These Are The 10 Worst St. Louis Suburbs For 2018


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. So without further ado…

We examined the 111 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 2018:

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

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.

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Determining The Worst Suburbs Around St. Louis for 2018

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, 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 95 suburbs to evaluate around St. Louis.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 95 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.

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1. Madison


Population: 3,825
Unemployment Rate: 19.1%
Median Home Price: $48,700
Median Income: $24,352
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 4th 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 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

Source: Public Domain

Population: 4,029
Unemployment Rate: 26.2%
Median Home Price: $47,500
Median Income: $23,787
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 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $23,787 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

Source: Public Domain

Population: 5,127
Unemployment Rate: 22.2%
Median Home Price: $48,400
Median Income: $16,715
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

Source: Public Domain

Population: 26,731
Unemployment Rate: 15.8%
Median Home Price: $53,500
Median Income: $19,946
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 11th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near St. Louis. Remember, we looked at 95 cities for this study.

East St. Louis is about 6.4 miles to downtown.

5. Cahokia

Source: Public Domain

Population: 14,574
Unemployment Rate: 13.3%
Median Home Price: $50,300
Median Income: $28,439
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 $50,300. To put that into perspective, in Glendale, the median income is $186,371, which is the best in the area.

Cahokia has an unemployment rate of 13.3% which ranks 16th worst.

6. Pagedale

Pagedale, Missouri

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,306
Unemployment Rate: 17.4%
Median Home Price: $53,200
Median Income: $27,000
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 31.1%.

7. Bel-Ridge


Population: 2,710
Unemployment Rate: 13.3%
Median Home Price: $58,700
Median Income: $30,912
Ah, Bel-Ridge. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around St. Louis.

It’s the place with the 16th most out of work residents in the St. Louis metro area (13.3%).

8. Berkeley

Berkeley, Missouri

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,068
Unemployment Rate: 14.1%
Median Home Price: $65,900
Median Income: $30,262
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 10th most uninsured people, 8th worst incomes, and has the 15th highest unemployment rate (14.1%) in the entire St. Louis metro area.

Homes only cost $65,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for St. Louis standards.

9. Riverview


Population: 2,835
Unemployment Rate: 17.2%
Median Home Price: $55,600
Median Income: $36,371
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 17.2% of residents are out of work.

10. Pine Lawn


Population: 3,423
Unemployment Rate: 19.8%
Median Home Price: $63,400
Median Income: $28,573
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 6th highest unemployment rate (19.8%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around St. Louis where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018

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.

For more Missouri reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst St. Louis Suburbs

City Rank Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
Madison 1 3,825 19.1% $48,700 $24,352
Washington Park 2 4,029 26.2% $47,500 $23,787
Centreville 3 5,127 22.2% $48,400 $16,715
East St. Louis 4 26,731 15.8% $53,500 $19,946
Cahokia 5 14,574 13.3% $50,300 $28,439
Pagedale 6 3,306 17.4% $53,200 $27,000
Bel-Ridge 7 2,710 13.3% $58,700 $30,912
Berkeley 8 9,068 14.1% $65,900 $30,262
Riverview 9 2,835 17.2% $55,600 $36,371
Pine Lawn 10 3,423 19.8% $63,400 $28,573
South Roxana 11 2,316 14.7% $65,100 $40,896
Jennings 12 14,749 21.4% $64,900 $31,981
Hanley Hills 13 2,026 21.6% $57,800 $33,654
Caseyville 14 4,263 6.7% $76,300 $46,029
Moline Acres 15 2,409 11.3% $69,000 $35,492
Normandy 16 4,973 14.2% $65,400 $32,830
Bellefontaine Neighbors 17 10,785 10.4% $69,600 $38,472
Breckenridge Hills 18 4,707 7.7% $72,000 $38,230
Alton 19 27,175 14.6% $79,600 $37,108
Pontoon Beach 20 5,753 10.2% $86,500 $55,494
East Alton 21 6,171 8.1% $82,000 $44,722
Wood River 22 10,360 7.4% $84,500 $41,143
Bridgeton 23 11,698 10.1% $158,500 $51,908
Dellwood 24 5,020 18.6% $74,500 $44,583
Hazelwood 25 25,604 10.9% $106,100 $45,851
Ferguson 26 21,035 10.5% $87,100 $41,572
Overland 27 15,932 6.2% $88,500 $43,799
Northwoods 28 4,199 21.7% $69,000 $37,716
St. John 29 6,459 6.9% $81,800 $39,596
Pacific 30 6,246 3.9% $136,200 $45,262
St. Ann 31 12,931 8.1% $87,500 $38,234
Woodson Terrace 32 4,051 13.2% $71,300 $50,175
Belleville 33 42,729 7.5% $97,200 $42,348
Pevely 34 5,616 4.0% $124,600 $47,813
Byrnes Mill 35 2,847 6.6% $198,700 $62,656
Dupo 36 3,966 4.9% $84,200 $45,851
New Athens 37 2,106 6.0% $106,700 $53,233
Collinsville 38 24,855 9.4% $128,600 $52,675
Arnold 39 21,196 7.1% $147,400 $60,535
Fairview Heights 40 16,793 6.5% $121,000 $62,165
Herculaneum 41 3,831 5.8% $154,300 $63,425
Black Jack 42 6,956 9.6% $119,700 $53,506
Mascoutah 43 7,917 10.5% $153,500 $70,957
Maryland Heights 44 27,359 5.7% $153,300 $60,566
Maplewood 45 7,948 6.2% $154,800 $41,469
Florissant 46 52,218 7.3% $94,700 $51,603
Brighton 47 2,316 6.1% $109,400 $64,267
Bethalto 48 9,364 6.1% $132,600 $59,643
Godfrey 49 17,809 6.3% $137,000 $62,845
Lebanon 50 4,369 2.0% $118,800 $60,273
Valley Park 51 6,956 3.2% $171,400 $54,854
Green Park 52 2,625 6.3% $149,800 $51,094
Millstadt 53 3,911 6.1% $168,000 $66,537
New Baden 54 3,358 4.9% $129,800 $65,335
St. Charles 55 68,341 4.7% $179,200 $59,059
Edwardsville 56 25,044 7.1% $194,300 $68,454
Freeburg 57 4,111 4.0% $160,400 $72,393
Swansea 58 13,722 6.0% $166,000 $70,615
Maryville 59 7,837 8.6% $191,400 $82,392
Columbia 60 10,193 4.9% $198,100 $73,442
Waterloo 61 10,197 3.7% $177,900 $70,534
O’Fallon 62 29,078 7.5% $190,700 $80,329
Shrewsbury 63 6,197 3.9% $166,000 $52,335
Crestwood 64 11,941 5.8% $186,100 $65,547
Smithton 65 3,792 4.4% $168,400 $73,250
Glen Carbon 66 12,782 5.3% $202,400 $81,658
Troy 67 10,041 4.5% $169,800 $72,054
Shiloh 68 13,050 5.6% $214,500 $81,146
St. Peters 69 55,820 4.6% $168,400 $72,927
Eureka 70 10,497 4.8% $239,200 $92,125
Olivette 71 7,830 5.5% $291,700 $68,700
Fenton 72 4,036 3.6% $228,800 $88,309
Rock Hill 73 4,628 2.9% $176,700 $64,306
Ellisville 74 9,188 4.4% $227,700 $74,074
Manchester 75 18,183 4.2% $216,100 $77,978
Richmond Heights 76 8,486 4.5% $237,600 $71,323
O’Fallon 77 84,018 3.7% $198,100 $81,004
Sunset Hills 78 8,515 2.0% $358,100 $100,771
Wildwood 79 35,764 3.5% $358,300 $125,444
Cottleville 80 4,205 3.3% $261,900 $92,188
Ballwin 81 30,431 4.2% $238,400 $86,494
Clayton 82 16,034 4.9% $577,300 $88,250
Chesterfield 83 47,717 3.9% $347,000 $97,090
Kirkwood 84 27,614 2.9% $263,200 $77,917
Weldon Spring 85 5,545 2.7% $322,500 $94,551
Creve Coeur 86 18,072 2.9% $359,400 $93,398
Webster Groves 87 23,111 3.8% $250,500 $85,856
Brentwood 88 8,030 2.4% $208,700 $72,903
Town And Country 89 11,001 1.9% $659,700 $156,899
Clarkson Valley 90 2,638 2.5% $592,500 $164,286
Frontenac 91 3,527 1.1% $692,100 $149,821
Dardenne Prairie 92 12,692 3.6% $267,800 $123,942
Des Peres 93 8,507 3.1% $384,700 $119,517
Ladue 94 8,579 2.0% $771,500 $186,371
Glendale 95 5,917 1.7% $345,400 $128,571

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