These Are The 10 Worst Pittsburgh Suburbs For 2018

We used science and data to determine which Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh.

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

Of course, not all suburbs of Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Pittsburgh for 2018:

  1. Mckeesport (Photos)
  2. Duquesne (Photos)
  3. Clairton (Photos)
  4. Aliquippa (Photos)
  5. Mckees Rocks (Photos)
  6. Beaver Falls (Photos)
  7. Arnold (Photos)
  8. Arnold (Photos)
  9. Butler (Photos)
  10. Washington (Photos)

Read on to see how we determined the places around Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh.

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 Pittsburgh.

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 Pittsburgh.” We’re lookin’ at you, Mckeesport.

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. Mckeesport

Mckeesport, Pennsylvania

Population: 19,529
Unemployment Rate: 15.2%
Median Home Price: $45,700
Median Income: $26,271
More on McKeesport: Data | Jobs

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

And in the world of worst rankings, McKeesport beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 4th worst in the Pittsburgh 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 McKeesport.

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. Duquesne

Population: 5,534
Unemployment Rate: 24.8%
Median Home Price: $36,000
Median Income: $21,495
More on Duquesne: Data | Jobs

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

This city is 8.1 miles to Pittsburgh. Income levels here are the 1st lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $21,495 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. Clairton

Clairton, Pennsylvania

Source: Public domain

Population: 6,719
Unemployment Rate: 14.5%
Median Home Price: $47,000
Median Income: $30,513
More on Clairton: Data | Jobs

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

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

4. Aliquippa

Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

Source: Public domain

Population: 9,258
Unemployment Rate: 11.3%
Median Home Price: $65,200
Median Income: $32,405
More on Aliquippa: Data | Jobs

If you live in Aliquippa, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 9th lowest Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh. Remember, we looked at 46 cities for this study.

Aliquippa is about 19.0 miles to downtown.

5. Mckees Rocks

Mckees Rocks, Pennsylvania

Population: 6,046
Unemployment Rate: 9.1%
Median Home Price: $43,500
Median Income: $29,431
More on McKees Rocks: Data | Jobs

McKees Rocks has the distinction of being a Pittsburgh suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, McKees Rocks has the 2nd lowest home values in the metro Pittsburgh area, where the median price is $43,500. To put that into perspective, in Franklin Park, the median income is $148,553, which is the best in the area.

McKees Rocks has an unemployment rate of 9.1% which ranks 14th worst.

6. Beaver Falls

Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Source: Public domain

Population: 8,735
Unemployment Rate: 8.7%
Median Home Price: $60,300
Median Income: $30,372
More on Beaver Falls: Data | Jobs

Beaver Falls has 8,735 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 27.5%.

7. Arnold

Arnold, Pennsylvania

Population: 5,019
Unemployment Rate: 10.0%
Median Home Price: $58,400
Median Income: $25,599
More on Arnold: Data | Jobs

Ah, Arnold. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Pittsburgh.

It’s the place with the 8th most out of work residents in the Pittsburgh metro area (10.0%).

8. Arnold

Arnold, Pennsylvania

Population: 5,019
Unemployment Rate: 10.0%
Median Home Price: $58,400
Median Income: $25,599
More on Arnold: Data | Jobs

Arnold is a city about 23.7 miles from Pittsburgh, but Pittsburgh 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. Arnold has the 16th most uninsured people, 2nd worst incomes, and has the 8th highest unemployment rate (10.0%) in the entire Pittsburgh metro area.

Homes only cost $58,400 for a reason. That’s cheap for Pittsburgh standards.

9. Butler

Butler, Pennsylvania

Source: Public domain

Population: 13,399
Unemployment Rate: 9.6%
Median Home Price: $92,100
Median Income: $29,477
More on Butler: Data | Jobs

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

About 9.6% of residents are out of work.

10. Washington

Washington, Pennsylvania

Population: 13,693
Unemployment Rate: 9.2%
Median Home Price: $95,000
Median Income: $36,512
More on Washington: Data | Jobs

Rounding out the ten worst Pittsburgh suburbs to call home is Washington.

Located 23.2 miles outside the city, Washingtons is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 13th highest unemployment rate (9.2%), and poverty is far above the area average.

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

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

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

For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Pittsburgh Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Mckeesport 19,529 15.2% $45,700 $26,271
2 Duquesne 5,534 24.8% $36,000 $21,495
3 Clairton 6,719 14.5% $47,000 $30,513
4 Aliquippa 9,258 11.3% $65,200 $32,405
5 Mckees Rocks 6,046 9.1% $43,500 $29,431
6 Beaver Falls 8,735 8.7% $60,300 $30,372
7 Arnold 5,019 10.0% $58,400 $25,599
8 Arnold 5,019 10.0% $58,400 $25,599
9 Butler 13,399 9.6% $92,100 $29,477
10 Washington 13,693 9.2% $95,000 $36,512
11 Wilkinsburg 15,797 12.9% $77,900 $33,905
12 Ambridge 6,891 10.7% $66,200 $33,758
13 Monessen 7,530 9.0% $73,800 $36,319
14 New Kensington 12,793 7.8% $94,800 $40,148
15 New Brighton 5,911 6.6% $73,400 $35,223
16 Vandergrift 5,063 5.9% $66,900 $39,797
17 Coraopolis 5,617 8.7% $91,200 $39,787
18 California 6,564 14.1% $112,800 $36,820
19 Swissvale 8,893 9.7% $78,200 $40,391
20 Greensburg 14,572 6.5% $123,100 $36,256
21 West Mifflin 20,153 8.2% $92,900 $50,273
22 Carnegie 7,944 7.1% $98,700 $45,109
23 Turtle Creek 5,292 4.7% $63,900 $33,345
24 Monaca 5,678 5.6% $100,400 $41,057
25 Jeannette 9,395 4.6% $84,800 $41,395
26 Munhall 11,305 7.8% $81,500 $48,978
27 Canonsburg 8,933 6.7% $129,800 $50,399
28 Bellevue 8,285 5.6% $105,500 $41,073
29 Bridgeville 5,117 6.4% $123,200 $45,849
30 Lower Burrell 11,527 5.7% $135,000 $57,686
31 Baldwin 19,794 5.1% $120,600 $55,573
32 Brentwood 9,550 6.3% $96,300 $51,197
33 White Oak 7,803 3.9% $96,000 $52,935
34 Castle Shannon 8,288 4.8% $116,100 $50,783
35 Whitehall 13,873 4.3% $141,100 $59,853
36 Pleasant Hills 8,271 8.3% $153,600 $68,453
37 Fox Chapel 5,392 9.4% $548,600 $148,553
38 West View 6,704 4.8% $124,200 $57,078
39 Crafton 5,899 3.8% $117,200 $51,236
40 Forest Hills 6,475 4.6% $122,500 $63,563
41 Plum 27,474 4.6% $142,800 $71,204
42 Dormont 8,491 5.1% $121,000 $58,875
43 Oakmont 6,420 3.8% $175,000 $61,523
44 Economy 9,240 3.6% $166,900 $78,578
45 Jefferson Hills 11,214 4.3% $193,200 $79,615
46 Franklin Park 14,228 4.6% $312,200 $121,661

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2 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Pittsburgh Suburbs For 2018

  1. Your science and data is flawed, Vandergrift is not a suburb of Pittsburgh, most of those you have listed are towns surrounding Pittsburgh.

  2. Derry ranks higher than greensburg….???? And Latrobe is not even listed??? And hempfield??? Did I miss something?

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