The 10 Worst St. Louis Suburbs For 2022


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

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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..

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 2022:

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

What's the worst suburb of St. Louis? Alorton ranks as the worst suburb of St. Louis for 2022 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 2022

1. 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 3rd 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.

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 2,077
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $19,764 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 23.2% (highest)
Median Home Value: $45,000 (3rd lowest)
More on Alorton:

2. 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 7th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $28,681 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.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,040
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Median Income: $28,681 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 20.0% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $48,100 (5th lowest)
More on Venice:

3. 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.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 4,946
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $22,098 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.8% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $47,500 (4th lowest)
More on Centreville:

Centreville, IL

4. Washington Park

If you live in Washington Park, 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 3rd 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.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 3,909
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $21,065 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.7% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $32,900 (lowest)
More on Washington Park:

5. 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 2nd lowest home values in the metro St. Louis area, where the median price is $43,800. To put that into perspective, in Glendale, the median income is $242,792, which is the best in the area.

Madison has an unemployment rate of 11.87% which ranks 10th worst.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,941
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Median Income: $30,592 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $43,800 (2nd lowest)
More on Madison:

Madison, IL

Source: Public domain

6. East St. Louis

East St. Louis has 26,359 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 30.628371704277786%.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 26,359
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $24,009 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.2% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $53,900 (7th lowest)
More on East St. Louis:

East St. Louis, IL

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

It's the place with the 15th most out of work residents in the St. Louis metro area (9.25%).

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 3,301
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $26,272 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $57,200 (9th lowest)
More on Pagedale:  Data | Photos

Pagedale, MO

8. 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 4most uninsured people, 8th worst incomes, and has the 17th highest unemployment rate (9.11%) in the entire St. Louis metro area.

Homes only cost $49,400 for a reason. That's cheap for St. Louis standards.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 14,035
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $30,299 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (17th highest)
Median Home Value: $49,400 (6th lowest)
More on Cahokia:

Cahokia, IL

9. 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 9.52% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,304
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Income: $41,769 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $79,300 (23rd lowest)
More on South Roxana:

South Roxana, IL

Rounding out the ten worst St. Louis suburbs to call home is Pine Lawn.

Located 4.4 miles outside the city, Pine Lawns is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 4th highest unemployment rate (18.22%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 3,604
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Income: $24,493 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.2% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $54,200 (8th lowest)
More on Pine Lawn:  Data

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around St. Louis for 2022

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 2016-2020, 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, Alorton. 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.

Summary: The areas around St. Louis where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022

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.

  • Glendale
  • Warson Woods
  • Ladue

For more Missouri reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst St. Louis Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Alorton 2,077 $19,764 $45,000
2 Venice 2,040 $28,681 $48,100
3 Centreville 4,946 $22,098 $47,500
4 Washington Park 3,909 $21,065 $32,900
5 Madison 2,941 $30,592 $43,800
6 East St. Louis 26,359 $24,009 $53,900
7 Pagedale 3,301 $26,272 $57,200
8 Cahokia 14,035 $30,299 $49,400
9 South Roxana 2,304 $41,769 $79,300
10 Pine Lawn 3,604 $24,493 $54,200
11 Bel-Ridge 2,686 $36,169 $68,100
12 Jennings 14,672 $31,952 $62,500
13 Berkeley 8,912 $35,027 $63,100
14 Dupo 3,917 $40,049 $78,700
15 Ferguson 20,631 $37,376 $78,500
16 Moline Acres 2,810 $43,293 $65,100
17 Alton 26,490 $43,291 $80,400
18 Bellefontaine Neighbors 10,441 $41,815 $62,900
19 Riverview 2,848 $45,156 $58,600
20 Pontoon Beach 5,822 $56,005 $109,000
21 Valley Park 6,813 $57,124 $179,200
22 Northwoods 4,099 $37,121 $58,700
23 Caseyville 4,203 $51,610 $85,900
24 East Alton 6,021 $52,773 $79,700
25 Herculaneum 4,081 $66,773 $172,900
26 Overland 15,644 $46,109 $89,800
27 Hazelwood 25,222 $52,201 $119,700
28 Wood River 10,149 $50,047 $86,400
29 Bridgeton 11,577 $61,207 $175,400
30 Breckenridge Hills 4,590 $44,391 $83,200
31 Dellwood 5,010 $60,038 $72,900
32 Woodson Terrace 4,044 $58,548 $73,100
33 Black Jack 6,930 $57,298 $134,300
34 St. John 6,369 $53,288 $78,400
35 Normandy 4,868 $39,509 $78,000
36 Pacific 6,780 $45,021 $169,500
37 St. Ann 12,689 $47,994 $92,000
38 Collinsville 24,489 $56,250 $128,500
39 Florissant 51,220 $58,769 $99,900
40 Belleville 41,256 $52,843 $97,500
41 Mascoutah 8,454 $74,937 $174,500
42 Brighton 2,315 $61,167 $103,100
43 Arnold 21,144 $64,678 $165,700
44 Pevely 5,937 $66,155 $138,600
45 Fairview Heights 16,143 $68,505 $146,400
46 Marlborough 2,727 $44,375 $174,100
47 Edwardsville 25,332 $75,271 $238,000
48 Byrnes Mill 2,983 $86,944 $241,100
49 Godfrey 17,540 $73,041 $154,800
50 Lebanon 4,443 $61,298 $123,800
51 Bethalto 9,258 $66,834 $140,100
52 Millstadt 3,882 $78,379 $173,200
53 Maryland Heights 26,996 $69,973 $162,800
54 New Baden 3,150 $79,412 $138,500
55 Green Park 2,626 $59,724 $163,600
56 Freeburg 3,911 $64,702 $190,900
57 Fenton 4,033 $94,826 $292,600
58 Swansea 14,100 $81,625 $167,200
59 Glen Carbon 12,468 $84,956 $228,900
60 Maplewood 8,073 $49,833 $183,500
61 St. Charles 70,650 $71,232 $212,000
62 Waterloo 10,417 $71,207 $204,400
63 St. Peters 57,536 $80,119 $191,900
64 Maryville 7,962 $84,293 $207,600
65 Troy 10,278 $76,672 $193,700
66 Shiloh 13,465 $87,076 $215,300
67 Manchester 18,102 $78,381 $239,700
68 Smithton 4,019 $88,879 $183,100
69 Ellisville 9,752 $78,961 $273,500
70 Columbia 10,692 $107,500 $228,300
71 O'fallon 88,132 $92,498 $235,200
72 Sunset Hills 8,466 $100,972 $416,300
73 Rock Hill 4,634 $75,895 $193,700
74 Cottleville 5,439 $124,310 $348,400
75 O'fallon 29,487 $90,432 $214,600
76 Creve Coeur 18,627 $95,699 $443,700
77 Crestwood 11,859 $94,161 $229,100
78 Eureka 10,203 $112,750 $280,400
79 Kirkwood 27,772 $94,067 $337,100
80 Weldon Spring 5,536 $117,297 $407,200
81 Olivette 7,837 $90,123 $375,800
82 Chesterfield 47,603 $120,394 $374,100
83 Richmond Heights 8,581 $88,289 $256,400
84 Ballwin 30,177 $97,174 $277,100
85 Wildwood 35,476 $135,177 $384,200
86 Shrewsbury 6,108 $70,341 $193,400
87 Town And Country 11,109 $202,974 $747,300
88 Webster Groves 22,906 $94,479 $301,700
89 Clarkson Valley 2,619 $208,000 $665,700
90 Dardenne Prairie 13,385 $134,267 $317,400
91 Frontenac 3,538 $174,676 $758,200
92 Brentwood 7,986 $80,486 $237,800
93 Clayton 16,763 $108,387 $605,700
94 Des Peres 8,654 $173,672 $459,900
95 Ladue 8,631 $242,792 $775,600
96 Warson Woods 2,387 $166,042 $460,800
97 Glendale 5,881 $141,622 $415,900

How Is Your Town In ?

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 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the worst suburbs around St. Louis.

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.