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 65 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. Centreville (Photos)
  2. East St. Louis (Photos)
  3. Cahokia (Photos)
  4. Berkeley (Photos)
  5. Jennings (Photos)
  6. Bellefontaine Neighbors (Photos)
  7. Alton (Photos)
  8. Pontoon Beach
  9. East Alton
  10. Wood River (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 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 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 65 suburbs to evaluate around St. Louis.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 65 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, Centreville.

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. Centreville

Centreville, Missouri

Population: 5,127
Unemployment Rate: 22.2%
Median Home Price: $48,400
Median Income: $16,715
More on Centreville: Data | Jobs

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

And in the world of worst rankings, Centreville beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the St. Louis area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 1st 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 Centreville.

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. East St. Louis

East St. Louis, Missouri

Source: Public domain

Population: 26,731
Unemployment Rate: 15.8%
Median Home Price: $53,500
Median Income: $19,946
More on East St. Louis: Data | Jobs

Welcome to East St. Louis. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 6.4 miles to St. Louis. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $19,946 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. Cahokia

Cahokia, Missouri

Population: 14,574
Unemployment Rate: 13.3%
Median Home Price: $50,300
Median Income: $28,439
More on Cahokia: Data | Jobs

Back up the highway we go for the third worst St. Louis suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Cahokia 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. Berkeley

Berkeley, Missouri

Source: Public domain

Population: 9,068
Unemployment Rate: 14.1%
Median Home Price: $65,900
Median Income: $30,262
More on Berkeley: Data | Jobs

If you live in Berkeley, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th 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 65 cities for this study.

Berkeley is about 8.9 miles to downtown.

5. Jennings

Jennings, Missouri

Source: Public domain

Population: 14,749
Unemployment Rate: 21.4%
Median Home Price: $64,900
Median Income: $31,981
More on Jennings: Data | Jobs

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

All snarkiness aside, Jennings has the 4th lowest home values in the metro St. Louis area, where the median price is $64,900. To put that into perspective, in Glendale, the median income is $186,371, which is the best in the area.

Jennings has an unemployment rate of 21.4% which ranks 2nd worst.

6. Bellefontaine Neighbors

Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri

Source: Public domain

Population: 10,785
Unemployment Rate: 10.4%
Median Home Price: $69,600
Median Income: $38,472
More on Bellefontaine Neighbors: Data | Jobs

Bellefontaine Neighbors has 10,785 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 24.1%.

7. Alton

Alton, Missouri

Population: 27,175
Unemployment Rate: 14.6%
Median Home Price: $79,600
Median Income: $37,108
More on Alton: Data | Jobs

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

It’s the place with the 5th most out of work residents in the St. Louis metro area (14.6%).

8. Pontoon Beach


Population: 5,753
Unemployment Rate: 10.2%
Median Home Price: $86,500
Median Income: $55,494
More on Pontoon Beach: Data | Jobs

Pontoon Beach is a city about 9.9 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. Pontoon Beach has the 19th most uninsured people, 26th worst incomes, and has the 12th highest unemployment rate (10.2%) in the entire St. Louis metro area.

Homes only cost $86,500 for a reason. That’s cheap for St. Louis standards.

9. East Alton


Population: 6,171
Unemployment Rate: 8.1%
Median Home Price: $82,000
Median Income: $44,722
More on East Alton: Data | Jobs

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

About 8.1% of residents are out of work.

10. Wood River

Wood River, Missouri

Source: Public domain

Population: 10,360
Unemployment Rate: 7.4%
Median Home Price: $84,500
Median Income: $41,143
More on Wood River: Data | Jobs

Rounding out the ten worst St. Louis suburbs to call home is Wood River.

Located 18.1 miles outside the city, Wood Rivers is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 21st highest unemployment rate (7.4%), 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 Centreville 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

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Centreville 5,127 22.2% $48,400 $16,715
2 East St. Louis 26,731 15.8% $53,500 $19,946
3 Cahokia 14,574 13.3% $50,300 $28,439
4 Berkeley 9,068 14.1% $65,900 $30,262
5 Jennings 14,749 21.4% $64,900 $31,981
6 Bellefontaine Neighbors 10,785 10.4% $69,600 $38,472
7 Alton 27,175 14.6% $79,600 $37,108
8 Pontoon Beach 5,753 10.2% $86,500 $55,494
9 East Alton 6,171 8.1% $82,000 $44,722
10 Wood River 10,360 7.4% $84,500 $41,143
11 Bridgeton 11,698 10.1% $158,500 $51,908
12 Dellwood 5,020 18.6% $74,500 $44,583
13 Ferguson 21,035 10.5% $87,100 $41,572
14 Hazelwood 25,604 10.9% $106,100 $45,851
15 Overland 15,932 6.2% $88,500 $43,799
16 Pacific 6,246 3.9% $136,200 $45,262
17 St. John 6,459 6.9% $81,800 $39,596
18 St. Ann 12,931 8.1% $87,500 $38,234
19 Belleville 42,729 7.5% $97,200 $42,348
20 Pevely 5,616 4.0% $124,600 $47,813
21 Collinsville 24,855 9.4% $128,600 $52,675
22 Fairview Heights 16,793 6.5% $121,000 $62,165
23 Arnold 21,196 7.1% $147,400 $60,535
24 Black Jack 6,956 9.6% $119,700 $53,506
25 Mascoutah 7,917 10.5% $153,500 $70,957
26 Maryland Heights 27,359 5.7% $153,300 $60,566
27 Maplewood 7,948 6.2% $154,800 $41,469
28 Florissant 52,218 7.3% $94,700 $51,603
29 Bethalto 9,364 6.1% $132,600 $59,643
30 Valley Park 6,956 3.2% $171,400 $54,854
31 Godfrey 17,809 6.3% $137,000 $62,845
32 St. Charles 68,341 4.7% $179,200 $59,059
33 Edwardsville 25,044 7.1% $194,300 $68,454
34 Swansea 13,722 6.0% $166,000 $70,615
35 Maryville 7,837 8.6% $191,400 $82,392
36 Waterloo 10,197 3.7% $177,900 $70,534
37 Columbia 10,193 4.9% $198,100 $73,442
38 Crestwood 11,941 5.8% $186,100 $65,547
39 O’Fallon 29,078 7.5% $190,700 $80,329
40 Shrewsbury 6,197 3.9% $166,000 $52,335
41 Troy 10,041 4.5% $169,800 $72,054
42 Glen Carbon 12,782 5.3% $202,400 $81,658
43 St. Peters 55,820 4.6% $168,400 $72,927
44 Shiloh 13,050 5.6% $214,500 $81,146
45 Eureka 10,497 4.8% $239,200 $92,125
46 Olivette 7,830 5.5% $291,700 $68,700
47 Ellisville 9,188 4.4% $227,700 $74,074
48 Manchester 18,183 4.2% $216,100 $77,978
49 Richmond Heights 8,486 4.5% $237,600 $71,323
50 O’Fallon 84,018 3.7% $198,100 $81,004
51 Sunset Hills 8,515 2.0% $358,100 $100,771
52 Ballwin 30,431 4.2% $238,400 $86,494
53 Clayton 16,034 4.9% $577,300 $88,250
54 Wildwood 35,764 3.5% $358,300 $125,444
55 Chesterfield 47,717 3.9% $347,000 $97,090
56 Kirkwood 27,614 2.9% $263,200 $77,917
57 Creve Coeur 18,072 2.9% $359,400 $93,398
58 Weldon Spring 5,545 2.7% $322,500 $94,551
59 Brentwood 8,030 2.4% $208,700 $72,903
60 Webster Groves 23,111 3.8% $250,500 $85,856
61 Town And Country 11,001 1.9% $659,700 $156,899
62 Ladue 8,579 2.0% $771,500 $186,371
63 Dardenne Prairie 12,692 3.6% $267,800 $123,942
64 Des Peres 8,507 3.1% $384,700 $119,517
65 Glendale 5,917 1.7% $345,400 $128,571

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