The suburbs of Austin call to all types of people looking to escape city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Austin to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
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 Saturday Night Science to determine which Austin ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Austin area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Austin proper, although The Hills certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Austin are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones.
We examined the 21 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.
Now don’t freak out.
What’s the worst suburb of Austin? Taylor ranks as the worst suburb of Austin for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
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.
For more Texas reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Austin Suburbs To Live For 2023
Median Income: $60,629 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $185,700 (2nd lowest)
More on Taylor:
We’ll get the ball rolling with Taylor, the absolute worst place to live around Austin according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Taylor beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the worst in the Austin area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 2nd 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 Taylor.
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.
Median Income: $86,272 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (highest)
Median Home Value: $241,900 (8th lowest)
More on Liberty Hill:
Welcome to Liberty Hill. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 26.4 miles to Austin. Income levels here are the 8th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $86,272 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.
Median Income: $64,633 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 1.7% (19th highest)
Median Home Value: $171,300 (lowest)
More on Lockhart:
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Austin suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Lockhart 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 Austin suburbs.
But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.
Median Income: $78,169 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $202,000 (3rd lowest)
More on Elgin:
If you live in Elgin, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 5th lowest Austin suburb for median household incomes.
Not only that, but this is the 4th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Austin. Remember, we looked at 21 cities for this study.
Elgin is about 22.0 miles to downtown.
Median Income: $68,591 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $223,100 (6th lowest)
More on Bastrop:
Bastrop has the distinction of being a Austin suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Bastrop has the 6th lowest home values in the metro Austin area, where the median price is $223,100. The median income is $191,667.
Bastrop has an unemployment rate of 4.01% which ranks 11th worst.
Median Income: $91,285 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $218,300 (4th lowest)
More on Manor:
Manor has 13,928 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 6.992551883722611%.
Median Income: $96,125 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $315,000 (13th lowest)
More on Jonestown:
Ah, Jonestown. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Austin.
It’s the place with the 9th most out of work residents in the Austin metro area (4.7%).
Median Income: $94,807 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $226,900 (7th lowest)
More on Hutto:
Hutto is a city about 20.1 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. Hutto has the 8th most uninsured people, 12th worst incomes, and has the 6th highest unemployment rate (5.79%) in the entire Austin metro area.
Homes only cost $226,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for Austin standards.
Median Income: $80,622 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $220,100 (5th lowest)
More on Kyle:
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 3.74% of residents are out of work.
Median Income: $70,644 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $415,200 (16th lowest)
More on Wimberley:
Rounding out the ten worst Austin suburbs to call home is Wimberley.
Located 29.9 miles outside the city, Wimberleys is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 2nd highest unemployment rate (9.3%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Austin for 2023
To figure out how bad a Austin 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 Austin.
We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 21 suburbs to evaluate around Austin.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 21 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 looking at you, Taylor.
We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Austin.
Summary: The areas around Austin where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Austin with Taylor casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Austin aren’t all bad. The Hills takes the cake as the best place to live around Austin.
- The Hills
- Bee Cave
For more Texas reading, check out:
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- Worst Places To Live In Texas
Detailed List Of The Worst Austin Suburbs
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