The 10 Worst Columbus Suburbs For 2022


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 Upper Arlington certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Columbus are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..

We examined the 35 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 2022:

  1. Whitehall
  2. Hebron
  3. Circleville
  4. Johnstown
  5. Baltimore
  6. Obetz
  7. Buckeye Lake
  8. Lancaster
  9. Grove
  10. Mount Sterling

What's the worst suburb of Columbus? Whitehall ranks as the worst suburb of Columbus for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

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:

The 10 Worst Columbus Suburbs To Live For 2022

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

And in the world of worst rankings, Whitehall beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 5th worst in the Columbus area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 2nd 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 Whitehall.

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.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 18,944
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Income: $42,951 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (highest)
Median Home Value: $97,100 (2nd lowest)
More on Whitehall:  Data | Photos

Whitehall, OH

Source: Public domain

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

This city is 26.4 miles to Columbus. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $41,739 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.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,370
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $41,739 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $128,500 (5th lowest)
More on Hebron:  Data | Photos

Hebron, OH

Source: Public domain

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.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 13,986
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 5)
Median Income: $44,092 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $125,600 (4th lowest)
More on Circleville:  Data | Photos

Circleville, OH

4. Johnstown

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

Not only that, but this is the 2nd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Columbus. Remember, we looked at 35 cities for this study.

Johnstown is about 19.4 miles to downtown.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 19,381
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $29,171 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $37,000 (lowest)
More on Johnstown:

Johnstown, OH

Source: Public domain

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

All snarkiness aside, Baltimore has the 10th lowest home values in the metro Columbus area, where the median price is $142,800. To put that into perspective, in Upper Arlington, the median income is $200,580, which is the best in the area.

Baltimore has an unemployment rate of 9.03% which ranks 3rd worst.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 3,005
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 3)
Median Income: $41,424 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $142,800 (10th lowest)
More on Baltimore:  Data | Photos

Baltimore, OH

Source: Public domain

Obetz has 5,205 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 9.298751200768493%.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,205
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $68,762 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $135,400 (9th lowest)
More on Obetz:  Data | Photos

Obetz, OH

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

It's the place with the 10th most out of work residents in the Columbus metro area (4.87%).

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,839
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 6)
Median Income: $52,298 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $113,900 (3rd lowest)
More on Buckeye Lake:  Data | Photos

Buckeye Lake, OH

Source: Public domain

Lancaster is a city about 26.9 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. Lancaster has the 5th most uninsured people, 7th worst incomes, and has the 11th highest unemployment rate (4.79%) in the entire Columbus metro area.

Homes only cost $131,700 for a reason. That's cheap for Columbus standards.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 40,438
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Income: $44,794 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $131,700 (7th lowest)
More on Lancaster:  Data | Photos

Lancaster, OH

9. Grove

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

About 3.01% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,060
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $42,780 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (22nd highest)
Median Home Value: $175,300 (17th lowest)
More on Grove:

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

Located 24.1 miles outside the city, Mount Sterlings is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 6th highest unemployment rate (8.05%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,023
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $51,910 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $133,500 (8th lowest)
More on Mount Sterling:  Data

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Columbus for 2022

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 2016-2020, 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 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 35 suburbs to evaluate around Columbus.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 35 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, Whitehall. 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.

Summary: The areas around Columbus where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Columbus with Whitehall casting itself ahead of the pack.

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

  • Upper Arlington
  • Powell
  • Grandview Heights

For more Ohio reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Columbus Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Whitehall 18,944 $42,951 $97,100
2 Hebron 2,370 $41,739 $128,500
3 Circleville 13,986 $44,092 $125,600
4 Johnstown 19,381 $29,171 $37,000
5 Baltimore 3,005 $41,424 $142,800
6 Obetz 5,205 $68,762 $135,400
7 Buckeye Lake 2,839 $52,298 $113,900
8 Lancaster 40,438 $44,794 $131,700
9 Grove 7,060 $42,780 $175,300
10 Mount Sterling 2,023 $51,910 $133,500
11 South Bloomfield 2,490 $76,970 $144,100
12 London 10,241 $56,401 $149,200
13 West Jefferson 4,413 $57,768 $131,400
14 Heath 10,847 $51,524 $149,400
15 Pataskala 15,751 $75,851 $196,300
16 Reynoldsburg 38,016 $65,623 $171,900
17 Delaware 41,818 $74,130 $197,600
18 Ashville 4,281 $68,966 $159,700
19 Sunbury 5,934 $80,663 $241,700
20 Marysville 24,569 $79,016 $206,700
21 Groveport 5,630 $72,351 $173,800
22 Commercial Point 2,174 $79,318 $221,600
23 Pickerington 21,257 $101,577 $228,600
24 Hilliard 37,023 $102,283 $265,600
25 Gahanna 35,442 $89,945 $228,800
26 Canal Winchester 9,148 $99,418 $205,700
27 Worthington 14,961 $105,373 $304,200
28 New Albany 11,085 $200,580 $515,100
29 Westerville 40,443 $92,287 $244,500
30 Bexley 13,805 $109,805 $409,000
31 Granville 5,829 $132,566 $389,200
32 Dublin 47,824 $138,372 $394,500
33 Grandview Heights 8,254 $93,367 $415,400
34 Powell 13,353 $159,368 $386,200
35 Upper Arlington 35,364 $124,688 $429,100

How Is Your Town In ?

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 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the worst suburbs around Columbus.

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.