These Are The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs For 2018


We used science and data to determine which Cleveland suburbs are the real pits.

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Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Cleveland.

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 Cleveland ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Cleveland area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Cleveland proper, although Oakwood certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Cleveland are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

We examined the 69 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.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Cleveland for 2018:

  1. Lorain (Photos)
  2. Akron (Photos)
  3. East Cleveland (Photos)
  4. Bedford Heights (Photos)
  5. Elyria (Photos)
  6. Painesville (Photos)
  7. Garfield Heights (Photos)
  8. Euclid (Photos)
  9. Maple Heights (Photos)
  10. Warrensville Heights

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

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.

Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

For more Ohio reading, check out:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Cleveland for 2018

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 most recent American Community Survey data, 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 Cleveland.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 69 suburbs to evaluate around Cleveland.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 69 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 lookin’ at you, Lorain.

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.

1. Lorain

Lorain, Ohio

Population: 63,714
Unemployment Rate: 13.6%
Median Home Price: $85,700
Median Income: $35,753
More on Lorain: Data | Jobs

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 4th worst in the Cleveland area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 7th 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.

2. Akron

Akron, Ohio

Population: 198,508
Unemployment Rate: 11.2%
Median Home Price: $80,000
Median Income: $35,240
More on Akron: Data | Jobs

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 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $35,240 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.

3. East Cleveland

East Cleveland, Ohio

Source: Public domain

Population: 17,413
Unemployment Rate: 24.9%
Median Home Price: $58,500
Median Income: $19,953
More on East Cleveland: Data | Jobs

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Cleveland suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see East Cleveland 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 Cleveland suburbs.

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

4. Bedford Heights

Bedford Heights, Ohio

Population: 10,640
Unemployment Rate: 12.2%
Median Home Price: $97,800
Median Income: $37,692
More on Bedford Heights: Data | Jobs

If you live in Bedford Heights, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 7th lowest Cleveland suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 4th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Cleveland. Remember, we looked at 69 cities for this study.

Bedford Heights is about 10.5 miles to downtown.

5. Elyria

Elyria, Ohio

Population: 53,928
Unemployment Rate: 9.9%
Median Home Price: $94,800
Median Income: $40,967
More on Elyria: Data | Jobs

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

All snarkiness aside, Elyria has the 9th lowest home values in the metro Cleveland area, where the median price is $94,800. To put that into perspective, in Oakwood, the median income is $164,471, which is the best in the area.

Elyria has an unemployment rate of 9.9% which ranks 10th worst.

6. Painesville

Painesville, Ohio

Population: 19,735
Unemployment Rate: 7.2%
Median Home Price: $100,300
Median Income: $41,652
More on Painesville: Data | Jobs

Painesville has 19,735 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 21.7%.

7. Garfield Heights

Garfield Heights, Ohio

Population: 28,207
Unemployment Rate: 11.7%
Median Home Price: $73,600
Median Income: $40,376
More on Garfield Heights: Data | Jobs

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

It’s the place with the 5th most out of work residents in the Cleveland metro area (11.7%).

8. Euclid

Euclid, Ohio

Population: 47,863
Unemployment Rate: 10.7%
Median Home Price: $80,700
Median Income: $35,949
More on Euclid: Data | Jobs

Euclid is a city about 11.4 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. Euclid has the 6th most uninsured people, 5th worst incomes, and has the 8th highest unemployment rate (10.7%) in the entire Cleveland metro area.

Homes only cost $80,700 for a reason. That’s cheap for Cleveland standards.

9. Maple Heights

Maple Heights, Ohio

Source: Public domain

Population: 22,685
Unemployment Rate: 12.6%
Median Home Price: $71,800
Median Income: $37,911
More on Maple Heights: Data | Jobs

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

About 12.6% of residents are out of work.

10. Warrensville Heights


Population: 13,293
Unemployment Rate: 10.8%
Median Home Price: $80,400
Median Income: $35,733
More on Warrensville Heights: Data | Jobs

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

Located 8.6 miles outside the city, Warrensville Heightss is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 7th highest unemployment rate (10.8%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around Cleveland where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018

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

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

For more Ohio reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cleveland Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Lorain 63,714 13.6% $85,700 $35,753
2 Akron 198,508 11.2% $80,000 $35,240
3 East Cleveland 17,413 24.9% $58,500 $19,953
4 Bedford Heights 10,640 12.2% $97,800 $37,692
5 Elyria 53,928 9.9% $94,800 $40,967
6 Painesville 19,735 7.2% $100,300 $41,652
7 Garfield Heights 28,207 11.7% $73,600 $40,376
8 Euclid 47,863 10.7% $80,700 $35,949
9 Maple Heights 22,685 12.6% $71,800 $37,911
10 Warrensville Heights 13,293 10.8% $80,400 $35,733
11 Brooklyn 10,936 7.7% $103,400 $45,102
12 Brook Park 18,875 7.6% $111,800 $48,813
13 Bedford 12,782 6.4% $91,500 $41,285
14 Kent 29,761 10.4% $139,900 $36,539
15 Grafton 6,075 9.5% $135,000 $52,545
16 Parma 80,088 7.0% $107,500 $51,383
17 Richmond Heights 10,476 9.8% $137,700 $51,212
18 Eastlake 18,342 5.9% $122,300 $51,462
19 Sheffield Lake 9,055 6.3% $109,500 $58,153
20 Parma Heights 20,311 6.2% $110,700 $44,564
21 Cuyahoga Falls 49,353 5.1% $120,000 $51,586
22 Lakewood 50,866 6.0% $134,000 $47,145
23 South Euclid 21,865 7.2% $100,100 $59,734
24 Cleveland Heights 45,160 8.8% $127,700 $53,901
25 Mayfield Heights 18,878 8.5% $141,700 $45,875
26 Mentor-On-The-Lake 7,404 4.6% $125,400 $50,040
27 Streetsboro 16,224 4.5% $144,300 $58,511
28 Berea 18,949 5.8% $129,000 $57,896
29 Tallmadge 17,488 6.3% $156,400 $59,863
30 Amherst 12,058 5.9% $146,200 $66,731
31 Wickliffe 12,718 4.9% $117,200 $51,018
32 Willowick 14,131 6.6% $117,400 $54,493
33 Willoughby Hills 9,497 5.0% $244,100 $61,276
34 Munroe Falls 5,055 5.6% $160,200 $62,855
35 Willoughby 22,495 4.4% $144,300 $53,324
36 Fairview Park 16,473 6.3% $145,500 $54,431
37 North Olmsted 32,108 5.1% $146,900 $61,444
38 Chardon 5,194 4.3% $167,500 $60,845
39 North Royalton 30,302 4.4% $193,100 $66,189
40 Middleburg Heights 15,724 5.7% $157,500 $58,810
41 North Ridgeville 31,832 5.3% $160,300 $68,778
42 Medina 26,445 3.3% $160,700 $60,706
43 Brunswick 34,578 4.3% $159,400 $64,706
44 Olmsted Falls 8,889 5.2% $145,700 $62,058
45 Aurora 15,712 5.0% $241,800 $84,135
46 Mentor 46,896 4.0% $167,100 $70,058
47 Stow 34,746 4.5% $166,200 $66,079
48 Seven Hills 11,697 5.8% $164,100 $73,948
49 University Heights 13,273 4.3% $154,600 $65,143
50 Twinsburg 18,851 3.9% $210,100 $73,314
51 Fairlawn 7,477 3.2% $174,700 $65,521
52 Lyndhurst 13,736 4.3% $138,800 $65,921
53 Strongsville 44,622 5.3% $194,000 $80,323
54 Broadview Heights 19,257 3.7% $217,600 $77,480
55 Avon 22,289 6.0% $262,100 $90,846
56 Macedonia 11,595 5.4% $189,700 $86,061
57 Shaker Heights 27,773 5.7% $213,100 $79,519
58 Rocky River 20,211 4.6% $215,800 $65,226
59 Kirtland 6,802 3.9% $271,400 $76,691
60 Independence 7,115 3.8% $222,600 $84,900
61 Westlake 32,408 3.8% $236,400 $80,989
62 Hudson 22,282 5.1% $313,300 $126,618
63 Highland Heights 8,366 3.9% $246,700 $101,875
64 Solon 23,085 3.2% $273,800 $96,976
65 Brecksville 13,470 3.8% $256,000 $98,345
66 Avon Lake 23,221 2.4% $225,600 $80,884
67 Pepper Pike 6,150 3.1% $421,500 $164,471
68 Beachwood 11,786 2.2% $274,400 $88,287
69 Oakwood 9,077 1.4% $228,700 $96,790

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12 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs For 2018

  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.

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