Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Houston.
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 Houston ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Houston area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Houston proper, although West University Place certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Houston are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
We examined the 27 biggest suburbs of Houston to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Texas lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Houston in terms of quality of life.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Houston for 2019:
- Galena Park (Photos)
- Humble (Photos)
- South Houston (Photos)
- Webster (Photos)
- Baytown (Photos)
- Pasadena (Photos)
- Alvin (Photos)
- Tomball (Photos)
- Richmond (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Houston that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Houston 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.
For more Texas reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Texas
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Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Houston for 2019
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 2013-2017, 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 Houston.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 27 suburbs to evaluate around Houston.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 27 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 Houston.” We’re lookin’ at you, Galena Park.
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.
We’ll get the ball rolling with Galena Park, the absolute worst place to live around Houston according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Galena Park beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 2nd worst in the Houston area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 1st 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 Galena Park.
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 Humble. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 16.1 miles to Houston. Income levels here are the 1st lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $38,961 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 Houston suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see South Houston 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 Houston suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in Webster, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 7th lowest Houston suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 7th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Houston. Remember, we looked at 27 cities for this study.
Webster is about 23.6 miles to downtown.
Baytown has the distinction of being a Houston suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Baytown has the 3rd lowest home values in the metro Houston area, where the median price is $103,300. To put that into perspective, in West University Place, the median income is $243,226, which is the best in the area.
Baytown has an unemployment rate of 9.5% which ranks 3rd worst.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Median Income: $52,500 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $124,500 (7th lowest)
More on Arcola: Data
Arcola has 2,719 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 23.4%.
Ah, Pasadena. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Houston.
It’s the place with the 2nd most out of work residents in the Houston metro area (9.7%).
Alvin is a city about 26.2 miles from Houston, but Houston 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. Alvin has the 9th most uninsured people, 5th worst incomes, and has the 13th highest unemployment rate (5.9%) in the entire Houston metro area.
Homes only cost $123,400 for a reason. That’s cheap for Houston standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Houston, then Tomball might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Houston suburb.
About 7.4% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Houston suburbs to call home is Richmond.
Located 26.3 miles outside the city, Richmonds is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 19th highest unemployment rate (3.5%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Houston where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Houston with Galena Park casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Houston aren’t all bad. West University Place takes the cake as the best place to live around Houston.
- West University Place
- Oak Ridge North
For more Texas reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Texas
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Texas
- 10 Safest Places In Texas
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Texas
Detailed List Of The Worst Houston Suburbs
|25||Oak Ridge North||3,109|
|27||West University Place||15,477|