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Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Fort Lauderdale.
So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?
Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Fort Lauderdale 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Fort Lauderdale area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Fort Lauderdale proper, although Highland Beach certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Fort Lauderdale are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..
We examined the 52 biggest suburbs of Fort Lauderdale to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Florida lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Fort Lauderdale in terms of quality of life.
What's the worst suburb of Fort Lauderdale? Opa Locka ranks as the worst suburb of Fort Lauderdale for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Fort Lauderdale that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Fort Lauderdale too.
Editor's Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it's because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.
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The 10 Worst Fort Lauderdale Suburbs To Live For 2022
We'll get the ball rolling with Opa Locka, the absolute worst place to live around Fort Lauderdale according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Opa Locka beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the worst in the Fort Lauderdale area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 3rd 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 Opa Locka.
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.
Welcome to Pembroke Park. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 10.6 miles to Fort Lauderdale. Income levels here are the 4th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $40,024 a year, which doesn't go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.
But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Fort Lauderdale suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Lauderdale Lakes 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 drop out rate is poor compared to other Fort Lauderdale suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in West Park, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 16th lowest Fort Lauderdale suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 3rd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Fort Lauderdale. Remember, we looked at 52 cities for this study.
West Park is about 11.4 miles to downtown.
Miami Gardens has the distinction of being a Fort Lauderdale suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Miami Gardens has the 15th lowest home values in the metro Fort Lauderdale area, where the median price is $216,500. To put that into perspective, in Highland Beach, the median income is $159,692, which is the best in the area.
Miami Gardens has an unemployment rate of 8.7% which ranks 4th worst.
Pompano Beach has 111,202 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 17.296074616723608%.
Ah, North Miami. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Fort Lauderdale.
It's the place with the 10th most out of work residents in the Fort Lauderdale metro area (7.47%).
North Lauderdale is a city about 6.8 miles from Fort Lauderdale, but Fort Lauderdale 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. North Lauderdale has the 2nd most uninsured people, 12th worst incomes, and has the 9th highest unemployment rate (7.49%) in the entire Fort Lauderdale metro area.
Homes only cost $185,000 for a reason. That's cheap for Fort Lauderdale standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Fort Lauderdale, then Dania Beach might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Fort Lauderdale suburb.
About 7.26% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Fort Lauderdale suburbs to call home is Deerfield Beach.
Located 11.8 miles outside the city, Deerfield Beachs is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 16th highest unemployment rate (6.58%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Fort Lauderdale for 2022
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 cities have the least amount of those things.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2016-2020, 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 drop outs
- High poverty
- High rate of uninsured families
FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Fort Lauderdale.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 52 suburbs to evaluate around Fort Lauderdale.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 52 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 Fort Lauderdale." We're lookin' at you, Opa Locka. You can download the data here.
Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.
Summary: The areas around Fort Lauderdale where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022
Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Fort Lauderdale with Opa Locka casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Fort Lauderdale aren't all bad. Highland Beach takes the cake as the best place to live around Fort Lauderdale.
- Highland Beach
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