More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Kansas City to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
So the question arises: what suburbs of Kansas City are the worst?
Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Kansas City ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Kansas City area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Kansas City proper, although Fairway certainly tries.
We examined the 47 biggest suburbs of Kansas City to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Missouri lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Kansas City in terms of quality of life.
Now don’t freak out.
What’s the worst suburb of Kansas City? Sugar Creek ranks as the worst suburb of Kansas City for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Kansas City too.
The 10 Worst Kansas City Suburbs To Live For 2023
1. Sugar Creek
Median Income: $51,860 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $76,500 (lowest)
More on Sugar Creek: Crime
We’ll get the ball rolling with Sugar Creek, the absolute worst place to live around Kansas City according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Sugar Creek beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 5th worst in the Kansas City 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 Sugar Creek.
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 Kansas City. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 0.0 miles to Kansas City. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $50,707 a year, which only goes so far 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 Kansas City suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Harrisonville 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 dropout rate is poor compared to other Kansas City suburbs.
But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in Grandview, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 2nd lowest Kansas City suburb for median household incomes.
Not only that, but this is the 8th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Kansas City. Remember, we looked at 47 cities for this study.
Grandview is about 9.6 miles to downtown.
Independence has the distinction of being a Kansas City suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Independence has the 5th lowest home values in the metro Kansas City area, where the median price is $130,400. The median income is $250,001.
Independence has an unemployment rate of 6.08% which ranks 7th worst.
Excelsior Springs has 10,595 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 10.673234811165845%.
Ah, Pleasant Hill. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Kansas City.
It’s the place with the 2nd most out of work residents in the Kansas City metro area (8.48%).
Riverside is a city about 11.4 miles from Kansas City, but Kansas City 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. Riverside has the 4th most uninsured people, worst incomes, and has the 12th highest unemployment rate (5.33%) in the entire Kansas City metro area.
Homes only cost $245,500 for a reason. That’s cheap for Kansas City standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Kansas City, then Oak Grove might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Kansas City suburb.
About 5.26% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Kansas City suburbs to call home is Leavenworth.
Located 28.6 miles outside the city, Leavenworths is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 15th highest unemployment rate (4.99%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Kansas City for 2023
To figure out how bad a Kansas City 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.
It’s Saturday Night Science.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one 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 dropouts
- High poverty
- High rate of uninsured families
We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Kansas City.
We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 47 suburbs to evaluate around Kansas City.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 47 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 Kansas City.” We’re looking at you, Sugar Creek.
We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Kansas City.
Summary: The areas around Kansas City where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Kansas City with Sugar Creek casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Kansas City aren’t all bad. Fairway takes the cake as the best place to live around Kansas City.
- Mission Hills
For more Missouri reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Missouri
- Cheapest Places To Live In Missouri
- Most Dangerous Cities in Missouri
- Best Places To Retire In Missouri
- Richest Cities In Missouri
- Safest Places In Missouri
- Worst Places To Live In Missouri
Detailed List Of The Worst Kansas City Suburbs
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