The 10 Worst Milwaukee Suburbs

The worst Milwaukee suburbs are Racine and West Milwaukee based on Saturday Night Science. Find out where your town ranks.

More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Milwaukee to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: what suburbs of Milwaukee are the worst?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Milwaukee ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Milwaukee area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Milwaukee proper, although Fox Point certainly tries.

We examined the 56 biggest suburbs of Milwaukee to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Wisconsin lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Milwaukee in terms of quality of life.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 worst suburbs around Milwaukee for 2024

  1. Racine
  2. West Milwaukee
  3. Sturtevant
  4. West Allis
  5. Hartford
  6. South Milwaukee
  7. Mount Pleasant
  8. West Bend
  9. Greenfield
  10. Fredonia

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Milwaukee? Racine ranks as the worst suburb of Milwaukee for 2024 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Or, if you’re thinking of moving to elsewhere in Wisconsin check out the best places in Wisconsin overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Milwaukee too.

The 10 Worst Milwaukee Suburbs To Live For 2024

Racine, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Racine2020 | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 77,453
Median Income: $52,766 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $174,516 (lowest)
More on Racine: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

We’ll get the ball rolling with Racine, the absolute worst place to live around Milwaukee according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Racine beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 3rd worst in the Milwaukee 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 Racine.

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. West Milwaukee

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,096
Median Income: $46,220 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $218,801 (2nd lowest)
More on West Milwaukee: Crime

Welcome to West Milwaukee. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 3.5 miles to Milwaukee. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $46,220 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.

Sturtevant, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Wasted Time R | CC BY 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,823
Median Income: $83,816 (2lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (highest)
Median Home Value: $245,292 (4th lowest)
More on Sturtevant: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Milwaukee suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Sturtevant 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 Milwaukee suburbs.

But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.

West Allis, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Panoramio upload bot | CC BY 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 59,907
Median Income: $64,888 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $236,211 (3rd lowest)
More on West Allis: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you live in West Allis, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 6th lowest Milwaukee suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 11th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Milwaukee. Remember, we looked at 56 cities for this study.

West Allis is about 5.0 miles to downtown.

Hartford, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Shadowe | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,667
Median Income: $70,887 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (2highest)
Median Home Value: $324,957 (15th lowest)
More on Hartford: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Hartford has the distinction of being a Milwaukee suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Hartford has the 15th lowest home values in the metro Milwaukee area, where the median price is $324,957. The median income is $159,577.

Hartford has an unemployment rate of 3.19% which ranks 2worst.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,678
Median Income: $68,801 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (17th highest)
Median Home Value: $256,703 (8th lowest)
More on South Milwaukee: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

South Milwaukee has 20,678 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 13.49987754102376%.

Mount Pleasant, WI

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 27,640
Median Income: $83,827 (22nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (25th highest)
Median Home Value: $292,158 (11th lowest)
More on Mount Pleasant: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Ah, Mount Pleasant. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Milwaukee.

It’s the place with the 25th most out of work residents in the Milwaukee metro area (3.01%).

West Bend, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Mjrichter at English Wikipedia | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 31,682
Median Income: $71,904 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $300,826 (12th lowest)
More on West Bend: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

West Bend is a city about 26.8 miles from Milwaukee, but Milwaukee 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. West Bend has the 8th most uninsured people, 12th worst incomes, and has the 16th highest unemployment rate (3.53%) in the entire Milwaukee metro area.

Homes only cost $300,826 for a reason. That’s cheap for Milwaukee standards.

Greenfield, WI

Source: Wikipedia User The original uploader was Sulfur at English Wikipedia | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 37,521
Median Income: $67,536 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (19th highest)
Median Home Value: $291,988 (10th lowest)
More on Greenfield: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you absolutely have to live near Milwaukee, then Greenfield might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Milwaukee suburb.

About 3.46% of residents are out of work.

10. Fredonia

Fredonia, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,446
Median Income: $86,518 (27th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $342,677 (19th lowest)
More on Fredonia:

Rounding out the ten worst Milwaukee suburbs to call home is Fredonia.

Located 28.2 miles outside the city, Fredonias is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 10th highest unemployment rate (4.01%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Milwaukee for 2024

To figure out how bad a Milwaukee suburb is to live in, we used Saturday Night Science to identify the kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2018-2022, 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 Milwaukee.

We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 56 suburbs to evaluate around Milwaukee.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 56 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 Milwaukee.” We’re looking at you, Racine.

We updated this article for 2024, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Milwaukee.

Summary: The areas around Milwaukee where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2024

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Milwaukee with Racine casting itself ahead of the pack.

The worst suburbs of Milwaukee are .

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Milwaukee aren’t all bad. Fox Point takes the cake as the best place to live around Milwaukee.

  • Fox Point
  • Elm Grove
  • Summit

For more Wisconsin reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Milwaukee Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Racine 77,453 $52,766 $174,516
2 West Milwaukee 4,096 $46,220 $218,801
3 Sturtevant 6,823 $83,816 $245,292
4 West Allis 59,907 $64,888 $236,211
5 Hartford 15,667 $70,887 $324,957
6 South Milwaukee 20,678 $68,801 $256,703
7 Mount Pleasant 27,640 $83,827 $292,158
8 West Bend 31,682 $71,904 $300,826
9 Greenfield 37,521 $67,536 $291,988
10 Fredonia 2,446 $86,518 $342,677
11 Caledonia 25,277 $90,346 $327,335
12 Waukesha 70,945 $77,558 $328,532
13 Cudahy 18,087 $66,592 $248,599
14 Brown Deer 12,593 $88,164 $253,305
15 Glendale 13,227 $79,861 $312,896
16 St. Francis 9,288 $51,749 $250,548
17 Saukville 4,274 $65,294 $335,245
18 Hartland 9,599 $82,238 $421,737
19 Franklin 36,513 $100,524 $380,895
20 Dousman 2,099 $85,909 $410,876
21 Slinger 6,055 $92,984 $404,668
22 Oak Creek 36,286 $86,408 $356,263
23 Union Grove 4,916 $103,005 $281,006
24 Pewaukee 8,227 $60,202 $459,571
25 Pewaukee 8,227 $60,202 $459,571
26 Mukwonago 8,311 $91,827 $423,592
27 Port Washington 12,446 $76,609 $322,974
28 East Troy 4,669 $79,504 $403,061
29 Hales Corners 7,677 $84,911 $351,737
30 Oconomowoc 18,178 $99,104 $435,095
31 Jackson 7,814 $94,621 $367,088
32 Greendale 14,722 $89,684 $342,979
33 Menomonee Falls 38,610 $96,986 $367,403
34 New Berlin 40,387 $94,769 $388,822
35 Waterford 5,587 $81,575 $383,978
36 Rochester 3,776 $91,000 $369,973
37 Eagle 2,050 $110,500 $449,848
38 Muskego 25,073 $112,537 $444,024
39 Shorewood 13,707 $87,161 $467,870
40 Sussex 11,549 $105,435 $437,059
41 Thiensville 3,279 $85,542 $368,575
42 Wales 2,880 $114,286 $468,496
43 Bayside 4,506 $129,348 $488,586
44 Grafton 12,160 $83,500 $377,473
45 Wauwatosa 47,919 $93,812 $362,434
46 Cedarburg 12,213 $79,610 $475,448
47 Brookfield 41,342 $121,837 $450,774
48 Merton 3,463 $159,577 $623,419
49 Delafield 7,181 $99,239 $638,617
50 Mequon 25,102 $141,996 $572,570
51 North Prairie 2,485 $143,068 $422,869
52 Richfield 11,757 $128,165 $493,223
53 Whitefish Bay 14,804 $142,356 $553,113
54 Summit 4,914 $125,298 $656,576
55 Elm Grove 6,445 $126,996 $580,004
56 Fox Point 6,811 $130,865 $481,451
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.

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