Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Tampa.
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 Tampa ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Tampa area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Tampa proper, although St. Pete Beach certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Tampa are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
We examined the 16 biggest suburbs of Tampa to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Florida lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Tampa in terms of quality of life.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Tampa for 2018:
- New Port Richey (Photos)
- Zephyrhills (Photos)
- Pinellas Park (Photos)
- Largo (Photos)
- Tarpon Springs (Photos)
- St. Petersburg (Photos)
- Clearwater (Photos)
- Gulfport (Photos)
- Oldsmar (Photos)
- Dunedin (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Tampa that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Tampa 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 Florida reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Florida
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Florida
- 10 Most Dangerous Places In Florida
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Tampa 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 Tampa.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 16 suburbs to evaluate around Tampa.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 16 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 Tampa.” We’re lookin’ at you, New Port Richey.
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. New Port Richey
We’ll get the ball rolling with New Port Richey, the absolute worst place to live around Tampa according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, New Port Richey beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the Tampa 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 New Port Richey.
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.
Welcome to Zephyrhills. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 26.1 miles to Tampa. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $33,253 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. Pinellas Park
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Tampa suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Pinellas Park 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 Tampa suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in Largo, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th lowest Tampa 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 Tampa. Remember, we looked at 16 cities for this study.
Largo is about 18.3 miles to downtown.
5. Tarpon Springs
Tarpon Springs has the distinction of being a Tampa suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Tarpon Springs has the 11th lowest home values in the metro Tampa area, where the median price is $166,300. To put that into perspective, in St. Pete Beach, the median income is $65,960, which is the best in the area.
Tarpon Springs has an unemployment rate of 11.3% which ranks 3rd worst.
6. St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg has 253,585 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 16.4%.
Ah, Clearwater. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Tampa.
It’s the place with the 7th most out of work residents in the Tampa metro area (7.3%).
Gulfport is a city about 20.9 miles from Tampa, but Tampa 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. Gulfport has the 7th most uninsured people, 6th worst incomes, and has the 12th highest unemployment rate (6.7%) in the entire Tampa metro area.
Homes only cost $144,300 for a reason. That’s cheap for Tampa standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Tampa, then Oldsmar might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Tampa suburb.
About 7.2% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Tampa suburbs to call home is Dunedin.
Located 20.8 miles outside the city, Dunedins is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 14th highest unemployment rate (6.3%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Tampa where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Tampa with New Port Richey casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Tampa aren’t all bad. St. Pete Beach takes the cake as the best place to live around Tampa.
For more Florida reading, check out:
- 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Florida
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Florida
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- 10 Worst Places To Live In Florida
Detailed List Of The Worst Tampa Suburbs
|1||New Port Richey||15,503|
|16||St. Pete Beach||9,528|