The 10 Worst Washington, D.C. Suburbs

The worst Washington, D.C. suburbs are Greenbelt and Bladensburg based on Saturday Night Science. Find out where your town ranks.

More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Washington to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: what suburbs of Washington are the worst?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Washington ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Washington area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Washington proper, although University Park certainly tries.

We examined the 36 biggest suburbs of Washington to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in District Of Columbia lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Washington in terms of quality of life.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 worst suburbs around Washington for 2024

  1. Greenbelt
  2. Bladensburg
  3. Brentwood
  4. Dumfries
  5. Riverdale Park
  6. Seat Pleasant
  7. College Park
  8. Capitol Heights
  9. Forest Heights
  10. New Carrollton

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Washington? Greenbelt ranks as the worst suburb of Washington for 2024 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Or, if you’re thinking of moving to elsewhere in District Of Columbia check out the best places in District Of Columbia overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Washington too.

The 10 Worst Washington Suburbs To Live For 2024

Greenbelt, MD

Source: Wikipedia User Andrew Bossi | CC BY-SA 2.5
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,646
Median Income: $82,019 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $273,558 (lowest)
More on Greenbelt: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

We’ll get the ball rolling with Greenbelt, the absolute worst place to live around Washington according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Greenbelt beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 10th worst in the Washington area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 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 Greenbelt.

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.

Bladensburg, MD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,574
Median Income: $58,619 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.9% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $315,966 (4th lowest)
More on Bladensburg: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Welcome to Bladensburg. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 5.6 miles to Washington. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $58,619 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,782
Median Income: $78,494 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $386,783 (10th lowest)
More on Brentwood: Data | Crime

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Washington suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Brentwood 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 dropout rate is poor compared to other Washington suburbs.

But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.

Dumfries, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Leonard J. DeFrancisci | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,697
Median Income: $75,629 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (19th highest)
Median Home Value: $537,443 (25th lowest)
More on Dumfries: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you live in Dumfries, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th lowest Washington suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 19th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Washington. Remember, we looked at 36 cities for this study.

Dumfries is about 28.5 miles to downtown.

Riverdale Park, MD

Source: Wikipedia User Famartin | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,284
Median Income: $105,250 (2lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (25th highest)
Median Home Value: $457,160 (18th lowest)
More on Riverdale Park: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Riverdale Park has the distinction of being a Washington suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Riverdale Park has the 18th lowest home values in the metro Washington area, where the median price is $457,160. The median income is $215,556.

Riverdale Park has an unemployment rate of 3.64% which ranks 25th worst.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,544
Median Income: $54,613 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.9% (highest)
Median Home Value: $299,746 (2nd lowest)
More on Seat Pleasant: Data | Crime

Seat Pleasant has 4,544 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 14.326584507042256%.

College Park, MD

Source: Wikipedia User User:Tomf688 | CC BY-SA 2.5
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 34,416
Median Income: $76,973 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $418,488 (14th lowest)
More on College Park: Data | Cost Of Living

Ah, College Park. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Washington.

It’s the place with the 9th most out of work residents in the Washington metro area (6.67%).

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,033
Median Income: $89,167 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $313,153 (3rd lowest)
More on Capitol Heights: Data | Crime

Capitol Heights is a city about 6.2 miles from Washington, but Washington 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. Capitol Heights has the 23rd most uninsured people, 11th worst incomes, and has the 8th highest unemployment rate (6.83%) in the entire Washington metro area.

Homes only cost $313,153 for a reason. That’s cheap for Washington standards.

9. Forest Heights

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,641
Median Income: $94,555 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $336,362 (6th lowest)
More on Forest Heights: Crime

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

About 12.36% of residents are out of work.

New Carrollton, MD

Source: Wikipedia User Christopher Sayan | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,580
Median Income: $76,386 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.9% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $385,956 (9th lowest)
More on New Carrollton: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Rounding out the ten worst Washington suburbs to call home is New Carrollton.

Located 8.7 miles outside the city, New Carrolltons is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 6th highest unemployment rate (10.92%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Washington for 2024

To figure out how bad a Washington suburb is to live in, we used Saturday Night Science to identify the kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2018-2022, 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 dropouts
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Washington.

We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 36 suburbs to evaluate around Washington.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 36 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 Washington.” We’re looking at you, Greenbelt.

We updated this article for 2024, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Washington.

Summary: The areas around Washington where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2024

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Washington with Greenbelt casting itself ahead of the pack.

The worst suburbs of Washington are .

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Washington aren’t all bad. University Park takes the cake as the best place to live around Washington.

  • University Park
  • Falls Church
  • Vienna

For more District Of Columbia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Washington Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Greenbelt 24,646 $82,019 $273,558
2 Bladensburg 9,574 $58,619 $315,966
3 Brentwood 3,782 $78,494 $386,783
4 Dumfries 5,697 $75,629 $537,443
5 Riverdale Park 7,284 $105,250 $457,160
6 Seat Pleasant 4,544 $54,613 $299,746
7 College Park 34,416 $76,973 $418,488
8 Capitol Heights 4,033 $89,167 $313,153
9 Forest Heights 2,641 $94,555 $336,362
10 New Carrollton 13,580 $76,386 $385,956
11 Landover Hills 2,118 $100,739 $355,664
12 Laurel 29,581 $92,035 $443,952
13 Berwyn Heights 3,312 $132,625 $427,367
14 Hyattsville 20,851 $90,329 $396,591
15 Manassas Park 17,123 $91,673 $410,921
16 Mount Rainier 8,262 $64,170 $471,063
17 Indian Head 3,931 $77,948 $323,189
18 Glenarden 6,335 $100,179 $412,112
19 Gaithersburg 69,016 $104,544 $498,395
20 North Beach 2,646 $78,442 $385,369
21 Manassas 42,620 $110,559 $514,283
22 Annapolis 40,719 $97,219 $571,003
23 Fairfax 24,242 $128,708 $702,237
24 Cheverly 6,132 $119,625 $468,015
25 Takoma Park 17,542 $95,316 $667,796
26 Herndon 24,456 $133,403 $679,629
27 Rockville 67,142 $122,470 $606,807
28 La Plata 10,283 $117,065 $458,131
29 Bowie 57,922 $138,797 $495,660
30 Alexandria 157,594 $113,179 $611,500
31 Kensington 2,241 $143,021 $756,458
32 Chesapeake Beach 6,358 $130,175 $432,240
33 Poolesville 5,686 $215,025 $664,155
34 Vienna 16,401 $215,556 $1,007,468
35 Falls Church 14,576 $164,536 $693,453
36 University Park 2,610 $191,205 $644,596
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.

3 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Washington, D.C. Suburbs

  1. HAHA!!!


    It’s such a pity they have destroyed the more “upscale”/suburban section of National Harbor/Oxon Hill with a damned CASINO!!

    What were they thinking?? Democratic black leadership DOES NOT VALUE ecology or environment…

  2. It’s catering to all the Hispanics that is ruining the county and state. I totally agree with the list. I agree we need to get rid of not so much black leadership but the Democrats in general and I was a Democrat my entire voting life but no more.

  3. vienna isn’t a bad place, in fact, it is one of the best places in the dc metro area. it has one of the best middle and high schools in the state and country. there is only 1 sex offender and his name is joey McKean other than that everything is fine.

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