These Are The 5 Worst Boston Neighborhoods


We used science and data to determine which Boston neighborhoods are the real pits.

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Boston’s neighborhoods conjure up too many stereotypes to count. You’ve got hipster areas, preppy places, neighborhoods where college kids thrive, and of course, ghettos.

It seems as if there’s a neighborhood for everyone in Boston.

And while the city consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the country thanks in part to a strong economy and tons of entertainment, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine in Boston. Some neighborhoods aren’t as great as others.

So the question arises, which Boston neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?

Today, we’ll use science and data to determine which Boston hoods need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Boston area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the neighborhoods to be amazing, although Back Bay-Beacon Hill ranks way above the rest.

We examined 16 of Boston’s neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These five places don’t quite measure up to Boston’s reputation:

  1. Mattapan
  2. East Boston
  3. Roxbury
  4. North Dorchester
  5. Hyde Park

Read on to see how we determined the places around Boston that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.

Once you’re done, you can look at the bottom of the story for a complete chart of every neighborhood we looked at from worst to best. Or check out the best neighborhoods in Boston.

How we determined the worst Boston hoods

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 places have the least amount of those things. We threw the following criteria into this analysis in order to get the best, most complete results possible. We used this set of criteria for each neighborhood in Boston:

  • High unemployment (Less jobs)
  • Low median income (Less pay)
  • Low population density (No things to do)
  • Low home values (No one’s willing to pay to live here)
  • High crime (Estimated)

Then, we ranked each neighborhood in Boston for each of these criteria from worst to best.

Next, we averaged the individual rankings for each criteria into a “Worst Score”.

The neighborhood with the lowest “Worst Score” ranks as the worst neighborhood of Boston.

Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Boston to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 16 neighborhoods ranked from worst to best.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased. Hold on to your pants.

1. Mattapan

Mattapan, Boston, MA

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 36,299
Median Income: $47,853
Median Home Value: $284,833

Mattapan is claimed as the original Native American name for the Dorchester area, though accounts vary whether the phrase meant “a good place to be,” or “a good place to sit” or “an evil, spread about place.” Based on this ranking, we’re guessing the latter.

2. East Boston

East Boston, Boston, MA

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 38,940
Median Income: $53,342
Median Home Value: $299,868

East Boston, popularly known as Eastie, is a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts with approximately 41,000 residents. The neighborhood was created by connecting several islands using landfill.

It seems like the landfill makes for some high crime rates — 3rd highest in Boston

3. Roxbury

Roxbury, Boston, MA

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 59,626
Median Income: $35,354
Median Home Value: $322,085

After Roxbury failed as a town it has also had issues making it as a neighborhood.

Plagued by high crime (2nd worst) and high unemployment (worst in Boston), it doesn’t seem to be the best place to live.

4. North Dorchester

North Dorchester, Boston, MA

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,189
Median Income: $47,993
Median Home Value: $320,850

North Dorchester has the 3rd lowest home prices in Boston, so at least it doesn’t cost a lot to live in this not so great part of town.

5. Hyde Park

Hyde Park, Boston, MA

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 32,699
Median Income: $61,656
Median Home Value: $333,477

  These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In Massachusetts

Another neighborhood that failed as a town, Hyde Park comes out slightly better than Roxbury thanks to higher home prices and median incomes.

The ‘hoods around Boston that are really hoods

Well there you have it — the worst of the neighborhoods in Boston with Mattapan landing at the bottom of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Boston aren’t all bad. Back Bay-Beacon Hill takes the cake as the best place to live in Boston.

We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.

For more Massachusetts reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Boston Neighborhoods

Place Rank Population Median Income Median Home Value
Mattapan 1 36,299 $47,853 $284,833
East Boston 2 38,940 $53,342 $299,868
Roxbury 3 59,626 $35,354 $322,085
North Dorchester 4 25,189 $47,993 $320,850
Hyde Park 5 32,699 $61,656 $333,477
South Dorchester 6 63,779 $50,537 $330,774
Roslindale 7 33,721 $63,437 $378,056
Fenway-Kenmore 8 38,680 $30,652 $438,935
Jamaica Plain 9 42,359 $69,840 $405,008
South Boston 10 34,214 $71,638 $393,110
Allston-Brighton 11 67,107 $51,481 $389,498
West Roxbury 12 30,490 $89,494 $422,744
South End 13 32,055 $61,460 $557,308
Charlestown 14 16,169 $87,451 $496,786
Central 15 31,378 $78,548 $633,500
Back Bay-Beacon Hill 16 27,566 $86,107 $751,420

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24 thoughts on “These Are The 5 Worst Boston Neighborhoods

  1. Hi Carrie,

    I see you have written that this article is opinion based on facts… And not to “freak out” which I will not. I must, however, inform you that this article is poorly reported, fueled by stereotypes, and frankly wrong. I see you have labeled Mattapan as the “worst” place to live in Boston and being someone who works in Mattapan every day for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston at the Mattapan Teen Center, I truly believe Mattapan is the most “up and coming” neighborhood in Boston. I understand the crime rate may be higher, the medium income lower, and the unemployment rate higher but you failed to recognize that in the last few years they have built a brand new state of the art Library, Health Center, Boys and Girls Club Teen Center, Recreation Facility, and Police Station. As a Music/Performing Arts Director I have had the privilege of working with over 3,000 Boston youth all over the city and the young people we serve in Mattapan are second to none when it comes to talent, dedication, and sheer kindness. Mattapan is not be the “nicest, wealthiest” place in Boston but it is surely not the “worst”. I would like to personally invite you to visit us at the Mattapan Teen Center at your earliest convenience. So you can get a first hand look at the amazing neighborhood of Mattapan and the young people we serve.

    Best,
    Devin

  2. So Revere, Chelsea, Lynn the Junkie capital of Boston didn’t make the list. This is BS. I lived in Roxbury most of my life, grew up in Mattapan from the age of 8 until 15 when my house caught fire, and it is far from being the hood. In Mission Hill you have more issues from these rude spoiled College students than the young want to be thugs. I really don’t see how Brockton missed the list

    1. The article is clearly titled “These Are The 5 Worst Boston Neighborhoods”. Revere, Chelsea, Lynn, and Brockton are each their own separate city and not neighborhood of Boston

    2. Revere, Chelsea, and Lynn are not part of Boston. They are Cities outside of it. They have their own Mayor’s, City Counselors etc.

  3. Y’know… if you’d just left this part out, I’d leave you alone:

    “This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.”

    That is ABSOLUTE garbage. You are making biased inferences from unbiased data. For example:
    Low population density (No things to do) – that’s just plain bullshit right there. A low population density doesn’t mean there’s less to do; it means people are more spaced out. Your statement is a biased inference.
    Low home values (No one’s willing to pay to live here) – Or maybe the lack of public transit/proximity to the city has a role, or the sizes of the homes, or the relative ‘newness’…?

    How can you infer opinionated conclusions from data and then state that your analysis is scientific? This REEKS of privileged, white Bostonian ignorance, casting judgment on neighborhoods based on stereotypes, image and race, and twisting statistics to fit your narrow-ass worldview.

    If you’d posted this as straight-up clickbait, I’d let it pass. But scientific? Go yourselves.

  4. If this article was so fact based and unbiased, you wouldn’t need that disclaimer. For one, a neighborhood is so much more than its “facts”. And seeing how these are all communities of color, this article is largely racist and classist. Not sure your purpose or goal for writing this other than to display your own racism and classism. This article is not entertainment for anyone living in these neighborhoods, especially since most of what you measure is beyond residents’ control. Are you gonna discuss the systematic racism and oppression that causes these conditions? Are you going to discuss the constant growth? Are you going to discuss the families that love these places and call them home? This article is corny & so are you for writing it.

  5. Written like a true outsider. Have you even been to Boston, “Carrie”? I can’t imagine you’d have time to do much of anything between “researching” and writing gems such as “These Are The 10 Whitest Cities In Alaska,” “These Are The 10 Skankiest Cities In Maryland,” and “These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Pennsylvania.” Keep reaching for the stars.

  6. Ummm…you did missed Chelsea, Revere, Lynn, and Everett not getting any better…js you might have to redo your little experiment again…

  7. The framing and messaging in this article is horrible and biased and it is shameful that data is manipulated as the tool to support such rationale. Over to thirds of the city’s population is comprised in these neighborhoods they categories “worst.” Furthermore, more youth ages 0-17 live in these communities. These are communities that have been historically disinvested from, lost industries and infrastructure when white flight occured as people of color moved in. If these communities are “worst” and “bad” it is because of the structural inequities that led it to be this way, so paralyze them with such terms is hostile and unfair.

    And on top of that – My two favorite neighborhoods are identified as the top worst. Nigborhoods I live and work in. I am curious if any of the writers even live in these communities to categorize them this way.

    Shame on you – This is the kind of mindset and narrative we need to break!

  8. Curious.. as an outsider and potential investor. To those objecting to this list, what would be your rankings? and why? I am trying to determine the best value for money home, with good transportation, schools and safety in Boston. Somewhere a 12 year old girl can safely walk to friends, or library.

  9. I am visiting Boston from the UK at the end of
    March,and having read the bad comments about
    these so called bad neighbourhoods in Boston,I
    will visit them regardless and make my own
    decision.
    I am staying at the Hampton inn hotel in
    Revere and hope to visit if there is time,
    Mattapan for its vintage street car route and the
    town of Lynn;named after Kings Lynn in Norfolk. UK
    Where my family are from.
    As this is my first trip to the states,having only
    vacationed in Europe,I will of course be careful of
    my surroundings. I’m 100% sure my trip will pass
    without incident as I would like to return to the UK
    with happy memories and return again for a 2nd
    trip.
    Any comments will be appreciated
    Sincerely upcoming visitor to the USA

    1. well…how did it go? The neighborhoods you mentioned were located in highly populated cities where the homes are very old. Actually some could almost look like neighborhoods in the older sections of London…right?

  10. Boo hoo, got under the skin of all the liberals. Find a city in Boston or any in the country, where the minorities reign supreme and the income level is above average, schools are average, crime rate is below average, etc. Accept the facts that any community run by minorities will be junk just as listed here.

    1. The majority reigns supreme, so of course they have the best neighborhoods (after all they give each other jobs and high salaries), and rob the labor and goodwill of the minorities. The minorities have had opportunities stolen from them by these hoodlums. This is a FACT. The crime rate in SOME minority communities is high because of the deprivations people have suffered from individual and systemic racism and abuse, ever since the first boatloads of Europeans arrived, pillaging, murdering little children at Christian schools and all the other shameless abuse of others in the name of the “divine right of discovery” apologetic. Absolutely reprehensible.

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