These Are The 10 Worst Baltimore Suburbs For 2018


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

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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 Mount Airy 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 2018:

  1. Bladensburg (Photos)
  2. Riverdale Park (Photos)
  3. Aberdeen (Photos)
  4. New Carrollton (Photos)
  5. Westminster (Photos)
  6. Greenbelt (Photos)
  7. College Park (Photos)
  8. Hyattsville (Photos)
  9. Glenarden
  10. 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.

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

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.

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Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Baltimore 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 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.

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1. Bladensburg

Bladensburg, Maryland

Source: Public domain

Population: 9,505
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Median Home Price: $179,800
Median Income: $44,236
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.

2. Riverdale Park

Riverdale Park, Maryland

Source: Public domain

Population: 7,221
Unemployment Rate: 7.3%
Median Home Price: $248,100
Median Income: $61,520
Welcome to Riverdale Park. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 28.7 miles to Baltimore. Income levels here are the 5th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $61,520 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.

3. Aberdeen

Aberdeen, Maryland

Population: 15,361
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Median Home Price: $195,000
Median Income: $51,956
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Baltimore suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Aberdeen 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.

4. New Carrollton

New Carrollton, Maryland

Population: 12,727
Unemployment Rate: 11.7%
Median Home Price: $232,000
Median Income: $60,645
If you live in New Carrollton, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th 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.

5. Westminster

Westminster, Maryland

Population: 18,665
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Home Price: $234,100
Median Income: $56,354
Westminster has the distinction of being a Baltimore suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Westminster has the 5th lowest home values in the metro Baltimore area, where the median price is $234,100. To put that into perspective, in Mount Airy, the median income is $136,250, which is the best in the area.

Westminster has an unemployment rate of 5.7% which ranks 11th worst.

6. Greenbelt

Greenbelt, Maryland

Population: 23,623
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Median Home Price: $190,500
Median Income: $67,162
Greenbelt has 23,623 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 9.3%.

7. College Park

College Park, Maryland

Population: 31,942
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Median Home Price: $269,500
Median Income: $64,694
Ah, College Park. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Baltimore.

It’s the place with the 7th most out of work residents in the Baltimore metro area (6.6%).

8. Hyattsville

Hyattsville, Maryland

Source: Public domain

Population: 18,262
Unemployment Rate: 6.5%
Median Home Price: $265,600
Median Income: $65,452
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, 7th worst incomes, and has the 9th highest unemployment rate (6.5%) in the entire Baltimore metro area.

Homes only cost $265,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Baltimore standards.

9. Glenarden


Population: 6,110
Unemployment Rate: 7.9%
Median Home Price: $242,800
Median Income: $73,355
If you absolutely have to live near Baltimore, then Glenarden might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Baltimore suburb.

About 7.9% of residents are out of work.

10. Laurel

Laurel, Maryland

Population: 25,703
Unemployment Rate: 7.2%
Median Home Price: $235,800
Median Income: $68,304
Rounding out the ten worst Baltimore suburbs to call home is Laurel.

Located 19.5 miles outside the city, Laurels is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 5th highest unemployment rate (7.2%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around Baltimore where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018

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. Mount Airy takes the cake as the best place to live around Baltimore.

For more Maryland reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Baltimore Suburbs

City Rank Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
Bladensburg 1 9,505 8.0% $179,800 $44,236
Riverdale Park 2 7,221 7.3% $248,100 $61,520
Aberdeen 3 15,361 6.6% $195,000 $51,956
New Carrollton 4 12,727 11.7% $232,000 $60,645
Westminster 5 18,665 5.7% $234,100 $56,354
Greenbelt 6 23,623 6.3% $190,500 $67,162
College Park 7 31,942 6.6% $269,500 $64,694
Hyattsville 8 18,262 6.5% $265,600 $65,452
Glenarden 9 6,110 7.9% $242,800 $73,355
Laurel 10 25,703 7.2% $235,800 $68,304
Berwyn Heights 11 3,242 4.9% $277,500 $98,125
Annapolis 12 39,009 5.1% $377,200 $74,187
Hampstead 13 6,352 4.3% $234,800 $80,313
Bowie 14 57,633 6.8% $303,900 $106,098
Manchester 15 4,814 2.5% $280,600 $94,094
University Park 16 2,635 4.4% $437,300 $136,250
Sykesville 17 3,940 4.2% $346,500 $103,699
Mount Airy 18 9,376 4.9% $351,300 $108,578

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6 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Baltimore Suburbs For 2018

  1. Edgemere is a great place. I have no idea to why we are the worst place to live. My family has lived in edgemere for many generations although i may still be young, I love that everyone knows everyone. Such a friendly town!

  2. Apparently the writer of this article didn’t talk to anyone from Edgemere or Sparrows point to know the truth. There are waterfront homes that are a half million dollars.

    Kids growing up in Edgemere know what to do around here. It’s called bike riding, skateboarding, and basically hang out.

  3. Ok people this commentary is going to be long..
    Since my son forwarded this to me, I haven’t decided whether to be angry or amused, so I just decided to respond for better, or worse, since three of these communities are in our immediate vicinity, and the rest are within a short driving distance.

    It seems we are being judged on our availability, or lack thereof, of movie theatres, shopping centers and overpriced housing. When did lack of “sprawl” and “affordable” housing, become a detriment?

    I myself am a “transplanted” area resident, arriving in 1986 due to a job transfer. Settling in Essex, I met and married my wife, and began raising our children. We moved to a larger home in the Edgmere/Sparrows Point area in 2004. My wife is an Essex native and my in-laws still live in Dundalk.

    What I’ve observed here is a hardworking, blue collar, people who are trying to adjust to changing times. They are a warm and caring people, with a diverse heritage, who value family and faith above all else, and who are not afraid to show their patriotism, (many of who are veteran’s) or voice their opinions. They are tolerant, and their sense of justice, and fairness shows in their everyday lives.

    These family, and community oriented people, attend church, enthusiastically attend, and support, and participate in their children’s school, and sports activities, while volunteering to help their neighbors, and community at every opportunity.

    One of the items this “so called” research cites is a lack of activities. I think that depends or your definition of activities. I see no mention in this “study” of our scenic waterways, with many breathtaking views, dotted with many modest homes, where families relax at the end of the day on their decks, sharing stunning sunsets with family and friends. This “study” also doesn’t mention the many fishing, boating, and watersport opportunities our communities offer, or the the access to the state parks, and their picnic, and beach availability. They also ignore the many small hidden diners and restaurants where delicious locally cooked food, reasonablly priced drinks, and friendly conversation provide an affordable and pleasant night out.

    You see not everyone needs an overpriced mall, an overcrowded movie theatre, or an astronomically priced restaurant that serves rubber chicken to have a good time. Although, this is available with a short drive.

    Do we have problems? Of course, we suffer from the same maladies that any aging community suffers, especially with the loss of our industries, and the jobs that once made our communities (and the state) great. The loss of income associated with the jobs provided by GM, Seagram’s, and most notably Beth Steel,(just to name a few) was catostrophic. Since these losses, Eastern Baltimore County has been largely forgotten, ignored, and dumped on by county and state government, whose only attention comes when they want our vote, to sell our parks, and recreation land, or to dump some unwanted industry that no one else will take. And through this all these amazing residents perservere.

    I sometimes worry that some of the smaller communities will go the way of the town of Sparrows Point, which is a little more than a zip code at this point. My enthusiasm is renewed when I see a grandfather teaching a grandchild woodworking skills, or a mechanic teaching his son car repair skills. My spirit is always boosted by riding past one of our community athletic fields, and observing the many friends, and neighbors devoting their time to coaching our children.The sight of the kids riding their bike through the neighborhood, or playing sports in the field behind our house is heartwarming, and I realize that this community’s spirit will live on.

    So if you think traffic jams on 301, wall to wall strip malls, overpriced housing, theatre’s, clothes, and food, make somewhere a better place to live, then your compass is broken.

    Me personally, I’d rather be where the beltway ends, (technically at the Key Bridge) eating a spaghetti dinner at the church, enjoying a crab feast at the fire hall, and watching my grandkids play rec sports, all the while cheering with friends and neighbors. This beats ending a heart attack inducing day sitting in my air conditioned, hermitically sealed, million dollar home, not knowing my neighbors, and figuring out what MSG laden chinese take-out to order.

    So, I will politely tell you where to put your “scientific” study, although I’m sure our older community residents would put it stronger.

    After all I’m just a transplant.
    Have a great day.

    1. Best reply I read! I live close to crofton (in Severn) and I hate all the traffic that has come with all the building they are doing or all the new homes they continue to throw up on any little available piece of land that a developer can possibly get their hands on. You actually made that area sound appealing, especially the part where you know your neighbors and you enjoy seeing kids outside and parks and relaxing watching a sunset. They have taken all our fields and wooded areas to build houses and I don’t know any of our neighbors anymore, and the ones we do have all seem to be too busy to even wave hello, let alone volunteer to clean up our community or get together for a cook out. I wish we had that community feeling here in Severn, like we used to when I was growing up. Your a great writer!

  4. This study lists one of the reasons for not living in this areas is “low unemployment”, not enough jobs. I think it should be low “employment”. Shows how much they know, can’t even get the words in their article correct.

  5. This author made many mistakes, the greatest of which was to not check the locations in their list. Most are northern DC suburbs, NOT Baltimore suburbs. If that basic info is wrong, the rest is likely laughable. Do your homework before you waste other people’s important time.

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