These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Texas For 2018

We looked at science and data to determine which cities in TX are really ghetto.

This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as info-tainment. Don’t freak out.

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There are lots of people who throw the term ‘ghetto’ around. But where is the actual ghetto in Texas?

How do you decide if a place is ghetto or not? You ask the internet. According to the Urban Dictionary, a ghetto is defined as:

“urban; of or relating to (inner) city life” and “poor; of or relating to the poor life.”

Using that criteria, it’s not hard to scrape the internet, run some scientific data on where ghettos might exist in a state and then put out a list.

After analyzing all cities with a decent amount of people in them, we came up with this list as the most ghetto places in Texas:

  1. Balch Springs (Photos)
  2. Jacksonville (Photos)
  3. Mercedes (Photos)
  4. Corsicana (Photos)
  5. Big Spring (Photos)
  6. Beaumont (Photos)
  7. Houston (Photos)
  8. Humble (Photos)
  9. Port Arthur (Photos)
  10. Texarkana (Photos)

Ouch, Houston! Can this be true?

Read on below to see where your home town ranked and why.

For more Texas reading, check out:


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What ghetto criteria did we use?

In order to rank the most ghetto places in Texas, we had to determine what criteria defines a ghetto city or neighborhood.

Since a ghetto is defined as a poor area, we used income levels, crime and education levels as a guide to determine where the most broke citizens of a state live.

Additionally, the staples of inner city life include cheap and discounted retail outlets.

We started by making a list of every place in Texas with more than 10,000 people based on the 2013 American Community Survey. That left us with over 200 places in the Lone Star State.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using Yelp and Area Vibes, this is the criteria we used:

  • Household income levels
  • High school graduation rates
  • Number of convenience stores
  • Number of drug stores
  • Number of discount stores
  • Crime

Note: For the sake of getting reliable numbers, we counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance.

All of these results are listed in a per capita basis. Meaning number of stores per person in a state. Additionally, high school graduation rates are determined by looking at the total number of people who live in a city, not the current graduation rate of an area’s high schools.


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1. Balch Springs

Source: wikipedia

Income: $38,798
Drop out rate: 40%
Crime: 7th highest

If you haven’t been through Balch Springs, know this: It’s dangerous and uneducated. This Dallas suburb is in a real fine mess, and can truly be defined as one of the more ghetto areas in Texas.

Balch Springs is the 7th most dangerous city in Texas, where residents face a 1 in 18 chance of being robbed for every year they live here. And 4 in 10 residents don’t have a high school diploma, meaning the unemployment rate and incomes aren’t going up any time soon.

There were quite a few people in Balch Springs who Tweeted about it being ghetto, especially the Walmart:

“I hate running into ghetto people in Balch springs.”

2. Jacksonville

Source: wikipedia

Income: $31,110
Drop out rate: 35%
Crime: 17th highest

About a quarter of the population in Jacksonville lives below the poverty line, which is simply not acceptable in America, especially in the state of Texas. That might be one of the reasons that crime is so high here. You’d be hard pressed to find a more dangerous place in eastern Texas.

Jacksonville also has a high number of convenience stores, which sociologists have determined are a strong indication of an inner city.

3. Mercedes

Source: wikipedia

Income: $25,394
Drop out rate: 50%
Crime: 15th highest

Mercedes is a very poor town, plain and simple. Being a border town, it’s understandable that a large portion of the community is uneducated, but more than half is a shame. More than a third of the population of 16,000 residents lives below the poverty line, which is defined by the government as $25,000 a year for a family of four.

The fact that Mercedes is the 15th most dangerous city in Texas may also not come as a surprise. There weren’t any murders here last year, but folks here face a 1 in 20 chance of being the victim of a property crime.

4. Corsicana

Source: wikipedia

Income: $33,078
Drop out rate: 30%
Crime: 15th highest

Corsicana is just about as dangerous as Mercedes is, overall. However, it appears to be more dangerous here. There was a murder here not too long ago.

The number of convenience stores per capita is in the top 10% in Texas, and there are quite a few drug stores here as well.

Twitter had a lot of interesting things to say about how ghetto Corsicana is in the eyes of its residents. Here’s one:

“Corsicana is ghetto at best.”

5. Big Spring

Source: wikipedia

Income: $35,345
Drop out rate: 41.5%
Crime: 38th highest

Big Spring is at a major crossroads, literally and figuratively. It lies in between Midland, Abilene, Lubbock and San Angelo. And, economically speaking, it’s a broke place.

4 in 10 of the residents here never got a high school diploma, so the income levels and job growth is going to be limited to the blue collar variety for at least the near future. But crime – while certainly far below average – isn’t plaguing the community here like it is for other cities on this list.

6. Beaumont

Source: wikipedia

Income: $39,486
Drop out rate: 21%
Crime: 5th highest

Here’s the deal with Beaumont: Sure, being a large city, it has a rich history and deep culture. There are plenty of jobs in the area as well.

However, the unemployment rate here is higher than it is for many of the smaller cities we’ve mentioned earlier. Which is an indication that people aren’t trying to get work. Folks make way too little money for such a large city.

And Beaumont is really, really dangerous. Like top 5 in the state dangerous. There were 16 murders here in 2013. If you live there for a year, you have less than a 1 in 100 chance of being raped, murdered or attacked, and less than a 1 in 20 chance of being robbed.

7. Houston

Source: wikipedia

Income: $40,000
Drop out rate: 29%
Crime: 7th highest

Oh, say it ain’t so!

Sure, there are TONS of big name companies here, lots to do, and some really wealthy people in the biggest city in the biggest state.

However, a very large portion of the Houston community is uneducated and broke. Would you have guessed than about 1 in 6 people in Houston lives below the poverty line? And the crime is off the charts for Texas.

But there were more than 200 people outright murdered here, and you have a 1 in 20 chance of being robbed yourself if you live here. Every day, 56 people are raped, attacked or killed in Houston. Wow.

So, yes, we’re aware that Forbes, and other places have called Houston one of the best cities for business in the nation. But we’re not measuring that here.

8. Humble

Source: wikipedia

Income: $46,389
Drop out rate: 25.4%
Crime: 8th highest

Like Houston, Humble is a case of the haves and have nots. This Houston suburb is, statistically almost as dangerous as Houston, if you’re measuring crimes per person. Although Humble didn’t have more than 20,000 violent attacks on its residents like Houston did in 2013.

Humble’s ghetto comes from its crime numbers, low economic outlook and significantly high number of convenience, drug and discount stores.

9. Port Arthur

Source: wikipedia

Income: $32,797
Drop out rate: 31%
Crime: 21st highest

After decades of oil industry woes, Port Arthur is trying to make a come back, and there are many blue collar jobs planned here for the near future. But a 9.1% unemployment rate is just about as high as you’ll see in the Lone Star State.

Does that make a community ghetto? Not always. But an uneducated, poor population that lives in a dangerous place does. And that just about sums up the state of Port Arthur at this very moment.

10. Texarkana

Source: wikipedia

Income: $38,495
Drop out rate: 17%
Crime: 2nd highest

Poor T-Town has taken some abuse from online media sites like this one. And when you look at the numbers, you can see why. It’s the 2nd most dangerous place in the entire state. There were two murders here in 2013 (which isn’t staggering), but the number of crimes per person (rapes, robberies, arson) is just about as high as you’ll see here.

The economy in Texarkana isn’t as far behind as some of the cities above, but it’s still bad there.

Twitter is filled with ghetto rants about Texarkana. Example:

“Ghetto level would be 100. #texarkana”

There You Have It

If you’re measuring the locations in Texas where there are a high number of poor and uneducated residents, and where there are a high number of discounted shopping stores, this is an accurate list.

Additionally, here are the least ghetto places in Texas:

  1. Highland Village (Pop. 15,144)
  2. University Park (Pop. 23,241)
  3. Keller (Pop. 39,763)
  4. Southlake (Pop. 26,454)
  5. Friendswood (Pop. 35,859)

You’ll love an amazing video we found of Dallas. A videographer used a drone, and it might be the best video ever filmed of the Big D. Click here to watch it.

Desktop users, below is a chart of the top 100 ghetto cities in Texas, along with their crime rates:

City Crime Rank
Balch Springs 13.5 1
Jacksonville 25.5 2
Mercedes 23.5 3
Corsicana 23.5 4
Big Spring 44.5 5
Beaumont 9 6
Houston 13.5 7
Humble 13.5 8
Port Arthur 27.5 9
Texarkana 6.5 10
Greenville 22 11
Donna 7.5 12
Henderson 25.5 13
Dallas 33 14
Baytown 51 14
Palestine 15.5 16
Ennis 70.5 17
Paris 20.5 18
Weslaco 3 19
Waco 45.5 20
San Antonio 21 21
Sweetwater 25.5 22
Gainesville 25.5 23
Longview 37 24
Marshall 43.5 24
La Marque 30 26
Fort Worth 40 26
Mineral Wells 46.5 26
Stafford 58 26
Lockhart 88.5 30
Snyder 56 31
Huntsville 87.5 32
Pasadena 77 33
Lubbock 19 34
Arlington 52 35
Bay City 76.5 36
Bryan 81.5 37
Alice 10 38
Uvalde 27.5 39
Mount Pleasant 90.5 40
Webster 36 41
Lancaster 60 42
Odessa 40 43
Wichita Falls 48.5 43
Killeen 58.5 43
Haltom City 103 46
Seguin 82 46
Garland 104 48
Harker Heights 88.5 48
Hurst 30.5 50
Alamo 6.5 51
Laredo 53.5 52
Nacogdoches 88 53
Beeville 128.5 53
Victoria 45.5 55
Grand Prairie 110.5 56
Amarillo 33.5 57
Richmond 115 58
Raymondville 39.5 59
Kingsville 60.5 60
El Campo 89 61
Borger 29.5 62
Brownsville 76.5 63
Socorro 162 64
Corpus Christi 29.5 64
San Juan 68.5 66
Austin 51 67
Addison 54 68
Terrell 53 69
South Houston 44.5 70
Brenham 107 70
Dumas 123 72
Irving 124 73
Converse 93.5 74
Harlingen 49.5 75
Galena Park 148.5 76
Pampa 35 77
Glenn Heights 120 78
San Marcos 83 78
Edinburg 45 80
Abilene 68.5 81
Conroe 91 81
Cleburne 72 83
Live Oak 71.5 83
Rosenberg 132 83
Seagoville 132.5 83
Rio Grande City 98 87
Gatesville 176.5 88
Pharr 93.5 89
El Paso 106.5 90
Cedar Hill 114 91
Brownwood 51 92
Galveston 34.5 93
Angleton 109 94
Vidor 41 94
Bonham 125 96
Euless 123.5 96
Hereford 111 98
Robstown 109.5 99
Freeport 96.5 100
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.