Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Minneapolis.
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 Minneapolis ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Minneapolis area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Minneapolis proper, although Deephaven certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Minneapolis are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
We examined the 110 biggest suburbs of Minneapolis to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Minnesota lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Minneapolis in terms of quality of life.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Minneapolis for 2019:
- Brooklyn Center (Photos)
- Fridley (Photos)
- Columbia Heights (Photos)
- Watertown (Photos)
- Anoka (Photos)
- St. Paul (Photos)
- West St. Paul (Photos)
- South St. Paul (Photos)
- Spring Lake Park (Photos)
- Brooklyn Park (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Minneapolis that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Minneapolis 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.
For more Minnesota reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Minnesota
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- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Minnesota
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Minneapolis for 2019
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 from 2013-2017, 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 Minneapolis.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 110 suburbs to evaluate around Minneapolis.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 110 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 Minneapolis.” We’re lookin’ at you, Brooklyn Center.
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.
We’ll get the ball rolling with Brooklyn Center, the absolute worst place to live around Minneapolis according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Brooklyn Center beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 3rd worst in the Minneapolis area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 1st 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 Brooklyn Center.
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 Fridley. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 8.4 miles to Minneapolis. Income levels here are the 12th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $56,583 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 Minneapolis suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Columbia Heights 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 Minneapolis suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in Watertown, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 22nd lowest Minneapolis 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 Minneapolis. Remember, we looked at 110 cities for this study.
Watertown is about 28.1 miles to downtown.
Anoka has the distinction of being a Minneapolis suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Anoka has the 10th lowest home values in the metro Minneapolis area, where the median price is $175,200. To put that into perspective, in Deephaven, the median income is $148,783, which is the best in the area.
Anoka has an unemployment rate of 5.8% which ranks 10th worst.
St. Paul has 300,820 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 20.4%.
Ah, West St. Paul. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Minneapolis.
It’s the place with the 8th most out of work residents in the Minneapolis metro area (6.3%).
South St. Paul is a city about 12.3 miles from Minneapolis, but Minneapolis 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. South St. Paul has the 14th most uninsured people, 15th worst incomes, and has the 18th highest unemployment rate (5.0%) in the entire Minneapolis metro area.
Homes only cost $169,200 for a reason. That’s cheap for Minneapolis standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Minneapolis, then Spring Lake Park might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Minneapolis suburb.
About 6.3% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Minneapolis suburbs to call home is Brooklyn Park.
Located 10.9 miles outside the city, Brooklyn Parks is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 15th highest unemployment rate (5.1%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Minneapolis where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Minneapolis with Brooklyn Center casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Minneapolis aren’t all bad. Deephaven takes the cake as the best place to live around Minneapolis.
- Elko New Market
For more Minnesota reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Minnesota
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Minnesota
- 10 Safest Places In Minnesota
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Minnesota
Detailed List Of The Worst Minneapolis Suburbs
|7||West St. Paul||19,750|
|8||South St. Paul||20,280|
|9||Spring Lake Park||6,535|
|11||St. Paul Park||5,376|
|15||North St. Paul||12,241|
|16||Inver Grove Heights||34,976|
|37||Oak Park Heights||4,823|
|43||White Bear Lake||25,411|
|54||St. Louis Park||48,124|