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 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 2018:

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

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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 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.

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1. River Rouge

River Rouge, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,609
Unemployment Rate: 23.3%
Median Home Price: $35,600
Median Income: $27,463
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

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,978
Unemployment Rate: 28.9%
Median Home Price: $32,600
Median Income: $17,455
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

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 59,920
Unemployment Rate: 16.1%
Median Home Price: $53,700
Median Income: $30,152
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

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,270
Unemployment Rate: 21.4%
Median Home Price: $39,600
Median Income: $26,496
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 75 cities for this study.

Ecorse is about 9.4 miles to downtown.

5. Hamtramck

Hamtramck, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 21,985
Unemployment Rate: 14.1%
Median Home Price: $47,300
Median Income: $23,609
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 $169,265, which is the best in the area.

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

6. Inkster

Inkster, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,738
Unemployment Rate: 14.2%
Median Home Price: $45,000
Median Income: $31,285
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. Romulus

Romulus, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 23,457
Unemployment Rate: 13.0%
Median Home Price: $72,800
Median Income: $44,727
Ah, Romulus. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Detroit.

It’s the place with the 8th most out of work residents in the Detroit metro area (13.0%).

8. Melvindale

Melvindale, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,437
Unemployment Rate: 9.5%
Median Home Price: $57,600
Median Income: $36,870
Melvindale is a city about 8.3 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. Melvindale has the 25th most uninsured people, 10th worst incomes, and has the 18th highest unemployment rate (9.5%) in the entire Detroit metro area.

Homes only cost $57,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Detroit standards.

9. Taylor

Taylor, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 61,716
Unemployment Rate: 11.6%
Median Home Price: $75,600
Median Income: $41,897
If you absolutely have to live near Detroit, then Taylor might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Detroit suburb.

About 11.6% of residents are out of work.

10. Wayne

Wayne, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 17,143
Unemployment Rate: 6.7%
Median Home Price: $65,900
Median Income: $40,973
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 34th 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

City Rank Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
River Rouge 1 7,609 23.3% $35,600 $27,463
Highland Park 2 10,978 28.9% $32,600 $17,455
Pontiac 3 59,920 16.1% $53,700 $30,152
Ecorse 4 9,270 21.4% $39,600 $26,496
Hamtramck 5 21,985 14.1% $47,300 $23,609
Inkster 6 24,738 14.2% $45,000 $31,285
Romulus 7 23,457 13.0% $72,800 $44,727
Melvindale 8 10,437 9.5% $57,600 $36,870
Taylor 9 61,716 11.6% $75,600 $41,897
Wayne 10 17,143 6.7% $65,900 $40,973
Mount Clemens 11 16,390 11.9% $81,600 $37,266
Hazel Park 12 16,587 8.3% $51,200 $33,379
Lincoln Park 13 37,155 11.3% $60,500 $41,406
Warren 14 135,069 10.3% $93,400 $44,017
Center Line 15 8,313 8.6% $59,800 $35,955
Roseville 16 47,606 9.8% $66,100 $42,036
Dearborn 17 95,520 9.0% $112,200 $48,421
Romeo 18 3,919 8.8% $161,500 $47,813
Madison Heights 19 30,168 6.5% $84,000 $43,158
Ypsilanti 20 20,577 10.9% $130,000 $33,055
Dearborn Heights 21 56,329 8.7% $84,900 $45,929
Harper Woods 22 13,895 14.0% $66,200 $49,306
Eastpointe 23 32,648 11.6% $59,700 $44,240
Westland 24 82,218 7.6% $96,700 $44,808
Keego Harbor 25 3,022 6.9% $111,100 $43,281
Carleton 26 2,352 6.3% $94,300 $50,972
Auburn Hills 27 22,342 7.5% $121,000 $53,686
Southfield 28 73,055 9.8% $113,100 $50,371
Oak Park 29 29,751 8.5% $82,500 $49,811
Utica 30 4,838 7.1% $127,700 $51,325
Belleville 31 3,896 6.1% $124,600 $45,737
Flat Rock 32 9,836 7.8% $115,100 $57,500
Gibraltar 33 4,547 10.3% $111,700 $64,016
Riverview 34 12,208 5.8% $123,200 $53,502
Southgate 35 29,355 7.8% $87,900 $51,138
Wyandotte 36 25,225 8.8% $86,200 $52,020
Sterling Heights 37 131,674 6.5% $154,000 $60,492
New Haven 38 4,686 4.7% $117,100 $59,500
Ferndale 39 20,167 6.0% $111,000 $55,159
Rockwood 40 3,209 4.6% $114,100 $55,636
Walled Lake 41 7,102 4.5% $122,700 $48,324
Fraser 42 14,620 6.1% $121,000 $52,865
Wixom 43 13,733 4.5% $205,900 $47,856
St. Clair Shores 44 59,916 7.7% $102,400 $54,590
Woodhaven 45 12,590 7.0% $135,000 $58,500
Trenton 46 18,426 4.4% $123,400 $56,888
Allen Park 47 27,519 5.6% $99,800 $65,848
South Lyon 48 11,672 4.2% $161,100 $62,523
Farmington Hills 49 81,154 4.7% $216,200 $71,463
Troy 50 82,982 5.3% $247,200 $88,954
Clawson 51 12,008 5.6% $139,100 $59,259
Livonia 52 94,849 5.5% $162,000 $71,063
Wolverine Lake 53 4,410 3.3% $165,500 $81,559
New Baltimore 54 12,266 4.8% $191,000 $74,431
Lake Orion 55 3,040 6.2% $250,000 $76,169
Milford 56 6,434 4.5% $189,800 $71,250
Rochester Hills 57 72,987 4.6% $247,500 $83,507
Novi 58 58,233 3.9% $266,000 $86,193
Farmington 59 10,526 4.8% $165,800 $64,388
Royal Oak 60 58,823 4.3% $175,200 $68,504
Rochester 61 12,969 5.7% $308,700 $76,616
Northville 62 5,986 5.5% $298,900 $99,052
Bloomfield Hills 63 3,984 4.7% $794,600 $169,265
Plymouth 64 8,956 3.6% $240,200 $78,254
Franklin 65 3,262 3.5% $509,300 $150,250
Berkley 66 15,239 4.4% $159,400 $74,172
Grosse Pointe Woods 67 15,785 5.8% $197,600 $93,404
Grosse Pointe 68 5,256 5.9% $288,800 $92,500
Grosse Pointe Farms 69 9,265 4.7% $287,100 $119,500
Pleasant Ridge 70 2,562 5.2% $268,400 $107,656
Grosse Pointe Park 71 11,276 5.1% $313,300 $101,484
Beverly Hills 72 10,450 3.3% $320,200 $108,214
Village Of Grosse Pointe Shores 73 2,933 4.4% $431,200 $151,440
Birmingham 74 20,653 3.6% $439,000 $112,545
Huntington Woods 75 6,330 4.1% $298,800 $121,528

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