These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In New York For 2018


We used science and data to determine which areas in NY are really ghetto.

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

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.
Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

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

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 New York:

  1. Monticello (Photos)
  2. Middletown
  3. Poughkeepsie (Photos)
  4. Hempstead (Photos)
  5. Troy (Photos)
  6. South Jamaica
  7. Uniondale
  8. Newburgh (Photos)
  9. Brownsville
  10. Utica (Photos)

Read on below to see where your town ranked.

For more New York reading, check out:

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

What ghetto criteria did we use?

In order to rank the most ghetto places in New York, 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 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 New York with more than 2,000 people based on the 2013 American Community Survey. That left us with over 500 places in the Empire 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

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.

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

1. Monticello

Source: wikipedia

Income: $22,897
High school: 75%
Convenience stores: 41st in NY
Discount stores: 20th

About 90 minutes north of downtown is the small, ghetto city of Monticello. Here, a quarter of the population is uneducated, and the median income is the lowest in the entire state.

The government says the poverty line for a family of 4 is $25,000. In Monticello, the average household earns less than that.

The number of drug stores and discount stores is in the top 5% in the state as well.

A recent raid by state and federal authorities brought down 14 criminals in Monticello, one of NYC suburbs with ties to major gangs. And an NPR story that was written not too long ago talked about how gangs are taking over these once decent middle class suburbs of NYC.

2. Middletown

Source: Public Domain

Income: $53,096
High school: 70%
Convenience stores: 20th

Middletown can also be considered a northern suburb of NYC.

And speaking of the NPR story, a majority of the focus was on Middletown. While, as recently as 2000, Middletown was a decent middle class suburb, it has really gone downhill since. There are ties to major gangs here, and it seems to be getting worse.

And the data backs that up. The average income and education levels in Middletown are far below average.

3. Poughkeepsie

Source: wikipedia

Income: $39,528
High school: 72%
Drug stores: 51st in NY

Three years ago, Forbes Magazine dissed Poughkeepsie big time, calling it one of the most miserable cities in America. If you give Poughkeepsie a Google, you’ll see many mentions from locals and former Vassar College students calling the place a ghetto, too.

The numbers back it up – Poughkeepsie’s overall income levels are in the bottom 10% in the state, and more than a quarter of the population never took the time to finish high school.

The inner city shopping experiences are in the top 20% – not the worst by far, but way up there.

Throw it all together, and what you have is a pretty ghetto city.

4. Hempstead

Source: wikipedia

Income: $53,729
High school: 65%
Drug stores: 11th most

There were 10 murders in Hempstead in 2013, making it one of the most dangerous places in the state. And when you look at the education numbers and number of inner city shopping outlets in the area, Hempstead is by definition, a ghetto.

Located on Long Island, this city has seen its fair share of negative coverage from news outlets across the country. Newsweek Magazine once wrote about the drug war that takes place here.

5. Troy

Source: wikipedia

Income: $38,122
High school: 75%
Convenience stores: 16th most

Troy has the 12th highest violent crime rate in the state of New York, and, statistically, is the 10th most dangerous place in the state overall.

Located on the banks of the Hudson River just north of Albany, Troy has been described as ghetto, grimy, gritty and run down on several internet forums, which backs up the data we analyzed.

6. South Jamaica

Source: Public Domain

Income: $58,343
High school: 66%
Drug stores: 9th most

South Jamaica is a working class neighborhood in Queens that’s pretty famously known as being called one of the most ghetto places in New York.

Merely 1 in 3 people graduated from high school here, and the number of reports of dangerous elements here is reported pretty much daily.

Notable residents of South Jamaica include 50 Cent, Nikki Minaj, G-Unit and a rapper called Mr. Cheeks.

7. Uniondale

Source: Public Domain

Income: $72,370
High school: 72%
Drug stores: 11th most

Uniondale is a CDP in Nassau County on Long Island in Hempstead. While not as dangerous as Hempstead, it’s still a pretty ghetto place when you look at the data. While certain parts of the area aren’t ‘ghetto’ by definition, the north side of Uniondale more than makes up for it.

Statistically, the north end of Uniondale is one of the more dangerous areas in the state, where education and income levels are in the bottom 5% of the state.

Here’s what one Twitter user had to say:

“Hempstead, and Uniondale is the ghetto of LI 4 those who don’t know. Ppl are always getting arrested”

8. Newburgh

Source: wikipedia

Income: $36,077
High school: 60%
Convenience stores: 12th most

Newburgh has the 2nd highest number of high school dropouts in the state of New York, and as a result, income levels are just about as low as you can get as well.

New York Magazine called Newburgh the murder capital of New York. It also referred to Newburgh as a place where drugs are openly sold, where gangs thrive, and where residents are afraid to walk on the streets, even in the daytime.

Newburgh is along the Hudson, about an hour’s drive north of downtown.

9. Brownsville

Source: Public Domain

Income: $31,833
High school: 30%
Drug stores: 1st

When you Google Brownsville, Google auto suggests ‘Brownsville New York crime rate’. And, there’s a subsection on the Brownsville Wikipedia page that mentions the police. That’s also not a good sign.

Brownsville is a neighborhood in Brooklyn with a staggeringly low 70% dropout rate, where the income levels are bordering the poverty line.

10. Utica

Source: wikipedia

Income: $31,048
High school: 73%
Convenience stores: 16th most

Utica has been cited in numerous studies as having one of the highest crime rates in the state of New York. When you look at the number of high school dropouts, income levels and inner city shopping options, you can see why.

In many of the chat rooms that talk about Utica, people argue back and forth about whether or not Utica is actually a ‘ghetto.’ Most former and current residents are resigned to the fact that, indeed, Utica has become a ghetto, but that it has potential to turn things around.

There You Have It

If you’re measuring the locations in New York 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 New York:

  1. East Shoreham (Pop. 6,266)
  2. Fort Salonga (Pop. 9,875)
  3. West Hills (Pop. 5,297)
  4. Hastings-on-Hudson (Pop. 7,855)
  5. North Wantagh (Pop. 11,562)

We wrote about the 10 Drunkest Cities in New York if you want another interesting read.

Like RoadSnacks on Facebook:

 Ghetto, Rankings 

24 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In New York For 2018

  1. Nice that you guys used an alley way in the Troy photo. It completely does not represent Troy at all. Why don’t you use the most disgusting alley photo from your hometown and put it on your demeaning list? This poor journalism speaks volume about the integrity of your “factual findings”. HUH!

    1. He said “Don’t freak out.” Too bad you’re in denial about the dump you live in. Numbers don’t lie. And that’s not really an alley way. It’s a random snap of Google maps street view like all the other pics. He could have put a pic of the most beutiful thing in Troy but it still won’t hide the crime rate.

  2. The reason the cities in the Catskills are doing so poorly, is because of the nonexistent hotel business that was there in the 50’s and 60’s. I grew up in Liberty, NY, which is also in great decline now. We had Grossingers, The Concord and many other good hotels. People stopped coming up from the city. It’s still quite beautiful up there, if you don’t need to earn any money.

  3. Funny how most of these places (Troy and Utica excluded) have an extra Ddose of Ddiversity…. The two Ds are for a double dose of pimpin’. Know what I’m sayin’?

  4. Well…Utica and Troy are sister cities…former industrial centers raped by flight of industry to the south for cheap labor, and to foreign countries for even cheaper. Thanks a lot, “mistaken” (I left other descriptors out) Congressmen and Congresswomen who voted for NAFTA, GATT, etc and are now poised to polish us off by subjecting us to foreign rule under the Trans Pacific Partnership..Moving the prisons in here also encouraged families of criminals to come on up the river.. Next, downstate interests in Albany cut us out of population aid by not counting the prisoners as OUR population. sending their support money to the towns they were originally resident. How stupid. Yeah, things have been tough here, but, a combination of hard development work and cyclical boom have us on the rise in Utica. My family and I have been here since 1951 with a family operated an insurance agency still extant and thriving. Can’t speak for Troy..best to ’em.
    Oh yea, we have a superb museum and art schools, state university, Utica College, MVCC, the Masonic Medical Reserch Lab, Adirondack Railway operating out of the second biggest station in the state… and sports events galore including the HUGE Boilermaker 15k foot race and the Utica Comets AHL team. Houses are cheap here, cops are nice (except when you’re NOT) taxes middlin’ air and water are incredibly good. Read the science. Come on up , unless you’re a hood.

  5. Well…Utica and Troy are sister cities…former industrial centers raped by flight of industry to the south for cheap labor, and to foreign countries for even cheaper. Thanks a lot, “mistaken” (I left other descriptors out) Congressmen and Congresswomen who voted for NAFTA, GATT, etc and are now poised to polish us off by subjecting us to foreign rule under the Trans Pacific Partnership..Moving the prisons in here also encouraged families of criminals to come on up the river.. Next, downstate interests in Albany cut us out of population aid by not counting the prisoners as OUR population. sending their support money to the towns they were originally resident. How stupid. Yeah, things have been tough here, but, a combination of hard development work and cyclical boom have us on the rise in Utica. My family and I have been here since 1951 with a family operated an insurance agency still extant and thriving. Can’t speak for Troy..best to ’em.
    Oh yea, we have a superb museum and art schools, state university, Utica College, MVCC, the Masonic Medical Reserch Lab, Adirondack Railway operating out of the second biggest station in the state… and sports events galore including the HUGE Boilermaker 15k foot race and the Utica Comets AHL team. Houses are cheap here, cops are nice (except when you’re NOT) taxes are reasonable. Air and water are incredibly good. Read the science. Come on up , unless you’re a hood. Then go to Raleigh NC where the guys are who wrote the hatchet job on our towns.

  6. Uniondale is next to Hempstead, so there is a common thread of ghetto between them.

    But Long Island has several other dump holes that are just as bad, if not worst, than Hempstead.

    Brentwood and Central Islip are filled with MS13 and other miscreants. And Wyandanch is probably the worst hood around. And there is this little crap hole called Roosevelt that no same person goes through at night.

    And not surprisingly, the dump called Hempstead is next door to Garden City, on of the wealthiest places in the country.

  7. You guys are disgusting , last time I checked Uniondale is not even close to being ghetto. Our school district has a large amount of students who graduate & we actually help our children succeed . Shame on you !! Instead of rating neighborhoods , you should actually go out and help our children get out of these so called “ghettos”

  8. uniondale is far from ghetto although some kids may want it to be so that Hempstead and Roosevelt wont consider it soft but looking at the many working class two parent homes in uniondale plus high graduation rates uniondale does not fit the description…i work in hempstead and uniondale school safety and trust me Hempstead and uniondale are worlds apart…and even hempstead doesn’t belong on the same note as south jamaica and brooklyn..i lived in bedstuy and south jamaica and hempstead is calm by comparison so the writer should revise this story.

  9. Your crappy blog is misinformed & your writers
    are not interested in facts; just a fast read. You have balls talking about the beautiful Mohawk Valley
    deep in the plush Adirondack that was once an industrial haven flourishing with wealth &
    Economic stability. Efore you go bad mouthing a beautiful city; you dhould research your facts. Low
    income family’s do not make a city ghetto. This city of Utica is the home of generational restaurants & bakeries still contributing to the city. New corporations have chosen Utica because of its affordability. The city is still flourishing with three major Colleges including Utica College, Sun Tech & MVCC. There are constant upgrades to the cities infastructure & the Arts & Music are alive & keeping the cities inner heartbeat
    going. Just because of modern day shifts like prison locations & govt contracts ending does not qualify this historical city as a ghetto or uneducated neither does the average income. Many family’s from the 19 60’s chose to live there the remainder of there lives bec of the beauty & significant beautiful landmarks that reside in their hearts. Your blog might be a little more popular if you chose to write about positivity & the beautiful aspects of these cities that families are still working very hard to help flourish. There are still green trees on Genesee St, a great zoo that is over 50 years old with gorgon animals, numerous pretty parks that have been maintained for years, a new Hospital being built & Landmark museums & performance spaces like the Stanley & MWPAI. Not to mention the legendary
    Historic people who were born there & became legends. Kids who live there read & it would be devestating for one of them to read this pitiful sad cappy article from someone who needs an education in English & History; may I suggest Utica college?

  10. Monticello is NOT a suburb in NYC. We are almost 100 miles away. While we might have issues with drugs and gangs its not any worse than anyplace else.A big part of our problem is that surrounding counties send all of their welfare people to our area.

  11. Whoever wrote this obviously has no clue as to what they’re talking about. They have Monticello as number one and Middletown as number two but Newburgh as number 8. No Rochester, Buffalo, or Syracuse? Nowhere in the Bronx or uptown Manhattan? This list is a joke.

  12. I am very aware that this article is 4 months shy of being a year old. Yet, I could not resist posting a response. I am also, very aware that the intention of the article is for, “info-tainment”, yet it bothers me greatly that you would condemn a city/community for it’s poverty level and lack of industry. And, in doing so, are condemning the population that lives there. Also, I am bothered that the “inner city” is always a target and associated with “ghetto.” Honestly what is, “ghetto”?

    Are you aware of where the word, “ghetto” came from. Are you aware of where the first ghetto was? Trust me sir, ghetto has nothing to do with “inner city”. I live in Los Angeles, where there are “inner cities” and poverty, and brother, there is wealth. There are areas of the South and Middle-America that are not considered the “Inner city” that would put your description and these photos to shame. The extreme poverty of some places in the South and in the Appalachia would make any “inner city” look desirable.

    My grandmother, once told me, “Ghetto is a mindset. You can live anywhere and be cultured, creative and successful. Or, you can live anywhere and be, “ghetto.”

    Gentrification is happening all over the U.S.A and trust me, in about 5-7 years, these areas will be taken over by Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and everyone and their mother will be scrambling to move there.

  13. Sad that 25K is poverty level. I work in a public school as an aide. I make less than that and I am full time. It is a NY state public school in a very nice area. How sad that I work in a nice, important place, supported by the government and make such little money. I own a home in a non ghetto area and have to work a 2nd job to pay my mortgage. 🙁

  14. The thing that bugs me the most is the use of the word “Downtown”. What place are you referring to as “Downtown”? New York City? No one that has actually ever stepped into NYC refers to NYC as a whole as “Downtown”. NYC has a “Downtown” area that starts roughly around the 20’s all the way to the water at Battery Park. Is that what you mean?

    Newburgh isn’t about an hour’s drive of “downtown” unless you’re phase through traffic up through the GWB or Palisades and the NY thruway. And it’s certainly not an hour if you’re driving their from “downtown Manhattan” (try 3+ hours).

    Middletown is a “northern suburb of NYC”? Sure if you can fly lol or have access to transporter that they have on the USS Enterprise. No “suburb” is 2-3 hours away (which is actually about how long it takes to drive there depending on traffic).

    So yeah…not a good showing…a whole lot of nonsense based on a mountain of crap. You guys should stick to giving opinions on things you actually know.

    1. How is where you are from relevant ? Being “ghetto” , I think has little to do with income, being that many drug dealers are living above the poverty line, but how they might present themselves and the values they hold could be as ugly and “ghetto” as it gets. What is Mariah Carey all about….I don’t know anything about her as a person.

  15. I was born in the Bronx NY and raised in Otisville, which is close to Middletown. Graduate of Middletown HS. So you are talking about my home town and surrounding area and are classifying it as ghetto. Things have changed since I was there in the seventies but even today to classify it as a ghetto is simply not scientific nor based on data. Lets test your logic:

    You base you premise on a definition of ghetto from(???): “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.””
    Here your lack of english comprehension is on display – even if we used the data which you supply. I don’t know when you got that from the urban dictionary, but if you ask it today 09/10/2017 for a definiion of ghetto one gets:
    ghetto
    1. (n.) an impoverished, neglected, or otherwise disadvantaged residential area of a city, usually troubled by a disproportionately large amount of crime 
    2. (adj.) urban; of or relating to (inner) city life 
    3. (adj.) poor; of or relating to the poor life 
    4. (adj.) jury-rigged, improvised, or home-made (usually with extremely cheap or sub-standard components), yet still deserving of an odd sense of respect from ghetto dwellers and non-ghetto dwellers alike
    by k1 October 12, 2001

    Before we unpack that definition we have to comprehend English grammar: N = Noun: a person place or thing – ADJ = Adjective: a word or phrase naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it.

    You use attributes that help to understand the definition to define the word instead of using the definition itself and using the adjectives to guide an understanding of the noun Ghetto – a fundamental error in how to use the English language.

    If you presented this paper to your English professor you would get a D at best (you made an effort is the only redeeming value).

    This definition of ghetto provides the criteria to identify a ghetto( I actually disagree with the definition but that is another paper):
    Poverty (poor), Neglect, Residential Area of a City (urban, inner city), the rate of crime in this area(as compared to surrounding areas) are this definition.
    You then redefine what a ghetto is by using Yelp and Area Vibes to classify a place as a ‘ghetto’ by:
    Household income levels, High school graduation rates, Number of convenience stores, Number of drug stores, Number of discount stores
    I can stop right here and throw all of your conclusions in the trash. Why? Because you erroneously redefine what a ghetto is by creating your own definition/criteria – and pass that off as scientific and data based. I’m being real nice with you, I hope you realize that – because you have maligned a whole region that people are proud of, based on bullshit. Your trash had to be challenged, however. Question since you know so much about the tri-state area – How do you classify New Haven, Connecticut, the home of Yale University?

    1. This is great, and accurate. Thank you for trolling all the butthurt people in denial of the fact that they live in a ghetto hood. I have been to all of these places and there is no denying the FACT that these places are GHETTOOOOOOO!! Riverhead and Bellport are dumps too, FYI. Great journalism. Keep up the great work!

    2. You sound like a bitter failed aspiring english professor. Your rebuttal is 99% fluff and double-talk. You are from one of these ghetto hood dumps and have too much pride to admit to yourself that you grew up in a ghetto hood dump. You challenge his definition of ghetto from urban dictionary but the one that you posted from urban dictionary contains the same definition he gave word for word. Using alot of big words can make you seem smart when you are talking to dumb people such as the people you grew up around in the ghetto. Every town on this list is without a doubt a ghetto. NYC ghettos (bed-stuy, brownsville, south jamaica) are slightly worse than suburban ghettos (hempstead, uniondale, roosevelt, wyandanch, central islip, brentwood, bellport, riverhead), and suburban ghettos are slightly worse than rural/upstate ghettos (utica, monticello, etc.). BTW, there seems to be many Universities surrounded by “crappy” areas so that point is invalid. Universities and prisons are a staple of upstate/new england ghettos. The true definition of ghetto is an underprivileged poor area with a higher crime rate than the more wealthy surrounding areas. Basically wherever poor people live. Because no matter how much pride you have in the area where you live, if the income or employment rates are low there will be crime, and the surrounding areas will be calling you “the ghetto”.

  16. The reason why people are so upset at this is because they come from these areas! They pretend that the neglect by New York State for 20 years is not existent.Human emotion can blind you to the truth!! Also when you become a English grammar professor to dispute something is because you really don’t have a valid argument!! Sad but true!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *