Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Orlando.
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 Orlando ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Orlando area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Orlando proper, although Windermere certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Orlando are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
We examined the 24 biggest suburbs of Orlando 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 Orlando in terms of quality of life.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Orlando for 2018:
- Eatonville (Photos)
- Lake Butler
- Sanford (Photos)
- Kissimmee (Photos)
- Davenport (Photos)
- Apopka (Photos)
- Casselberry (Photos)
- St. Cloud (Photos)
- Longwood (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Orlando that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Orlando 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.
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Orlando 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 Orlando.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 24 suburbs to evaluate around Orlando.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 24 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 Orlando.” We’re lookin’ at you, Eatonville.
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.
Population: 2,168Unemployment Rate: 18.8%
Median Home Price: $94,500
Median Income: $24,871
We’ll get the ball rolling with Eatonville, the absolute worst place to live around Orlando according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Eatonville beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the Orlando area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 2nd 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 Eatonville.
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. Lake Butler
Population: 2,185 Unemployment Rate: 17.0%
Median Home Price: $83,900
Median Income: $26,484
Welcome to Lake Butler. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 15.3 miles to Orlando. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $26,484 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.
Population: 57,039Unemployment Rate: 11.0%
Median Home Price: $105,100
Median Income: $39,989
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Orlando suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Sanford 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 Orlando suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
Population: 66,840Unemployment Rate: 9.1%
Median Home Price: $136,300
Median Income: $38,262
If you live in Kissimmee, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th lowest Orlando 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 Orlando. Remember, we looked at 24 cities for this study.
Kissimmee is about 10.6 miles to downtown.
Population: 3,359Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
Median Home Price: $116,200
Median Income: $38,158
Davenport has the distinction of being a Orlando suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Davenport has the 5th lowest home values in the metro Orlando area, where the median price is $116,200. To put that into perspective, in Windermere, the median income is $127,344, which is the best in the area.
Davenport has an unemployment rate of 4.2% which ranks 23rd worst.
Population: 47,023Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Median Home Price: $167,600
Median Income: $60,273
Apopka has 47,023 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 13.0%.
Population: 26,649Unemployment Rate: 10.7%
Median Home Price: $105,300
Median Income: $41,791
Ah, Casselberry. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Orlando.
It’s the place with the 4th most out of work residents in the Orlando metro area (10.7%).
8. St. Cloud
Population: 44,198Unemployment Rate: 7.7%
Median Home Price: $132,900
Median Income: $50,646
St. Cloud is a city about 12.8 miles from Orlando, but Orlando 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. St. Cloud has the 10th most uninsured people, 8th worst incomes, and has the 9th highest unemployment rate (7.7%) in the entire Orlando metro area.
Homes only cost $132,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for Orlando standards.
Population: 14,117Unemployment Rate: 9.4%
Median Home Price: $151,800
Median Income: $57,121
If you absolutely have to live near Orlando, then Longwood might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Orlando suburb.
About 9.4% of residents are out of work.
Population: 3,256 Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
Median Home Price: $127,800
Median Income: $56,367
Rounding out the ten worst Orlando suburbs to call home is Midway.
Located 26.5 miles outside the city, Midways is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 20th highest unemployment rate (4.9%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Orlando where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Orlando with Eatonville casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Orlando aren’t all bad. Windermere takes the cake as the best place to live around Orlando.
For more Florida reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Snobbiest Cities In Florida
- These Are The 10 Most Boring Places In Florida
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Florida
Detailed List Of The Worst Orlando Suburbs