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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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%).
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.
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.
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.
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
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Detailed List Of The Worst Detroit Suburbs
|42||St. Clair Shores||59,184|
|64||Grosse Pointe Woods||15,409|
|71||Grosse Pointe Farms||9,142|
|72||Grosse Pointe Park||11,108|
|73||Village Of Grosse Pointe Shores||2,791|