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Detroit'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 Detroit.
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 Detroit. Some neighborhoods aren't as great as others.
So the question arises, which Detroit neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?
Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Detroit hoods need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Detroit area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the neighborhoods to be amazing, although Indian Village ranks way above the rest.
We examined 85 of Detroit's neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These places don't quite measure up to Detroit's reputation.
So what's the worst neighborhood to live in Detroit for 2021? According to the most recent census data, Chaldean Town looks to be the worst neighborhood in Detroit.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Detroit 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 Detroit.
For more Michigan reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Michigan
- Cheapest Places To Live In Michigan
- Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Detroit For 2021
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $5,200 (worst)
Median Income: $16,172 (5th worst)
More on Chaldean Town: Data
Chaldean Town gets its name from an ethnic group that settled in the region in the early 20th century. The Chaldean Catholic Assyrians began arriving in the 1920s, drawn by Detroit's booming auto industry. This deep cultural history gives the neighborhood character. But, despite this history, the area counts as the number 1 worst place to live in the city.
A terrible economy haunts the area. The unemployment rate hovers at 24.7% and the median income comes in at a measly $16,172. This has led to a run-down housing stock, with median home value at just $5,200.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $14,000 (4th worst)
Median Income: $14,872 (3rd worst)
More on Forest Park: Data
Detroit's branch of the Federal Reserve calls the Forest Park neighborhood home. If its good enough for the people in charge of the U.S. currency, it must be good enough for anyone, right? Not quite. Actually, Forest Park serves as the number 2 worst location in Detroit.
Even with the U.S. central bank around the corner, the 1,044 residents of Forest Park have trouble making ends meet. The unemployment rate sits at 16.1% and the median income comes in at $14,872. Schools and crime are also problems.
It's not all gloomy in the neighborhood. There are plenty of parks and the residents enjoy a rollicking nightlife.
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $13,280 (3rd worst)
Median Income: $16,286 (6th worst)
More on Poletown East: Data
Poletown East gets its name from the Polish immigrants who moved to the area, starting in the late 19th century. This east-side neighborhood is bounded to the north by I-94, within sight of a General Motors assembly plant. This doesn't do much to provide jobs to the area - the local economy is so bad it dooms the neighborhood as the number 3 least attractive place to put down roots in Detroit.
Just look at the stats: a 14.9% unemployment rate and a $16,286 median income. Home prices are at least affordable, though that comes with a run-down housing stock. The median home value sits at $13,280.
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $10,300 (2nd worst)
Median Income: $22,039 (16th worst)
More on Milwaukee Junction: Data
When you think of Detroit, you probably think of auto manufacturing. Well, Milwaukee Junction, which gets its name from a key railroad line, served as the epicenter of that industry. In the early 20th century, the neighborhood was home to a large number of car-making startups. Unfortunately, 100 years later, those companies have largely either disappeared or moved on. Now, the neighborhood exists as the number 4 least inviting part of Detroit.
The economy is the main weakness for the 743 residents of the area. The unemployment rate stands at 12.4% and the median income comes in at $22,039.
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $21,585 (11th worst)
Median Income: $24,947 (24th worst)
More on Brightmoor: Data
Located in the northwest part of the city, Brightmoor came into existence in the 1920s as a planned community. Fast forward to the early 21st century and the plan has gone awry. The neighborhood now stands as one of the worst places to live in all of Detroit.
A weak job market complicates life for Brightmoor's 9,961 residents. They have to deal with an unemployment rate of 13.1%, along with a median income of $24,947. The median home value comes in at $21,585.
There are bright spots to life in Brightmoor. For instance, residents can check out Eliza Howell Park.
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 9)
Median Home Value: $17,800 (7th worst)
Median Income: $28,243 (38th worst)
More on Riverdale: Data
A rough economic climate presents the main obstacle for people in Riverdale, a neighborhood in the northwest section of the city. The area also suffers from substandard schools and a high crime rate. Taken together, these forces make the area one of the least attractive spots in Detroit.
Just look at the numbers: Riverdale sports an unemployment rate of 12.4% and a median income of $28,243. These financial figures make it difficult for locals to fund schools and other services.
That said, Riverdale has its share of bright spots as well. The nightlife is engaging and the cost of living is affordable. The neighborhood houses its share of green spaces as well, including the Rouge Valley Parkway.
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 9)
Median Home Value: $30,900 (28th worst)
Median Income: $25,622 (28th worst)
More on Conant Gardens: Data
Good luck finding a job in Conant Gardens. This section in the north-central part of the city suffers from an unemployment rate of 22.7%. That provides one of the main reasons why the area ranks number 7 on the list of Detroit's worst neighborhoods.
There are other issues in Conant Gardens. Even with a job, locals often have trouble paying the bills. The median income sits at just $25,622.
Despite these challenges, Conant Gardens maintains a distinct cultural history. It has a long civil rights past, going back to the abolitionist movement of the 1830s.
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 9)
Median Home Value: $27,300 (17th worst)
Median Income: $33,125 (58th worst)
More on Carbon Works: Data
As you might guess from its name, Carbon Works has an industrial character. Unfortunately for this working-class neighborhood built along the Rouge River in southwest Detroit, residents can't count on those industrial jobs anymore. The result: Carbon Works has become one of the least inviting neighborhoods in the city.
The unemployment rate says it all: 14.7% of the area's 615 residents can't find a job. Meanwhile, the median income comes in at just $33,125. The area also suffers from weak schools and worries about crime.
Still, there are attractions in the area. A strong nightlife and excellent diversity contribute to the local culture. Meanwhile, Forman Park provides a nice outdoor patch by the river.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $23,667 (14th worst)
Median Income: $18,799 (10th worst)
More on Petosky-Otsego: Data
Petosky-Otsego is a smaller neighborhood in central Detroit, with a population of 7,177. It also ranks as the number 9 least appealing place to live in the city.
The economy makes Petosky-Otsego a difficult place to put down roots. Residents suffer with a 14.9% unemployment rate and a $18,799 median income. At the same time, crime and education are also problems.
Petosky-Otsego has its upsides, though. The area is affordable, with median home values of $23,667. It also has its share parks.
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 9)
Median Home Value: $29,700 (23rd worst)
Median Income: $27,084 (33rd worst)
More on Five Points: Data
Situated in the far northwest section of the city, Five Points gets its name from the intersection of Grand River Ave. and Seven Mile Rd. Standing on the fringes of Detroit doesn't save the area from stereotypical inner-city problems. A lack of jobs, weak schools, and elevated crime rates make this the number 10 worst spot in the city.
The 2,965 residents of Five Points endure a high unemployment rate, which runs to 15.1%. Meanwhile, the median income comes in at just 27,084. In terms of housing, the median home value in the area comes to $29,700.
How we determined the worst Detroit 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 Detroit:
- 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 Detroit, Michigan 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 Detroit.
Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Detroit to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 85 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 Detroit that are really hoods
Well there you have it -- the worst of the neighborhoods in Detroit with Chaldean Town landing at the bottom of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Detroit aren't all bad. Indian Village takes the cake as the best place to live in Detroit.
We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.
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