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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 Baton Rouge.
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 Baton Rouge 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Baton Rouge area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Baton Rouge proper, although Central certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Baton Rouge are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..
We examined the 15 biggest suburbs of Baton Rouge to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Louisiana lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Baton Rouge in terms of quality of life.
What's the worst suburb of Baton Rouge? Jackson ranks as the worst suburb of Baton Rouge for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Baton Rouge that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Baton Rouge 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 Louisiana reading, check out:
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The 10 Worst Baton Rouge Suburbs To Live For 2022
We'll get the ball rolling with Jackson, the absolute worst place to live around Baton Rouge according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Jackson beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 3rd worst in the Baton Rouge 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 Jackson.
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.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $27,153 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 15.9% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $95,000 (2nd lowest)
More on Jackson: Data
Welcome to White Castle. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 19.8 miles to Baton Rouge. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $22,917 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.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $22,917 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.6% (highest)
Median Home Value: $83,300 (lowest)
More on White Castle: Data
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Baton Rouge suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Donaldsonville 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 Baton Rouge suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in New Roads, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th lowest Baton Rouge suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 10th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Baton Rouge. Remember, we looked at 15 cities for this study.
New Roads is about 25.9 miles to downtown.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $37,313 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $133,000 (4th lowest)
More on New Roads: Data
Plaquemine has the distinction of being a Baton Rouge suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Plaquemine has the 7th lowest home values in the metro Baton Rouge area, where the median price is $160,300. To put that into perspective, in Central, the median income is $90,183, which is the best in the area.
Plaquemine has an unemployment rate of 9.77% which ranks 5th worst.
St. Gabriel has 7,374 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 9.647745120035898%.
Ah, Baker. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Baton Rouge.
It's the place with the 6th most out of work residents in the Baton Rouge metro area (7.65%).
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Income: $64,455 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $114,500 (3rd lowest)
More on Baker: Data
Gonzales is a city about 20.3 miles from Baton Rouge, but Baton Rouge 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. Gonzales has the 5th most uninsured people, 7th worst incomes, and has the 11th highest unemployment rate (6.23%) in the entire Baton Rouge metro area.
Homes only cost $173,100 for a reason. That's cheap for Baton Rouge standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Baton Rouge, then Port Allen might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Baton Rouge suburb.
About 7.2% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Baton Rouge suburbs to call home is Walker.
Located 15.6 miles outside the city, Walkers is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 13th highest unemployment rate (5.56%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Income: $73,115 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $165,800 (8th lowest)
More on Walker: Data
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Baton Rouge for 2022
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 2016-2020, 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 Baton Rouge.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 15 suburbs to evaluate around Baton Rouge.
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 Baton Rouge." We're lookin' at you, Jackson. 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.
Summary: The areas around Baton Rouge where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022
Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Baton Rouge with Jackson casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Baton Rouge aren't all bad. Central takes the cake as the best place to live around Baton Rouge.
For more Louisiana reading, check out:
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Detailed List Of The Worst Baton Rouge Suburbs