Worst Denver Suburbs For 2020

We used science and data to determine which Denver 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 Denver.

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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 Denver.

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 Denver 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Denver area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Denver proper, although Castle Pines certainly tries.

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

We examined the 36 biggest suburbs of Denver to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in colorado lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Denver in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Denver for 2020:

  1. Commerce
  2. Lochbuie (Photos)
  3. Federal Heights (Photos)
  4. Bennett
  5. Aurora (Photos)
  6. Fort Lupton (Photos)
  7. Sheridan (Photos)
  8. Brighton (Photos)
  9. Dacono (Photos)
  10. Englewood (Photos)

What's the worst suburb of Denver? Commerce ranks as the worst suburb of Denver for 2020 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Read on to see how we determined the places around Denver that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.

Or, if you're thinking of moving to elsewhere in colorado check out the best places in colorado overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Denver 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 Colorado reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Denver Suburbs To Live For 2020

1. Commerce

Commerce Location In Georgia

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,742
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $48,836 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $111,500 (2nd lowest)
More on Commerce:

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

And in the world of worst rankings, Commerce beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 3rd worst in the Denver 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 Commerce.

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.

Lochbuie, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,036
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Median Income: $65,000 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $223,800 (6th lowest)
More on Lochbuie:  Data | Photos

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

This city is 19.1 miles to Denver. Income levels here are the 12th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $65,000 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.

Federal Heights, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,645
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $40,205 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $57,100 (1st lowest)
More on Federal Heights:  Data | Photos

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Denver suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Federal 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 drop out rate is poor compared to other Denver suburbs.

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

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,202
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $54,701 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (1st highest)
Median Home Value: $198,100 (4th lowest)
More on Bennett:  Data

If you live in Bennett, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 6th lowest Denver suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 1st worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Denver. Remember, we looked at 36 cities for this study.

Bennett is about 23.3 miles to downtown.

Aurora, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 363,550
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $62,541 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $259,000 (10th lowest)
More on Aurora:  Data | Photos

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

All snarkiness aside, Aurora has the 10th lowest home values in the metro Denver area, where the median price is $259,000. To put that into perspective, in Castle Pines, the median income is $156,144, which is the best in the area.

Aurora has an unemployment rate of 5.0% which ranks 9th worst.

Fort Lupton, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,022
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Income: $63,548 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $210,800 (5th lowest)
More on Fort Lupton:  Data | Photos

Fort Lupton has 8,022 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 7.744107744107745%.

Sheridan, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,056
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 5)
Median Income: $42,061 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (24th highest)
Median Home Value: $181,300 (3rd lowest)
More on Sheridan:  Data | Photos

Ah, Sheridan. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Denver.

It's the place with the 24th most out of work residents in the Denver metro area (3.75%).

Brighton, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 39,054
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Income: $72,185 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $278,200 (11th lowest)
More on Brighton:  Data | Photos

Brighton is a city about 14.7 miles from Denver, but Denver 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. Brighton has the 7th most uninsured people, 17th worst incomes, and has the 10th highest unemployment rate (4.69%) in the entire Denver metro area.

Homes only cost $278,200 for a reason. That's cheap for Denver standards.

Dacono, CO

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,243
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Income: $67,524 (16th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $241,100 (8th lowest)
More on Dacono:  Data | Photos

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

About 5.51% of residents are out of work.

Englewood, CO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 33,820
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Income: $56,586 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $297,800 (13th lowest)
More on Englewood:  Data | Photos

Rounding out the ten worst Denver suburbs to call home is Englewood.

Located 10.0 miles outside the city, Englewoods is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 2nd highest unemployment rate (5.76%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Denver 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 Denver.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 36 suburbs to evaluate around Denver.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 36 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 Denver." We're lookin' at you, Commerce. 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 Denver where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2020

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

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Denver aren't all bad. Castle Pines takes the cake as the best place to live around Denver.

  • Castle Pines
  • Castle Pines
  • Castle Pines

For more Colorado reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Denver Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Commerce 6,742 $48,836 $111,500
2 Lochbuie 6,036 $65,000 $223,800
3 Federal Heights 12,645 $40,205 $57,100
4 Bennett 2,202 $54,701 $198,100
5 Aurora 363,550 $62,541 $259,000
6 Fort Lupton 8,022 $63,548 $210,800
7 Sheridan 6,056 $42,061 $181,300
8 Brighton 39,054 $72,185 $278,200
9 Dacono 5,243 $67,524 $241,100
10 Englewood 33,820 $56,586 $297,800
11 Edgewater 5,334 $49,665 $378,500
12 Glendale 5,170 $51,026 $235,900
13 Northglenn 38,918 $66,972 $249,700
14 Wheat Ridge 31,323 $55,893 $340,400
15 Westminster 112,747 $73,629 $307,600
16 Thornton 134,588 $76,236 $290,100
17 Golden 20,798 $66,344 $485,800
18 Firestone 13,109 $97,102 $329,000
19 Lakewood 153,522 $64,100 $333,400
20 Littleton 47,035 $73,185 $379,700
21 Boulder 107,360 $66,117 $645,600
22 Lafayette 28,002 $78,297 $383,500
23 Arvada 117,251 $80,055 $352,300
24 Frederick 12,138 $100,057 $332,100
25 Broomfield 66,120 $89,624 $382,800
26 Louisville 20,705 $100,188 $554,200
27 Erie 22,965 $119,973 $437,000
28 Castle Rock 59,680 $104,642 $391,100
29 Parker 52,563 $110,779 $386,800
30 Lone Tree 14,209 $115,746 $611,900
31 Centennial 109,505 $105,974 $398,700
32 Superior 13,014 $126,430 $530,800
33 Castle Pines 10,573 $156,144 $598,600
34 Castle Pines 10,573 $156,144 $598,600
35 Castle Pines 10,573 $156,144 $598,600
36 Castle Pines 10,573 $156,144 $598,600

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