The suburbs of Cleveland call to all types of people looking to escape city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Cleveland to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
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 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 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.
We examined the 84 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.
Now don’t freak out.
What’s the worst suburb of Cleveland? Akron ranks as the worst suburb of Cleveland for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
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.
For more Ohio reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs To Live For 2023
Median Income: $42,129 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $87,100 (5th lowest)
More on Akron:
We’ll get the ball rolling with Akron, the absolute worst place to live around Cleveland according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Akron 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 5th 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 Akron.
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.
Median Income: $42,201 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (19th highest)
Median Home Value: $97,000 (8th lowest)
More on Lorain:
Welcome to Lorain. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 26.0 miles to Cleveland. Income levels here are the 6th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $42,201 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.
Median Income: $45,189 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $78,900 (3rd lowest)
More on Garfield Heights:
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.
Median Income: $21,699 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.6% (highest)
Median Home Value: $59,800 (lowest)
More on East Cleveland:
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 84 cities for this study.
East Cleveland is about 6.3 miles to downtown.
Median Income: $41,712 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.6% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $87,000 (4th lowest)
More on Warrensville Heights:
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 4th lowest home values in the metro Cleveland area, where the median price is $87,000. The median income is $201,250.
Warrensville Heights has an unemployment rate of 10.59% which ranks 3rd worst.
Median Income: $42,056 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $87,400 (6th lowest)
More on Euclid:
Euclid has 49,382 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 20.60720207996397%.
Median Income: $46,034 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (30th highest)
Median Home Value: $112,200 (12th lowest)
More on Elyria:
Ah, Elyria. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Cleveland.
It’s the place with the 30th most out of work residents in the Cleveland metro area (5.62%).
Median Income: $47,976 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (33rd highest)
Median Home Value: $114,900 (14th lowest)
More on Painesville:
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 most uninsured people, 11th worst incomes, and has the 33rd highest unemployment rate (5.42%) in the entire Cleveland metro area.
Homes only cost $114,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for Cleveland standards.
Median Income: $54,634 (16th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $119,700 (15th lowest)
More on Brooklyn:
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 7.02% of residents are out of work.
Median Income: $44,773 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $75,000 (2nd lowest)
More on Maple Heights:
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 11th highest unemployment rate (8.1%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Cleveland for 2023
To figure out how bad a Cleveland suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.
It’s Saturday Night Science.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2017-2021, 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 1,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 84 suburbs to evaluate around Cleveland.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 84 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, Akron.
We updated this article for 2023, 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 2023
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Cleveland with Akron 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.
- Pepper Pike
- South Russell
For more Ohio reading, check out:
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Detailed List Of The Worst Cleveland Suburbs