These Are The 10 Worst Detroit Suburbs For 2018


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. So without further ado…

We examined the 61 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 2018:

  1. River Rouge (Photos)
  2. Highland Park (Photos)
  3. Pontiac (Photos)
  4. Ecorse (Photos)
  5. Hamtramck (Photos)
  6. Inkster (Photos)
  7. Melvindale (Photos)
  8. Taylor (Photos)
  9. Romulus (Photos)
  10. Wayne (Photos)

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:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Detroit 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 Detroit.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 61 suburbs to evaluate around Detroit.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 61 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.

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. River Rouge

River Rouge, Michigan

Source: Public domain

Population: 7,609
Unemployment Rate: 23.3%
Median Home Price: $35,600
Median Income: $27,463
More on River Rouge: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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 4th worst in the Detroit 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 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.

2. Highland Park

Highland Park, Michigan

Population: 10,978
Unemployment Rate: 28.9%
Median Home Price: $32,600
Median Income: $17,455
More on Highland Park: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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 1st lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $17,455 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. Pontiac

Pontiac, Michigan

Population: 59,920
Unemployment Rate: 16.1%
Median Home Price: $53,700
Median Income: $30,152
More on Pontiac: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

4. Ecorse

Ecorse, Michigan

Population: 9,270
Unemployment Rate: 21.4%
Median Home Price: $39,600
Median Income: $26,496
More on Ecorse: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

If you live in Ecorse, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 3rd lowest Detroit suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 3rd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Detroit. Remember, we looked at 61 cities for this study.

Ecorse is about 9.4 miles to downtown.

5. Hamtramck

Hamtramck, Michigan

Population: 21,985
Unemployment Rate: 14.1%
Median Home Price: $47,300
Median Income: $23,609
More on Hamtramck: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

All snarkiness aside, Hamtramck has the 5th lowest home values in the metro Detroit area, where the median price is $47,300. To put that into perspective, in Huntington Woods, the median income is $121,528, which is the best in the area.

Hamtramck has an unemployment rate of 14.1% which ranks 6th worst.

6. Inkster

Inkster, Michigan

Population: 24,738
Unemployment Rate: 14.2%
Median Home Price: $45,000
Median Income: $31,285
More on Inkster: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Inkster has 24,738 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 33.6%.

7. Melvindale

Melvindale, Michigan

Population: 10,437
Unemployment Rate: 9.5%
Median Home Price: $57,600
Median Income: $36,870
More on Melvindale: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

It’s the place with the 17th most out of work residents in the Detroit metro area (9.5%).

8. Taylor

Taylor, Michigan

Population: 61,716
Unemployment Rate: 11.6%
Median Home Price: $75,600
Median Income: $41,897
More on Taylor: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

Taylor is a city about 13.8 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. Taylor has the 25th most uninsured people, 14th worst incomes, and has the 10th highest unemployment rate (11.6%) in the entire Detroit metro area.

Homes only cost $75,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Detroit standards.

9. Romulus

Romulus, Michigan

Population: 23,457
Unemployment Rate: 13.0%
Median Home Price: $72,800
Median Income: $44,727
More on Romulus: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

About 13.0% of residents are out of work.

10. Wayne

Wayne, Michigan

Source: Public domain

Population: 17,143
Unemployment Rate: 6.7%
Median Home Price: $65,900
Median Income: $40,973
More on Wayne: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

Located 16.3 miles outside the city, Waynes is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 30th highest unemployment rate (6.7%), and poverty is far above the area average.

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

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.

For more Michigan reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Detroit Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 River Rouge 7,609 23.3% $35,600 $27,463
2 Highland Park 10,978 28.9% $32,600 $17,455
3 Pontiac 59,920 16.1% $53,700 $30,152
4 Ecorse 9,270 21.4% $39,600 $26,496
5 Hamtramck 21,985 14.1% $47,300 $23,609
6 Inkster 24,738 14.2% $45,000 $31,285
7 Melvindale 10,437 9.5% $57,600 $36,870
8 Taylor 61,716 11.6% $75,600 $41,897
9 Romulus 23,457 13.0% $72,800 $44,727
10 Wayne 17,143 6.7% $65,900 $40,973
11 Mount Clemens 16,390 11.9% $81,600 $37,266
12 Hazel Park 16,587 8.3% $51,200 $33,379
13 Lincoln Park 37,155 11.3% $60,500 $41,406
14 Warren 135,069 10.3% $93,400 $44,017
15 Center Line 8,313 8.6% $59,800 $35,955
16 Dearborn 95,520 9.0% $112,200 $48,421
17 Roseville 47,606 9.8% $66,100 $42,036
18 Ypsilanti 20,577 10.9% $130,000 $33,055
19 Harper Woods 13,895 14.0% $66,200 $49,306
20 Dearborn Heights 56,329 8.7% $84,900 $45,929
21 Madison Heights 30,168 6.5% $84,000 $43,158
22 Eastpointe 32,648 11.6% $59,700 $44,240
23 Auburn Hills 22,342 7.5% $121,000 $53,686
24 Westland 82,218 7.6% $96,700 $44,808
25 Southfield 73,055 9.8% $113,100 $50,371
26 Oak Park 29,751 8.5% $82,500 $49,811
27 Flat Rock 9,836 7.8% $115,100 $57,500
28 Riverview 12,208 5.8% $123,200 $53,502
29 Southgate 29,355 7.8% $87,900 $51,138
30 Wyandotte 25,225 8.8% $86,200 $52,020
31 Sterling Heights 131,674 6.5% $154,000 $60,492
32 Ferndale 20,167 6.0% $111,000 $55,159
33 Fraser 14,620 6.1% $121,000 $52,865
34 Walled Lake 7,102 4.5% $122,700 $48,324
35 Wixom 13,733 4.5% $205,900 $47,856
36 St. Clair Shores 59,916 7.7% $102,400 $54,590
37 Woodhaven 12,590 7.0% $135,000 $58,500
38 Trenton 18,426 4.4% $123,400 $56,888
39 South Lyon 11,672 4.2% $161,100 $62,523
40 Allen Park 27,519 5.6% $99,800 $65,848
41 Farmington Hills 81,154 4.7% $216,200 $71,463
42 Troy 82,982 5.3% $247,200 $88,954
43 Livonia 94,849 5.5% $162,000 $71,063
44 New Baltimore 12,266 4.8% $191,000 $74,431
45 Clawson 12,008 5.6% $139,100 $59,259
46 Milford 6,434 4.5% $189,800 $71,250
47 Novi 58,233 3.9% $266,000 $86,193
48 Rochester Hills 72,987 4.6% $247,500 $83,507
49 Farmington 10,526 4.8% $165,800 $64,388
50 Royal Oak 58,823 4.3% $175,200 $68,504
51 Rochester 12,969 5.7% $308,700 $76,616
52 Northville 5,986 5.5% $298,900 $99,052
53 Plymouth 8,956 3.6% $240,200 $78,254
54 Grosse Pointe Woods 15,785 5.8% $197,600 $93,404
55 Berkley 15,239 4.4% $159,400 $74,172
56 Grosse Pointe 5,256 5.9% $288,800 $92,500
57 Grosse Pointe Farms 9,265 4.7% $287,100 $119,500
58 Beverly Hills 10,450 3.3% $320,200 $108,214
59 Grosse Pointe Park 11,276 5.1% $313,300 $101,484
60 Birmingham 20,653 3.6% $439,000 $112,545
61 Huntington Woods 6,330 4.1% $298,800 $121,528

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