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Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Arlington.
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 Arlington 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Arlington area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all 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. So without further ado...
We examined the 34 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.
What's the worst suburb of Arlington? Dumfries ranks as the worst suburb of Arlington for 2020 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.
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:
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The 10 Worst Arlington Suburbs To Live For 2020
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 4th worst in the Arlington 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 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. Capitol Heights
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $71,317 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.7% (1st highest)
Median Home Value: $214,500 (5th lowest)
More on Capitol Heights:
Welcome to Capitol Heights. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 10.4 miles to Arlington. Income levels here are the 8th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $71,317 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. Riverdale Park
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $72,500 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (17th highest)
Median Home Value: $304,100 (14th lowest)
More on Riverdale Park:
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Arlington suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Riverdale Park 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 Arlington suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
4. Seat Pleasant
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $54,821 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $188,900 (1st lowest)
More on Seat Pleasant:
If you live in Seat Pleasant, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 3rd lowest Arlington suburb when it comes to residents making money.
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 34 cities for this study.
Seat Pleasant is about 10.8 miles to downtown.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 4)
Median Income: $43,257 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $229,600 (7th 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 7th lowest home values in the metro Arlington area, where the median price is $229,600. To put that into perspective, in Falls Church, the median income is $170,093, which is the best in the area.
Bladensburg has an unemployment rate of 6.44% which ranks 10th worst.
6. New Carrollton
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $65,164 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $255,800 (8th lowest)
More on New Carrollton:
New Carrollton has 12,932 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 10.683760683760683%.
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Income: $72,337 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $212,800 (4th lowest)
More on Greenbelt:
Ah, Greenbelt. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Arlington.
It's the place with the 12th most out of work residents in the Arlington metro area (6.04%).
Manassas Park is a city about 20.2 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. Manassas Park has the 3rd most uninsured people, 15th worst incomes, and has the 11th highest unemployment rate (6.3%) in the entire Arlington metro area.
Homes only cost $281,500 for a reason. That's cheap for Arlington standards.
9. Mount Rainier
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Median Income: $53,869 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $336,200 (21st lowest)
More on Mount Rainier:
If you absolutely have to live near Arlington, then Mount Rainier might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Arlington suburb.
About 7.7% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Arlington suburbs to call home is Manassas.
Located 22.5 miles outside the city, Manassass is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 16th highest unemployment rate (5.74%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Arlington for 2020
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 from 2014-2018, 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 Arlington.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 34 suburbs to evaluate around Arlington.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 34 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 lookin' at you, Dumfries. You can download the data here.
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.
The areas around Arlington where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2020
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
For more Virginia reading, check out:
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Detailed List Of The Worst Arlington Suburbs