The 10 Worst Austin Suburbs For 2021

We used science and data to determine which Austin suburbs are the pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst suburbs around Austin.

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 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 20 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 2021:

  1. Liberty Hill
  2. Taylor
  3. Elgin
  4. Manor
  5. Lockhart
  6. Bastrop
  7. Dripping Springs
  8. Wimberley
  9. Hutto
  10. Kyle

What's the worst suburb of Austin? Liberty Hill ranks as the worst suburb of Austin for 2021 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.

Or, if you're thinking of moving to elsewhere in texas check out the best places in texas overall or the worst.

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:

The 10 Worst Austin Suburbs To Live For 2021

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,041
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 5)
Median Income: $46,250 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $179,400 (5th lowest)
More on Liberty Hill:  Data

We'll get the ball rolling with Liberty Hill, the absolute worst place to live around Austin according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Liberty Hill 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 5th 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 Liberty Hill.

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.

Taylor, TX

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 17,001
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $52,672 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $158,400 (3rd lowest)
More on Taylor:  Data | Photos

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 $52,672 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.

Elgin, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,064
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Income: $58,816 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (highest)
Median Home Value: $155,900 (2nd lowest)
More on Elgin:  Data | Photos

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Austin suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Elgin 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.

Manor, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,974
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Income: $68,079 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $170,300 (4th lowest)
More on Manor:  Data | Photos

If you live in Manor, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 7th lowest Austin suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 7th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Austin. Remember, we looked at 20 cities for this study.

Manor is about 13.9 miles to downtown.

Lockhart, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,652
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Income: $55,644 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (18th highest)
Median Home Value: $141,000 (lowest)
More on Lockhart:  Data | Photos

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 lowest home values in the metro Austin area, where the median price is $141,000. To put that into perspective, in The Hills, the median income is $187,569, which is the best in the area.

Lockhart has an unemployment rate of 2.17% which ranks 18th worst.

Bastrop, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,776
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $56,425 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $196,400 (7th lowest)
More on Bastrop:  Data | Photos

Bastrop has 8,776 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 13.169125716376051%.

Dripping Springs, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,119
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $80,000 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $389,200 (16th lowest)
More on Dripping Springs:  Data | Photos

Ah, Dripping Springs. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Austin.

It's the place with the 15th most out of work residents in the Austin metro area (2.96%).

Wimberley, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,037
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Income: $64,141 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (20th highest)
Median Home Value: $288,200 (14th lowest)
More on Wimberley:  Data | Photos

Wimberley is a city about 29.9 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. Wimberley has the 9th most uninsured people, 6th worst incomes, and has the 20th highest unemployment rate (1.53%) in the entire Austin metro area.

Homes only cost $288,200 for a reason. That's cheap for Austin standards.

Hutto, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 25,320
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $78,942 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $194,000 (6th lowest)
More on Hutto:  Data | Photos

If you absolutely have to live near Austin, then Hutto might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Austin suburb.

About 6.2% of residents are out of work.

Kyle, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 42,706
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $79,348 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $196,700 (8th lowest)
More on Kyle:  Data | Photos

Rounding out the ten worst Austin suburbs to call home is Kyle.

Located 21.9 miles outside the city, Kyles is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 10th highest unemployment rate (3.54%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Austin for 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 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 from 2015-2019, 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 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 20 suburbs to evaluate around Austin.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 20 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, Liberty Hill. You can download the data here.

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.

The areas around Austin where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2021

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Austin with Liberty Hill 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
  • Lakeway
  • West Lake Hills

For more Texas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Austin Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Liberty Hill 2,041 $46,250 $179,400
2 Taylor 17,001 $52,672 $158,400
3 Elgin 10,064 $58,816 $155,900
4 Manor 9,974 $68,079 $170,300
5 Lockhart 13,652 $55,644 $141,000
6 Bastrop 8,776 $56,425 $196,400
7 Dripping Springs 4,119 $80,000 $389,200
8 Wimberley 3,037 $64,141 $288,200
9 Hutto 25,320 $78,942 $194,000
10 Kyle 42,706 $79,348 $196,700
11 Georgetown 71,004 $73,822 $266,900
12 Round Rock 124,434 $82,676 $244,300
13 Pflugerville 61,737 $93,627 $238,700
14 Leander 53,716 $101,872 $263,400
15 Buda 15,565 $89,688 $257,800
16 Bee Cave 6,642 $94,509 $574,300
17 Cedar Park 74,814 $104,019 $301,600
18 West Lake Hills 3,311 $187,569 $1,001,800
19 Lakeway 15,138 $132,899 $472,700
20 The Hills 2,586 $165,179 $547,700

How Is Your Town In ?

9 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Austin Suburbs For 2021

  1. You’ve obviously never spent any time in Taylor, Nick. Where’d your info come from?
    After spending more than 24 years in Austin, Taylor is heaven. The people are friendly and when we enter the locally-owned businesses, we are greeted by name.
    There’s no Kmart or Big Lots here. If you’re going to report, at least do it with facts.

  2. Hi, you people are morons. Where do you get your stats?

    BLS stats for March (most recent I can find easily)
    Leander unemployment rate 3.3%
    Round Rock unemployment rate 3.1%
    Georgetown unemployment rate 3.7%

    Median housing cost (source, Zillow)
    Leander $325,000
    Round Rock $269,000
    Georgetown $297,000

    and unemployment, if anything, has gone down consistently region-wide this year. If you get something this basic so wrong, how bad are the rest of your numbers?

  3. Lies regarding Taylor….. “Home to KMart, Big Lots…” We have neither….. try HEB, Walmart, or Bealls…. did you visit the city ir just “research?” Not sure I can believe an article that is misinformed.

  4. Nick James, clearly you’ve never visited the area you’re writing about otherwise some of the worst places you’re writing about wouldn’t be on this list. Elgin is certainly NOT a suburb of Austin. That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read in my life. Crime is highly significant when considering a superb. The types of people that move to suburbs are adults with children or those looking to start a family for the higher quality schools and safer neighborhoods. Removing crime as part of your criteria makes no sense.

  5. Manor is one of the biggest booming suburbs in the nation right now and for good reason, followed closely by Hutto. Have you ever been to north east Austin?

  6. This is the dumbest article I’ve ever read. None of this information is factual… Not one word is true.

  7. I find this list very insulting (and I live in Round Rock). A few of the towns on your list are very nice places to live and I’m sure each town has its own special uniqueness. Besides, Austin is not all it’s cracked up to be and those that live here (and all the surrounding ‘burbs know that). Not sure where you are from or where you get your information, but I disagree with this article.

  8. This site is problematic for several reasons. Let’s start with the racist viewpoints. Let’s be honest, Austin is one of the most segregated cities. White supremacy, lead to people being pushed out of the city to accommodate white folk with money. Redlining, discrimination and racist practices are the reasons people can’t afford to live in Austin, and have to live in the cities you’ve listed. Do you know the definition of cities vs. suburbs? I suggest you attend a training on Undoing Racism or the Groundwater Analysis, perhaps you might open your tiny, little brain, and realize the level of your ignorance. Read more, on the history of white supremacy. Start with White Fragility by Robin Di’Angelo.

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