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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..
We examined the 91 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.
What's the worst suburb of Philadelphia? Marcus Hook ranks as the worst suburb of Philadelphia for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Philadelphia that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.
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:
- Best Places To Live In Pennsylvania
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The 10 Worst Philadelphia Suburbs To Live For 2022
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 5th worst in the Philadelphia area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 4th 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
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 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $32,361 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.
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $32,361 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.2% (highest)
Median Home Value: $129,900 (15th lowest)
More on Penns Grove:
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Philadelphia suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Camden 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.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $28,623 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.9% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $82,500 (5th lowest)
More on Camden:
If you live in Chester, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 3rd 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 91 cities for this study.
Chester is about 17.0 miles to downtown.
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 7th lowest home values in the metro Philadelphia area, where the median price is $97,000. To put that into perspective, in Narberth, the median income is $151,579, which is the best in the area.
Trenton has an unemployment rate of 10.3% which ranks 12th worst.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Income: $37,002 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $97,000 (7th lowest)
More on Trenton:
Darby has 10,711 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 25.468310200912352%.
Ah, Eddystone. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Philadelphia.
It's the place with the 35th most out of work residents in the Philadelphia metro area (7.16%).
Folcroft is a city about 11.3 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. Folcroft has the 7th most uninsured people, 2worst incomes, and has the 9th highest unemployment rate (11.82%) in the entire Philadelphia metro area.
Homes only cost $112,900 for a reason. That's cheap for Philadelphia standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Philadelphia, then Burlington might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Philadelphia suburb.
About 10.17% of residents are out of work.
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 6)
Median Income: $65,688 (34th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $167,500 (3lowest)
More on Burlington: Data
Rounding out the ten worst Philadelphia suburbs to call home is Lindenwold.
Located 15.3 miles outside the city, Lindenwolds is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 52nd highest unemployment rate (5.2%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Income: $46,077 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (52nd highest)
Median Home Value: $124,800 (13th lowest)
More on Lindenwold:
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Philadelphia for 2022
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 2016-2020, 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 91 suburbs to evaluate around Philadelphia.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 91 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. You can download the data here.
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.
Summary: The areas around Philadelphia where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022
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.
For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Pennsylvania
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Detailed List Of The Worst Philadelphia Suburbs