The suburbs of Detroit call to all types of people looking to escape city live. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Detroit to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
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 Grosse Pointe 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 2023 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.
Article Table Of Contents
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The 10 Worst Detroit Suburbs To Live For 2023
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 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 Pontiac. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 20.7 miles to Detroit. Income levels here are the 5th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $36,214 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 Highland Park 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 7th lowest Detroit suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 5th 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.
Melvindale has the distinction of being a Detroit suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Melvindale has the 7th lowest home values in the metro Detroit area, where the median price is $82,500. To put that into perspective, in Grosse Pointe, the median income is $188,828, which is the best in the area.
Melvindale has an unemployment rate of 12.48% which ranks 4th worst.
Inkster has 25,849 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 37.75494317297213%.
Ah, Hamtramck. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Detroit.
It’s the place with the 3rd most out of work residents in the Detroit metro area (13.33%).
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 11th most uninsured people, 10th worst incomes, and has the 7th highest unemployment rate (11.17%) in the entire Detroit metro area.
Homes only cost $108,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for Detroit standards.
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $59,107 (29th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (32nd highest)
Median Home Value: $158,300 (29th lowest)
More on New Haven: Data
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 5.24% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Detroit suburbs to call home is Romulus.
Located 17.4 miles outside the city, Romuluss is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 10th highest unemployment rate (9.37%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Detroit for 2023
To figure out how bad a Detroit suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs 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 2017-2021, 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.
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 2023
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. Grosse Pointe takes the cake as the best place to live around Detroit.
- Grosse Pointe
- Huntington Woods
- Grosse Pointe Park
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Detailed List Of The Worst Detroit Suburbs
|43||St. Clair Shores||59,046|
|60||Grosse Pointe Woods||16,353|
|70||Grosse Pointe Farms||10,018|
|71||Village Of Grosse Pointe Shores||2,608|
|73||Grosse Pointe Park||11,529|