Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Alexandria.
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 Alexandria ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Alexandria area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Alexandria proper, although Falls Church certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Alexandria are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
We examined the 25 biggest suburbs of Alexandria to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Virginia lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Alexandria in terms of quality of life.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Alexandria for 2018:
- Dumfries (Photos)
- Riverdale Park (Photos)
- Bladensburg (Photos)
- New Carrollton (Photos)
- Mount Rainier (Photos)
- Greenbelt (Photos)
- College Park (Photos)
- Hyattsville (Photos)
- Manassas (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Alexandria that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Alexandria 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 Virginia reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Virginia
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Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Alexandria 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 Alexandria.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 25 suburbs to evaluate around Alexandria.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 25 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 Alexandria.’ We’re lookin’ at you, Dumfries.
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 Dumfries, the absolute worst place to live around Alexandria according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Dumfries beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 3rd worst in the Alexandria area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 1st 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 Dumfries.
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. Riverdale Park
Welcome to Riverdale Park. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 13.0 miles to Alexandria. Income levels here are the 5th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $61,520 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 Alexandria suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Bladensburg 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 Alexandria suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
4. New Carrollton
If you live in New Carrollton, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th lowest Alexandria suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 1st worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Alexandria. Remember, we looked at 25 cities for this study.
New Carrollton is about 15.0 miles to downtown.
5. Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier has the distinction of being a Alexandria suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Mount Rainier has the 11th lowest home values in the metro Alexandria area, where the median price is $275,900. To put that into perspective, in Falls Church, the median income is $150,000, which is the best in the area.
Mount Rainier has an unemployment rate of 7.8% which ranks 8th worst.
Greenbelt has 23,623 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 9.3%.
7. College Park
Ah, College Park. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Alexandria.
It’s the place with the 14th most out of work residents in the Alexandria metro area (6.6%).
Hyattsville is a city about 12.0 miles from Alexandria, but Alexandria 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. Hyattsville has the 9th most uninsured people, 7th worst incomes, and has the 15th highest unemployment rate (6.5%) in the entire Alexandria metro area.
Homes only cost $265,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Alexandria standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Alexandria, then Glenarden might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Alexandria suburb.
About 7.9% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Alexandria suburbs to call home is Manassas.
Located 22.1 miles outside the city, Manassass is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 17th highest unemployment rate (6.0%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Alexandria where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Alexandria with Dumfries casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Alexandria aren’t all bad. Falls Church takes the cake as the best place to live around Alexandria.
For more Virginia reading, check out:
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- 10 Worst Cities In Virginia For 2017
Detailed List Of The Worst Alexandria Suburbs