The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs For 2021

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

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst suburbs around Cleveland.

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..

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.

What's the worst suburb of Cleveland? Lorain ranks as the worst suburb of Cleveland for 2021 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.

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:

The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs To Live For 2021

Lorain, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 63,801
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $38,291 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $87,300 (7th lowest)
More on Lorain:  Data | Photos

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.

Akron, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 198,051
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $38,739 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $82,400 (5th lowest)
More on Akron:  Data | Photos

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 $38,739 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.

Elyria, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 53,821
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $44,324 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $99,100 (9th lowest)
More on Elyria:  Data | Photos

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

East Cleveland, OH

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 17,200
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Income: $20,743 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.8% (highest)
Median Home Value: $58,100 (lowest)
More on East Cleveland:  Data | Photos

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

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.

Painesville, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,845
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $49,448 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $103,300 (12th lowest)
More on Painesville:  Data | Photos

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

All snarkiness aside, Painesville has the 12th lowest home values in the metro Cleveland area, where the median price is $103,300. To put that into perspective, in Oakwood, the median income is $190,682, which is the best in the area.

Painesville has an unemployment rate of 7.15% which ranks 10th worst.

Garfield Heights, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 27,814
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $43,971 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $72,700 (3rd lowest)
More on Garfield Heights:  Data | Photos

Garfield Heights has 27,814 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 17.614404148862352%.

Euclid, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 47,159
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Median Income: $38,242 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $82,600 (6th lowest)
More on Euclid:  Data | Photos

Ah, Euclid. 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 (9.12%).

Maple Heights, OH

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 22,383
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $42,805 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $68,200 (2nd lowest)
More on Maple Heights:  Data | Photos

Maple Heights is a city about 7.7 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. Maple Heights has the 24th most uninsured people, 7th worst incomes, and has the 3rd highest unemployment rate (9.2%) in the entire Cleveland metro area.

Homes only cost $68,200 for a reason. That's cheap for Cleveland standards.

Brooklyn, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,773
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $48,552 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $110,600 (14th lowest)
More on Brooklyn:  Data | Photos

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 6.75% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,203
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 4)
Median Income: $38,433 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $81,000 (4th lowest)
More on Warrensville Heights:  Data

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 2nd highest unemployment rate (10.4%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Cleveland for 2021

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 2015-2019, 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 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 lookin' at you, Lorain. You can download the data here.

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.

The areas around Cleveland where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2021

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.

  • Oakwood
  • Chagrin Falls
  • Pepper Pike

For more Ohio reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cleveland Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Lorain 63,801 $38,291 $87,300
2 Akron 198,051 $38,739 $82,400
3 Elyria 53,821 $44,324 $99,100
4 East Cleveland 17,200 $20,743 $58,100
5 Painesville 19,845 $49,448 $103,300
6 Garfield Heights 27,814 $43,971 $72,700
7 Euclid 47,159 $38,242 $82,600
8 Maple Heights 22,383 $42,805 $68,200
9 Brooklyn 10,773 $48,552 $110,600
10 Warrensville Heights 13,203 $38,433 $81,000
11 Bedford Heights 10,565 $46,485 $102,600
12 Brook Park 18,617 $53,390 $118,400
13 Grafton 5,996 $61,042 $145,300
14 Bedford 12,631 $46,020 $91,400
15 Fairport Harbor 3,077 $49,972 $104,500
16 Kent 29,811 $32,993 $146,700
17 Richmond Heights 10,406 $51,505 $141,100
18 Lagrange 2,484 $69,870 $176,400
19 Eastlake 18,156 $54,698 $133,000
20 Parma 79,091 $57,120 $115,500
21 Parma Heights 20,045 $52,068 $116,500
22 Cuyahoga Falls 49,192 $57,101 $127,600
23 Wickliffe 12,743 $61,105 $121,500
24 Streetsboro 16,406 $65,742 $148,800
25 Cleveland Heights 44,571 $57,768 $128,700
26 North Olmsted 31,710 $64,236 $156,400
27 Munroe Falls 5,057 $66,333 $160,800
28 Lakewood 50,259 $53,290 $158,100
29 South Euclid 21,572 $61,078 $100,200
30 Amherst 12,108 $71,775 $164,600
31 Mentor-On-The-Lake 7,391 $54,642 $133,200
32 Mayfield Heights 18,669 $53,450 $145,400
33 Berea 18,788 $59,511 $138,200
34 Sheffield Lake 8,968 $62,292 $111,800
35 Chardon 5,167 $65,262 $190,200
36 Willoughby Hills 9,527 $59,328 $254,700
37 Walton Hills 2,246 $73,269 $217,500
38 Willowick 14,133 $62,016 $119,100
39 Willoughby 22,869 $60,332 $152,700
40 Fairview Park 16,303 $61,020 $161,100
41 Sheffield 4,190 $80,000 $212,100
42 Northfield 3,665 $65,375 $143,700
43 Medina 26,095 $66,155 $175,200
44 Tallmadge 17,589 $75,622 $172,900
45 North Royalton 30,252 $70,665 $208,600
46 Mentor 47,096 $72,615 $172,400
47 North Ridgeville 33,427 $77,221 $182,300
48 Middleburg Heights 15,573 $63,619 $162,000
49 Brunswick 34,781 $69,884 $169,200
50 Aurora 16,026 $97,848 $272,300
51 Seven Hills 11,638 $82,255 $174,400
52 Twinsburg 18,707 $76,674 $218,200
53 University Heights 13,025 $77,256 $164,300
54 Richfield 3,650 $92,243 $240,300
55 Olmsted Falls 8,883 $69,839 $158,600
56 Lyndhurst 13,533 $73,164 $143,600
57 Shaker Heights 27,387 $87,235 $229,500
58 Orange 3,276 $116,823 $334,200
59 Fairlawn 7,514 $67,598 $171,700
60 Stow 34,776 $73,201 $181,400
61 Kirtland 6,822 $91,683 $296,100
62 Strongsville 44,719 $88,176 $206,300
63 Reminderville 4,237 $84,354 $201,800
64 Gates Mills 2,189 $165,167 $505,100
65 Brecksville 13,537 $108,606 $283,000
66 Solon 22,947 $107,286 $286,200
67 Westlake 32,275 $86,008 $258,600
68 Macedonia 11,873 $97,440 $223,400
69 Highland Heights 8,390 $109,818 $280,700
70 Avon Lake 24,030 $83,018 $256,400
71 Mayfield 3,372 $77,784 $234,000
72 Beachwood 11,663 $89,190 $302,500
73 Avon 22,999 $109,916 $296,900
74 Rocky River 20,198 $74,950 $245,800
75 Broadview Heights 19,195 $89,224 $228,500
76 Valley View 2,024 $94,479 $256,000
77 Moreland Hills 3,306 $173,209 $435,000
78 Silver Lake 2,532 $108,958 $227,600
79 Hudson 22,263 $134,963 $345,500
80 Independence 7,169 $106,413 $238,100
81 South Russell 3,776 $119,457 $335,100
82 Pepper Pike 6,269 $190,682 $440,600
83 Chagrin Falls 4,032 $101,691 $346,300
84 Oakwood 8,982 $112,917 $248,000

How Is Your Town In ?

14 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs For 2021

  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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