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 Chagrin Falls 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 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.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Cleveland for 2019:
- Lorain (Photos)
- Akron (Photos)
- East Cleveland (Photos)
- Elyria (Photos)
- Bedford Heights (Photos)
- Warrensville Heights
- Garfield Heights (Photos)
- Painesville (Photos)
- Brooklyn (Photos)
- Maple Heights (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Cleveland that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
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 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 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 from 2013-2017, 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 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 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.
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 3rd 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.
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 4th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $36,223 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.
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.
If you live in Elyria, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 10th lowest Cleveland suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 12th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Cleveland. Remember, we looked at 83 cities for this study.
Elyria is about 23.3 miles to downtown.
Bedford Heights has the distinction of being a Cleveland suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Bedford Heights has the 10th lowest home values in the metro Cleveland area, where the median price is $97,000. To put that into perspective, in Chagrin Falls, the median income is $166,786, which is the best in the area.
Bedford Heights has an unemployment rate of 12.2% which ranks 3rd worst.
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Median Income: $35,871 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $78,200 (4th lowest)
More on Warrensville Heights: Data
Warrensville Heights has 13,278 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 19.3%.
Ah, Garfield Heights. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Cleveland.
It’s the place with the 4th most out of work residents in the Cleveland metro area (11.5%).
Painesville is a city about 27.5 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. Painesville has the 1st most uninsured people, 12th worst incomes, and has the 18th highest unemployment rate (7.0%) in the entire Cleveland metro area.
Homes only cost $97,100 for a reason. That’s cheap for Cleveland standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Cleveland, then Brooklyn might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Cleveland suburb.
About 7.4% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Cleveland suburbs to call home is Maple Heights.
Located 7.7 miles outside the city, Maple Heightss is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 7th highest unemployment rate (10.2%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Cleveland where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019
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. Chagrin Falls takes the cake as the best place to live around Cleveland.
- Chagrin Falls
- Highland Heights
For more Ohio reading, check out:
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- 10 Safest Places In Ohio
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Ohio
Detailed List Of The Worst Cleveland Suburbs