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 Sherwood Forest ranks way above the rest.
We examined 91 of Detroit’s neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These ten places don’t quite measure up to Detroit’s reputation:
- Herman Gardens
- Chaldean Town
- Forest Park
- Poletown East
- Oakwood Heights
- Kranz Woods
- English Village
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 reading on Michigan, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Michigan
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Michigan
- 10 Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
How we determined the worst Detroit 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 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 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 91 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. Herman Gardens
Median Income: $13,448
Median Home Value: $32,000
Built in 1943, Herman Gardens, known locally as “the Gardens”, had 2,144 units primarily within two-story multi-family buildings. The 129-unit Gardenview Senior building was on the Herman Gardens site.
The Gardens was located on the west side of Detroit at the southeast corner of the Joy Road and Southfield Freeway intersection close to what was then termed “some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the City of Detroit.” The Gardens were home to some notable individuals. Automobile giant John De Lorean, TV judge Greg Mathis, and classic Motown group The Spinners all called Herman Gardens home.
After problems had occurred in the buildings from the illegal drug trade in the early 1980s, the Detroit Housing Commission applied for HOPE VI funds under the 1996 NOFA, it intended to reduce the number of public housing units from 1,573 to 672. By August 1996, HUD had approved the demolition of 685 units using other funds, and the HOPE VI application proposed demolishing another 538 units. The application proposed renovating 274 of those existing units and building 222 new houses, along with 92 single-family houses and 84 duplexes, for a total of 672 units at the revitalized site.
2. Chaldean Town
Median Income: $17,045
Median Home Value: $18,150
Chaldean Town is an historic Chaldean neighborhood in Detroit located along West Seven Mile Road in a segment in between Woodward Avenue to the west and John R St. to the east. Circa 2007 the population of the district was mainly low income elderly people and recent immigrants, who were mostly made up of Chaldeans. The neighborhood was usually just a stop point for newly arrived immigrants, who then typically preferred to move to the suburbs of Detroit once they gain financial well-being.
Median Income: $13,746
Median Home Value: $29,433
North Corktown is a neighborhood in the city of Detroit. It is bounded roughly by I-75 on the south, Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard on the north, I-96 on the west, and the John C. Lodge Freeway on the east.
North Corktown was originally part of the Corktown neighborhood. This changed with the construction of I-75, which severed Corktown into two separate neighborhoods.
4. Forest Park
Median Income: $16,634
Median Home Value: $13,300
Forest Park houses the St Albertus Roman Catholic Church and the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank. It is a highly desirable neighborhood valued for the fact that demolition of blighted properties, beginning in 2008, started here first. As such, many tracts of land remain sparsely populated with a low density of residents.
Median Income: $17,367
Median Home Value: $31,467
6. Poletown East
Median Income: $20,267
Median Home Value: $31,580
Poletown East is a neighborhood area of Detroit, Michigan bordering the enclave city of Hamtramck. The area was named after the Polish immigrants who originally lived in the area. A portion of residential area known as Poletown became the General Motors Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant in 1981 with those residents relocated by General Motors and the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck which claimed eminent domain in order to make way for a new automobile plant.
Median Income: $24,121
Median Home Value: $31,350
Brightmoor is a roughly 4-square-mile neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, near the northwest border of the city. Brightmoor is defined by the Brightmoor Alliance as being bordered by Puritan Road to the north, the CSX railway to the south, Evergreen Road to the east, and Outer Drive West, Dacosta Street, and Telegraph Road to the west. However, the demographics given here for the neighborhood are the city’s statistical Master Plan Neighborhood area, which consists of eight census tracts that includes some areas outside of the Alliance’s boundaries, but does not include some areas within its boundaries.
8. Oakwood Heights
Median Income: $28,833
Median Home Value: $17,500
Boynton and Oakwood Heights are the two southernmost neighborhoods of the city of Detroit, Michigan. According to the United States Census Bureau, the two neighborhoods occupy a total of 2.80 square miles. Boynton and Oakwood Heights had a combined population of 8,832 at the 2010 census, which was a 21.9% decrease from its population of 10,516 in 2000 census. The two occupy the entirety of the 48217 ZIP code.
Located in the heavily industrialized southwestern portion of Detroit, Boynton and Oakwood Heights are densely populated yet highly polluted by industries in and around the neighborhoods. In several articles published in July 2010, the Detroit Free Press ranked the neighborhoods of Boynton and Oakwood Heights as the most polluted ZIP code in Michigan.
9. Kranz Woods
Median Income: $16,655
Median Home Value: $34,620
Krainz Woods is a neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan.
The Sojourner Truth housing project is located there. The neighborhood was named after Captain John Krainz, a World War II hero from Detroit. Many Motown singing groups, such as The Dramatics and The Floaters, were from the Sojourner Truth housing projects. In 2009, Mayor of Detroit Dave Bing led a ribbon-cutting dedication of Krainz Park.
10. English Village
Median Income: $20,357
Median Home Value: $29,200
The ‘hoods around Detroit that are really hoods
Well there you have it — the worst of the neighborhoods in Detroit with Herman Gardens landing at the bottom of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Detroit aren’t all bad. Sherwood Forest takes the cake as the best place to live in Detroit.
We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.
For more Michigan reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Michigan
- These Are The 10 Fastest Growing Cities In Michigan
- 10 Safest Places In Michigan
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Michigan
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Michigan
Detailed List Of The Worst Detroit Neighborhoods
|25||State Fair Grounds||539|
|31||Lasalle College Park||3,179|
|36||Conner Creek Ind||1,206|
|46||Eight Mile Wyoming||3,483|
|59||East English Village||3,819|
|81||West Side Industrial||284|
|87||North Rosedale Park||5,051|