The 10 Worst Cities to Be Quarantined at Home

man quarantined at home
Anna Lurye /

This story was written by Kathy Morris and originally appeared on

No one wants to be quarantined, and everyone has spent the past couple of months during the coronavirus pandemic just trying to make the best of it.

However, some cities just aren’t great places to be stuck at home. We often think about what cities have to offer in terms of nightlife, dining out and exciting things to do. However, for the millions of Americans who have been stuck at home in formerly exciting cities, the nearby theme park or vibrant theater scene didn’t do much.

What did they want? Spacious apartments, speedy internet, plentiful takeout options and nearby green space.

We hit the numbers to find the cities that had the best, and least, to offer these social distancers.

We set out to find the cities where those sheltering in place have it the relative worst. We ranked each city, 1 to 99, based on four areas:

  • Average apartment size
  • Acres of parkland per person
  • Percent of residents with broadband internet
  • Number of takeout options

The average apartment size comes from RENTCafe — the smaller the average apartment size, the lower the score. The amount of parkland came from the Trust for Public Land. We looked at the number of restaurants listed for each city on Doordash. Finally, we used the trusty U.S. Census to see the percentage of residents in each city with broadband internet — including cable, fiber or DSL.

Keep reading to see why these cities aren’t the place to be stuck at home.

1. Newark, New Jersey

Newark, New Jersey
mandritoiu /

Parkland per 1,000 residents: 3 acres
Residents with broadband internet: 37.7%
Average apartment size: 707 square feet
Takeout options: 658

Newark is the worst city to be quarantined. What makes being stuck at home worse in Newark than other places? First, those apartments are pretty tiny. Throw in weak internet access and small amounts of public land, and it’s easy to see that things could be a bit better for Newark residents.

2. Hialeah, Florida

Hialeah, Florida
tome213 /

Parkland per 1,000 residents: 0.9 acres
Residents with broadband internet: 53%
Average apartment size: 825 square feet
Takeout options: 243

In second place, we have Hialeah, Florida. For every 1,000 residents there is less than 1 acre of parkland (0.9 acre) in Hialeah — the smallest amount in the nation. Less parkland means more time inside on shabby internet.

3. Paterson, New Jersey

Paterson, New Jersey
Brian Logan Photography /

Parkland per 1,000 residents: 6.3 acres
Residents with broadband internet: 49.4%
Average apartment size: 562 square feet
Takeout options: 664

Paterson might have a decent amount of takeout options for a city of its size, but the apartments are pretty small. A residence of 562 square feet isn’t a lot of space to call your own — especially not when that space becomes a home office and rec room overnight.

4. Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, New York
Richard Cavalleri /

Parkland per 1,000 residents: 7.3 acres
Residents with broadband internet: 50%
Average apartment size: 782 square feet
Takeout options: 701

Buffalo residents might have things a bit better than the first three cities, but they’re still in a rough spot when it comes to quarantine — they’ve got small apartments and a lack of parkland.

5. Laredo, Texas

Laredo, Texas
digidreamgrafix /

Parkland per 1,000 residents: 5.5 acres
Residents with broadband internet: 33%
Average apartment size: 922 square feet
Takeout options: 76

Laredo residents have larger apartments than many other cities. But those apartments don’t compensate for insignificant outdoor space and bad broadband rates.

6. Tucson, Arizona

Chris Rubino /

Parkland per 1,000 residents: 8.7 acres
Residents with broadband internet: 66%
Average apartment size: 762 square feet
Takeout options: 375

Tucson is just two hours away from Scottsdale, the best city to be quarantined. However, those two hours make a world of difference.

Tucson residents can only dream of the roomy apartments and great parks their fellow Arizonians have. One thin silver lining? Their internet isn’t downright horrible.

7. Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio
rudy-balasko /

Parkland per 1,000 residents: 7.3 acres
Residents with broadband internet: 47%
Average apartment size: 796 square feet
Takeout options: 997

A lot of Cleveland renters have been bunking down in the 796 square feet they call home. Hopefully, they are among the 47% with fast internet, otherwise, the space may feel even smaller than it is.

On the upside, Cleveland holds its own for a midsized city when it comes to takeout options. Maybe they can order some pierogi and pretend they’re somewhere else.

8. Arlington, Texas

Arlington, Texas
Katherine Welles /

Parkland per 1,000 residents: 12.5 acres
Residents with broadband internet: 32%
Average apartment size: 818 square feet
Takeout options: 582

What makes being quarantined in Arlington so rough? The internet!

In normal times, you can entertain yourself in a plethora of ways (and do your work, you know, at work). But in these strange times, many Arlington folks have fewer distractions to deal with their boredom. No doubt many have had to resort to mobile hotspots to do their jobs and for their children to do schoolwork.

9. McAllen, Texas

McAllen, Texas
Davy Lane Photography /

Parkland per 1,000 residents: 3.8 acres
Residents with broadband internet: 61.1%
Average apartment size: 915 square feet
Takeout options: 175

McAllen residents might have a bit more room at home to sprawl, but when it comes to leaving their house they are at a disadvantage. The city only has 3.8 acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents. Not a lot of room to socially distance or get a breath of fresh air.

10. Boston

f11photo /

Parkland per 1,000 residents: 7.9 acres
Residents with broadband internet: 40.9%
Average apartment size: 817 square feet
Takeout options: 1,219

In 10th place, we have Boston. The state capital of Massachusetts is an exciting city known for a fun, young population and lots to do pre-quarantine. However, during quarantine, many found out the hard way that doesn’t help too much when you’re stuck at home.

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