Worst Cleveland Suburbs For 2020

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 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the worst suburbs around Cleveland.

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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 South Russell 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 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 2020 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 2020

Lorain, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 63,773
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $37,014 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $85,400 (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.

East Cleveland, OH

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 17,321
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $21,439 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 20.1% (1st highest)
Median Home Value: $57,800 (1st lowest)
More on East Cleveland:  Data | Photos

Welcome to East Cleveland. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 6.3 miles to Cleveland. Income levels here are the 1st lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $21,439 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.

Akron, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 198,314
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $37,533 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $81,400 (6th lowest)
More on Akron:  Data | Photos

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

Elyria, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 53,910
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $43,360 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $97,100 (9th lowest)
More on Elyria:  Data | Photos

If you live in Elyria, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 9th lowest Cleveland suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 11th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Cleveland. Remember, we looked at 84 cities for this study.

Elyria is about 23.3 miles to downtown.

Garfield Heights, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 28,001
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $41,841 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $71,400 (3rd lowest)
More on Garfield Heights:  Data | Photos

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

All snarkiness aside, Garfield Heights has the 3rd lowest home values in the metro Cleveland area, where the median price is $71,400. To put that into perspective, in South Russell, the median income is $193,889, which is the best in the area.

Garfield Heights has an unemployment rate of 10.02% which ranks 4th worst.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,258
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $34,814 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $79,600 (4th lowest)
More on Warrensville Heights:  Data

Warrensville Heights has 13,258 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 23.839056118590232%.

Painesville, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,828
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Income: $48,222 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (21st highest)
Median Home Value: $100,300 (11th lowest)
More on Painesville:  Data | Photos

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

It's the place with the 21st most out of work residents in the Cleveland metro area (6.32%).

Maple Heights, OH

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 22,539
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Income: $41,019 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $68,100 (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 17th most uninsured people, 7th worst incomes, and has the 6th highest unemployment rate (9.73%) in the entire Cleveland metro area.

Homes only cost $68,100 for a reason. That's cheap for Cleveland standards.

Brooklyn, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,862
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $48,147 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $107,100 (13th 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 8.26% of residents are out of work.

Bedford Heights, OH

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,633
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 5)
Median Income: $44,667 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $102,600 (12th lowest)
More on Bedford Heights:  Data | Photos

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

Located 10.5 miles outside the city, Bedford Heightss is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 12th highest unemployment rate (7.59%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Cleveland for 2020

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 2014-2018, 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 2020

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. South Russell takes the cake as the best place to live around Cleveland.

  • South Russell
  • Chagrin Falls
  • Oakwood

For more Ohio reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cleveland Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Lorain 63,773 $37,014 $85,400
2 East Cleveland 17,321 $21,439 $57,800
3 Akron 198,314 $37,533 $81,400
4 Elyria 53,910 $43,360 $97,100
5 Garfield Heights 28,001 $41,841 $71,400
6 Warrensville Heights 13,258 $34,814 $79,600
7 Painesville 19,828 $48,222 $100,300
8 Maple Heights 22,539 $41,019 $68,100
9 Brooklyn 10,862 $48,147 $107,100
10 Bedford Heights 10,633 $44,667 $102,600
11 Euclid 47,456 $37,662 $81,400
12 Kent 29,824 $36,441 $144,200
13 Grafton 6,094 $58,103 $139,100
14 Brook Park 18,721 $51,626 $114,100
15 Lagrange 2,375 $67,722 $166,200
16 Streetsboro 16,395 $63,271 $147,200
17 Bedford 12,705 $45,413 $92,200
18 Parma 79,559 $55,536 $112,100
19 Fairport Harbor 3,091 $53,590 $108,200
20 Eastlake 18,229 $52,255 $125,200
21 Wickliffe 12,733 $54,932 $119,600
22 Richmond Heights 10,449 $51,625 $143,800
23 Parma Heights 20,162 $49,326 $113,300
24 Lakewood 50,553 $51,323 $147,900
25 Cleveland Heights 44,865 $56,993 $127,100
26 Mentor-On-The-Lake 7,410 $53,478 $132,600
27 Amherst 12,097 $69,657 $153,500
28 Cuyahoga Falls 49,317 $54,250 $122,500
29 South Euclid 21,688 $58,760 $98,800
30 Mayfield Heights 18,766 $53,373 $144,800
31 North Olmsted 31,888 $63,701 $151,700
32 Berea 18,859 $59,229 $134,600
33 Munroe Falls 5,065 $66,687 $156,700
34 Willoughby 22,770 $58,214 $149,700
35 Northfield 3,677 $59,712 $139,400
36 Tallmadge 17,581 $69,823 $166,100
37 Willowick 14,160 $60,801 $118,300
38 Willoughby Hills 9,526 $64,650 $264,200
39 Fairview Park 16,400 $57,752 $155,000
40 Walton Hills 2,215 $64,643 $206,900
41 North Royalton 30,322 $70,429 $199,800
42 Medina 26,220 $63,888 $167,700
43 Middleburg Heights 15,670 $61,709 $160,400
44 Sheffield Lake 9,011 $63,902 $109,900
45 Mentor 47,062 $69,069 $171,600
46 Sheffield 4,126 $73,915 $202,500
47 North Ridgeville 32,954 $74,309 $170,500
48 Brunswick 34,733 $68,664 $166,500
49 University Heights 13,138 $72,951 $161,900
50 Chardon 5,171 $67,944 $177,000
51 Seven Hills 11,690 $79,735 $170,100
52 Lyndhurst 13,630 $75,236 $141,100
53 Olmsted Falls 8,912 $65,982 $152,900
54 Shaker Heights 27,620 $83,420 $222,700
55 Twinsburg 18,915 $77,021 $216,100
56 Westlake 32,378 $83,434 $250,900
57 Strongsville 44,752 $87,264 $202,200
58 Aurora 15,941 $94,141 $268,900
59 Fairlawn 7,522 $71,119 $169,800
60 Brecksville 13,538 $105,566 $266,900
61 Stow 34,796 $72,782 $173,500
62 Richfield 3,647 $77,450 $237,000
63 Kirtland 6,818 $88,537 $292,900
64 Reminderville 4,113 $78,656 $195,400
65 Gates Mills 2,198 $161,250 $516,900
66 Highland Heights 8,396 $106,739 $274,700
67 Broadview Heights 19,242 $88,404 $228,400
68 Macedonia 11,808 $92,217 $207,200
69 Rocky River 20,310 $70,341 $233,900
70 Solon 23,038 $104,625 $280,300
71 Valley View 2,013 $91,711 $254,800
72 Independence 7,156 $100,278 $232,600
73 Mayfield 3,397 $76,792 $240,800
74 Avon Lake 23,777 $87,525 $243,600
75 Hudson 22,287 $128,638 $331,900
76 Avon 22,786 $104,125 $282,100
77 Silver Lake 2,511 $103,947 $215,900
78 Moreland Hills 3,316 $136,250 $427,700
79 Orange 3,285 $105,385 $317,200
80 Beachwood 11,704 $89,706 $296,600
81 Pepper Pike 6,242 $193,889 $428,800
82 Oakwood 9,030 $102,159 $239,600
83 Chagrin Falls 4,061 $96,694 $347,700
84 South Russell 3,801 $115,000 $326,600

How Is Your Town In ?

14 thoughts on “Worst Cleveland Suburbs, 2020

  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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