Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Austin.
So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?
Today, we’ll use science and data to determine which Austin ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Austin area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Austin proper, although Lakeway certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Austin are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
We examined the 15 biggest suburbs of Austin to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Texas lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Austin in terms of quality of life.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Austin for 2018:
- Elgin (Photos)
- Taylor (Photos)
- Manor (Photos)
- Bastrop (Photos)
- Lockhart (Photos)
- Hutto (Photos)
- Georgetown (Photos)
- Round Rock (Photos)
- Kyle (Photos)
- Leander (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Austin that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Austin too.
Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.
For more Texas reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Texas
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- 10 Most Dangerous Places In Texas
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Austin for 2018
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 cities have the least amount of those things.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data, 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 drop outs
- High poverty
- High rate of uninsured families
FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Austin.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 15 suburbs to evaluate around Austin.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 15 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 Austin.” We’re lookin’ at you, Elgin.
Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.
We’ll get the ball rolling with Elgin, the absolute worst place to live around Austin according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Elgin beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the Austin area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 1st 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 Elgin.
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.
Welcome to Taylor. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 27.1 miles to Austin. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $44,681 a year, which doesn’t go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.
But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Austin suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Manor 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 drop out rate is poor compared to other Austin suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in Bastrop, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 3rd lowest Austin suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 3rd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Austin. Remember, we looked at 15 cities for this study.
Bastrop is about 29.4 miles to downtown.
Lockhart has the distinction of being a Austin suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Lockhart has the 3rd lowest home values in the metro Austin area, where the median price is $121,300. To put that into perspective, in Lakeway, the median income is $113,591, which is the best in the area.
Lockhart has an unemployment rate of 5.7% which ranks 9th worst.
Hutto has 21,241 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 7.4%.
Ah, Georgetown. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Austin.
It’s the place with the 11th most out of work residents in the Austin metro area (5.6%).
8. Round Rock
Round Rock is a city about 16.0 miles from Austin, but Austin 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. Round Rock has the 6th most uninsured people, 10th worst incomes, and has the 7th highest unemployment rate (6.3%) in the entire Austin metro area.
Homes only cost $192,500 for a reason. That’s cheap for Austin standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Austin, then Kyle might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Austin suburb.
About 4.7% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Austin suburbs to call home is Leander.
Located 19.3 miles outside the city, Leanders is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 8th highest unemployment rate (5.8%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Austin where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Austin with Elgin casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Austin aren’t all bad. Lakeway takes the cake as the best place to live around Austin.
For more Texas reading, check out:
- 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Texas
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- 10 Worst Places To Live In Texas
Detailed List Of The Worst Austin Suburbs