The 10 Worst Washington, D.C. Suburbs

The worst Washington, D.C. suburbs are Dumfries and Brentwood 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 Falls Church 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 2023

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

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Washington? Dumfries ranks as the worst suburb of Washington for 2023 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 2023

Dumfries, VA

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


Population: 5,669
Median Income: $71,784 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $226,100 (lowest)
More on Dumfries: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

And in the world of worst rankings, Dumfries beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 6th 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 Dumfries.

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


Population: 3,775
Median Income: $71,645 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $338,400 (14th lowest)
More on Brentwood: Data | Crime

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

This city is 4.2 miles to Washington. Income levels here are the 5th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $71,645 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.

Greenbelt, MD

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


Population: 24,602
Median Income: $75,832 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $244,800 (6th lowest)
More on Greenbelt: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Washington suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Greenbelt 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.

4. Landover Hills

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,075
Median Income: $82,083 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.5% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $276,800 (7th lowest)
More on Landover Hills:

If you live in Landover Hills, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 11th lowest Washington suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 5th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Washington. Remember, we looked at 36 cities for this study.

Landover Hills is about 7.1 miles to downtown.

Riverdale Park, MD

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


Population: 7,321
Median Income: $87,819 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (24th highest)
Median Home Value: $372,100 (20th 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 20th lowest home values in the metro Washington area, where the median price is $372,100. The median income is $201,607.

Riverdale Park has an unemployment rate of 4.43% which ranks 24th worst.

Bladensburg, MD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,591
Median Income: $54,208 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.5% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $302,200 (10th lowest)
More on Bladensburg: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Bladensburg has 9,591 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 8.709506107275624%.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,537
Median Income: $51,122 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 22.8% (highest)
Median Home Value: $235,000 (2nd lowest)
More on Seat Pleasant: Data | Crime

Ah, Seat Pleasant. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Washington.

It’s the place with the most out of work residents in the Washington metro area (22.84%).

College Park, MD

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


Population: 34,961
Median Income: $69,736 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $359,300 (18th lowest)
More on College Park: Data | Cost Of Living

College Park is a city about 7.7 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. College Park has the 19th most uninsured people, 4th worst incomes, and has the 13th highest unemployment rate (5.77%) in the entire Washington metro area.

Homes only cost $359,300 for a reason. That’s cheap for Washington standards.

9. Forest Heights

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,652
Median Income: $86,922 (16th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.9% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $236,800 (4th 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 12.89% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,083
Median Income: $85,104 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $235,700 (3rd lowest)
More on Capitol Heights: Data | Crime

Rounding out the ten worst Washington suburbs to call home is Capitol Heights.

Located 6.2 miles outside the city, Capitol Heightss is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 9th highest unemployment rate (7.36%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Washington for 2023

To figure out how bad a Washington suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

It’s Saturday Night Science.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2017-2021, 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, Dumfries.

We updated this article for 2023, 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 2023

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

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

  • Falls Church
  • University Park
  • Poolesville

Detailed List Of The Worst Washington Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Dumfries 5,669 $71,784 $226,100
2 Brentwood 3,775 $71,645 $338,400
3 Greenbelt 24,602 $75,832 $244,800
4 Landover Hills 2,075 $82,083 $276,800
5 Riverdale Park 7,321 $87,819 $372,100
6 Bladensburg 9,591 $54,208 $302,200
7 Seat Pleasant 4,537 $51,122 $235,000
8 College Park 34,961 $69,736 $359,300
9 Forest Heights 2,652 $86,922 $236,800
10 Capitol Heights 4,083 $85,104 $235,700
11 New Carrollton 13,574 $73,629 $312,800
12 Mount Rainier 8,290 $59,268 $427,800
13 Manassas 42,596 $101,934 $356,500
14 Laurel 29,438 $85,615 $296,300
15 Indian Head 3,909 $73,204 $239,500
16 Berwyn Heights 3,317 $120,662 $342,400
17 Manassas Park 17,081 $90,544 $330,200
18 Gaithersburg 68,827 $98,089 $427,400
19 Hyattsville 20,790 $84,763 $380,900
20 North Beach 2,611 $71,932 $293,500
21 Annapolis 40,581 $92,026 $428,600
22 Cheverly 6,191 $106,732 $385,500
23 Glenarden 6,341 $91,467 $334,900
24 Herndon 24,574 $117,741 $470,200
25 Fairfax 23,980 $118,492 $596,800
26 Takoma Park 17,610 $86,644 $625,200
27 La Plata 10,054 $108,043 $343,000
28 Rockville 67,095 $116,031 $554,800
29 Bowie 58,113 $127,029 $362,800
30 Alexandria 158,185 $105,450 $579,100
31 Chesapeake Beach 6,303 $120,194 $383,900
32 Kensington 2,336 $132,132 $797,300
33 Vienna 16,465 $200,938 $827,800
34 Poolesville 5,666 $201,607 $533,100
35 University Park 2,701 $159,464 $537,000
36 Falls Church 14,494 $155,071 $838,300
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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