These Are The 10 Worst Philadelphia Suburbs For 2019


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

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the worst suburbs around Philadelphia.

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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 Narberth 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 92 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 2019:

  1. Marcus Hook (Photos)
  2. Penns Grove
  3. Chester (Photos)
  4. Camden
  5. Eddystone (Photos)
  6. Trenton
  7. Lindenwold
  8. Paulsboro
  9. Darby (Photos)
  10. Clementon

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 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 Philadelphia.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 92 suburbs to evaluate around Philadelphia.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 92 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, Marcus Hook.

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.

Marcus Hook, PA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,251
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $34,851 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.4% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $78,300 (3rd lowest)
More on Marcus Hook:  Data | Photos

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

And in the world of worst rankings, Marcus Hook beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 3rd worst in the Philadelphia area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 3rd 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 Marcus Hook.

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. Penns Grove

Penns Grove, NJ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 4,917
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $37,188 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 21.7% (1st highest)
Median Home Value: $120,800 (14th lowest)
More on Penns Grove:

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

This city is 26.3 miles to Philadelphia. Income levels here are the 5th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $37,188 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.

Chester, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 34,102
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $29,954 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.1% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $67,300 (1st lowest)
More on Chester:  Data | Photos

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

Camden, NJ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 75,550
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $26,105 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.0% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $82,300 (4th lowest)
More on Camden:

If you live in Camden, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 1st lowest Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia. Remember, we looked at 92 cities for this study.

Camden is about 5.2 miles to downtown.

Eddystone, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,632
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Income: $40,057 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (18th highest)
Median Home Value: $90,000 (6th lowest)
More on Eddystone:  Data | Photos

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

All snarkiness aside, Eddystone has the 6th lowest home values in the metro Philadelphia area, where the median price is $90,000. To put that into perspective, in Narberth, the median income is $138,920, which is the best in the area.

Eddystone has an unemployment rate of 9.7% which ranks 18th worst.

6. Trenton

Trenton, NJ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 84,867
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $35,524 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.0% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $95,900 (7th lowest)
More on Trenton:

Trenton has 84,867 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 27.3%.

7. Lindenwold

Lindenwold, NJ

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 17,481
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $41,346 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (18th highest)
Median Home Value: $121,900 (15th lowest)
More on Lindenwold:

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

It’s the place with the 18th most out of work residents in the Philadelphia metro area (9.7%).

8. Paulsboro

Paulsboro, NJ

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,970
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Income: $46,429 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 16.1% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $113,600 (12th lowest)
More on Paulsboro:

Paulsboro is a city about 13.0 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. Paulsboro has the 29th most uninsured people, 13th worst incomes, and has the 4th highest unemployment rate (16.1%) in the entire Philadelphia metro area.

Homes only cost $113,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Philadelphia standards.

Darby, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 10,710
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $38,152 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.6% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $70,300 (2nd lowest)
More on Darby:  Data | Photos

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

About 10.6% of residents are out of work.

10. Clementon

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 4,933
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Median Income: $52,634 (24th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (32nd highest)
Median Home Value: $128,600 (17th lowest)
More on Clementon:

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

Located 16.3 miles outside the city, Clementons is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 32nd highest unemployment rate (8.2%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around Philadelphia where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019

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

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

  • Narberth
  • Haddonfield
  • Swarthmore

For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Philadelphia Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Marcus Hook 2,251 $34,851 $78,300
2 Penns Grove 4,917 $37,188 $120,800
3 Chester 34,102 $29,954 $67,300
4 Camden 75,550 $26,105 $82,300
5 Eddystone 2,632 $40,057 $90,000
6 Trenton 84,867 $35,524 $95,900
7 Lindenwold 17,481 $41,346 $121,900
8 Paulsboro 5,970 $46,429 $113,600
9 Darby 10,710 $38,152 $70,300
10 Clementon 4,933 $52,634 $128,600
11 Bellmawr 11,482 $49,713 $165,400
12 Pine Hill 10,517 $51,286 $138,300
13 Brooklawn 2,006 $62,697 $137,800
14 Woodlynne 2,950 $45,201 $99,900
15 Colwyn 2,554 $43,892 $88,500
16 Lawnside 2,917 $64,103 $161,500
17 Beverly 2,520 $48,583 $146,600
18 Wilmington 71,276 $40,221 $165,300
19 Burlington 9,835 $50,709 $159,400
20 Collingdale 8,800 $47,677 $110,900
21 Woodbury 9,980 $53,618 $165,300
22 Magnolia 4,310 $53,938 $154,600
23 Upland 3,251 $47,833 $112,100
24 Glassboro 19,387 $69,000 $191,800
25 Clayton 8,475 $65,595 $185,900
26 Yeadon 11,523 $50,233 $137,000
27 Runnemede 8,391 $61,104 $167,700
28 Westville 4,223 $54,375 $158,000
29 Folcroft 6,620 $60,478 $108,800
30 Bristol 9,645 $47,039 $181,400
31 National Park 2,998 $61,397 $151,100
32 East Lansdowne 2,674 $55,701 $120,000
33 Somerdale 5,417 $61,964 $165,500
34 Telford 4,862 $57,156 $214,700
35 Clifton Heights 6,688 $45,726 $130,900
36 Penndel 3,029 $51,076 $260,900
37 Bridgeport 4,582 $49,800 $198,400
38 Sharon Hill 5,711 $52,740 $123,600
39 Mount Ephraim 4,641 $67,340 $162,600
40 Swedesboro 2,609 $78,267 $200,900
41 Pitman 8,886 $73,538 $183,900
42 Phoenixville 16,743 $60,006 $222,400
43 Merchantville 3,769 $70,563 $213,900
44 Stratford 7,019 $72,955 $181,700
45 Woodbury Heights 3,008 $80,444 $203,800
46 Dublin 2,081 $53,487 $311,900
47 Palmyra 7,296 $68,307 $173,300
48 Morton 2,688 $61,141 $198,900
49 Ambler 6,525 $64,146 $277,600
50 Lansdowne 10,641 $56,902 $159,100
51 Glenolden 7,167 $58,365 $154,600
52 Berlin 7,612 $90,354 $232,300
53 Sellersville 4,249 $66,063 $201,700
54 Hatfield 3,320 $58,672 $251,100
55 Lansdale 16,506 $61,867 $227,400
56 Barrington 6,811 $72,602 $203,500
57 Royersford 4,788 $56,483 $193,000
58 Brookhaven 8,051 $65,151 $196,300
59 West Chester 19,698 $55,313 $338,800
60 Parkside 2,321 $65,500 $130,200
61 Trappe 3,551 $74,653 $244,800
62 Oaklyn 4,009 $65,301 $183,600
63 New Britain 3,031 $75,714 $266,100
64 Gibbsboro 2,183 $84,250 $199,300
65 Souderton 6,813 $66,667 $230,300
66 Norwood 5,896 $75,928 $164,100
67 Aldan 4,162 $65,821 $162,900
68 Hatboro 7,436 $69,264 $254,800
69 Bordentown 3,872 $76,250 $218,700
70 Malvern 3,438 $77,639 $363,300
71 Perkasie 8,505 $73,470 $254,700
72 Ridley Park 7,035 $76,188 $208,200
73 Rockledge 2,544 $60,602 $239,100
74 North Wales 3,250 $76,803 $233,600
75 Lambertville 3,840 $84,231 $378,600
76 Media 5,346 $71,337 $299,400
77 Collingswood 13,969 $64,885 $259,200
78 Audubon 8,736 $80,925 $208,800
79 Riverton 2,730 $95,288 $283,600
80 Haddon Heights 7,530 $90,387 $279,400
81 Chester Heights 2,596 $85,081 $246,500
82 New Hope 2,506 $76,694 $530,800
83 Medford Lakes 4,075 $105,598 $291,400
84 Pennington 2,591 $121,667 $562,500
85 Yardley 2,289 $82,614 $329,600
86 Chalfont 4,082 $100,982 $328,300
87 Collegeville 5,221 $103,828 $297,100
88 Wenonah 2,193 $110,694 $272,800
89 Conshohocken 7,985 $81,814 $281,700
90 Swarthmore 6,243 $106,737 $387,800
91 Haddonfield 11,428 $138,920 $492,500
92 Narberth 4,330 $101,250 $442,500

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41 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Philadelphia Suburbs For 2019

  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.

  24. First of all there are way worst places to live than Marcus hook , and there is hardly any crime in this area. this guy does not know wtf he’s talking about .

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