The 10 Worst Asheville Suburbs

The worst Asheville suburbs are Burnsville and Waynesville based on Saturday Night Science. Find out where your town ranks.

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.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 worst suburbs around Asheville for 2024

  1. Burnsville
  2. Waynesville
  3. Woodfin
  4. Brevard
  5. Canton
  6. Hendersonville
  7. Fletcher
  8. Mars Hill
  9. Mills River
  10. Flat Rock

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Asheville? Burnsville ranks as the worst suburb of Asheville for 2024 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Or, if you’re thinking of moving to elsewhere in North Carolina check out the best places in North Carolina overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Asheville too.

The 10 Worst Asheville Suburbs To Live For 2024

1. Burnsville

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,380
Median Income: $39,018 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (highest)
Median Home Value: $294,169 (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 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.

Waynesville, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Daniel Hass | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,307
Median Income: $44,920 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.3% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $355,984 (3rd lowest)
More on Waynesville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $44,920 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.

Woodfin, NC

Source: Flickr User NCDOTcommunications | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,901
Median Income: $59,144 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.0% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $400,598 (6th lowest)
More on Woodfin: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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.

Brevard, NC

Source: Wikipedia User -ted from Raleigh, NC, USA | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,777
Median Income: $42,843 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $431,629 (7th lowest)
More on Brevard: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you live in Brevard, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 2nd lowest Asheville suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 2nd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Asheville. Remember, we looked at 13 cities for this study.

Brevard is about 24.6 miles to downtown.

5. Canton

Canton, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,410
Median Income: $54,728 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 1.0% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $297,066 (2nd lowest)
More on Canton: Crime

Canton has the distinction of being a Asheville suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Canton has the 2nd lowest home values in the metro Asheville area, where the median price is $297,066. The median income is $102,039.

Canton has an unemployment rate of 1.05% which ranks 13th worst.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,102
Median Income: $50,198 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $395,150 (5th lowest)
More on Hendersonville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Hendersonville has 15,102 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 16.579465923761635%.

Fletcher, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Brian Stansberry | CC BY 4.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,000
Median Income: $74,483 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $435,289 (8th lowest)
More on Fletcher: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Ah, Fletcher. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Asheville.

It’s the place with the 5th most out of work residents in the Asheville metro area (3.07%).

8. Mars Hill

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,843
Median Income: $80,833 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $392,949 (4th lowest)
More on Mars Hill:

Mars Hill is a city about 17.8 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. Mars Hill has the 10th most uninsured people, 11th worst incomes, and has the 8th highest unemployment rate (2.24%) in the entire Asheville metro area.

Homes only cost $392,949 for a reason. That’s cheap for Asheville standards.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,100
Median Income: $79,802 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $503,109 (13th lowest)
More on Mills River: Data | Cost Of Living

If you absolutely have to live near Asheville, then Mills River might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Asheville suburb.

About 5.18% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,483
Median Income: $102,039 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $460,366 (11th lowest)
More on Flat Rock: Data

Rounding out the ten worst Asheville suburbs to call home is Flat Rock.

Located 21.8 miles outside the city, Flat Rocks is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 3rd highest unemployment rate (5.25%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Asheville for 2024

To figure out how bad a Asheville suburb is to live in, we used Saturday Night Science to identify the kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2018-2022, 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 2024, 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 2024

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Asheville with Burnsville casting itself ahead of the pack.

The worst suburbs of Asheville are .

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Asheville aren’t all bad. Weaverville takes the cake as the best place to live around Asheville.

  • Weaverville
  • Laurel Park
  • Black Mountain

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Asheville Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Burnsville 2,380 $39,018 $294,169
2 Waynesville 10,307 $44,920 $355,984
3 Woodfin 7,901 $59,144 $400,598
4 Brevard 7,777 $42,843 $431,629
5 Canton 4,410 $54,728 $297,066
6 Hendersonville 15,102 $50,198 $395,150
7 Fletcher 8,000 $74,483 $435,289
8 Mars Hill 2,843 $80,833 $392,949
9 Mills River 7,100 $79,802 $503,109
10 Flat Rock 3,483 $102,039 $460,366
11 Black Mountain 8,430 $75,310 $450,375
12 Laurel Park 2,615 $90,855 $477,820
13 Weaverville 4,559 $76,310 $459,685
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

7 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Asheville Suburbs

  1. I laughed heartily at this list. Why? Because the reasons Sam gives that these suburbs are the worst actually make them the best in my eyes. Thanks for the list. I’ll check them out and find out if what really makes a place unlivable (high crime, pollution, poor access to emergency care etc.) exists in them. High population, lots of jobs, lots of things to do means congestion, crowded neighborhoods, higher crime, and so forth. This is the kind of stuff that makes me miserable and why my husband and I plan to leave the Atlanta suburbs for a less crowded area. Personally, a neighborhood with a lower cost of homes in a town where you might actually get to know and interact with your neighbors sounds like paradise to me.

    1. The list is stupid. These are nice quiet beautiful communities. Most have elderly people transferred from Florida & up north.

    2. Hi Bev, we saw your comment and are intrigued. We are in Atlanta and are also thinking of relocating to the Asheville area. I would be interested in seeing if you actually made the move and the outcome!
      Thanks so much

  2. Damn, are y’all serious? Try being an Asheville native. First off, Woodfin is a well sought after neighborhood. Canton, black Mountain and swannanoa are a dream when comparing price, hikes, things to do within an honest priced home area. I’ve lived in all these areas and they are by far the BEST of buncombe county. The others listed mostly aren’t even in buncombe county. (Canton is Haywood county) but locals consider it pretty much candler.

  3. I agree with you! What has your research determined are the best places to live around Asheville based on your own criteria?

  4. I found the criteria used is nonsense. I’ve lived in Hendersonville for 12 years , never had trouble always something going on. Close to everything. Love it here.

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