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.
It seems as if there’s a neighborhood for everyone in Chicago.
And while the city consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the country thanks in part to a strong economy and tons of entertainment, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine in Chicago. Some neighborhoods aren’t as great as others.
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 be amazing, although North Center ranks way above the rest.
We examined 77 of Chicago’s neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These places don’t quite measure up to Chicago’s reputation.
Here are the 10 worst neighborhoods in Chicago according to data:
- Washington Park
- Fuller Park
- West Englewood
- South Deering
- South Chicago
- Grand Crossing
So what’s the worst neighborhood to live in Chicago for 2019? According to the most recent census data, Riverdale looks to be the worst neighborhood in Chicago.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Chicago that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
Once you’re done, you can look at the bottom of the story for a complete chart of every neighborhood we looked at from worst to best.
Looking for places to avoid outside of the city? You can also check out the worst suburbs of Chicago.
For more Illinois reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Illinois
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Illinois
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Illinois
How we determined the worst Chicago hoods in 2019
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.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $24,186 (1st worst)
Median Income: $15,894 (1st worst)
More on Riverdale: Data
Riverdale is one of the 77 official community areas of Chicago, Illinois and is located on the city’s far southeast side.
As originally designated by the Social Science Research Committee at the University of Chicago and officially adopted by the City of Chicago, the Riverdale community area extends from 115th Street south to the city boundary at 138th Street and from the Illinois Central Railroad tracks east to the Bishop Ford Freeway.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $70,261 (2nd worst)
Median Income: $23,317 (3rd worst)
More on Englewood: Data
At its peak population in 1960, over 97,000 people lived in its approximately 3 square miles, but the neighborhood’s population has since dropped dramatically. In 2000, it had a population of approximately 40,000 inhabitants, and the 2010 census indicated that its population has further declined to approximately 30,000. Englewood is bordered by Garfield Boulevard to the north, 75th Street to the south, Western Avenue to the west, and State Street to the east. It is located on the southwest side of Chicag
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $104,058 (9th worst)
Median Income: $24,556 (5th worst)
More on Washington Park: Data
Washington Park is a community area on the South Side of Chicago which includes the 372 acre park of the same name, stretching east-west from Cottage Grove Avenue to the Dan Ryan Expressway, and north-south from 51st Street to 63rd. It is home to the DuSable Museum of African American History. The park was the proposed site of the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic Aquatics Center in Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.
It and surrounding neighborhoods have gone through notable and often turbulent racial transitions.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $109,700 (11th worst)
Median Income: $22,962 (2nd worst)
More on Fuller Park: Data
Fuller Park, located on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, is one of 77 officially designated Chicago community areas. It is designated Community Area 37.
Fuller Park is named for the small park within the neighborhood, which is in turn named for Melville Weston Fuller, a Chicago attorney who was the Chief Justice of the United States between 1888 and 1910.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $90,438 (4th worst)
Median Income: $30,441 (12th worst)
More on West Englewood: Data
At one time it was known as South Lynne. The boundaries of West Englewood are Garfield Blvd to the north, Racine Ave to the east, the CSX and Norfolk Southern RR tracks to the west, and the Belt Railway of Chicago to the south. Though it is a separate community area, much of the history and culture of the neighborhood is linked directly to the Englewood neighborhood.
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $100,900 (7th worst)
Median Income: $25,642 (6th worst)
More on Burnside: Data
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $88,955 (3rd worst)
Median Income: $37,207 (25th worst)
More on South Deering: Data
It is part of the 10th Ward, once under the control of former Richard J. Daley ally Alderman Edward Vrdolyak. Primarily an industrial neighborhood, a small group of homes exists in the northeast corner and Lake Calumet takes up a large portion of the area. 80% of the community is zoned as industrial, natural wetlands, or parks. The remaining 20% is zoned for residential and small-scale commercial uses.
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $107,912 (10th worst)
Median Income: $38,397 (26th worst)
More on Pullman: Data
The area known as Pullman encompasses a much wider area than its two historic areas. This article deals with all areas. The development built by the Pullman Company is bounded by 103rd Street on the North, 115th Street on the South, the railroad tracks on the East and Cottage Grove on the West.
Since the late 20th century, the Pullman neighborhood has been gentrifying. Many residents are involved in the restoration of their own homes, and projects throughout the district as a whole. Walking tours of Pullman are available.
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $101,252 (8th worst)
Median Income: $32,122 (14th worst)
More on South Chicago: Data
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $112,668 (14th worst)
Median Income: $30,799 (13th worst)
More on Grand Crossing: Data
Greater Grand Crossing is one of the 77 community areas of Chicago, Illinois. It is located on the city’s South Side.
The Oak Woods Cemetery, established in 1854, is located in Greater Grand Crossing.
Since 2006, Artist Theaster Gates has redeveloped several buildings in Grand Crossing as art and community centers.
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:
- 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Illinois
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Illinois
- 10 Safest Places In Illinois
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Illinois
Detailed List Of The Worst Neighborhoods To Live In Chicago For 2019
|17||East Garfield Park||20,100|
|19||West Garfield Park||17,277|
|37||Lower West Side||33,150|
|43||Near West Side||61,845|
|62||Near South Side||21,930|
|71||Near North Side||83,049|