The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Boston For 2021

We used data and science to identify the neighborhoods in Boston that are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our fifth time ranking the worst neighborhoods to live in Boston.
Worst Neighborhoods In Boston

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 places don't quite measure up to Boston's reputation.

The Worst Neighborhoods In Boston For 2021

  1. Roxbury
  2. Mattapan
  3. North Dorchester
  4. East Boston
  5. Fenway-Kenmore

So what's the worst neighborhood to live in Boston for 2021? According to the most recent census data, Roxbury looks to be the worst neighborhood in Boston.

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. Looking for places to avoid outside of the city? You can also check out the worst suburbs of Boston.

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

The 5 Worst Neighborhoods In Boston For 2021

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 63,672
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $273,402 (3rd worst)
Median Income: $34,616 (worst)
More on Roxbury:  Data

Roxbury is a dissolved municipality and a currently officially recognized neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts.

Roxbury is one of 23 official neighborhoods of Boston used by the city for neighborhood services coordination. The city states that Roxbury serves as the "heart of Black culture in Boston." Roxbury was one of the first towns founded in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630, and became a city in 1846 until annexed to Boston on January 5, 1868.

The neighborhood has recently added a new police station improving response time assisting its residents. This facility opened in 2011 and is energy efficient. Also assisting the community are programs such as the Child Services of Roxbury, the youth build Boston programs, and many more. New initiatives by the city of Boston have propelled the neighborhood of Boston to become eco-friendly. There has been development of new E+ buildings. Along with the move into an eco-friendly community, each building is now mandated to provide accessibility to people with handicaps.

Mattapan Boston, MA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 39,010
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $237,849 (worst)
Median Income: $45,798 (2nd worst)
More on Mattapan:  Data

Mattapan is a neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts. Historically a section of neighboring Dorchester, Mattapan became a part of Boston when Dorchester was annexed in 1870. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 36,480, with the majority of its population immigrants. Like other neighborhoods of the late 19th and early 20th century, Mattapan developed, residentially and commercially, as the railroads and streetcars made downtown Boston increasingly accessible. Predominantly residential, Mattapan is a mix of public housing, small apartment buildings, single-family houses, and two- and three-family houses. Blue Hill Avenue and Mattapan Square, where Blue Hill Avenue, River Street, and Cummins Highway meet, are the commercial heart of the neighborhood, home to banks, law offices, restaurants, and retail shops.

North Dorchester Boston, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 27,791
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $343,331 (8th worst)
Median Income: $56,252 (4th worst)
More on North Dorchester:  Data

Dorchester is a historic neighborhood comprising more than 6 square miles in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Originally, Dorchester was a separate town, founded by Puritans who emigrated in 1630 from Dorchester, Dorset, England. This dissolved municipality, Boston's largest neighborhood by far, is often divided by city planners in order to create two planning areas roughly equivalent in size and population to other Boston neighborhoods.

East Boston Boston, MA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 43,436
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $276,989 (4th worst)
Median Income: $56,961 (5th worst)
More on East Boston:  Data

East Boston, nicknamed Eastie, is a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts with over 40,000 residents. The neighborhood was created by connecting several islands using land fill. It was annexed by Boston in 1836. It is separated from downtown Boston by Boston Harbor and bordered by Winthrop, Revere, and the Chelsea Creek. Directly west of East Boston, across Boston Inner Harbor, is the North End and Boston's Financial District. The neighborhood is easily accessible to downtown Boston via the MBTA Blue Line.

East Boston has long provided a foothold for the latest immigrants with Irish, Russian Jews and later, Italians. John F. Kennedy's great grandfather was one of many Irish people to immigrate to East Boston, and the Kennedy family lived there for some time.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 38,280
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $241,970 (2nd worst)
Median Income: $48,949 (3rd worst)
More on Fenway-Kenmore:  Data

How we determined the worst Boston hoods in 2021

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, Massachusetts 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.

The 'hoods around Boston that are really hoods

Well there you have it -- the worst of the neighborhoods in Boston with Roxbury 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:

Where Are The Worst Neighborhoods To Live In Boston For 2021?

Rank Neighborhood Population Home Value Median Income
1 Roxbury 63,672 $273,402 $34,616
2 Mattapan 39,010 $237,849 $45,798
3 North Dorchester 27,791 $343,331 $56,252
4 East Boston 43,436 $276,989 $56,961
5 Fenway-Kenmore 38,280 $241,970 $48,949
6 Hyde Park 35,116 $324,484 $65,408
7 South Dorchester 66,765 $352,652 $61,578
8 Roslindale 36,129 $293,614 $80,867
9 Jamaica Plain 45,158 $359,364 $75,652
10 South Boston 38,206 $367,531 $86,753
11 Allston-Brighton 67,713 $306,048 $61,281
12 South End 34,304 $558,804 $72,022
13 Central 33,579 $595,762 $93,484
14 West Roxbury 32,855 $407,058 $91,763
15 Charlestown 17,208 $426,124 $91,998
16 Back Bay-Beacon Hill 28,988 $776,224 $93,684

45 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Boston For 2021

  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.


    1. Joke!

      My mother lived there for many years.
      I saw it go downhill fast as it turned into the Hood.

      Was a nice neighborhood in the 60’s and 70’s until greedy realtors redlinned it and turned it mostly black.

    2. Mattapan is a dump. It is now in 2020 and has been for YEARS.
      “Amazing” neighborhood… My apologies Devin — you are delusional. I’ve lived in the Parkway area of Boston (Rozzie and West Rox) for 54 years and Mattapan is only *slightly* less dangerous than Roxbury and Dorchester, and that’s not saying much.

  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. Beacon Hill is #1 and Mattapan is #16. That’s what this list really says #gtfoh

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

    1. Raising 2 young children in South Dorchester and couldn’t be happier. I am a former New Yorker and couldn’t ask for a better balance of culture, community, and walkability.

      1. I’m buying a luxury condo in a new construction on the waterfront in East Boston this fall. I’m very excited about the neighborhood and the transformation that has been occurring in that area. I feel just as safe as anywhere else. I’d recommend giving Eastie a look!

  10. 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
    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
    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?

  11. 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.

  12. where did you get the pictures? That’s not Mattapan (Boston does not have blue street signs). I’m sure people would be delighted to see palm trees in Roxbury. And you tell me, just what street is that in north dorchester? Certainly not one I’ve ever seen. What does it say about your research when you can’t evebget the pictures right?

  13. I returned to Dorchester, mass a few years ago stayed a year crime was out of control. I came back to South Carolina Massachusetts is the worst place to be if you want to live long. The gangs are bad gun shots outside your home constantly people beating on your door because someone stabbed them outside your yard , hang members stealing cars they can’t drive and vehicles blowing up under the train bridge no thank you.

  14. Happily living in Lynn! If real estate prices weren’t through the roof, I’d be living in East Boston. Data & Science? Pfftt! How about heart&soul?

  15. The irony is that its mostly the Liberal Alarmists that get so offended by this crap. the average thug living in the projects is proud to have their hood ripped. Weather they are people of color, whatever that means or a bunch of Irish thugs still in the projects. The beauty of being an articulate professional victim is that you can always blame outside groups ( The white man) for lack of progress. No need to ever be accountable when you just call everything a conspiracy against blacks and latinos. In the real world that is called a giant cop out!!! Lets find the stats on how many people are employed by these phony neighborhood improvement groups or youth programs. They tend to be the meal ticket for the minorities with some education. They convince the kids that they are victims of whitey and the world is against them. Good job taking care of the people you allegedly represent. Nothing but bottom feeders. A ghetto is a ghetto, so what!

  16. Is #15 – central considered to be the North End in this survey because as far as I am concerned, that should be considered the best neighborhood in the City. Not to mention the fact that it all began there with Paul Revere!

  17. Wow! So poorly researched and written. I wouldn’t usually bother but this is such nonsense. The photograph placed “North Dorchester” is, in fact, Dorchester – Lower Mills. And where did you get those “Median Home Values”? Maybe those were correct values in 2014 but not in 2018.

    You would be lucky to find a Studio Condo in Southie for $316,521 and recently my neighbor of 30 years is fetching over 1 million for a 3 Bedroom condo in North Dorchester.

    Boston is a wonderfully diverse city and labeling neighborhoods in this way show me you know nothing of the city.

  18. This article is totally racist and subjective. I feel angry just to see the title.
    -Recent transplant to Dorchester

  19. “Murderpan”

    Nuff said. All you morons saying that this article is racist, go walk through the Heath Street projects during the summer. Blame the white man for your common cold why don’t ya. Lol someone said Revere is more dangerous than Dorchester or Mattapan, you must be a transplanted moonbat

    1. I wouldn’t walk or even drive through any of the neighborhoods listed here, she was dead on about the worst cities in Boston, filled with gangs and violent crimes, anyone who disagrees is lying!!

    2. Now there’s an informed individual — how ’bout a sunny stroll down Bowdoin Street or Geneva Ave? LOLOLOLOL
      Here’s a hint — wear body armor

  20. Hello, Carrie
    I feel like you’re actually being biased about the cities of Boston. This article is written very poorly and is full of stereotypes. Even though they have bad crime rates and median income, that doesn’t really mean that the cities of Boston are bad. Take Mattapan for example. They have a renovated library, health center and a Boys and Girls Club facility. There is also a police station, the commuter rail and street cars that are over 70 years old. You actually failed to recognize the good parts of these cities overall. You really shouldn’t judge a city by facts and data. It’s like judging a book by its cover. Also, there is no such thing as a safe place (obviously). I understand that those five cities of Boston you’ve listed aren’t so safe, but they are a lot more than what you have written. If you ever consider visiting at least one of these cities to check out what’s there, then that’s cool. There are some really good sites. If you’re reading this, then thanks.

  21. I’m a doctor who lives in Hyde Park in a home worth more than $700,000. My community is mixed race, which I absolutely love. I take walks by day and by night all over Hyde Park, and my neighborhood is quite safe. This article is BS, and based on racially biased demographics.

  22. Does any city in the country get more opinions than Boston? We massholes are an in your face opinionated lot. Greater Boston seems like ground zero of that. Everyone wants to tell you how it Really is!
    High property crimes and in 2020 violent crimes like armed assault, homicide, have been soaring in every neighborhood.

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