These Are The 10 Worst Kansas City, MO Suburbs

We used science and data to determine which Kansas City suburbs are the real pits.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.

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Kansas City conjures up images of tons of things to do, quality people, and a bustling economy. The region consistently ranks as one of the best places to live across the country.

But not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Kansas City.

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 Kansas City ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Kansas City area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Kansas City proper, although Fairway certainly tries.

We examined the 32 biggest suburbs of Kansas City to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t find them on the worst places to live in Missouri, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Kansas City in terms of quality of life:

  1. Sugar Creek
  2. Edwardsville, KS
  3. Grandview
  4. Independence
  5. Riverside
  6. Belton
  7. North Kansas City
  8. Bonner Springs, KS
  9. Peculiar
  10. Raytown

Read on to see how we determined the places around Kansas City that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger. And once you’re done, you can look at the bottom of the story for a complete chart of worst to best.


How we determined the worst Kansas City ‘burbs

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 Census’s most recent 2010-2014 American Community Survey, this is the criteria we used:

  • Low unemployment (Less jobs)
  • Low median income (Less pay)
  • Low population density (No things to do)
  • Low home values (No one’s willing to pay to live here)
  • High number of high school drop outs

Then, we ranked each place that have over 5,000 people around Kansas City for each of these criteria from worst to best.

The place with the lowest average rankings for these criteria ranks as the worst suburb of Kansas City.

Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Kansas City to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 32 suburbs ranked from worst to best.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased. Snarkiness incorporated for entertainment purposes only. Hold on to your pants.

1. Sugar Creek

Sugar Creek, MO

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,344
Median Income: $37,151
Median Home Value: $83,900

2. Edwardsville, KS

Edwardsville, KS

Source: Flickr

Population: 4,367
Median Income: $54,244
Median Home Value: $116,100

3. Grandview

Grandview, MO

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,860
Median Income: $41,559
Median Home Value: $105,200

4. Independence

Independence, MO

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 117,160
Median Income: $44,038
Median Home Value: $98,800

5. Riverside

Riverside, MO

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,023
Median Income: $41,417
Median Home Value: $168,800

6. Belton

Belton, MO

Source: Flickr

Population: 23,197
Median Income: $53,316
Median Home Value: $122,300

7. North Kansas City

North Kansas City, MO

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 4,280
Median Income: $38,423
Median Home Value: $136,200

8. Bonner Springs, KS

Bonner Springs, KS

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,420
Median Income: $54,658
Median Home Value: $150,100

9. Peculiar

Peculiar, MO

Source: Flickr

Population: 4,747
Median Income: $57,625
Median Home Value: $145,400

10. Raytown

Raytown, MO

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 29,520
Median Income: $49,442
Median Home Value: $98,300

The areas around Kansas City that you probably don’t want to live in

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Kansas City with Sugar Creek landing 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.

For the chart below, these are ranked from worst to best.
For more Missouri reading, check out:

Detailed List Of Kansas City Suburbs

Place Rank Population Median Income Median Home Value
Sugar Creek 1 3,344 $37,151 $83,900
Edwardsville 2 4,367 $54,244 $116,100
Grandview 3 24,860 $41,559 $105,200
Independence 4 117,160 $44,038 $98,800
Riverside 5 3,023 $41,417 $168,800
Belton 6 23,197 $53,316 $122,300
North Kansas City 7 4,280 $38,423 $136,200
Bonner Springs 8 7,420 $54,658 $150,100
Peculiar 9 4,747 $57,625 $145,400
Raytown 10 29,520 $49,442 $98,300
Gladstone 11 26,032 $52,783 $129,500
Liberty 12 29,806 $65,106 $164,700
Oak Grove 13 7,747 $50,325 $118,000
Blue Springs 14 53,053 $63,850 $143,600
Pleasant Valley 15 3,013 $58,378 $129,800
Gardner 16 20,128 $65,938 $159,500
Grain Valley 17 13,037 $57,168 $150,400
Lee’s Summit 18 92,813 $78,186 $188,200
Smithville 19 8,791 $73,114 $178,300
Mission 20 9,451 $51,080 $153,800
Lenexa 21 49,573 $75,400 $221,400
Raymore 22 19,576 $72,380 $174,800
Merriam 23 11,191 $55,103 $153,800
Shawnee 24 63,597 $74,992 $195,300
Olathe 25 129,913 $76,519 $195,500
Roeland Park 26 6,799 $64,394 $155,300
Overland Park 27 178,945 $72,231 $225,000
Parkville 28 5,811 $113,652 $335,500
Leawood 29 32,842 $133,702 $388,100
Mission Hills 30 3,555 $227,098 $899,100
Prairie Village 31 21,730 $81,422 $208,400
Fairway 32 3,946 $104,916 $292,800

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.