The suburbs of St. Louis call to all types of people looking to escape city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround St. Louis to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
So the question arises: do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?
Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which St. Louis ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the St. Louis area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to St. Louis proper, although Glendale certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of St. Louis are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones.
We examined the 97 biggest suburbs of St. Louis to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Missouri lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of St. Louis in terms of quality of life.
Now don’t freak out.
What’s the worst suburb of St. Louis? Alorton ranks as the worst suburb of St. Louis for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
Read on to see how we determined the places around St. Louis that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around St. Louis too.
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The 10 Worst St. Louis Suburbs To Live For 2023
Median Income: $19,605 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 23.6% (highest)
Median Home Value: $44,600 (4th lowest)
More on Alorton:
We’ll get the ball rolling with Alorton, the absolute worst place to live around St. Louis according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Alorton beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the worst in the St. Louis area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 4th worst when it comes to home values.
But hey, at least it’s cheap to live there. But there’s a reason for that… it’s Alorton.
You won’t feel bad about not having a great income for the area. There aren’t a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.
Median Income: $32,446 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.3% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $46,000 (5th lowest)
More on Venice:
Welcome to Venice. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 4.8 miles to St. Louis. Income levels here are the 9th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $32,446 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.
But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.
Median Income: $24,088 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.3% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $53,900 (7th lowest)
More on Centreville:
Back up the highway we go for the third worst St. Louis suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Centreville on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that’s an understatement.
In terms of numbers, it’s in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school dropout rate is poor compared to other St. Louis suburbs.
But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.
4. Washington Park
Median Income: $26,928 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 17.6% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $31,000 (lowest)
More on Washington Park:
If you live in Washington Park, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 6th lowest St. Louis suburb for median household incomes.
Not only that, but this is the 6th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near St. Louis. Remember, we looked at 97 cities for this study.
Washington Park is about 8.2 miles to downtown.
Median Income: $33,958 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $50,000 (6th lowest)
More on Madison:
Madison has the distinction of being a St. Louis suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Madison has the 6th lowest home values in the metro St. Louis area, where the median price is $50,000. The median income is $250,001.
Madison has an unemployment rate of 9.44% which ranks 14th worst.
Median Income: $23,310 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 22.7% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $43,500 (3rd lowest)
More on Pine Lawn:
Pine Lawn has 2,820 residents that probably know it’s a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you’ve ever been there, you don’t need to look at the data.)
Incomes are towards the bottom, and the poverty rate sits at 45.815602836879435%.
Median Income: $30,556 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.0% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $40,900 (2nd lowest)
More on Cahokia:
Ah, Cahokia. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around St. Louis.
It’s the place with the 9th most out of work residents in the St. Louis metro area (11.98%).
Median Income: $26,426 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $56,800 (9th lowest)
More on Pagedale:
Pagedale is a city about 4.6 miles from St. Louis, but St. Louis probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a worse place to live. Pagedale has the 10th most uninsured people, 5th worst incomes, and has the 16th highest unemployment rate (9.04%) in the entire St. Louis metro area.
Homes only cost $56,800 for a reason. That’s cheap for St. Louis standards.
9. East St. Louis
Median Income: $26,011 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.8% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $57,800 (10th lowest)
More on East St. Louis:
If you absolutely have to live near St. Louis, then East St. Louis might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst St. Louis suburb.
About 12.77% of residents are out of work.
Median Income: $29,237 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (19th highest)
Median Home Value: $58,000 (11th lowest)
More on Jennings:
Rounding out the ten worst St. Louis suburbs to call home is Jennings.
Located 6.1 miles outside the city, Jenningss is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 19th highest unemployment rate (8.33%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around St. Louis for 2023
To figure out how bad a St. Louis suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.
It’s Saturday Night Science.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2017-2021, this is the criteria we used:
- High unemployment rate
- Low median household incomes
- Low population density (no things to do)
- Low home values
- A lot of high school dropouts
- High poverty
- High rate of uninsured families
We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of St. Louis.
We also limited the analysis to places with over 1,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 97 suburbs to evaluate around St. Louis.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 97 in each category, where 1 was the “worst.”
Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality-of-life index.
And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index, the “Worst Suburb near St. Louis.” We’re looking at you, Alorton.
We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around St. Louis.
Summary: The areas around St. Louis where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding St. Louis with Alorton casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around St. Louis aren’t all bad. Glendale takes the cake as the best place to live around St. Louis.
- Des Peres
- Warson Woods
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Detailed List Of The Worst St. Louis Suburbs
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