The suburbs of Arlington call to all types of people looking to escape city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Arlington to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
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 Saturday Night Science to determine which Arlington ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Arlington area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Arlington proper, although Falls Church certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Arlington are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones.
We examined the 35 biggest suburbs of Arlington 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 Arlington in terms of quality of life.
The 10 worst suburbs around Arlington for 2023
- Landover Hills
- Riverdale Park
- Seat Pleasant
- College Park
- Capitol Heights
- Forest Heights
Now don’t freak out.
What’s the worst suburb of Arlington? Dumfries ranks as the worst suburb of Arlington for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Arlington that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Arlington too.
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The 10 Worst Arlington Suburbs To Live For 2023
Median Income: $71,784 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $226,100 (lowest)
More on Dumfries:
We’ll get the ball rolling with Dumfries, the absolute worst place to live around Arlington 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 6th worst in the Arlington area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 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.
Median Income: $71,645 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $338,400 (13th lowest)
More on Brentwood:
Welcome to Brentwood. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 9.0 miles to Arlington. Income levels here are the 5th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $71,645 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.
But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.
Median Income: $75,832 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $244,800 (6th lowest)
More on Greenbelt:
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Arlington suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Greenbelt 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 dropout rate is poor compared to other Arlington suburbs.
But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.
4. Landover Hills
Median Income: $82,083 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.5% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $276,800 (7th lowest)
More on Landover Hills:
If you live in Landover Hills, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 10th lowest Arlington suburb for median household incomes.
Not only that, but this is the 4th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Arlington. Remember, we looked at 35 cities for this study.
Landover Hills is about 11.9 miles to downtown.
Median Income: $54,208 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.5% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $302,200 (9th lowest)
More on Bladensburg:
Bladensburg has the distinction of being a Arlington suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Bladensburg has the 9th lowest home values in the metro Arlington area, where the median price is $302,200. The median income is $201,607.
Bladensburg has an unemployment rate of 13.49% which ranks 2nd worst.
6. Riverdale Park
Median Income: $87,819 (16th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (23rd highest)
Median Home Value: $372,100 (19th lowest)
More on Riverdale Park:
Riverdale Park has 7,321 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 11.768811950300154%.
7. Seat Pleasant
Median Income: $51,122 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 22.8% (highest)
Median Home Value: $235,000 (2nd lowest)
More on Seat Pleasant:
Ah, Seat Pleasant. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Arlington.
It’s the place with the most out of work residents in the Arlington metro area (22.84%).
8. College Park
Median Income: $69,736 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $359,300 (17th lowest)
More on College Park:
College Park is a city about 12.0 miles from Arlington, but Arlington 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. College Park has the 19th most uninsured people, 4th worst incomes, and has the 13th highest unemployment rate (5.77%) in the entire Arlington metro area.
Homes only cost $359,300 for a reason. That’s cheap for Arlington standards.
9. Capitol Heights
Median Income: $85,104 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $235,700 (3rd lowest)
More on Capitol Heights:
If you absolutely have to live near Arlington, then Capitol Heights might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Arlington suburb.
About 7.36% of residents are out of work.
10. Forest Heights
Median Income: $86,922 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.9% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $236,800 (4th lowest)
More on Forest Heights:
Rounding out the ten worst Arlington suburbs to call home is Forest Heights.
Located 7.2 miles outside the city, Forest Heightss is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 3rd highest unemployment rate (12.89%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Arlington for 2023
To figure out how bad a Arlington suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.
It’s Saturday Night Science.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2017-2021, 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 dropouts
- High poverty
- High rate of uninsured families
We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Arlington.
We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 35 suburbs to evaluate around Arlington.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 35 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 Arlington.” We’re looking at you, Dumfries.
We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Arlington.
Summary: The areas around Arlington where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Arlington with Dumfries casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Arlington aren’t all bad. Falls Church takes the cake as the best place to live around Arlington.
- Falls Church
- University Park
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Detailed List Of The Worst Arlington Suburbs