These Are The 10 Worst Chicago Neighborhoods


We used science and data to determine which Chicago hoods are the pits.

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Chicago’s neighborhoods conjure up too many stereotypes to count. You’ve got hipster areas, preppy places, neighborhoods where college kids thrive, and of course, ghettos. As a whole, the region consistently ranks as one of the best places to live across the country thanks in part to a strong economy and tons of entertainment.

It seems as if there’s a neighborhood for everyone in Chicago.

So the question arises, which Chicago neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?

Today, we’ll use science and data to determine which Chicago hoods need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Chicago area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the neighborhoods to all be amazing, although Forest Glen certainly tries.

We examined 76 of Chicago’s neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These ten places are a little too far downwind of Chicago in terms of quality of life:

  1. West Englewood
  2. Englewood
  3. Riverdale
  4. Auburn Gresham
  5. Fuller Park
  6. Gage Park
  7. Chicago Lawn
  8. West Garfield Park
  9. Grand Crossing
  10. Chatham

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

We’re also aware that we didn’t list every single neighborhood. There are places like Wrigleyville and Wicker Park that are great neighborhoods, and thus, we didn’t measure them. You know they are awesome already.

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Or, enjoy this video summary as well. The rest of the analysis is below the video, if you’re curious.

How we determined the worst Chicago hoods

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 criteria found on Area Vibes (which itself gets data from the Census, the FBI, and the Council for Community and Economic Research), here’s what we measured:

  • Less jobs
  • Low incomes
  • High population density (too crowded)
  • Low home values
  • Higher crime

We crunched the numbers, and got the list from worst to best. Then, we ranked the list based on places that are the worst in all of these categories.

Read on below to learn more about these places around Chicago to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 76 suburbs ranked from worst to best.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased. Snarkiness incorporated for entertainment purposes only. Hold onto your pants.

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1. West Englewood

worst atlanta suburbs

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 35,023
Crime Index: 3rd worst
Median Income: $29,643

We’ll get the ball rolling with West Englewood, the absolute worst neighborhood to live around Chicago, according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, West Englewood easily beat the competition thanks to scoring in the bottom 3 in three major categories. You know this place is bad when Google autosuggests, “West Englewood crime” before you even finish typing the neighborhood’s name.

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West Englewood’s crime is the third worst of all Chicago neighborhoods, and just about the entire population struggles to make ends meet every month.

This neighborhood is defined as the area surrounded by W. Garfield Blvd, S. Racine Ave., and a couple of railroad tracks.

So yeah, this ‘hood is on the other side of the tracks, literally.

2. Englewood

worst atlanta suburbs

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 28,641
Crime Index: 4th worst
Median Income: $20,200

Englewood is the slightly smaller, much poorer ‘twin’ of West Englewood. Here, folks are just straight living in poverty. Believe it or not, but at $20,000 a year, that’s only the 3rd poorest hood in south Chicago. A family of four needs about $25,000 a year to stay out of poverty every year, according to the government standards.

It’s just about as dangerous here as it is next door in West Englewood. You don’t want to walk alone through these places, even in the daytime.

3. Riverdale

worst atlanta suburbs

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,795
Crime Index: Worst
Median Income: $14,000

It’s shocking that in America, we can have neighborhoods in which the entire population lives well below the poverty level like we do here in Riverdale. Actually, it’s pretty sad.

Crime is the absolute worst of any other Chicago neighborhood, nearly 1 in 5 residents doesn’t have a job, and homes sell for an average of $90,000.

The only reason Riverdale didn’t top the list is because we measured population density in our criteria, and Riverdale is the least densely populated neighborhood in the Chicago area. When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see why people are fleeing this neighborhood in droves.

Riverdale is about halfway between downtown and Chicago Heights, along I-94. If you find yourself lost, don’t get off on E. 130th Street. That’s Riverdale. That’s bad.

4. Auburn Gresham

worst atlanta suburbs

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 49,000
Crime Index: 11th worst
Median Income: $33,932

So far, all of the worst neighborhoods in Chicago are on the south side. That isn’t a surprise at all.

Auburn Gresham is a densely packed hood roughly between 75th and 91st Streets. Here, crime isn’t as bad as it is for the cities above, but it’s still really rough. When 16% of the neighborhood is out of work, and families bring in about $33K a year, you’re going to have some big problems to contend with.

5. Fuller Park

worst atlanta suburbs

Source: Flickr Dan DeLuca

Population: 2,881
Crime Index: 2nd worst
Median Income: $18,000

Want to play a joke on your friends? Text them that you’re going to Fuller Park for a house party and see their reactions.

Up the road a bit from Auburn Gresham is the teeny hood of Fuller Park. And we mean, this place is a real hood. All of the nearly 3,000 residents live in or very near poverty, and this is the 2nd most dangerous place you can live in the Chicago area.

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No wonder homes sell for around $114,000 each. We’re surprised it’s even that high.

Fuller Park is on both sides of 90/94 between E. Pershing and W. Garfield. There are no exits through this area. Perhaps for a reason.

6. Gage Park

worst atlanta suburbs

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 39,000
Crime Index: 13th worst
Median Income: $38,093

Just west of Fuller Park – between 51st and 59th Streets – is the neighborhood of Gage Park, where it’s dangerous and poor. Incomes are actually higher here than any other neighborhood on this list, which puts into perspective just how broke some of the neighborhoods are in south Chicago.

7. Chicago Lawn

worst atlanta suburbs

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 54,039
Crime Index: 8th worst
Median Income: $36,340

It’s too bad that the entire area that surrounds Marquette Park near Midway is such a bad neighborhood. This is the 8th most dangerous hood in Chicago, and homes are only valued at $146,000 as a result.

On the bright side, ‘only’ 10% of the residents in Chicago Lawn are unemployed. That’s still twice the national average, but good for a Chicago hood.

8. West Garfield Park

worst atlanta suburbs

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 19,161
Crime Index: 18th worst
Median Income: $26,594

Continuing our journey of the worst Chicago neighborhoods, we come to West Garfield Park, the first neighborhood that’s not in south Chicago.

Here, most of the residents live at or below poverty, and crime is far higher than it is in other neighborhoods in the Chicago area. You have a 1 in 20 chance of being the victim of crime for every year you spend in West Garfield Park neighborhood limits.

To get there, head due west on Madison St. past the United Center. But why would you want to go unless you wanted to hang out at Garfield Park and then scurry out of there?

9. Grand Crossing

worst atlanta suburbs

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 32,303
Crime Index: 14th worst
Median Income: $31,494

The Grand Crossing neighborhood of Chicago is between E. 67th and E. 79th, not too far away from the lake. If you want to head to the lake, you’d best veer around this place, since it’s very dangerous and poor.

The only reason Grand Crossing didn’t rank higher is that it’s a lot less crowded than most other neighborhoods in the region, and we felt as if ‘less’ crowded was a good thing.

10. Chatham

worst atlanta suburbs

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 32,100
Crime Index: 19th worst
Median Income: $35,393

Chatham is the final ‘worst’ Chicago neighborhood to make this list. Almost 14% of the people who live here don’t work, and homes go for less than $150,000 on average. Trust us, there’s a reason there’s no demand to live here.

Chatham is the hood between 79th and 93rd Street along 90/94.

The ‘hoods around Chicago that are really hoods

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘hoods surrounding Chicago with West Englewood landing ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods around Chicago aren’t all bad. Forest Glen takes the cake as being the best neighborhood you can live in. Other great Chicago hoods: Beverly, Edison Park, Near South Side and Norwood Park.

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Now that you’re done reading this, you’ll definitely enjoy a funny ‘Visit Chicago’ commercial we found. Click here to watch it.

For the chart below, these are ranked from worst to best.

Detailed List Of The Worst Neighborhoods To Live In Chicago

City Population Crimes per 100,000 Home Prices Rank
West Englewood 35,143 5943 $116,527 1
Englewood 28,641 5810 $129,481 2
Riverdale 6,795 6417 $90,700 3
Auburn Gresham 49,442 5287 $150,849 4
Fuller Park 2,881 6052 $114,525 5
Gage Park 39,250 5258 $179,943 6
Chicago Lawn 54,433 5511 $146,049 7
West Garfield Park 19,161 5057 $207,753 8
Grand Crossing 32,602 5255 $141,741 9
Chatham 32,973 5056 $148,303 10
New City 42,082 5395 $164,708 11
Woodlawn 20,817 4828 $190,548 12
South Shore 46,957 4331 $210,039 13
Burnside 3,479 5739 $132,550 14
Washington Park 11,113 4962 $182,940 15
South Lawndale 70,139 5190 $193,481 16
West Pullman 30,669 5552 $125,050 17
Roseland 45,255 5334 $132,428 18
South Chicago 28,977 5230 $143,555 19
Austin 97,571 4645 $211,390 20
Humboldt Park 53,918 4809 $212,986 21
Brighton Park 44,130 4996 $198,020 22
Pullman 7,208 5061 $132,525 23
West Elsdon 18,819 4814 $196,720 24
Armour Square 13,464 4207 $257,157 25
North Lawndale 36,036 4809 $220,906 26
Washington Heights 25,821 5012 $149,832 27
East Garfield Park 21,187 4825 $214,700 28
South Deering 16,406 5648 $121,191 29
Grand Boulevard 23,120 3636 $261,325 30
Oakland 5,339 3994 $246,380 31
Belmont Cragin 77,568 4367 $241,298 32
Lower West Side 36,567 4112 $253,600 33
Avalon Park 9,470 4520 $162,270 34
East Side 23,110 5273 $143,781 35
Hermosa 24,814 4043 $275,353 36
Rogers Park 55,408 3677 $244,231 37
Mckinley Park 16,522 4307 $233,358 38
Douglas 18,226 3423 $290,092 39
Montclare 12,307 4028 $225,592 40
West Lawn 32,665 4788 $187,325 41
Archer Heights 13,415 4574 $219,280 42
Calumet Heights 14,299 4037 $183,512 43
Bridgeport 32,207 3286 $290,648 44
Avondale 41,216 3437 $299,438 45
Edgewater 48,958 2636 $281,236 46
Uptown 54,032 2440 $286,718 47
Clearing 22,512 4090 $210,275 48
West Ridge 73,485 3510 $270,220 49
Pottage Park 63,401 3318 $281,700 50
Ashburn 42,620 4390 $182,696 51
Kenwood 14,815 2190 $303,281 52
Hegewisch 10,058 4578 $158,475 53
Irving Park 56,141 2698 $315,624 54
Morgan Park 23,477 3972 $196,143 55
O’Hare 13,331 4130 $200,614 56
Dunning 41,931 3412 $261,025 57
Garfield Ridge 33,754 3681 $231,106 58
Jefferson Park 26,608 2957 $296,300 59
Logan Square 72,628 1790 $379,967 60
Hyde Park 23,728 2063 $300,405 61
Lincoln Square 38,474 1604 $373,278 62
Near West Side 53,627 1894 $326,791 63
Lake View 94,535 1604 $421,824 64
West Town 84,682 1604 $416,521 65
Near North Side 77,383 1604 $504,278 66
Mount Greenwood 18,440 2892 $246,906 67
North Center 33,407 1604 $524,079 68
Loop 24,518 1604 $390,964 69
Lincoln Park 62,422 1604 $530,533 70
North Park 18,511 2628 $329,977 71
Norwood Park 38,536 2290 $317,744 72
Near South Side 19,163 1604 $349,250 73
Edison Park 11,005 1604 $364,010 74
Beverly 21,210 2089 $304,255 75
Forest Glen 18,189 1604 $437,641 76

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14 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Chicago Neighborhoods

  1. That you have 533 thumbs up on this b.s. article says a lot about your readers and what they don’t know as well as their gullibility when jargon accompanied by “statistics” as fact. The moment I saw Riverdale on your list, I knew the whole thing was b.s. Riverdale is NOT a Chicago neighborhood!

    1. Check it out…Riverdale, one of the 77 official community areas of Chicago, Illinois, is located on the city’s far south side.

  2. This entire website is just “science and data” on every US state around.

    Someone needs to hack and crash this place

  3. What I am having a problem understanding is how the median income is so low that anyone could even afford one of the houses. Example Riverdale median income $14,000 average home sells for $90,000. Nobody making $14,000 could buy a house for $90,000.

  4. Thanks for the guide. I need to drive AROUND Chicago to
    get to Wisc. this summer. I’d like to avoid getting shot, if
    possible.

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