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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 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.
What's the worst suburb of Philadelphia? Marcus Hook ranks as the worst suburb of Philadelphia for 2021 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 2021
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
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $31,940 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 17.7% (highest)
Median Home Value: $127,000 (17th 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 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $31,940 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 Philadelphia suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Eddystone 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: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $27,015 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.9% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $84,000 (5th lowest)
More on Camden:
If you live in Camden, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the lowest Philadelphia suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 2nd 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.
Chester has the distinction of being a Philadelphia suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Chester has the lowest home values in the metro Philadelphia area, where the median price is $72,400. To put that into perspective, in Narberth, the median income is $150,958, which is the best in the area.
Chester has an unemployment rate of 12.06% which ranks 4th worst.
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $35,402 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $95,800 (8th lowest)
More on Trenton:
Trenton has 83,412 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 28.717585340991025%.
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $45,789 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (36th highest)
Median Home Value: $124,200 (15th lowest)
More on Lindenwold:
Ah, Lindenwold. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Philadelphia.
It's the place with the 36th most out of work residents in the Philadelphia metro area (7.02%).
Darby is a city about 9.1 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. Darby has the 5th most uninsured people, 12th worst incomes, and has the 15th highest unemployment rate (8.91%) in the entire Philadelphia metro area.
Homes only cost $78,700 for a reason. That's cheap for Philadelphia standards.
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Median Income: $59,646 (29th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (33rd highest)
Median Home Value: $167,700 (33rd lowest)
More on Bellmawr:
If you absolutely have to live near Philadelphia, then Bellmawr might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Philadelphia suburb.
About 7.11% of residents are out of work.
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 8)
Median Income: $50,868 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $149,800 (25th lowest)
More on Beverly:
Rounding out the ten worst Philadelphia suburbs to call home is Beverly.
Located 11.8 miles outside the city, Beverlys is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 16th highest unemployment rate (8.84%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Philadelphia for 2021
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 2015-2019, 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. 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.
The areas around Philadelphia where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2021
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:
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Detailed List Of The Worst Philadelphia Suburbs