Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Baltimore.
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 Baltimore ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Baltimore area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Baltimore proper, although Sykesville certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Baltimore are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
We examined the 18 biggest suburbs of Baltimore to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Maryland lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Baltimore in terms of quality of life.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Baltimore for 2019:
- Bladensburg (Photos)
- Aberdeen (Photos)
- Riverdale Park (Photos)
- New Carrollton (Photos)
- Greenbelt (Photos)
- Westminster (Photos)
- College Park (Photos)
- Hyattsville (Photos)
- Laurel (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Baltimore that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Baltimore 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 Maryland reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Maryland
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Maryland
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Maryland
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Baltimore for 2019
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 2013-2017, 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 Baltimore.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 18 suburbs to evaluate around Baltimore.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 18 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 Baltimore.” We’re lookin’ at you, Bladensburg.
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 Bladensburg, the absolute worst place to live around Baltimore according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Bladensburg beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the Baltimore 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 Bladensburg.
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 Aberdeen. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 27.8 miles to Baltimore. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $52,006 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 Baltimore suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Riverdale Park 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 Baltimore suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in New Carrollton, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 5th lowest Baltimore suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 1st worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Baltimore. Remember, we looked at 18 cities for this study.
New Carrollton is about 27.1 miles to downtown.
Greenbelt has the distinction of being a Baltimore suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Greenbelt has the 3rd lowest home values in the metro Baltimore area, where the median price is $201,000. To put that into perspective, in Sykesville, the median income is $135,292, which is the best in the area.
Greenbelt has an unemployment rate of 6.2% which ranks 4th worst.
Westminster has 18,557 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 11.4%.
Ah, College Park. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Baltimore.
It’s the place with the 8th most out of work residents in the Baltimore metro area (5.7%).
Hyattsville is a city about 29.7 miles from Baltimore, but Baltimore 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. Hyattsville has the 4th most uninsured people, 9th worst incomes, and has the 12th highest unemployment rate (5.1%) in the entire Baltimore metro area.
Homes only cost $289,000 for a reason. That’s cheap for Baltimore standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Baltimore, then Laurel might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Baltimore suburb.
About 5.7% of residents are out of work.
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $87,829 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $264,600 (9th lowest)
More on Glenarden: Data
Rounding out the ten worst Baltimore suburbs to call home is Glenarden.
Located 28.8 miles outside the city, Glenardens is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 3rd highest unemployment rate (6.4%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Baltimore where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Baltimore with Bladensburg casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Baltimore aren’t all bad. Sykesville takes the cake as the best place to live around Baltimore.
- University Park
- Mount Airy
For more Maryland reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Maryland
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Maryland
- 10 Safest Places In Maryland
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Maryland
Detailed List Of The Worst Baltimore Suburbs