The 10 Worst Charlotte Suburbs

The worst Charlotte suburbs are York and Kings Mountain based on Saturday Night Science. Find out where your town ranks.

More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Charlotte to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: what suburbs of Charlotte are the worst?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Charlotte ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Charlotte area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Charlotte proper, although Tega Cay certainly tries.

We examined the 41 biggest suburbs of Charlotte to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in North Carolina lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Charlotte in terms of quality of life.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 worst suburbs around Charlotte for 2024

  1. York
  2. Kings Mountain
  3. Lincolnton
  4. Monroe
  5. China Grove
  6. Lowell
  7. Clover
  8. Gastonia
  9. Dallas
  10. Kannapolis

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Charlotte? York ranks as the worst suburb of Charlotte for 2024 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

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

And remember, there are some good places to live around Charlotte too.

The 10 Worst Charlotte Suburbs To Live For 2024

York, SC

Source: Wikipedia User Connor401 | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,534
Median Income: $50,177 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $333,788 (16th lowest)
More on York: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

We’ll get the ball rolling with York, the absolute worst place to live around Charlotte according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, York beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 4th worst in the Charlotte area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 16th 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 York.

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.

Kings Mountain, NC

Source: Public domain
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Population: 11,246
Median Income: $45,301 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $218,463 (lowest)
More on Kings Mountain: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Welcome to Kings Mountain. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 29.4 miles to Charlotte. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $45,301 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.

Lincolnton, NC

Source: Public domain
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Population: 11,225
Median Income: $41,614 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $273,540 (7th lowest)
More on Lincolnton: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.

Monroe, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Mpbusyb | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 34,897
Median Income: $63,982 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $320,941 (14th lowest)
More on Monroe: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you live in Monroe, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 13th lowest Charlotte suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 8th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Charlotte. Remember, we looked at 41 cities for this study.

Monroe is about 20.9 miles to downtown.

5. China Grove

China Grove, NC

Source: Wikipedia User David Wilson from Oak Park, Illinois, USA | CC BY 2.0
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Population: 4,449
Median Income: $44,881 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $275,642 (9th lowest)
More on China Grove: Crime

China Grove has the distinction of being a Charlotte suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, China Grove has the 9th lowest home values in the metro Charlotte area, where the median price is $275,642. The median income is $238,875.

China Grove has an unemployment rate of 8.27% which ranks 2nd worst.

6. Lowell

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,692
Median Income: $55,481 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (19th highest)
Median Home Value: $257,797 (4th lowest)
More on Lowell: Crime

Lowell has 3,692 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 22.175964474049405%.

Clover, SC

Source: Flickr User jonesy54 | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,800
Median Income: $63,649 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (highest)
Median Home Value: $392,293 (24th lowest)
More on Clover: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Ah, Clover. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Charlotte.

It’s the place with the most out of work residents in the Charlotte metro area (8.9%).

Gastonia, NC

Source: Wikipedia User GastoniaHappening | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 80,615
Median Income: $58,047 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $275,514 (8th lowest)
More on Gastonia: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Gastonia is a city about 20.2 miles from Charlotte, but Charlotte 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. Gastonia has the 8th most uninsured people, 9th worst incomes, and has the 10th highest unemployment rate (5.58%) in the entire Charlotte metro area.

Homes only cost $275,514 for a reason. That’s cheap for Charlotte standards.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,889
Median Income: $55,979 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (22nd highest)
Median Home Value: $255,650 (3rd lowest)
More on Dallas: Data | Crime

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

About 4.15% of residents are out of work.

Kannapolis, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Jon Platek | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 53,314
Median Income: $66,487 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $259,607 (5th lowest)
More on Kannapolis: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Rounding out the ten worst Charlotte suburbs to call home is Kannapolis.

Located 21.4 miles outside the city, Kannapoliss is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 9th highest unemployment rate (6.06%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Charlotte for 2024

To figure out how bad a Charlotte suburb is to live in, we used Saturday Night Science to identify the kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2018-2022, 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 Charlotte.

We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 41 suburbs to evaluate around Charlotte.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 41 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 Charlotte.” We’re looking at you, York.

We updated this article for 2024, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Charlotte.

Summary: The areas around Charlotte where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2024

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Charlotte with York casting itself ahead of the pack.

The worst suburbs of Charlotte are .

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Charlotte aren’t all bad. Tega Cay takes the cake as the best place to live around Charlotte.

  • Tega Cay
  • Davidson
  • Weddington

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Charlotte Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 York 8,534 $50,177 $333,788
2 Kings Mountain 11,246 $45,301 $218,463
3 Lincolnton 11,225 $41,614 $273,540
4 Monroe 34,897 $63,982 $320,941
5 China Grove 4,449 $44,881 $275,642
6 Lowell 3,692 $55,481 $257,797
7 Clover 6,800 $63,649 $392,293
8 Gastonia 80,615 $58,047 $275,514
9 Dallas 5,889 $55,979 $255,650
10 Kannapolis 53,314 $66,487 $259,607
11 Locust 4,700 $52,551 $353,374
12 Rock Hill 74,170 $60,807 $312,290
13 Wingate 4,061 $72,188 $293,700
14 Landis 3,663 $73,571 $241,768
15 Mount Holly 17,644 $73,923 $341,383
16 Mineral Springs 3,185 $94,113 $379,811
17 Pineville 10,532 $55,450 $390,836
18 Stanley 3,967 $61,723 $332,299
19 Ranlo 4,487 $78,533 $262,751
20 Concord 105,335 $83,480 $361,879
21 Oakboro 2,379 $78,453 $296,496
22 Unionville 6,694 $90,904 $400,244
23 Mint Hill 26,537 $92,102 $471,547
24 Belmont 14,842 $84,274 $403,471
25 Cramerton 5,294 $89,313 $282,370
26 Wesley Chapel 8,763 $133,333 $595,551
27 Midland 4,675 $101,220 $362,790
28 Mooresville 50,025 $82,622 $468,555
29 Indian Trail 40,325 $95,101 $408,207
30 Lake Park 3,342 $73,972 $379,829
31 Stallings 16,193 $99,451 $433,914
32 Marvin 6,421 $238,875 $1,073,504
33 Matthews 29,613 $103,405 $468,340
34 Fort Mill 26,022 $128,125 $505,522
35 Huntersville 61,202 $112,893 $517,476
36 Waxhaw 20,665 $124,711 $561,159
37 Harrisburg 18,934 $134,767 $477,928
38 Cornelius 31,396 $107,969 $501,024
39 Weddington 13,173 $171,810 $936,823
40 Davidson 15,199 $140,938 $624,402
41 Tega Cay 12,816 $140,172 $565,388
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

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