Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Nashville.
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 Nashville ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Nashville area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all 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. So without further ado…
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.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Nashville for 2019:
- White Bluff
- Springfield (Photos)
- Lebanon (Photos)
- La Vergne (Photos)
- Greenbrier (Photos)
- Gallatin (Photos)
- Smyrna (Photos)
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.
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 Tennessee reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Tennessee
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Tennessee
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Tennessee
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Nashville 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 Nashville.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have 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 lookin’ at you, White Bluff.
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.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $36,632 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $129,000 (1st lowest)
More on White Bluff: Data
We’ll get the ball rolling with White Bluff, the absolute worst place to live around Nashville according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, White Bluff beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the Nashville 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 White Bluff.
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 Springfield. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 22.8 miles to Nashville. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $44,296 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 Nashville suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Lebanon 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 Nashville suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in La Vergne, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 10th lowest Nashville suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 6th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Nashville. Remember, we looked at 26 cities for this study.
La Vergne is about 15.7 miles to downtown.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $60,129 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $159,700 (5th lowest)
More on Millersville: Data
Millersville has the distinction of being a Nashville suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Millersville has the 5th lowest home values in the metro Nashville area, where the median price is $159,700. To put that into perspective, in Belle Meade, the median income is $195,000, which is the best in the area.
Millersville has an unemployment rate of 5.0% which ranks 10th worst.
Greenbrier has 6,720 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 10.8%.
Ah, Gallatin. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Nashville.
It’s the place with the 14th most out of work residents in the Nashville metro area (4.7%).
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $48,903 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $186,000 (10th lowest)
More on Ashland:
Ashland is a city about 15.8 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. Ashland has the 5th most uninsured people, 5th worst incomes, and has the 16th highest unemployment rate (4.5%) in the entire Nashville metro area.
Homes only cost $186,000 for a reason. That’s cheap for Nashville standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Nashville, then Smyrna might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Nashville suburb.
About 5.5% of residents are out of work.
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $66,438 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $203,100 (16th lowest)
More on Pegram: Data
Rounding out the ten worst Nashville suburbs to call home is Pegram.
Located 16.8 miles outside the city, Pegrams is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 6th highest unemployment rate (5.8%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Nashville where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Nashville with White Bluff 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:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Tennessee
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Tennessee
- 10 Safest Places In Tennessee
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Tennessee
Detailed List Of The Worst Nashville Suburbs