The 10 Worst Detroit Suburbs For 2022

We used science and data to determine which Detroit 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 Detroit.

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

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

We examined the 75 biggest suburbs of Detroit to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Michigan lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Detroit in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Detroit for 2022:

  1. River Rouge
  2. Highland Park
  3. Pontiac
  4. Ecorse
  5. Inkster
  6. Melvindale
  7. Hamtramck
  8. Wayne
  9. New Haven
  10. Mount Clemens

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

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

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

And remember, there are some good places to live around Detroit 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 Michigan reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Detroit Suburbs To Live For 2022

We'll get the ball rolling with River Rouge, the absolute worst place to live around Detroit according to the data.

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

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


Population: 7,465
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $22,664 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $33,600 (lowest)
More on River Rouge:  Data | Photos

River Rouge, MI

Source: Public domain

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

This city is 1.5 miles to Detroit. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $20,666 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


Population: 10,818
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $20,666 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.2% (highest)
Median Home Value: $50,200 (3rd lowest)
More on Highland Park:  Data | Photos

Highland Park, MI

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

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

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 59,714
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $34,673 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.0% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $73,800 (7th lowest)
More on Pontiac:  Data | Photos

Pontiac, MI

If you live in Ecorse, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 5th lowest Detroit suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 7th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Detroit. Remember, we looked at 75 cities for this study.

Ecorse is about 9.4 miles to downtown.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,456
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $34,278 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $43,500 (2nd lowest)
More on Ecorse:  Data | Photos

Ecorse, MI

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

All snarkiness aside, Inkster has the 4th lowest home values in the metro Detroit area, where the median price is $51,500. To put that into perspective, in Huntington Woods, the median income is $177,614, which is the best in the area.

Inkster has an unemployment rate of 9.76% which ranks 9th worst.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,398
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $32,109 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $51,500 (4th lowest)
More on Inkster:  Data | Photos

Inkster, MI

Melvindale has 10,300 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 28.053286658887597%.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,300
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Income: $37,438 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.6% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $73,700 (6th lowest)
More on Melvindale:  Data | Photos

Melvindale, MI

Ah, Hamtramck. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Detroit.

It's the place with the 4th most out of work residents in the Detroit metro area (10.61%).

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 21,704
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $29,230 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.6% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $72,600 (5th lowest)
More on Hamtramck:  Data | Photos

Hamtramck, MI

Wayne is a city about 16.3 miles from Detroit, but Detroit 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. Wayne has the 7th most uninsured people, 14th worst incomes, and has the 6th highest unemployment rate (10.12%) in the entire Detroit metro area.

Homes only cost $98,900 for a reason. That's cheap for Detroit standards.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,894
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $47,704 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $98,900 (12th lowest)
More on Wayne:  Data | Photos

Wayne, MI

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

About 9.91% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,856
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Income: $55,877 (29th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $152,300 (32nd lowest)
More on New Haven:  Data

Rounding out the ten worst Detroit suburbs to call home is Mount Clemens.

Located 18.6 miles outside the city, Mount Clemenss is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 17th highest unemployment rate (7.88%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,212
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 3)
Median Income: $47,528 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (17th highest)
Median Home Value: $118,800 (17th lowest)
More on Mount Clemens:  Data | Photos

Mount Clemens, MI

Source: Public domain

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Detroit 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 Detroit.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 75 suburbs to evaluate around Detroit.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 75 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 Detroit." We're lookin' at you, River Rouge. 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 Detroit where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Detroit with River Rouge casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Detroit aren't all bad. Huntington Woods takes the cake as the best place to live around Detroit.

  • Huntington Woods
  • Grosse Pointe
  • Village of Grosse Pointe Shores

For more Michigan reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Detroit Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 River Rouge 7,465 $22,664 $33,600
2 Highland Park 10,818 $20,666 $50,200
3 Pontiac 59,714 $34,673 $73,800
4 Ecorse 9,456 $34,278 $43,500
5 Inkster 24,398 $32,109 $51,500
6 Melvindale 10,300 $37,438 $73,700
7 Hamtramck 21,704 $29,230 $72,600
8 Wayne 16,894 $47,704 $98,900
9 New Haven 4,856 $55,877 $152,300
10 Mount Clemens 16,212 $47,528 $118,800
11 Romulus 23,544 $61,314 $109,900
12 Lincoln Park 36,525 $47,094 $81,000
13 Warren 134,188 $51,796 $132,900
14 Taylor 61,164 $52,872 $109,400
15 Eastpointe 32,221 $49,800 $83,800
16 Dearborn Heights 55,630 $50,987 $122,200
17 Hazel Park 16,452 $43,725 $86,100
18 Carleton 2,449 $47,857 $131,800
19 Roseville 47,160 $49,426 $97,600
20 Ypsilanti 20,792 $40,028 $155,000
21 Harper Woods 13,829 $50,718 $101,700
22 Dearborn 94,328 $56,302 $154,100
23 Center Line 8,212 $45,210 $100,800
24 Belleville 3,879 $52,810 $143,900
25 Utica 5,025 $47,244 $162,400
26 Westland 81,713 $51,956 $131,600
27 Romeo 3,908 $51,672 $204,700
28 Flat Rock 9,974 $57,277 $153,300
29 Auburn Hills 23,984 $68,780 $174,300
30 Madison Heights 30,000 $54,668 $137,700
31 Fraser 14,503 $57,345 $151,700
32 Southfield 72,966 $58,076 $164,800
33 Walled Lake 7,153 $53,699 $150,100
34 Wyandotte 24,944 $54,419 $118,900
35 Sterling Heights 132,296 $66,346 $198,300
36 Oak Park 29,446 $54,202 $129,800
37 Riverview 12,085 $59,841 $152,800
38 Southgate 29,129 $59,975 $125,800
39 Gibraltar 4,546 $74,919 $167,000
40 Woodhaven 12,501 $67,067 $176,600
41 Trenton 18,214 $69,710 $156,200
42 St. Clair Shores 59,184 $62,935 $144,500
43 Allen Park 27,089 $69,331 $133,600
44 Wixom 13,970 $58,886 $257,200
45 Rockwood 3,177 $82,969 $147,400
46 Farmington Hills 80,937 $85,152 $270,000
47 Livonia 93,970 $82,158 $204,300
48 Ferndale 20,139 $77,100 $178,400
49 Keego Harbor 3,323 $60,813 $188,400
50 New Baltimore 12,333 $83,767 $234,100
51 Wolverine Lake 4,712 $86,148 $210,700
52 South Lyon 11,818 $74,300 $207,700
53 Rochester 13,203 $92,128 $378,300
54 Novi 60,439 $93,943 $325,500
55 Troy 84,051 $104,132 $318,600
56 Rochester Hills 74,340 $99,666 $303,800
57 Clawson 11,909 $71,376 $190,000
58 Farmington 10,520 $78,875 $221,500
59 Lake Orion 3,143 $95,854 $275,500
60 Milford 6,502 $87,848 $283,000
61 Royal Oak 59,256 $83,194 $236,600
62 Plymouth 9,168 $92,662 $337,300
63 Pleasant Ridge 2,589 $122,422 $354,100
64 Grosse Pointe Woods 15,409 $111,392 $259,600
65 Bloomfield Hills 3,995 $177,614 $833,100
66 Franklin 2,877 $158,958 $595,400
67 Northville 5,968 $129,426 $343,900
68 Berkley 15,352 $93,038 $222,100
69 Beverly Hills 10,378 $129,196 $394,500
70 Birmingham 21,272 $126,601 $538,900
71 Grosse Pointe Farms 9,142 $140,647 $357,100
72 Grosse Pointe Park 11,108 $122,800 $370,000
73 Village Of Grosse Pointe Shores 2,791 $172,250 $559,700
74 Grosse Pointe 5,176 $117,222 $338,100
75 Huntington Woods 6,303 $150,114 $372,200

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 Detroit.

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.