The suburbs of Charlotte call to all types of people looking to escape city live. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Charlotte to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
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..
We examined the 42 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.
What’s the worst suburb of Charlotte? York ranks as the worst suburb of Charlotte for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Charlotte that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Charlotte too.
Article Table Of Contents
For more North Carolina reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In North Carolina
- Cheapest Places To Live In North Carolina
- Most Dangerous Cities In North Carolina
The 10 Worst Charlotte Suburbs To Live For 2023
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Income: $41,645 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $134,200 (3rd lowest)
More on York:
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 3rd worst in the Charlotte area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 3rd 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.
Welcome to China Grove. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 28.8 miles to Charlotte. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $36,843 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 Charlotte suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Kings Mountain 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.
If you live in Lincolnton, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 2nd lowest Charlotte suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 3rd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Charlotte. Remember, we looked at 42 cities for this study.
Lincolnton is about 29.4 miles to downtown.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Income: $44,375 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $123,800 (lowest)
More on Lowell: Data
Lowell has the distinction of being a Charlotte suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Lowell has the lowest home values in the metro Charlotte area, where the median price is $123,800. To put that into perspective, in Tega Cay, the median income is $221,350, which is the best in the area.
Lowell has an unemployment rate of 6.55% which ranks 9th worst.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $55,893 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $179,800 (13th lowest)
More on Clover:
Clover has 6,566 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 17.6760671906303%.
Ah, Monroe. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Charlotte.
It’s the place with the 8th most out of work residents in the Charlotte metro area (6.61%).
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 10th most uninsured people, 7th worst incomes, and has the 13th highest unemployment rate (5.64%) in the entire Charlotte metro area.
Homes only cost $178,800 for a reason. That’s cheap for Charlotte standards.
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $51,136 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $159,600 (7th lowest)
More on Dallas: Data
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 5.98% of residents are out of work.
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 6th highest unemployment rate (7.74%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Charlotte for 2023
To figure out how bad a Charlotte suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs 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 2017-2021, 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 1,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 42 suburbs to evaluate around Charlotte.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 42 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, York.
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 Charlotte where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Charlotte with York 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.
- Tega Cay
For more North Carolina reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In North Carolina
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- Worst Places To Live In North Carolina
Detailed List Of The Worst Charlotte Suburbs