Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Miami.
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 Miami ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Miami area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Miami proper, although Key Biscayne certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Miami are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
We examined the 41 biggest suburbs of Miami to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Florida lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Miami in terms of quality of life.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Miami for 2018:
- Opa-Locka (Photos)
- Homestead (Photos)
- Lauderdale Lakes (Photos)
- North Miami (Photos)
- Hialeah (Photos)
- Miami Gardens (Photos)
- West Park
- Pembroke Park
- North Miami Beach (Photos)
- Lauderhill (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Miami that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Miami 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 Florida reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Florida
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Florida
- 10 Most Dangerous Places In Florida
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Miami 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 Miami.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 41 suburbs to evaluate around Miami.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 41 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 Miami.” We’re lookin’ at you, Opa-Locka.
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.
We’ll get the ball rolling with Opa-locka, the absolute worst place to live around Miami according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Opa-locka beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the Miami 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 Opa-locka.
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.
Welcome to Homestead. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 25.9 miles to Miami. Income levels here are the 12th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $40,452 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. Lauderdale Lakes
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Miami suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Lauderdale Lakes 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 Miami suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
4. North Miami
If you live in North Miami, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 7th lowest Miami 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 Miami. Remember, we looked at 41 cities for this study.
North Miami is about 9.0 miles to downtown.
Hialeah has the distinction of being a Miami suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Hialeah has the 14th lowest home values in the metro Miami area, where the median price is $163,600. To put that into perspective, in Key Biscayne, the median income is $130,900, which is the best in the area.
Hialeah has an unemployment rate of 9.1% which ranks 13th worst.
6. Miami Gardens
Miami Gardens has 112,514 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 23.4%.
7. West Park
Ah, West Park. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Miami.
It’s the place with the 3rd most out of work residents in the Miami metro area (13.5%).
8. Pembroke Park
Pembroke Park is a city about 15.0 miles from Miami, but Miami 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. Pembroke Park has the 10th most uninsured people, 6th worst incomes, and has the 30th highest unemployment rate (5.6%) in the entire Miami metro area.
Homes only cost $68,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Miami standards.
9. North Miami Beach
If you absolutely have to live near Miami, then North Miami Beach might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Miami suburb.
About 11.0% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Miami suburbs to call home is Lauderhill.
Located 26.7 miles outside the city, Lauderhills is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 4th highest unemployment rate (12.6%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Miami where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Miami with Opa-Locka casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Miami aren’t all bad. Key Biscayne takes the cake as the best place to live around Miami.
For more Florida reading, check out:
- 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Florida
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Florida
- 10 Safest Places In Florida
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Florida
Detailed List Of The Worst Miami Suburbs
|9||North Miami Beach||43,722|
|31||Bay Harbor Islands||5,885|
|36||Sunny Isles Beach||21,937|