The 10 Worst St. Louis Suburbs For 2021


We used science and data to determine which St. Louis suburbs are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst suburbs around St. Louis.

Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround St. Louis.

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 science and data 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't expect all 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.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around St. Louis for 2021:

  1. Madison
  2. Washington Park
  3. Centreville
  4. Venice
  5. East St. Louis
  6. Pagedale
  7. Pine Lawn
  8. Cahokia
  9. South Roxana
  10. Bel-Ridge

What's the worst suburb of St. Louis? Madison ranks as the worst suburb of St. Louis for 2021 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.

Or, if you're thinking of moving to elsewhere in missouri check out the best places in missouri overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around St. Louis too.

Editor's Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it's because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

For more Missouri reading, check out:

The 10 Worst St. Louis Suburbs To Live For 2021

1. Madison

Madison, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 3,338
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $30,316 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.8% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $44,700 (2nd lowest)
More on Madison:

We'll get the ball rolling with Madison, the absolute worst place to live around St. Louis according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Madison beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 6th worst in the St. Louis area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 2nd 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 Madison.

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.

2. Washington Park

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 3,941
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $21,821 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.0% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $45,500 (3rd lowest)
More on Washington Park:

Welcome to Washington Park. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 8.2 miles to St. Louis. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $21,821 a year, which doesn't go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

3. Centreville

Centreville, IL

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 4,999
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $21,370 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.8% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $47,900 (4th 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 drop out rate is poor compared to other St. Louis suburbs.

But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.

4. Venice

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,127
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $27,981 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.9% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $41,900 (lowest)
More on Venice:

If you live in Venice, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 5th lowest St. Louis suburb when it comes to residents making money.

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.

Venice is about 4.8 miles to downtown.

5. East St. Louis

East St. Louis, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 26,543
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $24,343 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.3% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $54,500 (8th lowest)
More on East St. Louis:

East St. Louis has the distinction of being a St. Louis suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, East St. Louis has the 8th lowest home values in the metro St. Louis area, where the median price is $54,500. To put that into perspective, in Glendale, the median income is $217,768, which is the best in the area.

East St. Louis has an unemployment rate of 18.26% which ranks 3rd worst.

Pagedale, MO

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 3,306
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $26,932 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $53,600 (6th lowest)
More on Pagedale:  Data | Photos

Pagedale has 3,306 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 39.038579301898345%.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 3,579
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Income: $31,838 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 21.9% (highest)
Median Home Value: $53,600 (6th lowest)
More on Pine Lawn:  Data

Ah, Pine Lawn. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around St. Louis.

It's the place with the most out of work residents in the St. Louis metro area (21.93%).

8. Cahokia

Cahokia, IL

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 14,162
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Income: $35,663 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.4% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $47,900 (4th lowest)
More on Cahokia:

Cahokia is a city about 6.1 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. Cahokia has the 36th most uninsured people, 12th worst incomes, and has the 8th highest unemployment rate (13.37%) in the entire St. Louis metro area.

Homes only cost $47,900 for a reason. That's cheap for St. Louis standards.

9. South Roxana

South Roxana, IL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,073
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $45,200 (22nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $76,400 (19th lowest)
More on South Roxana:

If you absolutely have to live near St. Louis, then South Roxana might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst St. Louis suburb.

About 11.76% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,703
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Income: $32,448 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.7% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $64,400 (13th lowest)
More on Bel-Ridge:  Data

Rounding out the ten worst St. Louis suburbs to call home is Bel-Ridge.

Located 7.0 miles outside the city, Bel-Ridges is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 9th highest unemployment rate (12.68%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around St. Louis for 2021

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2015-2019, 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 drop outs
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of St. Louis.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 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 lookin' at you, Madison. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.

The areas around St. Louis where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2021

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding St. Louis with Madison 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.

  • Glendale
  • Warson Woods
  • Des Peres

For more Missouri reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst St. Louis Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Madison 3,338 $30,316 $44,700
2 Washington Park 3,941 $21,821 $45,500
3 Centreville 4,999 $21,370 $47,900
4 Venice 2,127 $27,981 $41,900
5 East St. Louis 26,543 $24,343 $54,500
6 Pagedale 3,306 $26,932 $53,600
7 Pine Lawn 3,579 $31,838 $53,600
8 Cahokia 14,162 $35,663 $47,900
9 South Roxana 2,073 $45,200 $76,400
10 Bel-Ridge 2,703 $32,448 $64,400
11 Moline Acres 2,407 $31,426 $66,700
12 Riverview 2,863 $43,119 $55,500
13 Berkeley 8,927 $33,185 $63,700
14 Pontoon Beach 5,793 $53,341 $95,200
15 Dupo 3,938 $40,308 $79,700
16 Jennings 14,712 $33,425 $64,800
17 Alton 26,640 $40,211 $79,900
18 Bellefontaine Neighbors 10,517 $46,163 $63,400
19 Breckenridge Hills 4,616 $47,077 $78,600
20 East Alton 6,061 $44,830 $81,100
21 Pacific 6,339 $49,142 $144,200
22 Caseyville 4,179 $53,082 $81,100
23 Normandy 4,883 $40,183 $70,500
24 Wood River 10,169 $46,860 $81,600
25 Ferguson 20,738 $40,000 $83,500
26 Dellwood 5,013 $47,959 $71,800
27 Northwoods 4,121 $38,869 $63,600
28 Bridgeton 11,606 $59,940 $168,700
29 Woodson Terrace 4,052 $58,272 $73,100
30 Overland 15,715 $44,516 $89,000
31 St. Ann 12,744 $47,727 $89,900
32 Pevely 5,893 $55,980 $132,500
33 Black Jack 6,932 $58,029 $127,700
34 Hazelwood 25,319 $54,573 $118,900
35 St. John 6,396 $53,916 $78,300
36 Valley Park 6,799 $56,786 $179,700
37 Belleville 41,585 $48,099 $93,700
38 Florissant 51,455 $54,978 $97,600
39 Herculaneum 4,025 $65,449 $158,800
40 Collinsville 24,626 $53,490 $127,300
41 Brighton 2,272 $63,906 $102,700
42 Arnold 21,146 $66,670 $157,600
43 Fairview Heights 16,125 $64,495 $135,400
44 Marlborough 2,567 $44,046 $167,900
45 Byrnes Mill 2,970 $69,583 $226,700
46 New Athens 2,147 $63,583 $108,900
47 Bethalto 9,284 $63,200 $133,300
48 Maryland Heights 27,080 $66,686 $158,800
49 Mascoutah 8,245 $78,468 $173,200
50 Godfrey 17,579 $73,238 $148,300
51 Swansea 13,851 $77,517 $167,000
52 Edwardsville 25,171 $77,411 $228,300
53 Lebanon 4,418 $60,962 $119,900
54 Freeburg 4,361 $69,321 $176,300
55 Maplewood 8,051 $48,278 $189,600
56 Green Park 2,631 $63,250 $164,600
57 St. Charles 70,171 $68,486 $200,400
58 Millstadt 3,892 $74,375 $171,500
59 New Baden 3,206 $77,218 $138,300
60 Glen Carbon 12,569 $89,236 $226,500
61 Columbia 10,752 $98,977 $217,300
62 Smithton 3,996 $78,073 $170,900
63 Shiloh 13,482 $86,021 $220,500
64 St. Peters 57,273 $78,786 $182,200
65 Manchester 18,110 $77,983 $229,700
66 Waterloo 10,367 $67,682 $192,100
67 Fenton 4,025 $96,679 $269,000
68 Troy 10,336 $71,381 $178,800
69 Maryville 7,953 $82,561 $209,500
70 O'fallon 87,242 $90,025 $226,300
71 Sunset Hills 8,472 $106,094 $392,200
72 Cottleville 5,200 $108,036 $308,000
73 O'fallon 29,333 $90,349 $207,900
74 Crestwood 11,865 $84,714 $208,600
75 Shrewsbury 6,150 $59,313 $174,300
76 Ellisville 9,661 $79,563 $250,700
77 Olivette 7,849 $86,250 $338,100
78 Weldon Spring 5,531 $107,875 $397,300
79 Creve Coeur 18,538 $96,319 $402,300
80 Rock Hill 4,634 $83,398 $192,700
81 Eureka 10,666 $111,058 $277,800
82 Ballwin 30,252 $98,750 $261,900
83 Richmond Heights 8,500 $82,261 $253,700
84 Town And Country 11,077 $192,983 $734,800
85 Wildwood 35,459 $135,202 $378,000
86 Kirkwood 27,708 $90,730 $315,000
87 Chesterfield 47,605 $113,315 $379,800
88 Dardenne Prairie 13,293 $132,192 $301,500
89 Webster Groves 22,951 $102,759 $296,800
90 Clarkson Valley 2,614 $175,125 $642,700
91 Clayton 16,588 $107,596 $633,400
92 Brentwood 8,005 $81,069 $228,800
93 Ladue 8,601 $214,875 $831,800
94 Frontenac 3,513 $217,768 $694,300
95 Des Peres 8,619 $150,800 $449,800
96 Warson Woods 2,046 $150,417 $444,100
97 Glendale 5,891 $140,184 $414,800

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