These Are The 10 Worst Columbus Suburbs For 2018


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

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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 Columbus.

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 Columbus ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Columbus area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Columbus proper, although Powell certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Columbus are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

We examined the 25 biggest suburbs of Columbus 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 Columbus in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Columbus for 2018:

  1. Johnstown
  2. Whitehall (Photos)
  3. Circleville (Photos)
  4. London (Photos)
  5. Lancaster (Photos)
  6. Grove
  7. Heath (Photos)
  8. Pataskala (Photos)
  9. Reynoldsburg (Photos)
  10. Groveport (Photos)

Read on to see how we determined the places around Columbus 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 Columbus 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 Columbus for 2018

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, 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 Columbus.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 25 suburbs to evaluate around Columbus.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 25 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 Columbus.” We’re lookin’ at you, Johnstown.

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.

1. Johnstown


Population: 20,169
Unemployment Rate: 15.7%
Median Home Price: $42,400
Median Income: $24,075
More on Johnstown: Data | Jobs

We’ll get the ball rolling with Johnstown, the absolute worst place to live around Columbus according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Johnstown beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the Columbus area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 1st 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 Johnstown.

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.

2. Whitehall

Whitehall, Ohio

Source: Public domain

Population: 18,596
Unemployment Rate: 10.0%
Median Home Price: $83,200
Median Income: $37,671
More on Whitehall: Data | Jobs

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

This city is 5.4 miles to Columbus. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $37,671 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.

3. Circleville

Circleville, Ohio

Population: 13,761
Unemployment Rate: 8.2%
Median Home Price: $121,600
Median Income: $40,276
More on Circleville: Data | Jobs

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

But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.

4. London

London, Ohio

Source: Public domain

Population: 10,058
Unemployment Rate: 8.1%
Median Home Price: $125,700
Median Income: $48,504
More on London: Data | Jobs

If you live in London, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 7th lowest Columbus suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 5th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Columbus. Remember, we looked at 25 cities for this study.

London is about 24.8 miles to downtown.

5. Lancaster

Lancaster, Ohio

Population: 39,483
Unemployment Rate: 9.1%
Median Home Price: $117,100
Median Income: $38,625
More on Lancaster: Data | Jobs

Lancaster has the distinction of being a Columbus suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Lancaster has the 3rd lowest home values in the metro Columbus area, where the median price is $117,100. To put that into perspective, in Powell, the median income is $191,375, which is the best in the area.

Lancaster has an unemployment rate of 9.1% which ranks 3rd worst.

6. Grove


Population: 6,724
Unemployment Rate: 5.9%
Median Home Price: $150,700
Median Income: $39,321
More on Grove: Data | Jobs

Grove has 6,724 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 17.1%.

7. Heath

Heath, Ohio

Source: Public domain

Population: 10,471
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Median Home Price: $128,700
Median Income: $44,656
More on Heath: Data | Jobs

Ah, Heath. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Columbus.

It’s the place with the 6th most out of work residents in the Columbus metro area (6.3%).

8. Pataskala

Pataskala, Ohio

Source: Public domain

Population: 15,225
Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
Median Home Price: $162,900
Median Income: $69,574
More on Pataskala: Data | Jobs

Pataskala is a city about 14.4 miles from Columbus, but Columbus 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. Pataskala has the 6th most uninsured people, 12th worst incomes, and has the 19th highest unemployment rate (3.5%) in the entire Columbus metro area.

Homes only cost $162,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for Columbus standards.

9. Reynoldsburg

Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Source: Public domain

Population: 36,995
Unemployment Rate: 6.0%
Median Home Price: $142,600
Median Income: $61,648
More on Reynoldsburg: Data | Jobs

If you absolutely have to live near Columbus, then Reynoldsburg might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Columbus suburb.

About 6.0% of residents are out of work.

10. Groveport

Groveport, Ohio

Source: Public domain

Population: 5,500
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Median Home Price: $144,300
Median Income: $56,750
More on Groveport: Data | Jobs

Rounding out the ten worst Columbus suburbs to call home is Groveport.

Located 10.0 miles outside the city, Groveports is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 15th highest unemployment rate (4.1%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around Columbus where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Columbus with Johnstown casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Columbus aren’t all bad. Powell takes the cake as the best place to live around Columbus.

For more Ohio reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Columbus Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Johnstown 20,169 15.7% $42,400 $24,075
2 Whitehall 18,596 10.0% $83,200 $37,671
3 Circleville 13,761 8.2% $121,600 $40,276
4 London 10,058 8.1% $125,700 $48,504
5 Lancaster 39,483 9.1% $117,100 $38,625
6 Grove 6,724 5.9% $150,700 $39,321
7 Heath 10,471 6.3% $128,700 $44,656
8 Pataskala 15,225 3.5% $162,900 $69,574
9 Reynoldsburg 36,995 6.0% $142,600 $61,648
10 Groveport 5,500 4.1% $144,300 $56,750
11 Marysville 22,860 4.2% $166,200 $62,371
12 Delaware 37,554 2.6% $161,100 $58,472
13 Canal Winchester 7,774 4.4% $173,900 $78,718
14 Gahanna 34,373 4.6% $195,100 $73,535
15 Pickerington 19,379 4.1% $184,500 $84,410
16 Hilliard 33,108 4.0% $213,000 $92,727
17 Granville 5,725 3.8% $323,400 $92,109
18 Westerville 38,089 3.5% $207,900 $85,230
19 Bexley 13,534 4.8% $291,900 $101,736
20 New Albany 9,384 5.3% $492,400 $191,375
21 Worthington 14,155 2.8% $251,400 $91,075
22 Upper Arlington 34,675 4.3% $338,000 $102,094
23 Dublin 43,874 3.2% $352,300 $125,540
24 Grandview Heights 7,191 1.7% $295,400 $95,938
25 Powell 12,436 3.1% $348,000 $132,917

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