These Are The 10 Worst Denver Suburbs For 2018


We used science and data to determine which Denver 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 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 31 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 2018:

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

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:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Denver 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 Denver.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 31 suburbs to evaluate around Denver.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 31 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.

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. Commerce


Population: 6,601
Unemployment Rate: 11.1%
Median Home Price: $98,400
Median Income: $40,483
More on Commerce: Data | Jobs

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 2nd 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.

2. Sheridan

Sheridan, Colorado

Population: 5,965
Unemployment Rate: 10.0%
Median Home Price: $151,500
Median Income: $43,679
More on Sheridan: Data | Jobs

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

This city is 10.7 miles to Denver. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $43,679 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. Federal Heights

Federal Heights, Colorado

Population: 12,173
Unemployment Rate: 5.6%
Median Home Price: $42,200
Median Income: $37,474
More on Federal Heights: Data | Jobs

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.

4. Fort Lupton

Fort Lupton, Colorado

Population: 7,814
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Median Home Price: $165,000
Median Income: $52,154
More on Fort Lupton: Data | Jobs

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

Not only that, but this is the 6th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Denver. Remember, we looked at 31 cities for this study.

Fort Lupton is about 22.5 miles to downtown.

5. Lochbuie

Lochbuie, Colorado

Population: 5,367
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Median Home Price: $169,500
Median Income: $52,204
More on Lochbuie: Data | Jobs

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

All snarkiness aside, Lochbuie has the 5th lowest home values in the metro Denver area, where the median price is $169,500. To put that into perspective, in Castle Pines, the median income is $140,764, which is the best in the area.

Lochbuie has an unemployment rate of 4.1% which ranks 25th worst.

6. Aurora

Aurora, Colorado

Population: 351,131
Unemployment Rate: 7.0%
Median Home Price: $206,300
Median Income: $55,303
More on Aurora: Data | Jobs

Aurora has 351,131 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 14.7%.

7. Edgewater

Edgewater, Colorado

Population: 5,278
Unemployment Rate: 12.9%
Median Home Price: $252,900
Median Income: $44,046
More on Edgewater: Data | Jobs

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

It’s the place with the 1st most out of work residents in the Denver metro area (12.9%).

8. Brighton

Brighton, Colorado

Population: 36,307
Unemployment Rate: 5.0%
Median Home Price: $214,000
Median Income: $62,316
More on Brighton: Data | Jobs

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 5th most uninsured people, 14th worst incomes, and has the 16th highest unemployment rate (5.0%) in the entire Denver metro area.

Homes only cost $214,000 for a reason. That’s cheap for Denver standards.

9. Englewood

Englewood, Colorado

Source: Public domain

Population: 32,523
Unemployment Rate: 7.6%
Median Home Price: $238,400
Median Income: $50,184
More on Englewood: Data | Jobs

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

About 7.6% of residents are out of work.

10. Northglenn

Northglenn, Colorado

Population: 38,128
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Median Home Price: $201,400
Median Income: $59,188
More on Northglenn: Data | Jobs

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

Located 11.5 miles outside the city, Northglenns is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 8th highest unemployment rate (6.3%), and poverty is far above the area average.

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

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.

For more Colorado reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Denver Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Commerce 6,601 11.1% $98,400 $40,483
2 Sheridan 5,965 10.0% $151,500 $43,679
3 Federal Heights 12,173 5.6% $42,200 $37,474
4 Fort Lupton 7,814 6.6% $165,000 $52,154
5 Lochbuie 5,367 4.1% $169,500 $52,204
6 Aurora 351,131 7.0% $206,300 $55,303
7 Edgewater 5,278 12.9% $252,900 $44,046
8 Brighton 36,307 5.0% $214,000 $62,316
9 Englewood 32,523 7.6% $238,400 $50,184
10 Northglenn 38,128 6.3% $201,400 $59,188
11 Wheat Ridge 31,044 5.5% $278,700 $49,340
12 Lakewood 149,793 5.4% $273,200 $58,227
13 Westminster 111,770 6.3% $249,900 $69,805
14 Golden 20,268 4.8% $423,600 $59,028
15 Thornton 130,511 4.5% $236,100 $69,417
16 Firestone 11,709 6.4% $271,500 $90,991
17 Littleton 45,072 5.0% $314,100 $67,133
18 Arvada 113,532 5.3% $278,100 $72,010
19 Lafayette 27,053 5.0% $310,400 $72,895
20 Boulder 105,420 6.1% $554,500 $60,569
21 Broomfield 62,449 4.5% $328,200 $83,334
22 Frederick 10,791 3.7% $261,500 $90,321
23 Castle Rock 53,789 3.9% $328,700 $93,153
24 Lone Tree 12,808 4.3% $521,000 $115,049
25 Erie 20,801 2.9% $379,800 $110,877
26 Louisville 19,972 4.2% $440,300 $94,304
27 Centennial 107,862 4.6% $339,300 $96,422
28 Parker 48,442 4.0% $330,800 $101,969
29 Superior 12,928 4.3% $456,400 $114,310
30 Castle Pines 10,389 3.0% $505,200 $140,764
31 Castle Pines 10,389 3.0% $505,200 $140,764

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