These Are The 10 Worst Richmond Suburbs

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

This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.

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Richmond conjures up images of tons of things to do, quality people, and a bustling economy. The region consistently ranks as one of the best places to live across the country.

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

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

We examined the 31 biggest suburbs of Richmond to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t find them on the worst places to live in Virginia, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Richmond in terms of quality of life:

  1. Petersburg
  2. Bellwood
  3. Hopewell
  4. Bensley
  5. East Highland Park
  6. Sandston
  7. Matoaca
  8. Dumbarton
  9. Ettrick
  10. Lakeside

Read on to see how we determined the places around Richmond that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger. And once you’re done, you can look at the bottom of the story for a complete chart of worst to best.


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How we determined the worst Richmond ‘burbs

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 Census’s most recent 2010-2014 American Community Survey, this is the criteria we used:

  • Low unemployment (Less jobs)
  • Low median income (Less pay)
  • Low population density (No things to do)
  • Low home values (No one’s willing to pay to live here)
  • High number of high school drop outs

Then, we ranked each place that have over 5,000 people around Richmond for each of these criteria from worst to best.

The place with the lowest average rankings for these criteria ranks as the worst suburb of Richmond.

Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Richmond to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 31 suburbs ranked from worst to best.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased. Snarkiness incorporated for entertainment purposes only. Hold on to your pants.

1. Petersburg

Petersburg, VA

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 32,439
Median Income: $33,927
Median Home Value: $114,100

2. Bellwood

Bellwood, VA

Source: Google Maps

Population: 5,889
Median Income: $36,983
Median Home Value: $137,900

3. Hopewell

Hopewell, VA

Source: Richmond VA. Flick user Jim

Population: 22,375
Median Income: $39,156
Median Home Value: $129,600

4. Bensley

Bensley, VA

Source: Google Maps

Population: 5,865
Median Income: $33,323
Median Home Value: $136,100

5. East Highland Park

East Highland Park, VA

Source: Google Maps

Population: 14,235
Median Income: $47,085
Median Home Value: $145,200

6. Sandston

Sandston, VA

Source: Google Maps

Population: 7,631
Median Income: $46,833
Median Home Value: $146,000

7. Matoaca

Matoaca, VA

Source: Google Maps

Population: 2,199
Median Income: $52,207
Median Home Value: $144,200

8. Dumbarton

Dumbarton, VA

Source: Google Maps

Population: 8,346
Median Income: $36,432
Median Home Value: $145,400

9. Ettrick

Ettrick, VA

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,660
Median Income: $50,139
Median Home Value: $141,400

10. Lakeside

Lakeside, VA

Source: Google Maps

Population: 12,854
Median Income: $44,589
Median Home Value: $166,700

The areas around Richmond that you probably don’t want to live in

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Richmond with Petersburg landing ahead of the pack.

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

For the chart below, these are ranked from worst to best.
For more Virginia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of Richmond Suburbs

Place Rank Population Median Income Median Home Value
Petersburg 1 32,439 $33,927 $114,100
Bellwood 2 5,889 $36,983 $137,900
Hopewell 3 22,375 $39,156 $129,600
Bensley 4 5,865 $33,323 $136,100
East Highland Park 5 14,235 $47,085 $145,200
Sandston 6 7,631 $46,833 $146,000
Matoaca 7 2,199 $52,207 $144,200
Dumbarton 8 8,346 $36,432 $145,400
Ettrick 9 5,660 $50,139 $141,400
Lakeside 10 12,854 $44,589 $166,700
Fort Lee 11 4,700 $57,283 $233,300
Highland Springs 12 16,673 $40,045 $148,500
Manchester 13 10,402 $54,513 $178,800
Montrose 14 7,686 $37,038 $121,900
Meadowbrook 15 19,263 $56,910 $176,400
Ashland 16 7,264 $41,582 $189,400
Enon 17 3,752 $70,551 $157,300
Rockwood 18 8,281 $70,404 $193,500
Bon Air 19 16,857 $68,561 $213,500
Chester 20 21,355 $60,570 $204,900
Laurel 21 16,123 $50,509 $178,700
Colonial Heights 22 17,542 $52,529 $176,300
Mechanicsville 23 36,991 $72,170 $226,300
Tuckahoe 24 46,235 $65,420 $269,700
Glen Allen 25 15,464 $68,101 $228,800
Chamberlayne 26 5,867 $82,591 $220,500
Brandermill 27 13,570 $75,657 $234,800
Innsbrook 28 7,749 $81,224 $284,400
Short Pump 29 27,034 $109,770 $371,200
Wyndham 30 10,101 $146,667 $459,500
Woodlake 31 7,266 $104,468 $253,600
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.