These Are The 10 Worst St. Louis Suburbs For 2019


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 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the worst suburbs around St. Louis.

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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. So without further ado…

We examined the 94 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 2019:

  1. Madison
  2. Washington Park
  3. Centreville
  4. East St. Louis
  5. Cahokia
  6. Pagedale (Photos)
  7. Pine Lawn
  8. Berkeley (Photos)
  9. Riverview
  10. Jennings (Photos)

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:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around St. Louis for 2019

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 2013-2017, 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 94 suburbs to evaluate around St. Louis.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 94 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.

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.

1. Madison

Madison, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 3,898
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $25,175 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.9% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $46,800 (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 3rd 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: 3,989
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $25,390 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 24.4% (1st highest)
Median Home Value: $46,400 (1st 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 4th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $25,390 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: 5,094
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $17,441 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.9% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $47,900 (3rd 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. East St. Louis

East St. Louis, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 26,678
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $20,659 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 17.0% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $55,000 (6th lowest)
More on East St. Louis:

If you live in East St. Louis, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 2nd lowest St. Louis suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 5th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near St. Louis. Remember, we looked at 94 cities for this study.

East St. Louis is about 6.4 miles to downtown.

5. Cahokia

Cahokia, IL

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 14,408
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $30,200 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.2% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $48,700 (4th lowest)
More on Cahokia:

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

All snarkiness aside, Cahokia has the 4th lowest home values in the metro St. Louis area, where the median price is $48,700. To put that into perspective, in Glendale, the median income is $203,250, which is the best in the area.

Cahokia has an unemployment rate of 13.2% which ranks 13th worst.

Pagedale, MO

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 3,307
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $27,720 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.6% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $55,700 (7th lowest)
More on Pagedale:  Data | Photos

Pagedale has 3,307 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 30.2%.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 3,491
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Income: $30,262 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 17.2% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $50,000 (5th 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 4th most out of work residents in the St. Louis metro area (17.2%).

Berkeley, MO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,014
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $32,589 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.3% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $63,700 (9th lowest)
More on Berkeley:  Data | Photos

Berkeley is a city about 8.9 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. Berkeley has the 12th most uninsured people, 9th worst incomes, and has the 15th highest unemployment rate (12.3%) in the entire St. Louis metro area.

Homes only cost $63,700 for a reason. That’s cheap for St. Louis standards.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,812
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $36,745 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 16.8% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $56,200 (8th lowest)
More on Riverview:  Data

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

About 16.8% of residents are out of work.

Jennings, MO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 14,743
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $30,947 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.2% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $65,000 (10th lowest)
More on Jennings:  Data | Photos

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 3rd highest unemployment rate (18.2%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around St. Louis where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019

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
  • Ladue
  • Frontenac

For more Missouri reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst St. Louis Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Madison 3,898 $25,175 $46,800
2 Washington Park 3,989 $25,390 $46,400
3 Centreville 5,094 $17,441 $47,900
4 East St. Louis 26,678 $20,659 $55,000
5 Cahokia 14,408 $30,200 $48,700
6 Pagedale 3,307 $27,720 $55,700
7 Pine Lawn 3,491 $30,262 $50,000
8 Berkeley 9,014 $32,589 $63,700
9 Riverview 2,812 $36,745 $56,200
10 Jennings 14,743 $30,947 $65,000
11 South Roxana 2,232 $41,250 $71,900
12 Moline Acres 2,314 $34,432 $70,300
13 Normandy 4,952 $34,177 $66,000
14 Bellefontaine Neighbors 10,751 $41,481 $66,300
15 East Alton 6,158 $46,161 $81,400
16 Pontoon Beach 5,881 $54,080 $89,500
17 Dellwood 5,005 $42,370 $73,800
18 Alton 27,037 $37,495 $80,400
19 Breckenridge Hills 4,680 $39,596 $73,800
20 Caseyville 4,042 $46,250 $78,000
21 Ferguson 20,927 $41,369 $84,000
22 Bridgeton 11,712 $58,865 $159,900
23 Wood River 10,326 $43,199 $83,900
24 Woodson Terrace 4,048 $52,917 $71,700
25 Hazelwood 25,505 $51,218 $110,400
26 Northwoods 4,164 $38,976 $67,700
27 Overland 15,901 $43,757 $88,400
28 Belleville 42,283 $42,406 $96,000
29 St. Ann 12,864 $46,680 $87,000
30 Pacific 6,294 $49,778 $138,200
31 Dupo 3,937 $45,203 $84,200
32 St. John 6,426 $45,674 $79,800
33 Herculaneum 3,866 $58,958 $151,400
34 Pevely 5,721 $49,091 $124,800
35 Collinsville 24,767 $51,968 $129,400
36 Arnold 21,102 $61,473 $148,700
37 Brighton 2,167 $60,455 $108,000
38 Byrnes Mill 2,900 $67,353 $200,900
39 Black Jack 6,941 $50,329 $124,100
40 Marlborough 2,166 $38,881 $145,800
41 Florissant 51,952 $52,532 $95,200
42 Mascoutah 7,883 $75,323 $160,000
43 New Athens 2,292 $58,274 $108,200
44 Fairview Heights 16,579 $64,611 $124,500
45 Maryland Heights 27,246 $62,876 $155,700
46 Valley Park 6,939 $56,250 $172,500
47 Lebanon 4,136 $54,621 $118,800
48 Millstadt 3,898 $65,875 $171,000
49 Maplewood 7,975 $44,734 $167,200
50 Green Park 2,630 $55,774 $156,800
51 Bethalto 9,343 $62,782 $130,600
52 St. Charles 69,026 $62,216 $182,000
53 Godfrey 17,733 $68,530 $140,900
54 Freeburg 4,097 $73,590 $161,000
55 Waterloo 10,202 $65,445 $181,900
56 Edwardsville 24,823 $72,832 $202,500
57 Swansea 13,753 $73,534 $166,200
58 Maryville 7,844 $83,141 $194,900
59 Columbia 10,188 $83,850 $198,700
60 New Baden 3,384 $74,207 $133,400
61 O’fallon 29,095 $83,043 $195,200
62 Shiloh 13,141 $77,963 $205,800
63 Shrewsbury 6,180 $53,977 $163,400
64 Troy 10,208 $71,346 $171,900
65 St. Peters 56,375 $73,604 $170,300
66 Manchester 18,130 $76,289 $219,100
67 Olivette 7,830 $73,478 $293,700
68 Crestwood 11,921 $72,267 $190,500
69 Smithton 3,953 $72,063 $162,200
70 Glen Carbon 12,776 $84,153 $208,200
71 Ellisville 9,463 $67,198 $230,800
72 Fenton 4,042 $87,634 $241,300
73 Sunset Hills 8,511 $101,058 $365,800
74 Rock Hill 4,622 $66,311 $176,000
75 O’fallon 85,246 $84,580 $207,700
76 Ballwin 30,388 $88,913 $241,800
77 Richmond Heights 8,466 $76,081 $244,600
78 Cottleville 4,551 $98,611 $277,300
79 Eureka 10,554 $102,809 $247,600
80 Wildwood 35,524 $130,107 $367,000
81 Kirkwood 27,659 $79,439 $273,900
82 Chesterfield 47,660 $99,848 $360,400
83 Creve Coeur 18,259 $101,462 $363,000
84 Clayton 16,214 $91,531 $590,800
85 Webster Groves 23,069 $88,619 $265,200
86 Weldon Spring 5,534 $103,140 $350,500
87 Brentwood 8,025 $74,650 $213,300
88 Town And Country 11,030 $164,649 $693,000
89 Clarkson Valley 2,630 $166,200 $614,400
90 Des Peres 8,536 $125,744 $404,900
91 Dardenne Prairie 12,938 $128,449 $277,100
92 Frontenac 3,543 $142,679 $713,500
93 Ladue 8,591 $203,250 $798,500
94 Glendale 5,919 $131,250 $362,800

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