More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Asheville to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
So the question arises: what suburbs of Asheville are the worst?
Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Asheville ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Asheville area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Asheville proper, although Weaverville certainly tries.
We examined the 13 biggest suburbs of Asheville to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in North Carolina lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Asheville in terms of quality of life.
Now don’t freak out.
What’s the worst suburb of Asheville? Burnsville ranks as the worst suburb of Asheville for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Asheville too.
The 10 Worst Asheville Suburbs To Live For 2023
Median Income: $32,961 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $179,700 (3rd lowest)
More on Burnsville:
We’ll get the ball rolling with Burnsville, the absolute worst place to live around Asheville according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Burnsville beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the worst in the Asheville area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 3rd 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 Burnsville.
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: $41,131 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.5% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $174,700 (2nd lowest)
More on Waynesville: Data
Welcome to Waynesville. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 25.8 miles to Asheville. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $41,131 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: $52,732 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.6% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $284,900 (9th lowest)
More on Woodfin: Data
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Asheville suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Woodfin 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 Asheville suburbs.
But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.
Median Income: $47,637 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 1.2% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $163,900 (lowest)
More on Canton:
If you live in Canton, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 5th lowest Asheville suburb for median household incomes.
Not only that, but this is the 13th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Asheville. Remember, we looked at 13 cities for this study.
Canton is about 16.8 miles to downtown.
Median Income: $46,058 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $257,700 (7th lowest)
More on Brevard: Data
Brevard has the distinction of being a Asheville suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Brevard has the 7th lowest home values in the metro Asheville area, where the median price is $257,700. The median income is $87,700.
Brevard has an unemployment rate of 5.41% which ranks 3rd worst.
Median Income: $46,309 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 1.4% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $217,200 (4th lowest)
More on Hendersonville: Data
Hendersonville has 14,878 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 15.11315952397331%.
Median Income: $68,735 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (highest)
Median Home Value: $306,300 (11th lowest)
More on Mills River: Data
Ah, Mills River. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Asheville.
It’s the place with the most out of work residents in the Asheville metro area (6.44%).
Median Income: $64,478 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $248,500 (6th lowest)
More on Fletcher: Data
Fletcher is a city about 9.9 miles from Asheville, but Asheville 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. Fletcher has the 7th most uninsured people, 7th worst incomes, and has the 5th highest unemployment rate (3.05%) in the entire Asheville metro area.
Homes only cost $248,500 for a reason. That’s cheap for Asheville standards.
9. Mars Hill
Median Income: $67,125 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.5% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $248,500 (6th lowest)
More on Mars Hill:
If you absolutely have to live near Asheville, then Mars Hill might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Asheville suburb.
About 2.5% of residents are out of work.
Median Income: $68,333 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 1.4% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $264,900 (8th lowest)
More on Black Mountain: Data
Rounding out the ten worst Asheville suburbs to call home is Black Mountain.
Located 13.0 miles outside the city, Black Mountains is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 10th highest unemployment rate (1.4%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Asheville for 2023
To figure out how bad a Asheville 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 Asheville.
We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 13 suburbs to evaluate around Asheville.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 13 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 Asheville.” We’re looking at you, Burnsville.
We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Asheville.
Summary: The areas around Asheville where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Asheville with Burnsville casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Asheville aren’t all bad. Weaverville takes the cake as the best place to live around Asheville.
- Laurel Park
- Flat Rock
For more North Carolina reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In North Carolina
- Richest Cities In North Carolina
- Safest Cities in North Carolina
- Worst Places To Live In North Carolina
Detailed List Of The Worst Asheville Suburbs
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