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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..
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.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Arlington for 2022:
- Landover Hills
- Seat Pleasant
- Riverdale Park
- Capitol Heights
- College Park
- New Carrollton
What's the worst suburb of Arlington? Dumfries ranks as the worst suburb of Arlington for 2022 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 2022
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 5th 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.
Welcome to Bladensburg. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 10.4 miles to Arlington. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $50,390 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.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $50,390 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.4% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $277,400 (8th lowest)
More on Bladensburg:
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 drop out rate is poor compared to other Arlington suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 4)
Median Income: $71,744 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $225,900 (4th lowest)
More on Greenbelt:
4. 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 when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 5th 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.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $73,750 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $248,200 (7th lowest)
More on Landover Hills:
5. Seat Pleasant
Seat Pleasant has the distinction of being a Arlington suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Seat Pleasant has the 3rd lowest home values in the metro Arlington area, where the median price is $222,500. To put that into perspective, in Falls Church, the median income is $183,700, which is the best in the area.
Seat Pleasant has an unemployment rate of 18.99% which ranks worst.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Income: $53,532 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 19.0% (highest)
Median Home Value: $222,500 (3rd lowest)
More on Seat Pleasant:
6. Riverdale Park
Riverdale Park has 7,216 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 10.70772708009606%.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 4)
Median Income: $84,695 (16th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (25th highest)
Median Home Value: $340,900 (17th lowest)
More on Riverdale Park:
Ah, Brentwood. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Arlington.
It's the place with the 9th most out of work residents in the Arlington metro area (6.58%).
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Income: $80,737 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $312,500 (13th lowest)
More on Brentwood:
8. Capitol Heights
Capitol Heights is a city about 10.4 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. Capitol Heights has the 20th most uninsured people, 9th worst incomes, and has the 8th highest unemployment rate (6.6%) in the entire Arlington metro area.
Homes only cost $231,400 for a reason. That's cheap for Arlington standards.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 5)
Median Income: $72,209 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $231,400 (5th lowest)
More on Capitol Heights:
9. College Park
If you absolutely have to live near Arlington, then College Park might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Arlington suburb.
About 5.01% of residents are out of work.
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 5)
Median Income: $68,825 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $345,800 (18th lowest)
More on College Park:
10. New Carrollton
Rounding out the ten worst Arlington suburbs to call home is New Carrollton.
Located 13.5 miles outside the city, New Carrolltons is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 4th highest unemployment rate (9.68%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Income: $70,776 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $287,000 (10th lowest)
More on New Carrollton:
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Arlington for 2022
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 2016-2020, 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 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 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.
Summary: The areas around Arlington where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022
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