These Are The 10 Worst Charlotte Suburbs For 2018


We used science and data to determine which Charlotte 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 Charlotte.

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 Charlotte ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Charlotte area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Charlotte proper, although Tega Cay certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Charlotte are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

We examined the 28 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.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Charlotte for 2018:

  1. Kings Mountain (Photos)
  2. Lincolnton (Photos)
  3. Monroe (Photos)
  4. York (Photos)
  5. Clover (Photos)
  6. Gastonia (Photos)
  7. Kannapolis (Photos)
  8. Rock Hill (Photos)
  9. Mount Holly (Photos)
  10. Pineville (Photos)

Read on to see how we determined the places around Charlotte that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.

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.

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 North Carolina reading, check out:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Charlotte 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 Charlotte.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 28 suburbs to evaluate around Charlotte.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 28 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 lookin’ at you, Kings Mountain.

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.

1. Kings Mountain

Kings Mountain, North Carolina

Source: Public domain

Population: 11,053
Unemployment Rate: 16.4%
Median Home Price: $103,400
Median Income: $37,023
More on Kings Mountain: Data | Jobs

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

And in the world of worst rankings, Kings Mountain beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 2nd worst in the Charlotte 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 Kings Mountain.

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. Lincolnton

Lincolnton, North Carolina

Source: Public domain

Population: 10,593
Unemployment Rate: 15.1%
Median Home Price: $123,000
Median Income: $31,967
More on Lincolnton: Data | Jobs

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

This city is 29.4 miles to Charlotte. Income levels here are the 1st lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $31,967 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. Monroe

Monroe, North Carolina

Source: Public domain

Population: 34,212
Unemployment Rate: 11.0%
Median Home Price: $146,700
Median Income: $44,267
More on Monroe: Data | Jobs

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

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

4. York

York, North Carolina

Population: 7,989
Unemployment Rate: 7.5%
Median Home Price: $129,100
Median Income: $41,341
More on York: Data | Jobs

If you live in York, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 5th lowest Charlotte suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 11th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Charlotte. Remember, we looked at 28 cities for this study.

York is about 27.2 miles to downtown.

5. Clover

Clover, North Carolina

Population: 5,593
Unemployment Rate: 9.8%
Median Home Price: $120,900
Median Income: $45,833
More on Clover: Data | Jobs

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

All snarkiness aside, Clover has the 2nd lowest home values in the metro Charlotte area, where the median price is $120,900. To put that into perspective, in Tega Cay, the median income is $185,862, which is the best in the area.

Clover has an unemployment rate of 9.8% which ranks 5th worst.

6. Gastonia

Gastonia, North Carolina

Source: Public domain

Population: 73,877
Unemployment Rate: 10.5%
Median Home Price: $135,900
Median Income: $43,003
More on Gastonia: Data | Jobs

Gastonia has 73,877 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 20.0%.

7. Kannapolis

Kannapolis, North Carolina

Population: 45,685
Unemployment Rate: 9.7%
Median Home Price: $125,600
Median Income: $45,863
More on Kannapolis: Data | Jobs

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

It’s the place with the 6th most out of work residents in the Charlotte metro area (9.7%).

8. Rock Hill

Rock Hill, North Carolina

Population: 70,251
Unemployment Rate: 9.5%
Median Home Price: $136,000
Median Income: $41,291
More on Rock Hill: Data | Jobs

Rock Hill is a city about 21.2 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. Rock Hill has the 10th most uninsured people, 4th worst incomes, and has the 8th highest unemployment rate (9.5%) in the entire Charlotte metro area.

Homes only cost $136,000 for a reason. That’s cheap for Charlotte standards.

9. Mount Holly

Mount Holly, North Carolina

Source: Public domain

Population: 14,058
Unemployment Rate: 9.6%
Median Home Price: $156,400
Median Income: $48,712
More on Mount Holly: Data | Jobs

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

About 9.6% of residents are out of work.

10. Pineville

Pineville, North Carolina

Population: 8,244
Unemployment Rate: 7.0%
Median Home Price: $162,100
Median Income: $40,597
More on Pineville: Data | Jobs

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

Located 8.7 miles outside the city, Pinevilles is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 14th highest unemployment rate (7.0%), and poverty is far above the area average.

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

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

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.

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Charlotte Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Kings Mountain 11,053 16.4% $103,400 $37,023
2 Lincolnton 10,593 15.1% $123,000 $31,967
3 Monroe 34,212 11.0% $146,700 $44,267
4 York 7,989 7.5% $129,100 $41,341
5 Clover 5,593 9.8% $120,900 $45,833
6 Gastonia 73,877 10.5% $135,900 $43,003
7 Kannapolis 45,685 9.7% $125,600 $45,863
8 Rock Hill 70,251 9.5% $136,000 $41,291
9 Mount Holly 14,058 9.6% $156,400 $48,712
10 Pineville 8,244 7.0% $162,100 $40,597
11 Belmont 10,494 7.7% $156,700 $60,314
12 Concord 85,753 8.1% $169,800 $56,459
13 Unionville 6,397 6.2% $190,200 $63,771
14 Fort Mill 13,181 5.5% $209,100 $66,748
15 Mooresville 35,387 7.4% $194,500 $63,632
16 Mint Hill 25,024 4.4% $218,200 $69,336
17 Indian Trail 36,357 5.4% $177,200 $72,726
18 Wesley Chapel 8,217 6.9% $321,300 $103,438
19 Stallings 14,759 4.8% $221,100 $80,858
20 Matthews 30,054 4.2% $224,000 $75,205
21 Waxhaw 12,398 6.2% $273,900 $86,771
22 Huntersville 51,701 5.0% $259,200 $90,633
23 Harrisburg 14,500 7.1% $245,400 $88,865
24 Cornelius 27,426 4.6% $258,800 $86,355
25 Weddington 10,254 3.0% $426,400 $125,966
26 Marvin 6,056 4.5% $618,900 $185,862
27 Davidson 12,076 5.6% $393,300 $109,907
28 Tega Cay 9,026 6.0% $301,200 $120,346

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