The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs For 2023

We used data and Friday Night Science to identify the worst suburbs of Cleveland for 2023. The worst Cleveland suburbs are Akron and Lorain.

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.

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.

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

For more Ohio reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Cleveland Suburbs To Live For 2023

Akron, OH

Source: Wikipedia User Sleepydre | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 191,483
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.

Lorain, OH

Source: Wikipedia User Rona Proudfoot | CC BY-SA 2.0
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Population: 65,051
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.

Garfield Heights, OH

Source: Wikipedia User AJHalliwell at en.wikipedia | GFDL
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Population: 29,585
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.

East Cleveland, OH

Source: Public domain
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Population: 14,212
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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,694
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.

Euclid, OH

Source: Wikipedia User stu_spivack | CC BY-SA 2.0
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Population: 49,382
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%.

Elyria, OH

Source: Wikipedia User Derek Jensen (Tysto) | CC BY 2.5
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Population: 52,853
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%).

Painesville, OH

Source: Wikipedia User Carptrash | GFDL
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Population: 20,311
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.

Brooklyn, OH

Source: Wikipedia User Niceckhart | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 11,291
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.

Maple Heights, OH

Source: Public domain
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Population: 23,511
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.

  • Oakwood
  • Pepper Pike
  • South Russell

For more Ohio reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cleveland Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Akron 191,483 $42,129 $87,100
2 Lorain 65,051 $42,201 $97,000
3 Garfield Heights 29,585 $45,189 $78,900
4 East Cleveland 14,212 $21,699 $59,800
5 Warrensville Heights 13,694 $41,712 $87,000
6 Euclid 49,382 $42,056 $87,400
7 Elyria 52,853 $46,034 $112,200
8 Painesville 20,311 $47,976 $114,900
9 Brooklyn 11,291 $54,634 $119,700
10 Maple Heights 23,511 $44,773 $75,000
11 Bedford Heights 10,942 $45,478 $110,100
12 Kent 27,912 $36,799 $163,100
13 Bedford 13,073 $49,541 $94,800
14 Richmond Heights 10,748 $51,290 $145,000
15 Brook Park 18,592 $59,912 $126,700
16 Streetsboro 17,282 $70,725 $146,500
17 Fairport Harbor 3,109 $50,658 $113,800
18 Parma 80,880 $60,590 $126,100
19 Eastlake 17,743 $55,931 $137,100
20 Cuyahoga Falls 50,906 $62,294 $139,600
21 Parma Heights 20,764 $53,642 $129,300
22 Mayfield Heights 20,113 $59,322 $157,700
23 Grafton 6,257 $72,865 $156,000
24 Wickliffe 12,688 $70,854 $129,300
25 Walton Hills 2,151 $91,815 $226,300
26 Mentor-On-The-Lake 7,135 $56,532 $141,100
27 Berea 18,724 $60,417 $152,300
28 Cleveland Heights 45,267 $62,823 $140,900
29 Lakewood 50,841 $57,588 $185,600
30 Willoughby Hills 9,929 $61,185 $274,300
31 Willoughby 23,753 $63,908 $164,300
32 South Euclid 21,882 $67,619 $110,200
33 Amherst 12,665 $78,716 $172,700
34 Sheffield Lake 8,985 $65,172 $111,400
35 North Olmsted 32,371 $74,569 $165,800
36 Willowick 14,173 $67,340 $127,000
37 Chardon 5,212 $79,737 $218,200
38 Lagrange 2,591 $82,931 $202,300
39 Tallmadge 18,409 $79,233 $184,700
40 Medina 26,011 $72,688 $188,100
41 Fairview Park 17,167 $70,451 $183,400
42 Northfield 3,550 $64,909 $140,300
43 Munroe Falls 5,051 $66,344 $168,100
44 Mentor 47,369 $79,261 $189,400
45 Valley View 1,980 $87,063 $235,200
46 North Ridgeville 34,883 $82,405 $201,800
47 Macedonia 12,083 $97,897 $243,300
48 Seven Hills 11,696 $83,778 $190,400
49 Middleburg Heights 15,975 $70,129 $172,500
50 Orange 3,410 $133,681 $373,600
51 North Royalton 31,150 $74,775 $224,200
52 University Heights 13,950 $81,481 $177,000
53 Stow 34,556 $80,523 $198,400
54 Brunswick 35,272 $74,353 $186,200
55 Kirtland 6,921 $106,471 $313,500
56 Brecksville 13,607 $115,370 $309,200
57 Mayfield 3,361 $96,618 $247,900
58 Richfield 3,714 $67,404 $256,900
59 Strongsville 46,187 $95,000 $226,700
60 Sheffield 4,170 $88,310 $234,400
61 Olmsted Falls 8,684 $86,111 $168,600
62 Beachwood 13,806 $94,274 $322,500
63 Lyndhurst 13,980 $79,120 $154,400
64 Fairlawn 7,697 $77,771 $188,800
65 Shaker Heights 29,197 $92,463 $252,100
66 Twinsburg 19,220 $85,625 $234,000
67 Broadview Heights 19,820 $91,181 $242,100
68 Solon 24,070 $118,418 $315,800
69 Aurora 17,108 $122,893 $312,000
70 Highland Heights 8,658 $118,099 $304,500
71 Chagrin Falls 4,156 $84,762 $363,600
72 Westlake 34,049 $98,285 $275,300
73 Avon Lake 25,005 $95,121 $275,800
74 Gates Mills 2,189 $201,250 $595,900
75 Independence 7,512 $108,674 $250,200
76 Avon 24,542 $113,741 $319,400
77 Moreland Hills 3,436 $182,100 $463,000
78 Reminderville 5,202 $98,967 $251,800
79 Silver Lake 2,569 $124,286 $245,600
80 Rocky River 21,515 $83,929 $272,100
81 Hudson 23,001 $143,143 $370,900
82 South Russell 3,962 $156,875 $365,800
83 Pepper Pike 6,743 $190,703 $455,700
84 Oakwood 9,470 $126,713 $266,400
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 For 2023

  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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