses & VicesGreedLustVanityLaziness
1Las Vegas, NV60.982824662346
2St. Louis, MO53.40181101384811
3Houston, TX53.2630101437015101
4Los Angeles, CA51.132486170992174
5Denver, CO51.011828336691472
6Philadelphia, PA49.601339476771881
7Atlanta, GA49.22354851795963
8Miami, FL48.989691318711817
9Chicago, IL48.79481212411413691
10Memphis, TN48.36102391353112224
11Cleveland, OH48.096329155203021
12Dallas, TX47.89383112012347110
13North Las Vegas, NV47.701293363291263
14Little Rock, AR47.4117124159409338
15Baltimore, MD47.10121815103166746
16Baton Rouge, LA47.038208148107391
17New York, NY47.02311341741378326
18New Orleans, LA46.7215221297338210
19Orlando, FL46.55162583168151257
20Birmingham, AL45.9071111124968920
21Detroit, MI45.292877151211449
22Wichita, KS45.20593541055835131
23Washington, DC44.973468253264155
24Kansas City, MO44.4951659117507767
25Phoenix, AZ44.1958689214761588
26Seattle, WA44.13297166522720179
27Reno, NV44.1112273611345555
28Billings, MT44.1027643574485143
29Mobile, AL43.63563819138396113
30Knoxville, TN43.52218921411301693
31Wilmington, DE43.41112632591757052
32Portland, OR43.23784186461234174
33Cincinnati, OH42.95391024111822169
34Charleston, WV42.8446738618110339
35San Diego, CA42.8014514915983192116
36Shreveport, LA42.42321523164901052
37Pittsburgh, PA42.133710918959911168
38Nashville, TN42.06575916128353697
39Tampa, FL41.938912644146101953
40Austin, TX41.868563136801713146
41Minneapolis, MN41.647255152252524162
42Fort Lauderdale, FL41.55636144107936237
43Jacksonville, FL41.49834917169262829
44Rapid City, SD41.472513068331815227
45Springfield, MO41.46334321162755125
46San Antonio, TX41.43107919593142545
47Fort Smith, AR41.26435271813612415
48Sacramento, CA41.22711079737792748
49Indianapolis, IN41.19367414175243751
50Tucson, AZ41.07546531132434662
51San Bernardino, CA41.001411179417212819
52San Francisco, CA40.9666441381122322128
53Huntington, WV40.93441383609510718
54Charlotte, NC40.829151117512923126
55Richmond, VA40.63419930104625060
56Louisville, KY40.5762785174473361
57Columbia, SC40.464014271161459249
58Montgomery, AL40.36611941173461254
59Henderson, NV40.3416640133212911416
60Albuquerque, NM40.32263643160676850
61Jackson, MS40.245042422013416312
62Chattanooga, TN40.109291317813610184
63Tacoma, WA40.066451147814080144
64Oklahoma City, OK39.40476978156304298
65Milwaukee, WI39.381911528150427982
66Gulfport, MS39.321218452176015023
67Charleston, SC39.1434104623510338165
68Dover, DE39.1260474011017310441
69Colorado Springs, CO38.755556721197357117
70Columbus, OH38.525194551524845113
71Huntsville, AL38.2052357012112011633
72Spokane, WA38.0886137310970100150
73Providence, RI37.72160451188741618
74Akron, OH37.60809522157526978
75Fayetteville, NC37.5449624512661117127
76Juneau, AK37.3523886018156143106
77Rochester, NY37.354677341671354199
78Salt Lake City, UT37.3284171601662832173
79Tulsa, OK37.207537641616465135
80Missoula, MT37.038883656121151176
81Tempe, AZ36.9313450113761154464
82Fort Worth, TX36.92133531061405429124
83Buffalo, NY36.8373110571341167822
84Toledo, OH36.787914761546311043
85Scottsdale, AZ36.611621201637410210160
86Salem, OR36.5811912556241327694
87Lubbock, TX36.56421052014359113167
88Bakersfield, CA36.4811492581394943136
89Anchorage, AK36.32221121359185108132
90Boston, MA36.08531001235411974140
91Aurora, CO35.9811657881314213279
92Sioux Falls, SD35.91741711102314111547
93Newark, NJ35.81111132129101241685
94Riverside, CA35.6513211496411255266
95Greensboro, NC35.5870705014411488120
96Fresno, CA35.54103108100106696695
97Vancouver, WA35.3894761259210849171
98Tallahassee, FL35.3887342616316191107
99Lewiston, ME35.3081162293617016928
100Amarillo, TX35.2682117371155784153
101Oakland, CA35.012023173102174142123
102Long Beach, CA34.98113661621201055687
103Omaha, NE34.73109136481276553170
104Norfolk, VA34.677698466283149158
105Warwick, RI34.56182908781819673
106St. Paul, MN34.45149961423411081137
107Glendale, AZ34.42123807413610610270
108Stockton, CA34.37651181129411113477
109Hialeah, FL34.14179271391311331457
110Huntington Beach, CA34.131351031792716917166
111Raleigh, NC34.11112122150489440157
112Corpus Christi, TX34.081011375111341157111
113Cheyenne, WY34.00671136915356120164
114Columbus, GA33.9899217518151135121
115Fort Wayne, IN33.9412716125158775959
116El Paso, TX33.80125181105792210690
117Irving, TX33.7615258127558614875
118Honolulu, HI33.721411271586945118108
119Arlington, TX33.651316113055122123109
120St. Petersburg, FL33.589572671761239856
121Mesa, AZ33.5415311976761097285
122Des Moines, IA33.43901313698101112163
123Manchester, NH33.4377158997317111992
124Garland, TX33.41106601221337116680
125Newport News, VA33.3769129946297146148
126Ontario, CA33.21136153804111715632
127Portland, ME33.1310812810316151137133
128Grand Prairie, TX33.0615981111556616576
129New Haven, CT32.7293931157115317530
130Worcester, MA32.471261359815158133114
131Modesto, CA32.461001681084084121141
132Lexington-Fayette, KY32.371051461017287111154
133Augusta, GA32.31118106491806813036
134Overland Park, KS32.2897711691916886181
135Grand Rapids, MI32.134517453182895896
136Rancho Cucamonga, CA32.081511631474110010968
137Nampa, ID32.07921761345011312771
138Oceanside, CA32.011301441499612695103
139Anaheim, CA31.901557515627104131125
140Gilbert, AZ31.741541561091498054130
141Chandler, AZ31.601681231288813871134
142Jersey City, NJ31.461021391781014916240
143Santa Ana, CA31.46144971452715914186
144Fontana, CA31.38148173774114415334
145Pembroke Pines, FL31.311813015710714615831
146Bismarck, ND31.211281671541187683118
147Fargo, ND31.1814615510749167129138
148Las Cruces, NM31.121171218412555176122
149Durham, NC30.831048514153166147149
150Santa Clarita, CA30.821771481642713963119
151Aurora, IL30.81167541218915717889
152Casper, WY30.79681781167288154151
153Virginia Beach, VA30.761701521266211247175
154San Jose, CA30.541381431761657831139
155Boise, ID30.51981751371299875147
156Winston-Salem, NC30.371101608982137159112
157Lincoln, NE30.35115170817514394178
158Nashua, NH30.3413917911947179140105
159Peoria, AZ30.091611409113091155129
160Glendale, CA30.0916911616790128126100
161Chula Vista, CA30.081471661518612713983
162Chesapeake, VA30.0114214110462147136142
163Santa Rosa, CA29.931371771461417687115
164Garden Grove, CA29.661638216127165173104
165Burlington, VT29.611241691552116217954
166Brownsville, TX29.43171180168395317714
167Moreno Valley, CA29.4315814210212213118065
168Oxnard, CA29.0815716514084150138102
169Cedar Rapids, IA28.661431649010015273182
170Plano, TX28.521741011755516097172
171Madison, WI28.5214015413214215599159
172Laredo, TX28.22173182148853717242
173Irvine, CA27.961761241822714890169
174Yonkers, NY27.951641591771451786044
175West Valley City, UT27.9012079153171154164161
176South Burlington, VT27.6115615117221164182180
177Bridgeport, CT27.151501571656818017435
178Pearl City, HI26.9317814517112172181145
179Cape Coral, FL26.8517517210117011816058
180Columbia, MD25.441804818038182167177
181Fremont, CA25.1516513318126177171156
182Port St. Lucie, FL24.7117215093177163170152

Note: *No. 1 = Most Sinful
With the exception of “WalletHub Vice Index,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that city, where a rank of 1 represents the worst conditions for that metric category.

Ask the Experts

The sins people commit every day lead many to wonder what incites them, whether certain acts are worse than others and how people can conquer their inner demons. We posed these questions to a panel of experts. Below, you can read their bios and thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. To what extent is sinful behavior innate versus influenced by your surroundings?
  2. Is cheating within marriage becoming more or less common over time?
  3. Should government play a role in trying to reduce greed and consumerism?
  4. What are some effective strategies for combating addiction and domestic violence?
  5. Recent data suggests that Americans are doubling down on their worst habits (e.g., unnecessary spending, excessive drinking and eating, binge-watching etc.) to cope with the stress of the current crisis. What are some strategies that might help people steer clear of temptations during the pandemic and maintain their health?

Ask the Experts

Randall M. Kessler
Esq. – BIO/Legal Experience; Author: Divorce, Protect Yourself; Trial Professor, Emory Law School – Emory University
Read More

Murray Fortner
Ph.D. – Professor and Chair of Sociology, Psychology, Mental Health – Tarrant County College Northeast Campus
Read More

Amanda Miller
Ph.D. – Professor and Chair Department of Sociology, Director of Faculty Development; Special Issue Editor: Social Sciences- Cohabitation: Race, Class, Gender, and Nonmarital Unions – University of Indianapolis
Read More

The Rev. Donald Paul Sullins
MDiv., Ph.D. – Research Associate Professor of Sociology – The Catholic University of America and Senior Research Associate, The Ruth Institute; Director, Leo Institute for Catholic Social Research
Read More

Vicky L. Elias
Associate Professor of Sociology – Texas A&M University – San Antonio
Read More

Jonathan White
Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center – Bentley University. Co-Author of The Engaged Sociologist, Sociologists in Action, and Sociologists in Action on Inequalities
Read More

Methodology

In order to determine the most sinful cities in America, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across seven key dimensions: 1) Anger & Hatred, 2) Jealousy, 3) Excesses & Vices, 4) Greed, 5) Lust, 6) Vanity and 7) Laziness.

We examined those dimensions using 37 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of sinfulness. Please note that data for metrics marked with an asterisk (*) were available at the state level only. For metrics marked with two asterisks (**), the square root of the population was used to calculate the population size in order to avoid overcompensating for minor differences across cities.

Finally, we calculated each city’s weighted average across all metrics to determine its overall score, or WalletHub Vice Index, and used the resulting scores to rank-order the cities.

Anger & Hatred – Total Points: 14.3

  • Violent Crimes per 1,000 Residents: Full Weight (~1.59 Points)
  • Sex Offenders per Capita: Full Weight (~1.59 Points)
  • Aggravated Assault Offenses Known to Law Enforcement per 1,000 Residents: Full Weight (~1.59 Points)
  • Bullying Rate*: Full Weight (~1.59 Points)
  • Hate-Crime Incidents per Capita: Full Weight (~1.59 Points)
  • Hate Groups per Capita: Full Weight (~1.59 Points)
  • Deaths due to Firearms per Capita: Full Weight (~1.59 Points)
  • Number of Mass Shootings: Full Weight (~1.59 Points)
  • Presence of Terrorist Attacks: Full Weight (~1.59 Points)
    Note: This is a binary metric:
    1 – There was a terrorist attack or related incident in the city.
    0 – There wasn’t a terrorist attack or related incident in the city.

Jealousy – Total Points: 14.3

  • Thefts per 1,000 Residents: Full Weight (~4.77 Points)
  • Identity-Theft Complaints per Capita: Full Weight (~4.77 Points)
  • Fraud & Other Complaints per Capita: Full Weight (~4.77 Points)

Excesses & Vices – Total Points: 14.3

  • Share of Obese Adults: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Fast-Food Establishments per Capita**: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Excessive Drinking: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the age-adjusted prevalence of binge and heavy drinking among the adult population.
  • DUI-Related Fatalities per Capita: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Share of Adult Smokers: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Share of Adult Coffee Drinkers: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the share of adults who drank ready-to-drink coffee in the past six months.
  • Share of Population Using Marijuana: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the share of residents aged 12 and older who used marijuana in the past month.
  • Retail Opioid Prescriptions Dispensed per 100 Persons: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Drug Overdose Deaths: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the number of deaths due to drug poisoning per 100,000 residents.
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)

Greed – Total Points: 14.3

  • Casinos per Capita**: Full Weight (~4.77 Points)
  • Charitable Donations as Share of Income: Full Weight (~4.77 Points)
  • Share of Adults with Gambling Disorders*: Full Weight (~4.77 Points)

Lust – Total Points: 14.3

  • Adult Entertainment Establishments per Capita**: Full Weight (~3.58 Points)
  • Google Search Interest Index for “XXX Entertainment”: Full Weight (~3.58 Points)
    Note: This metric measures search interest for online adult entertainment.
  • Google Search Traffic for the Term “Tinder” : Full Weight (~3.58 Points)
    Note: This metric was used as a proxy for the cities that search Tinder the most.
  • Teen Birth Rate: Full Weight (~3.58 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the number of births per 1,000 female residents aged 15 to 19.

Vanity – Total Points: 14.3

  • Tanning Salons per Capita**: Full Weight (~7.15 Points)
  • Google Search Interest Index for “Top 5 Plastic Surgeries”: Full Weight (~7.15 Points)
    Note: This metric measures search interest for the five most common plastic surgery procedures (rhinoplasty, blephaoplasty, facelift, liposuction and breast augmentation) as a share of the national average.

Laziness – Total Points: 14.3

  • Share of Adults Not Exercising: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Average Weekly Hours Worked: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Volunteer Rate: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Average Daily Time Spent Watching TV*: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • High School Dropout Rate: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
    Note: This metric was adjusted by the poverty rate.
  • Disconnected Youth (16-24) Rate: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
    Note: Disconnected youth are teenagers and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working.

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Advameg, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Trade Commission, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, County Health Rankings, TransUnion, Yelp, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, National Council on Problem Gambling, Corporation for National and Community Service, Esri's Updated Demographics (2021 estimates), The Southern Poverty Law Center, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Wm. Robert Johnston, Gun Violence Archive, Google Ads and Tinder.

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