The suburbs of Nashville call to all types of people looking to escape city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Nashville to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
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 Saturday Night Science to determine which Nashville ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Nashville area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Nashville proper, although Belle Meade certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Nashville are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones.
We examined the 26 biggest suburbs of Nashville to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Tennessee lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Nashville in terms of quality of life.
Now don’t freak out.
What’s the worst suburb of Nashville? Springfield ranks as the worst suburb of Nashville for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Nashville that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Nashville too.
For more Tennessee reading, check out:
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The 10 Worst Nashville Suburbs To Live For 2023
Median Income: $50,655 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (highest)
Median Home Value: $174,400 (2nd lowest)
More on Springfield:
We’ll get the ball rolling with Springfield, the absolute worst place to live around Nashville according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Springfield beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the worst in the Nashville 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 Springfield.
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.
Median Income: $55,521 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $210,100 (5th lowest)
More on Ashland:
Welcome to Ashland. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 15.8 miles to Nashville. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $55,521 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.
Median Income: $53,696 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.4% (18th highest)
Median Home Value: $165,900 (lowest)
More on White Bluff:
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Nashville suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see White Bluff 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 Nashville suburbs.
But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.
Median Income: $61,687 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $199,800 (3rd lowest)
More on Millersville:
If you live in Millersville, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 5th lowest Nashville suburb for median household incomes.
Not only that, but this is the 14th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Nashville. Remember, we looked at 26 cities for this study.
Millersville is about 15.7 miles to downtown.
Median Income: $67,102 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $207,800 (4th lowest)
More on La Vergne:
La Vergne has the distinction of being a Nashville suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, La Vergne has the 4th lowest home values in the metro Nashville area, where the median price is $207,800. The median income is $250,001.
La Vergne has an unemployment rate of 4.51% which ranks 7th worst.
Median Income: $60,582 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $277,800 (15th lowest)
More on Lebanon:
Lebanon has 37,471 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 14.529938366288311%.
Median Income: $62,881 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $252,300 (10th lowest)
More on Gallatin:
Ah, Gallatin. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Nashville.
It’s the place with the 16th most out of work residents in the Nashville metro area (2.7%).
Median Income: $70,879 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $239,100 (7th lowest)
More on Smyrna:
Smyrna is a city about 19.4 miles from Nashville, but Nashville 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. Smyrna has the 6th most uninsured people, 11th worst incomes, and has the 3rd highest unemployment rate (5.26%) in the entire Nashville metro area.
Homes only cost $239,100 for a reason. That’s cheap for Nashville standards.
Median Income: $64,583 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $232,300 (6th lowest)
More on Ridgetop:
If you absolutely have to live near Nashville, then Ridgetop might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Nashville suburb.
About 6.3% of residents are out of work.
Median Income: $63,245 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $263,100 (13th lowest)
More on Goodlettsville:
Rounding out the ten worst Nashville suburbs to call home is Goodlettsville.
Located 11.5 miles outside the city, Goodlettsvilles is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 6th highest unemployment rate (4.62%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Nashville for 2023
To figure out how bad a Nashville 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 Nashville.
We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 26 suburbs to evaluate around Nashville.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 26 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 Nashville.” We’re looking at you, Springfield.
We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Nashville.
Summary: The areas around Nashville where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Nashville with Springfield casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Nashville aren’t all bad. Belle Meade takes the cake as the best place to live around Nashville.
- Belle Meade
- Oak Hill
For more Tennessee reading, check out:
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Detailed List Of The Worst Nashville Suburbs