The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs

The worst Cleveland suburbs are Lorain and Akron based on Saturday Night Science. Find out where your town ranks.

More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Cleveland to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: what suburbs of Cleveland are the worst?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Cleveland ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Cleveland area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Cleveland proper, although Pepper Pike certainly tries.

We examined the 83 biggest suburbs of Cleveland to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Ohio lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Cleveland in terms of quality of life.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 worst suburbs around Cleveland for 2024

  1. Lorain
  2. Akron
  3. Garfield Heights
  4. East Cleveland
  5. Warrensville Heights
  6. Maple Heights
  7. Elyria
  8. Fairport Harbor
  9. Euclid
  10. Brooklyn

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Cleveland? Lorain ranks as the worst suburb of Cleveland for 2024 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Or, if you’re thinking of moving to elsewhere in Ohio check out the best places in Ohio overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Cleveland too.

The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs To Live For 2024

Lorain, OH

Source: Wikipedia User Rona Proudfoot | CC BY-SA 2.0
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Population: 65,138
Median Income: $46,562 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $127,413 (6th lowest)
More on Lorain: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

We’ll get the ball rolling with Lorain, the absolute worst place to live around Cleveland according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Lorain beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 5th worst in the Cleveland area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 6th 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 Lorain.

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.

Akron, OH

Source: Wikipedia User Sleepydre | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 190,273
Median Income: $46,596 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $115,235 (4th lowest)
More on Akron: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

This city is 28.7 miles to Cleveland. Income levels here are the 6th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $46,596 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

Garfield Heights, OH

Source: Wikipedia User AJHalliwell at en.wikipedia | GFDL
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Population: 29,497
Median Income: $49,864 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $119,737 (5th lowest)
More on Garfield Heights: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Cleveland suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Garfield Heights 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 dropout rate is poor compared to other Cleveland suburbs.

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

East Cleveland, OH

Source: Public domain
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Population: 13,926
Median Income: $23,004 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.3% (highest)
Median Home Value: $46,242 (lowest)
More on East Cleveland: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you live in East Cleveland, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the lowest Cleveland suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Cleveland. Remember, we looked at 83 cities for this study.

East Cleveland is about 6.3 miles to downtown.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,659
Median Income: $43,848 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $114,360 (3rd lowest)
More on Warrensville Heights: Data | Cost Of Living

Warrensville Heights has the distinction of being a Cleveland suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Warrensville Heights has the 3rd lowest home values in the metro Cleveland area, where the median price is $114,360. The median income is $214,219.

Warrensville Heights has an unemployment rate of 10.15% which ranks 4th worst.

Maple Heights, OH

Source: Public domain
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Population: 23,473
Median Income: $49,877 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $112,147 (2nd lowest)
More on Maple Heights: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Maple Heights has 23,473 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 21.62940670679278%.

Elyria, OH

Source: Wikipedia User Derek Jensen (Tysto) | CC BY 2.5
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 52,780
Median Income: $49,569 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (35th highest)
Median Home Value: $158,172 (9th lowest)
More on Elyria: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Ah, Elyria. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Cleveland.

It’s the place with the 35th most out of work residents in the Cleveland metro area (4.9%).

8. Fairport Harbor

Fairport Harbor, OH

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,100
Median Income: $53,654 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (23rd highest)
Median Home Value: $158,688 (11th lowest)
More on Fairport Harbor:

Fairport Harbor is a city about 28.0 miles from Cleveland, but Cleveland 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. Fairport Harbor has the 8th most uninsured people, 12th worst incomes, and has the 23rd highest unemployment rate (5.8%) in the entire Cleveland metro area.

Homes only cost $158,688 for a reason. That’s cheap for Cleveland standards.

Euclid, OH

Source: Wikipedia User stu_spivack | CC BY-SA 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 49,279
Median Income: $45,018 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.5% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $129,092 (7th lowest)
More on Euclid: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

About 8.5% of residents are out of work.

Brooklyn, OH

Source: Wikipedia User Niceckhart | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,259
Median Income: $59,875 (19th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $172,924 (13th lowest)
More on Brooklyn: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Rounding out the ten worst Cleveland suburbs to call home is Brooklyn.

Located 4.7 miles outside the city, Brooklyns is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 13th highest unemployment rate (6.65%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Cleveland for 2024

To figure out how bad a Cleveland suburb is to live in, we used Saturday Night Science to identify the kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2018-2022, 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 dropouts
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Cleveland.

We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 83 suburbs to evaluate around Cleveland.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 83 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 Cleveland.” We’re looking at you, Lorain.

We updated this article for 2024, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Cleveland.

Summary: The areas around Cleveland where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2024

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Cleveland with Lorain casting itself ahead of the pack.

The worst suburbs of Cleveland are .

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Cleveland aren’t all bad. Pepper Pike takes the cake as the best place to live around Cleveland.

  • Pepper Pike
  • Oakwood
  • Hudson

For more Ohio reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cleveland Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Lorain 65,138 $46,562 $127,413
2 Akron 190,273 $46,596 $115,235
3 Garfield Heights 29,497 $49,864 $119,737
4 East Cleveland 13,926 $23,004 $46,242
5 Warrensville Heights 13,659 $43,848 $114,360
6 Maple Heights 23,473 $49,877 $112,147
7 Elyria 52,780 $49,569 $158,172
8 Fairport Harbor 3,100 $53,654 $158,688
9 Euclid 49,279 $45,018 $129,092
10 Brooklyn 11,259 $59,875 $172,924
11 Kent 27,336 $37,505 $215,123
12 Painesville 20,387 $51,373 $193,999
13 Bedford Heights 10,933 $47,528 $169,165
14 Richmond Heights 10,714 $55,143 $215,049
15 Bedford 13,043 $55,198 $139,045
16 Brook Park 18,509 $64,046 $184,693
17 Parma 80,587 $65,848 $182,504
18 Streetsboro 17,378 $77,199 $245,221
19 Cuyahoga Falls 50,916 $67,922 $190,568
20 Eastlake 17,625 $59,648 $177,634
21 Mayfield Heights 20,127 $59,423 $203,610
22 Parma Heights 20,706 $57,197 $186,633
23 Willoughby Hills 9,972 $63,438 $315,021
24 Northfield 3,546 $68,342 $265,237
25 Berea 18,550 $67,493 $207,002
26 Chardon 5,248 $86,480 $331,732
27 Lakewood 50,605 $63,299 $254,332
28 Cleveland Heights 45,002 $69,155 $182,494
29 Wickliffe 12,661 $76,938 $173,069
30 Walton Hills 2,140 $95,521 $293,266
31 Mentor-On-The-Lake 7,152 $58,524 $191,119
32 Munroe Falls 5,034 $67,601 $242,177
33 Willoughby 23,823 $70,807 $211,748
34 South Euclid 21,754 $75,933 $158,310
35 Grafton 5,730 $81,522 $266,406
36 North Olmsted 32,244 $81,768 $236,837
37 Sheffield Lake 8,958 $61,699 $179,324
38 Orange 3,432 $150,729 $477,356
39 Lagrange 2,662 $92,621 $281,907
40 Amherst 12,740 $86,250 $243,260
41 Fairview Park 17,137 $76,027 $245,455
42 Medina 26,092 $74,820 $335,714
43 Mentor 47,302 $84,503 $252,525
44 North Royalton 31,120 $81,511 $296,870
45 Willowick 14,213 $71,418 $173,013
46 Macedonia 12,126 $97,611 $310,528
47 Seven Hills 11,681 $91,975 $264,289
48 Tallmadge 18,411 $85,394 $250,321
49 Middleburg Heights 15,918 $74,109 $246,379
50 North Ridgeville 35,481 $89,466 $289,885
51 Richfield 3,719 $72,625 $423,387
52 Stow 34,459 $89,805 $251,917
53 University Heights 13,649 $91,960 $241,309
54 Kirtland 6,914 $111,184 $357,865
55 Olmsted Falls 8,670 $92,416 $255,597
56 Mayfield 3,344 $104,940 $335,426
57 Brunswick 35,304 $81,780 $276,607
58 Lyndhurst 13,952 $84,697 $205,250
59 Twinsburg 19,291 $91,554 $317,334
60 Broadview Heights 19,815 $97,902 $321,266
61 Sheffield 4,225 $101,173 $293,811
62 Reminderville 5,305 $101,463 $324,200
63 Westlake 34,027 $103,658 $364,251
64 Shaker Heights 29,157 $96,494 $293,145
65 Brecksville 13,618 $122,546 $379,607
66 Strongsville 46,165 $101,176 $319,958
67 Fairlawn 7,697 $87,952 $275,067
68 Solon 24,053 $128,470 $396,920
69 Beachwood 13,846 $105,346 $427,232
70 Aurora 17,227 $134,728 $399,236
71 Gates Mills 2,158 $214,219 $657,750
72 Independence 7,539 $109,691 $323,090
73 Moreland Hills 3,440 $199,279 $620,017
74 Highland Heights 8,652 $124,821 $375,331
75 Avon 24,822 $128,087 $425,138
76 Silver Lake 2,621 $131,012 $318,605
77 Chagrin Falls 4,116 $99,821 $442,782
78 Rocky River 21,552 $90,459 $346,739
79 Avon Lake 25,220 $103,946 $364,413
80 South Russell 3,966 $175,343 $461,432
81 Hudson 23,005 $160,280 $483,879
82 Oakwood 9,496 $132,722 $362,725
83 Pepper Pike 6,778 $198,438 $590,591
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

14 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs

  1. I don’t understand how a community can appear twice in the list. I’m curious how this is a valid survey of suburban communities if the survey data doesn’t actually represent the appropriate geography in the list??

    The ACS obviously splits a place like Madison Township into 2 separate entities, while there is simultaneously an incorporated village within the township. Painesville data has similar issues. While its combined score may not fare better, it seems that it is misrepresented “scientifically” in the study. Begs the question, what is this list actually?

  2. This list lacks a command of knowledge for the cities that are being reviewed. Some of these suburbs belong to other cities, not Cleveland. The ‘science’ is completely absent and there is no mention of things people supposedly like to do versus what is available to do in these suburbs.

  3. First off, if Cleveland Heights isn’t #1 on the list your “science” obviously didn’t work. Secondly you say “low unemployment (less jobs)” which would actually mean the opposite. Low unemployment means MORE jobs.

  4. Here, as a long-time Clevelander and prior resident of 4 of the suburbs below, I’ll fix this list for you:

    1) East Cleveland
    2) Maple Heights
    3) Garfield Heights
    4) Warrensville Heights
    5) Cleveland Heights
    6) South Euclid
    7) Euclid
    8) Parma
    9) Bedford Heights
    10) Newburgh Heights

    You’re welcome.

  5. Newburgh Heights is getting old (housing) like many inner-ring suburbs and losing some population but is far from the worst Cleveland suburb. It is actually a tiny village .6 miles which is probably the reason you haven’t had any replies from them.

  6. You show Euclid Ohio in this list. IN FACT Euclid Ohio maybe one of the premier cities in the country.
    This city cannot be beat 70 year resident of Euclid says so.Euclid is the city that other cities are trying to be.

  7. All coded racism here. Move on. Note: lived in Bedford and now South Euclid. Haven’t seen a crime in my neighborhood in 12 years I’ve lived in these places. But see a lot of black people, with some cultural differences appearing more frequently (different music choices, different color choices for houses, large,noisy family gatherings on holidays, preference for a different look for cars). These cultural differences are interpreted as “more crime” by many suburban whites; they then start scanning the police bloggers and notice the crime that’s always been there which they never thought about–usually minor things, like occasional auto theft and domestic arguments that get out of hand–and wail about the terrible crime rate in their racially diverse inner ring suburb, even though they’ve never had a crime happen to them. Meanwhile, the “deteriorating housing” most often attributed to the influx of black residents actually most commonly belongs to elderly white residents who no longer can afford to repair their homes, whereas the racially diverse renters houses are kept by city ordinance in much better shape. I lived with black renters on one side of me in Bedford and an older white homeowner on the other side. The black renters were wonderful neighbors; although the landlord didn’t splurge on the property and it was simple looking, it was at least clean, and the renters were great people who we came to love. And although we loved the older white guy, as I’d grown up with him, his home was in deplorable condition, literally falling apart, a blight in the neighborhood. Most of the deplorable homes in Bedford were lived in by white elders, who no longer had the capacity (both financially and physically) to care for them. But the fear of seeing those black faces and hearing that loud music leads white folks in Bedford and South Euclid to believe that they have to live with a gun under the bed, a patent fallacy. It’s the same fear that causes white women to clutch their purses when a young black man walks past them vs. a young white man. It’s called racism–and most people who are racist don’t realize that’s what they are.

  8. By are you wrong. I live in Lorain an I don’t like it too much, but Brooklyn is the biggest hell hole I’ve seen! I went there for a movie and went to eat, and I have to tell you, as fas as unruly kind and the scumbag factor goes (which is the real measure of a city) BROOKLYN takes the prize! I told my wife that I will NEVER set foot in freaking Brooklyn again!

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