The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Chicago For 2021


We used data and science to identify the neighborhoods in Chicago that are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our fifth time ranking the worst neighborhoods to live in Chicago.
Worst Neighborhoods In Chicago

Chicago has close to 450 murders a year, so you should probably look at RoadSnacks' list of the worst neighborhoods in Chi-town for 2021 before you make any life changing decisions.

But first, how did we create our list? In order to determine Chicago's worst neighborhoods, we had to give each neighborhood an actual concrete score: we call this a neighborhood's overall 'Snackability'. To get this score, we looked at the latest census data on income levels, unemployment rates, crime, and home prices for 77 Chicago neighborhoods with over 2,000 residents.

As you can imagine, Chicago's worst neighborhoods did not have very good scores. Folks, the kind of neighborhoods we're talking about have carjackings happening in broad daylight, daily robberies, and a bunch of nothing good happens after dark crimes. There are currently 13,500 police officers that patrol Chicago, but the city houses 3 million residents. Law enforcement is doing their best to clean up the city's worst neighborhoods, but they can't be everywhere. And, if you guessed that most of Chicago's worst neighborhoods are South of the city, you guessed right. Sadly, Chicago's South Side is probably the reason the city as a whole is one of the most dangerous cities in the country.

We're not saying that Chicago is all bad. Matter of fact, there's actually a lot of safe fun to be had in a lot of pretty awesome neighborhoods. For instance, North Center really brings their A-game with their Holiday Delight every year and you definitely shouldn't miss Logan Square's Art's Festival. But, we're here to talk about Chicago's worst.

So, want to know what Chicago neighborhoods you should avoid if you value your life? Keep reading.

This is our fifth time ranking Chicago's worst neighborhoods, so trust us when we say that these neighborhoods are "no bueno"!. The Monsters of the Midway wouldn't even feel safe in these places.

So, what's the worst neighborhood in Chicago for 2021? The worst neighborhood in Chicago based on the data would be Riverdale.

If you want to know where the where the rest of Chicago's worst neighborhoods are located, take a look below; and If you don't see what you're looking for there, head to the bottom.

For more Illinois reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Chicago For 2021

Riverdale Chicago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 7,361
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $24,186 (worst)
Median Income: $15,894 (worst)
More on Riverdale:  Data

Welcome to Riverdale, the most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago. This little nook of the windy city 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.

This is what it's like in Riverdale after dark. About 1 in 4 residents here doesn't work and entire families make an absurdely low $14,000 a year. Riverdale kinda resembles a third world country in some blocks.

Can we interest anyone in a $24,186 house in Riverdale? No? Okay then

Englewood Chicago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 25,858
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $70,261 (2nd worst)
Median Income: $23,317 (3rd worst)
More on Englewood:  Data

Englewood is a pretty notoriously horrible area in Chicago. Home to about 25,858 people, this hood sits between Garfield and 75th Street, on the west side of I-90. About 40% of people live in poverty, and crime is off the charts. There were about 40 murders in this neighborhood alone last year.

At one point, 100,000 people lived in the Englewood neighborhood. Now, it's more like 25,858.

You'd be a fool to walk through this neighborhood in the day, and might not want to walk through here at night.

Washington Park Chicago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 11,871
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $104,058 (9th worst)
Median Income: $24,556 (5th worst)
More on Washington Park:  Data

Looking for a job in Washington Park? Good luck. A dismal economy makes this section of Chicago's South Side one of the toughest places to live in the city.

The area sports a massive unemployment rate of 16.2%. Even the available jobs don't pay very well. The median income sits at just $24,556. Those low wages make it difficult to afford a house in the neighborhood. The median home price stands at $104,058.

Life in Washington Park has its upside. Most of all, there's the namesake park. It also has notable cultural spots, such as the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Fuller Park Chicago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,348
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $109,700 (11th worst)
Median Income: $22,962 (2nd worst)
More on Fuller Park:  Data

Historically, Fuller Park is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago. Given its sagging economy, it's not surprising that this part of the city's South Side suffers a high crime rate. All told, these factors make Fuller Park one of the least appealing sections of Chicago.

High-paying jobs are scarce for the 2,348 residents of the area. The unemployment rate comes in at 13.6%, while the median income hovers at $22,962. The lack of funds makes it difficult to find affordable housing, especially with median home prices at $109,700.

Fuller Park doesn't exist as concentrated urban blight, of course. It has many charming features. For instance, the namesake park contains an environmental education project housed in the Eden Place Nature Center.

West Englewood Chicago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 30,662
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $90,438 (4th worst)
Median Income: $30,441 (12th worst)
More on West Englewood:  Data

Where's the worst neighborhood in the city of Chicago? That would be right next door in West Englewood. This true hood has 30,662 people who live in the worst conditions in the city.

It ranks in the bottom three in home values and income levels and in the top 3 for crime.

Some Chicago neighborhoods are hard to tell apart. But you can tell who's from West Englewood though. They're the ones with the 40, a pistol, a beat up car and a pit bull.

Burnside Chicago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,423
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $100,900 (7th worst)
Median Income: $25,642 (6th worst)
More on Burnside:  Data

Fun fact: Chicago's Burnside neighborhood is named for Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, the same guy whose trademark facial hair gave us the term "sideburns." Not so fun fact: Burnside is one of the worst places to live in the city.

Situated in city's South Side, the neighborhood faced devastating economic hardships as manufacturing facilities in the area shut down in the second half of the 20th century. These troubles persist today. The median income in the area comes to $25,642, while the 2,423 residents face a 9.6% unemployment rate.

The area has its charming aspects as well. Local families love Burnside Park. Meanwhile, for such a small neighborhood, Burnside is considered to have a hopping nightlife.

South Deering Chicago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 14,598
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $88,955 (3rd worst)
Median Income: $37,207 (25th worst)
More on South Deering:  Data

One of the southern-most neighborhoods in Chicago, South Deering used to be supported by local steel refineries. Those boom times are long gone at this point, and the area now ranks among the least appealing spots in the city.

The local economy is not kind to the 14,598 residents of South Deering. The unemployment rate holds at an eye-popping 14.5%. And the available jobs often afford only the barest minimum. The median income stands at $37,207.

Despite its troubles, South Deering has a long cultural heritage. People flock from all over to visit the famed seafood restaurant Calumet Fisheries.

Pullman Chicago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,565
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $107,912 (10th worst)
Median Income: $38,397 (26th worst)
More on Pullman:  Data

Pullman was first built as a company town. The neighborhood gets its name from the Pullman Company, a luxury railroad car maker that saw its heyday during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Of course, train manufacturing isn't the cutting-edge business it used to be, and the Pullman area has felt the brunt of the changing economic situation. It now stands as one of the worst places in Chicago to call home.

The boom times for this area are more than 100 years in the past at this point. Now, the unemployment rate sits at 13.0% and median income comes in at $38,397.

Still, its long history gives Pullman a lot of character. Check out the stunning Pullman National Monument Visitor Center, the former administration business for company.

South Chicago Chicago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 27,113
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $101,252 (8th worst)
Median Income: $32,122 (14th worst)
More on South Chicago:  Data

South Chicago has a lot going for it. It borders Lake Michigan, meaning its 27,113 residents can spend summer weekends at the beach. It also houses a long list of gorgeous churches, including St. Michael's, which was originally completed in 1909.

Despite these charms, however, South Chicago stands as one of the worst living areas in all of Chicago. This unfortunate distinction comes largely from the tough economy. Residents have trouble finding work, with a whopping 13.2% unemployment rate. Meanwhile, what jobs there are remain low paying. The median income sits at $32,122.

Grand Crossing Chicago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 32,217
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $112,668 (14th worst)
Median Income: $30,799 (13th worst)
More on Grand Crossing:  Data

Our next stop on our crummy tour through Chicago takes us to Grand Crossing, a hood with 32,217 people located between 67th and 79th. It's near the lake, but you wouldn't want to go near it.

Crime is 8th worst, income levels are around $30,799, and homes average $112,668.

They certainly won't be throwing any parades in Grand Crossing any time soon, that's for sure.

How we determined the worst Chicago hoods in 2021

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 places have the least amount of those things. We threw the following criteria into this analysis in order to get the best, most complete results possible. We used this set of criteria for each neighborhood in Chicago:

  • High unemployment (Less jobs)
  • Low median income (Less pay)
  • Low population density (No things to do)
  • Low home values (No one's willing to pay to live here)
  • High crime (Estimated)

Then, we ranked each neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois for each of these criteria from worst to best.

Next, we averaged the individual rankings for each criteria into a "Worst Score".

The neighborhood with the lowest "Worst Score" ranks as the worst neighborhood of Chicago.

Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Chicago to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 77 neighborhoods ranked from worst to best.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased. Hold on to your pants.

The 'hoods around Chicago that are really hoods

Well there you have it -- the worst of the neighborhoods in Chicago with Riverdale landing at the bottom of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Chicago aren't all bad. North Center takes the cake as the best place to live in Chicago.

We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Neighborhoods To Live In Chicago For 2021?

Rank Neighborhood Population Home Value Median Income
1 Riverdale 7,361 $24,186 $15,894
2 Englewood 25,858 $70,261 $23,317
3 Washington Park 11,871 $104,058 $24,556
4 Fuller Park 2,348 $109,700 $22,962
5 West Englewood 30,662 $90,438 $30,441
6 Burnside 2,423 $100,900 $25,642
7 South Deering 14,598 $88,955 $37,207
8 Pullman 6,565 $107,912 $38,397
9 South Chicago 27,113 $101,252 $32,122
10 Grand Crossing 32,217 $112,668 $30,799
11 West Pullman 27,416 $99,938 $36,883
12 North Lawndale 35,417 $126,400 $26,510
13 Chatham 30,760 $100,130 $35,343
14 Roseland 42,306 $111,072 $39,535
15 New City 41,153 $110,614 $32,588
16 Auburn Gresham 45,607 $115,671 $32,470
17 East Garfield Park 20,100 $150,056 $27,141
18 Woodlawn 22,658 $130,409 $25,807
19 West Garfield Park 17,277 $140,887 $24,266
20 Oakland 5,180 $157,000 $35,228
21 Chicago Lawn 53,841 $124,714 $34,909
22 South Shore 47,197 $167,563 $26,786
23 Avalon Park 9,638 $159,970 $45,242
24 Grand Boulevard 22,603 $158,817 $36,187
25 Austin 97,012 $149,598 $36,124
26 Washington Heights 26,845 $130,192 $49,725
27 East Side 22,550 $117,919 $44,652
28 Douglas 19,514 $145,570 $39,212
29 Calumet Heights 13,240 $152,919 $49,176
30 Humboldt Park 55,833 $154,009 $36,095
31 Archer Heights 13,239 $187,340 $46,363
32 Armour Square 13,391 $221,250 $27,790
33 Hegewisch 9,039 $140,800 $61,614
34 Gage Park 40,693 $128,630 $40,566
35 Morgan Park 23,647 $186,465 $69,655
36 Mckinley Park 16,026 $199,955 $43,639
37 Lower West Side 33,150 $208,108 $40,724
38 South Lawndale 73,519 $138,019 $32,212
39 O'hare 12,706 $154,657 $47,915
40 Ashburn 43,133 $159,289 $66,956
41 Kenwood 14,112 $250,519 $47,591
42 West Lawn 33,314 $161,496 $52,390
43 Near West Side 61,845 $248,351 $64,399
44 Garfield Ridge 35,441 $197,874 $69,182
45 Brighton Park 44,212 $168,703 $39,500
46 Clearing 24,934 $174,810 $61,588
47 Rogers Park 53,183 $195,897 $38,837
48 Belmont Cragin 77,859 $204,209 $46,654
49 West Elsdon 19,771 $164,933 $53,245
50 North Park 18,562 $282,400 $62,644
51 Hermosa 24,225 $229,088 $39,659
52 Uptown 55,359 $205,151 $47,665
53 Bridgeport 32,495 $270,989 $46,467
54 Montclare 12,903 $197,208 $52,361
55 Hyde Park 24,100 $272,248 $56,899
56 Pottage Park 64,285 $248,275 $59,222
57 Beverly 20,831 $289,660 $99,102
58 West Ridge 73,660 $235,196 $54,223
59 Avondale 37,884 $282,354 $49,249
60 Mount Greenwood 18,990 $224,582 $91,682
61 Loop 32,384 $331,150 $98,220
62 Dunning 43,244 $229,478 $60,896
63 Near South Side 21,930 $318,671 $80,646
64 Jefferson Park 26,594 $282,741 $69,751
65 Edgewater 48,951 $241,938 $51,873
66 Norwood Park 37,477 $293,731 $77,558
67 Irving Park 55,070 $291,907 $62,620
68 Albany Park 51,193 $273,641 $58,075
69 West Town 84,995 $407,865 $81,403
70 Forest Glen 18,298 $421,818 $112,032
71 Logan Square 73,470 $338,254 $67,769
72 Near North Side 83,049 $434,335 $97,802
73 Lincoln Square 41,305 $381,276 $72,563
74 Edison Park 11,128 $345,364 $98,327
75 Lincoln Park 64,965 $508,008 $99,720
76 Lake View 97,804 $373,419 $88,165
77 North Center 34,931 $545,871 $99,384