These Are The 10 Worst Philadelphia Suburbs For 2018

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

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Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Philadelphia.

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

Of course, not all suburbs of Philadelphia are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

We examined the 46 biggest suburbs of Philadelphia to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Pennsylvania lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Philadelphia in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Philadelphia for 2018:

  1. Chester (Photos)
  2. Camden (Photos)
  3. Lindenwold (Photos)
  4. Paulsboro (Photos)
  5. Trenton (Photos)
  6. Bellmawr
  7. Darby (Photos)
  8. Pine Hill (Photos)
  9. Woodbury (Photos)
  10. Collingdale (Photos)

Read on to see how we determined the places around Philadelphia that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.

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

And remember, there are some good places to live around Philadelphia 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 Pennsylvania reading, check out:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Philadelphia for 2018

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, 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 Philadelphia.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 46 suburbs to evaluate around Philadelphia.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 46 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 Philadelphia.” We’re lookin’ at you, Chester.

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.

1. Chester

Chester, Pennsylvania

Source: Public domain

Population: 34,056
Unemployment Rate: 19.0%
Median Home Price: $66,800
Median Income: $27,217
More on Chester: Data | Jobs

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

And in the world of worst rankings, Chester beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 2nd worst in the Philadelphia 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 Chester.

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. Camden

Camden, Pennsylvania

Source: Public domain

Population: 76,005
Unemployment Rate: 16.5%
Median Home Price: $82,800
Median Income: $26,214
More on Camden: Data | Jobs

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

This city is 5.2 miles to Philadelphia. Income levels here are the 1st lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $26,214 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.

3. Lindenwold

Lindenwold, Pennsylvania

Population: 17,482
Unemployment Rate: 11.1%
Median Home Price: $124,300
Median Income: $38,918
More on Lindenwold: Data | Jobs

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

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

4. Paulsboro

Paulsboro, Pennsylvania

Population: 6,009
Unemployment Rate: 15.4%
Median Home Price: $122,800
Median Income: $42,154
More on Paulsboro: Data | Jobs

If you live in Paulsboro, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 7th lowest Philadelphia suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 4th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Philadelphia. Remember, we looked at 46 cities for this study.

Paulsboro is about 13.0 miles to downtown.

5. Trenton

Trenton, Pennsylvania

Source: Public domain

Population: 84,559
Unemployment Rate: 16.0%
Median Home Price: $100,000
Median Income: $34,412
More on Trenton: Data | Jobs

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

All snarkiness aside, Trenton has the 4th lowest home values in the metro Philadelphia area, where the median price is $100,000. To put that into perspective, in Haddonfield, the median income is $135,700, which is the best in the area.

Trenton has an unemployment rate of 16.0% which ranks 3rd worst.

6. Bellmawr

Population: 11,503
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
Median Home Price: $163,700
Median Income: $47,569
More on Bellmawr: Data | Jobs

Bellmawr has 11,503 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 18.0%.

7. Darby

Darby, Pennsylvania

Source: Public domain

Population: 10,677
Unemployment Rate: 10.3%
Median Home Price: $74,000
Median Income: $34,199
More on Darby: Data | Jobs

Ah, Darby. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Philadelphia.

It’s the place with the 10th most out of work residents in the Philadelphia metro area (10.3%).

8. Pine Hill

Pine Hill, Pennsylvania

Population: 10,472
Unemployment Rate: 8.5%
Median Home Price: $140,100
Median Income: $46,928
More on Pine Hill: Data | Jobs

Pine Hill is a city about 17.1 miles from Philadelphia, but Philadelphia 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. Pine Hill has the 13th most uninsured people, 10th worst incomes, and has the 21st highest unemployment rate (8.5%) in the entire Philadelphia metro area.

Homes only cost $140,100 for a reason. That’s cheap for Philadelphia standards.

9. Woodbury

Woodbury, Pennsylvania

Population: 10,024
Unemployment Rate: 10.4%
Median Home Price: $161,600
Median Income: $51,810
More on Woodbury: Data | Jobs

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

About 10.4% of residents are out of work.

10. Collingdale

Collingdale, Pennsylvania

Source: Public domain

Population: 8,777
Unemployment Rate: 11.2%
Median Home Price: $111,000
Median Income: $47,396
More on Collingdale: Data | Jobs

Rounding out the ten worst Philadelphia suburbs to call home is Collingdale.

Located 10.0 miles outside the city, Collingdales is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 7th highest unemployment rate (11.2%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around Philadelphia where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018

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

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

For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Philadelphia Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Chester 34,056 19.0% $66,800 $27,217
2 Camden 76,005 16.5% $82,800 $26,214
3 Lindenwold 17,482 11.1% $124,300 $38,918
4 Paulsboro 6,009 15.4% $122,800 $42,154
5 Trenton 84,559 16.0% $100,000 $34,412
6 Bellmawr 11,503 11.4% $163,700 $47,569
7 Darby 10,677 10.3% $74,000 $34,199
8 Pine Hill 10,472 8.5% $140,100 $46,928
9 Woodbury 10,024 10.4% $161,600 $51,810
10 Collingdale 8,777 11.2% $111,000 $47,396
11 Wilmington 71,502 10.3% $162,400 $40,065
12 Burlington 9,850 11.4% $163,600 $52,537
13 Yeadon 11,506 9.2% $138,900 $48,420
14 Glassboro 19,195 10.2% $190,400 $66,625
15 Clifton Heights 6,670 6.1% $130,200 $44,727
16 Runnemede 8,394 9.6% $169,400 $61,675
17 Clayton 8,386 7.9% $178,100 $64,825
18 Somerdale 5,362 8.5% $161,600 $59,063
19 Bristol 9,593 5.5% $180,700 $42,962
20 Folcroft 6,616 6.7% $112,600 $60,750
21 Palmyra 7,299 10.0% $170,100 $66,130
22 Stratford 7,021 9.4% $181,300 $68,990
23 Ambler 6,507 10.0% $264,400 $57,210
24 Sharon Hill 5,691 3.4% $120,000 $51,908
25 Glenolden 7,167 3.6% $152,600 $60,490
26 Phoenixville 16,638 6.2% $213,800 $57,769
27 Lansdowne 10,621 7.6% $160,000 $54,608
28 West Chester 19,434 6.7% $320,600 $50,853
29 Lansdale 16,454 7.0% $220,600 $61,095
30 Pitman 8,916 8.8% $188,300 $72,633
31 Berlin 7,620 7.5% $230,500 $87,697
32 Brookhaven 8,056 8.8% $196,300 $67,348
33 Barrington 6,831 6.7% $204,700 $68,167
34 Souderton 6,737 4.8% $230,300 $66,000
35 Norwood 5,900 7.5% $165,600 $70,313
36 Hatboro 7,412 8.8% $254,100 $66,176
37 Perkasie 8,495 5.0% $241,200 $67,700
38 Media 5,345 7.6% $288,200 $68,827
39 Ridley Park 7,032 7.9% $212,600 $70,766
40 Audubon 8,748 6.3% $210,900 $77,066
41 Collingswood 13,925 5.3% $257,900 $62,524
42 Haddon Heights 7,506 5.3% $280,100 $86,676
43 Conshohocken 7,916 5.2% $278,000 $78,801
44 Collegeville 5,279 4.7% $302,800 $105,761
45 Swarthmore 6,218 5.0% $377,900 $92,292
46 Haddonfield 11,444 3.4% $487,700 $135,700

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40 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Philadelphia Suburbs For 2018

  1. You forgot (or probably don’t know) that average real estate values are an excellent crowd-sourced indication of public perception of intrinsic value. There are other logical (and grammatical) errors here. This clearly didn’t take many brain cycles to write.

    1. Thanks for agreeing with us! We did in fact use lower home values as an indication of a place being a “worse place to live”. In fact, I’m of the idea that you could almost do these lists solely based on home prices.

      Thanks for playing Stephen!

      1. Solely based on home prices?? Haha.

        By the way, you put a tremendous amount of weight on how schools are overcrowded but did you even consider the PERFORMANCE of the schools which is as important or more so?

  2. You should do a “Best places to live” article to counter this. And perhaps an article on why Philly sucks worse than any of the ‘burbs listed above. Like that sales tax, or that absurd income tax. The insane traffic and the shitty roads (well, ok, they’re shitty all over the state). But I think I make my point. I grew up there, it sucked when I was there and it still sucks.

  3. Oreland is better than Doylestown? Have you been to any of these places? Oreland has two mechanics and a wawa. Doylestown has 40 bars and restaurants and 3 nationally recognized museums. Also more historic landmarks per capita than Washington DC. Also I don’t think the picture you used is actually from Doylestown.

  4. This is a hilarious list. Data and science clearly had nothing to do with this as West Chester, Media, and Conshohocken are affluent areas with incredibly low crime and your dumb ass somehow didn’t include Norristown or Downingtown. Don’t give up your day job.

  5. Your list of Philadelphia suburbs is not very exhaustive at all. What about Norristown, Flourtown, Spring House, North Wales, Ambler, Glenside, Elkins Park, Cheltenham, Rockledge, Hungtington Valley, Montgomeryville, Harleysville, Worcester, East Norriton, Wayne, Haverton, Upper Darby, Springfield, Narbeth, Prospect Park, Norwood, Folcroft, Clifton Heights, Chester, Bala Cynwood, Lafayette Hill, Bridgeport…. Many of these locations have larger populations than many of the towns you chose to include. If they weren’t included in your data, than you should have made the effort to find a more complete dataset. Or at least make of a note of the lack of complete data. I would like to know what percentage of the total Philadelphia suburbs population is covered in these 27 locations. 20%? 15%?

    Beyond that, the analysis is far from complete. One of the main reasons individuals choose to move from the city to the suburbs is for the increased open spaces and decreased travel distance to outdoor recreational activities, as well as the population density crush of the city . To conduct analysis as you have, you are looking for simply city qualities in the suburbs. Do better analysis, or don’t post an incomplete, lacking opinion and stating it as if it was a thorough study.

  6. This is the biggest piece of garbage I’ve ever read. I don’t live in any of these towns, but some of them are places I would love to. You have obviously never been anywhere near this region. Media and West Chester on a worst places to live list, yet places like Darby, Chester, Upper Darby with triple the crime and 1/4 the home values aren’t even mentioned? Obviously working with way too little data and drawing terrible assumptions from it.

  7. This is one of the worst surveys I have ever seen!!! Where are poor suburbs like Bristol, PA in Bucks County??? Chester, PA. in Delaware County??? And Norristown, PA. in Montgomery County??? Only Wealthy and Popular Suburbs were chosen in this bizarre list. Shame!!!

  8. This survey is deplorable. How Norristown, Coatesville, Chester, and many more did not make this list is laughable. As a West Chester resident, I am appalled.

    1. No Kidding! First thing that came to my mind was the exact same thing…’WTF are Coatesville, Chester and Norristown’ ! I lived in Media, Coatesville and now Downingtown and I can assure you, the worst of that lot is Coatesville. Crime so bad it can’t even support one grocery store! I know West Chester well and it is a historic college town that certainly doesn’t belong on this list! Neither does Media, for that matter. Media’s biggest problem is its close proximity to the asshole of Philly=CHESTER! A long time PhilIy area resident, I can think of 10 other suburbs that are easily worse than WC, off the top of my head!

  9. Basically the fact that Norristown isn’t on this list tells me that the writer isn’t from around here and looked at Wikipedia demographics (and choosing places with high median incomes??) to compile this list. Blue Bell is on the bottom of this list but is probably one of the nicest places in the suburbs. There are houses there that go for 8 figures.

  10. I guess anyone can write an article and have it published. I don’t think this “writer” has ever been in the suburbs of Philly. For that matter on the eastern side of PA. With the research ( or lack there of) and variables used, this “writer” wouldn’t be able to even graduate from a Central Bucks school. (That’s the school district for Doylestown. #3 on your list) Most ridiculous list I have ever read. Note to the author- you should really think of another line of work. If you continue, may I suggest you work for the National Enquirer or some other tabloid.

  11. Yeah…this is a deplorable bunch of garbage. I seriously doubt this “researcher” has visited and of these places. How do people like this get this kind of attention? Oh wait – is that the game? Say a load of crap and get us true Philly-burbs residents riled up? Sorry I’ve contributed to giving that attention. You don’t deserve it. Lies and sensational crap always do get the attention and truth and well-crafted work doesn’t. *sigh*

  12. Ummm, what happened to Norristown or Coatesville or Chester, East Falls, Roxborough? So those were just ignored right?

  13. This was written by someone in North Carolina, I believe.. I LOVE these internet lists, they are for attention only, facts do not get in the way, they are mostly garbage….And to sell ads and use scripts that paralyze your browser. My question is: why is irresponsible journalism so damn prevalent and permissable on the internet? This is one of so many totally inept and useless lists that I have seen, I rarely even click through to them anymore, regardless of how interesting the titles may be.. the good news is that at least this one didn’t paralyze my browser!~ How about Yinz?? LOL!

  14. Yes I agree with all other comments regarding this so called list. In addition, I would add this so called inacurate list is based upon Census…the major “surrounding suburbs” that have the lowest economical standings outside the mispelled name of “Philadelphia” such as Chester, Essington, Roxborough, have no accurate census reporting….that is why this so called “list” is so inaccurate and just a ploy to get residents and former residents of many towns on this so called list, fired up! The list writer obviously knows nothing about the places he or she based his or her list. Census means nothing if low socioeconomic residents do not even complete them, which means the list writer knows nothing of the towns they based their so called list. Anyone from Delaware County could have enlightened you beyond your lame choice of reference! Perhaps this poor, misinformed, individual that can’t even spell the city of Philadelphia correctly, might consider spell check or investing in a dictionary before ever subjecting us to their ignorance again! #the more you know genius

  15. I doubt a company in Durham, NC knows what the suburbs of Philadelphia are like. I’m guessing they’re just jealous that they live in Durham, a town who had to latch onto a large meaningful NC city called Raleigh to even be recognized

  16. “These ten places are a little too far downwind of Philadelphia in terms of quality of life” is an odd statement to make when they rank higher than the city proper in the metrics used. “Meant as infotainment, don’t freak out” is just the internet version of that jerkoff everyone knows who follows up his idiotic statements with “I was just kidding, don’t take it so seriously!” — it wouldn’t need to be attached to the article if the author had actually, you know, researched things and thought about it instead of throwing together numbers and pretending it was in any way a valid measure.

  17. My first message was never published, I find that interesting, so I will soften it a bit this time. You can’t just use statistics to tell about a place that you have apparently never visited. ALL of these comments are right, ’cause we are locals and we know what is going on around here. It is just irresponsible journalism to portray some of these areas as you did when we know better, and you missed the really scary areas. What happens if a couple from Holland or somewhere make travel plans and stay in Chester PA because they read in this inept article that West Chester is a nasty place (but it is not).. People are supposed to trust journalism, even if it is on the internet. Yinz broke that, in my opinion!

  18. The statement in this article, “you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Philadelphia proper”, indicates the extent of brain power of the writer. Yeah, I lived in Philadelphia for years while in grad school and, while it had its good points, I’d prefer to live where there isn’t garbage, graffiti, and one or two panhandlers right outside my door. I take offense at “infotainment” that is wholly negative and does nothing to highlight the good parts of each of these locations (all of which I, in contrast, know quite well). This is ten wasted minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

  19. I live in Glenside. We have The Keswick Theater, a beautiful venue where top name acts perform. We have Keswick village with charming stores and restaurants. Our school district is Abington School District which is an excellent school district. There is a Halloween happening every year, and Santa and Mrs. Claus visit the town square. We have the second oldest July 4 th parade. Glenside is idyllic. Anyone who says otherwise has not set foot in Glenside!

  20. I know its infotainment but I don’t think you even know what science and data is.

    But if you were looking to make the most inaccurate list of internet history, well done!!! Success!! Keep up the bad work.

  21. I grew up in Doylestown. Central Bucks consistently ranks high in the state for education. Low crime, tons of things to do. Someone obviously didn’t do their research and has never been there.

  22. I live in Lansdale. The schools are way over crowded, taxes are insane and crime is getting worse. Still, it’s way better than Norristown, Chester, and several other towns near by. You can’t make a list like this unless you’ve lived in the Philly burbs.

  23. This ranking was so ridiculously off base. I happened to live in 2 of these areas (Lansdale and Souderton) and would LOVE to live in one of them, Doylestown. All three are very nice areas.

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