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Austin's neighborhoods conjure up too many stereotypes to count. You've got hipster areas, preppy places, neighborhoods where college kids thrive, and of course, ghettos.
It seems as if there's a neighborhood for everyone in Austin.
And while the city consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the country thanks in part to a strong economy and tons of entertainment, it's not all rainbows and sunshine in Austin. Some neighborhoods aren't as great as others.
So the question arises, which Austin neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?
Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Austin hoods need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Austin area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the neighborhoods to be amazing, although Crestview ranks way above the rest.
We examined 60 of Austin's neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These places don't quite measure up to Austin's reputation.
So what's the worst neighborhood to live in Austin for 2021? According to the most recent census data, Montopolis looks to be the worst neighborhood in Austin.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Austin that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.
Once you're done, you can look at the bottom of the story for a complete chart of every neighborhood we looked at from worst to best. Looking for places to avoid outside of the city? You can also check out the worst suburbs of Austin.
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The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Austin For 2021
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $77,150 (3rd worst)
Median Income: $31,146 (4th worst)
More on Montopolis: Data
For more than 100 years, Montopolis stood as an independent community. Originally founded in the 1830s, it wasn't fully enveloped by Austin until the 1970s. These days, it counts as the number 1 worst place to live in the city.
Jobs represent the most pressing challenge for the area's 12,211 residents. The median income comes in at $31,146 and the unemployment rate sits at 6.1%.
Located in the southeast part of the city, Montopolis has its charms. It provides excellent affordable and good access to amenities. In addition, residents can enjoy Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metro Park.
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $167,560 (19th worst)
Median Income: $38,101 (11th worst)
More on Martin Luther King-Hwy 183: Data
Martin Luther King-Hwy 183 has a pretty straightforward name. It's located around the intersection of Highway 183 and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in the eastern section of Austin. A weak economy and a high cost of living make this one of the toughest areas of the city to live.
It can be difficult for the area's 8,366 residents to find a job. The unemployment rate sits at 7.5%. Even the available gigs can make it difficult to pay the bills. The median income equals $38,101, compared to a median home price of $167,560.
The area does offer plenty of amenities, including multiple churches and lots of restaurants.
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $119,120 (12th worst)
Median Income: $38,935 (13th worst)
More on Saint Johns: Data
Saint John's gets its name from an orphanage founded by African-American leaders in the early part of the 20th century. Sadly, the institution burned down in the 1940s. These days, the area is centered around a stretch of I-35 in the northern section of the city. It also represents one of the least attractive parts of Austin.
A sluggish economy accounts for most of the problems. The 9,414 locals have trouble stretching their $38,935 in median income. At the same time, the unemployment rate runs 6.5%.
Saint John's has its share of amenities, though. It includes a significant amount of shopping. There are also educational opportunities, such as the CyberTex Institute of Technology.
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $116,833 (10th worst)
Median Income: $57,876 (43rd worst)
More on East Congress: Data
Located in the southern part of the city, East Congress fits into the intersection of I-35 and Highway 71. Modest safety concerns and a lack of amenities make the area one of the least appealing in the city.
Generally speaking, the economy of the area is relatively good. Residents enjoy a median income of $57,876 and an unemployment rate of 5.8%. The cost of living is attractive as well, with a median home price of $116,833. In addition, locals can take advantage of some pleasant outdoor activities. Williamson Creek runs through the neighborhood.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $201,900 (26th worst)
Median Income: $40,115 (16th worst)
More on Mlk: Data
As the name implies, MLK is centered around Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Located in the eastern part of the city, the neighborhood also ranks as the number 5 worst area in Austin.
Unlike many of the neighborhoods on the list, MLK enjoys a relatively healthy economy, with an unemployment rate of just 4.0%. Unfortunately, the cost of living represents a stretch for most of the 4,121 residents. The median home price sits at $201,900. This puts home ownership out of reach for many in an area, which has a median income of $40,115.
MLK also offers a number of amenities, including a golfing at Morris Williams Golf Course.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $84,867 (5th worst)
Median Income: $56,120 (40th worst)
More on North Burnett: Data
North Burnet follows a curve in Highway 1, near the intersection of Highway 183, part of the northern area of Austin. Theoretically, a short hop on the one of the highways makes for a convenient commute. However, traffic often slows travel on the major roads and public transportation is limited.
Otherwise, North Burnet has a lot going for it. The economy is fairly strong, with a median income of $56,120 and an unemployment rate of 3.2%. Even with this financial security, the neighborhood remains affordable. The median home value sits at $84,867.
In terms of amenities, North Burnet offers a lot. You can head down to the main shopping center, or check out the University of Texas at Austin's J.J. Pickle Research Campus.
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $158,900 (18th worst)
Median Income: $34,384 (8th worst)
More on Parker Lane: Data
A triangular neighborhood in the southeast section of Austin, Parker Lane lies at the intersection of I-35 and Highway 71. A soggy job market and a high cost of living make this one of the least attractive spots in the city.
The local unemployment rate hovers at 6.3%. What's more, most area jobs are relatively low paying, with a median income of $34,384. That makes it difficult to afford homes in the area, which run a median price of $158,900.
There are reasons why the housing market has gotten so competitive in Parker Lane. The area features plenty of amenities, such as the Mabel Davis District Park.
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $175,350 (20th worst)
Median Income: $50,223 (3worst)
More on Johnston Terrace: Data
Located in the eastern part of Austin, Johnston Terrace features an affordable cost of living and a reasonably strong economy. The median income comes in at $50,223, while the unemployment rate stands at 4.7%. The median home value equals $175,350.
Yet, despite these advantages, this neighborhood still represents one of the least enticing sections of the city. Why? Well, its location outside the city center keeps it far from many amenities.
Among its draws, Johnston Terrace includes Boggy Creek and the East Boggy Creek Greenbelt, an area for hiking.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $90,800 (6th worst)
Median Income: $34,377 (7th worst)
More on Georgian Acres: Data
Georgian Acres sits in the north-central part of the city. A sluggish economy and some concerns about crime make this the number 9 least enticing neighborhood in Austin.
Finding a job isn't that hard in the area. The unemployment rate sits at 4.5%. However, these tend to be low-paying gigs, as the neighborhood's median income comes in at just $34,377.
Bordered by I-35 and Highway 183, Georgian Acres offers excellent access to the rest of the city. The area itself is mostly residential, though it features some shopping and commercial areas as well.
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $217,960 (29th worst)
Median Income: $48,647 (28th worst)
More on Highland: Data
Traditionally, Highland has a reputation as a commercial center. Home of the Highland Mall and other retail spots, this spot in the northern part of Austin once drew shoppers from throughout the city. That is, until the mall closed in 2015, leaving a big empty spot in the middle of the neighborhood. It's no surprise, then, that Highland represents the number 10 least inviting part of the city.
Even without the mall, the area's economy has kept humming. The unemployment rate comes in at 5.4% and the median income hovers at $48,647. Still, affordability is a problem. High real estate prices lead to a median home price of $217,960, a stretch for many in the neighborhood.
How we determined the worst Austin hoods in 2021
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 places have the least amount of those things. We threw the following criteria into this analysis in order to get the best, most complete results possible. We used this set of criteria for each neighborhood in Austin:
- High unemployment (Less jobs)
- Low median income (Less pay)
- Low population density (No things to do)
- Low home values (No one's willing to pay to live here)
- High crime (Estimated)
Then, we ranked each neighborhood in Austin, Texas for each of these criteria from worst to best.
Next, we averaged the individual rankings for each criteria into a "Worst Score".
The neighborhood with the lowest "Worst Score" ranks as the worst neighborhood of Austin.
Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Austin to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 60 neighborhoods ranked from worst to best.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased. Hold on to your pants.
The 'hoods around Austin that are really hoods
Well there you have it -- the worst of the neighborhoods in Austin with Montopolis landing at the bottom of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Austin aren't all bad. Crestview takes the cake as the best place to live in Austin.
We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.
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