The 10 Worst Houston Suburbs

The worst Houston suburbs are Galena Park and South Houston based on Saturday Night Science. Find out where your town ranks.

More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Houston to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: what suburbs of Houston are the worst?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Houston ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Houston area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Houston proper, although Bellaire certainly tries.

We examined the 26 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.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 worst suburbs around Houston for 2024

  1. Galena Park
  2. South Houston
  3. Baytown
  4. Pasadena
  5. Arcola
  6. Humble
  7. Webster
  8. La Porte
  9. Richmond
  10. Alvin

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Houston? Galena Park ranks as the worst suburb of Houston for 2024 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Or, if you’re thinking of moving to elsewhere in Texas check out the best places in Texas overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Houston too.

The 10 Worst Houston Suburbs To Live For 2024

Galena Park, TX

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,641
Median Income: $45,614 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 14.3% (highest)
Median Home Value: $161,745 (lowest)
More on Galena Park: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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 worst in the Houston area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 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.

South Houston, TX

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,169
Median Income: $51,006 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $190,485 (2nd lowest)
More on South Houston: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Welcome to South Houston. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 12.6 miles to Houston. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $51,006 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

Baytown, TX

Source: Wikipedia User Baytownbert | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 84,449
Median Income: $61,158 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $224,259 (4th lowest)
More on Baytown: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Houston suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Baytown 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 dropout rate is poor compared to other Houston suburbs.

But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.

Pasadena, TX

Source: Wikipedia User jimthompson | CC BY-SA 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 150,620
Median Income: $64,698 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $214,267 (3rd lowest)
More on Pasadena: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you live in Pasadena, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 7th lowest Houston suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 4th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Houston. Remember, we looked at 26 cities for this study.

Pasadena is about 16.5 miles to downtown.

5. Arcola

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,604
Median Income: $74,268 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $251,270 (7th lowest)
More on Arcola: Crime

Arcola has the distinction of being a Houston suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Arcola has the 7th lowest home values in the metro Houston area, where the median price is $251,270. The median income is $250,001.

Arcola has an unemployment rate of 8.14% which ranks 5th worst.

Humble, TX

Source: Wikipedia User The original uploader was DanielCD at English Wikipedia | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,563
Median Income: $58,581 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $254,424 (9th lowest)
More on Humble: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Humble has 16,563 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 17.305910691124698%.

Webster, TX

Source: Wikipedia User jimthompson | CC BY-SA 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,297
Median Income: $58,555 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $252,505 (8th lowest)
More on Webster: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Ah, Webster. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Houston.

It’s the place with the 15th most out of work residents in the Houston metro area (4.84%).

La Porte, TX

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 35,782
Median Income: $79,193 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $247,850 (5th lowest)
More on La Porte: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

La Porte is a city about 21.7 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. La Porte has the 10th most uninsured people, 13th worst incomes, and has the 10th highest unemployment rate (5.32%) in the entire Houston metro area.

Homes only cost $247,850 for a reason. That’s cheap for Houston standards.

Richmond, TX

Source: Wikipedia User Djmaschek | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,931
Median Income: $51,832 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $381,647 (18th lowest)
More on Richmond: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you absolutely have to live near Houston, then Richmond might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Houston suburb.

About 5.04% of residents are out of work.

Alvin, TX

Source: Wikipedia User EricEnfermero | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 27,325
Median Income: $68,266 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (22nd highest)
Median Home Value: $248,545 (6th lowest)
More on Alvin: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Rounding out the ten worst Houston suburbs to call home is Alvin.

Located 26.2 miles outside the city, Alvins is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 22nd highest unemployment rate (2.95%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Houston for 2024

To figure out how bad a Houston suburb is to live in, we used Saturday Night Science to identify the kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2018-2022, 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 dropouts
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Houston.

We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 26 suburbs to evaluate around Houston.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 26 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 looking at you, Galena Park.

We updated this article for 2024, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Houston.

Summary: The areas around Houston where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2024

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Houston with Galena Park casting itself ahead of the pack.

The worst suburbs of Houston are .

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Houston aren’t all bad. Bellaire takes the cake as the best place to live around Houston.

  • Bellaire
  • West University Place
  • Sugar Land

For more Texas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Houston Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Galena Park 10,641 $45,614 $161,745
2 South Houston 16,169 $51,006 $190,485
3 Baytown 84,449 $61,158 $224,259
4 Pasadena 150,620 $64,698 $214,267
5 Arcola 2,604 $74,268 $251,270
6 Humble 16,563 $58,581 $254,424
7 Webster 12,297 $58,555 $252,505
8 La Porte 35,782 $79,193 $247,850
9 Richmond 11,931 $51,832 $381,647
10 Alvin 27,325 $68,266 $248,545
11 Tomball 12,630 $70,829 $352,199
12 Stafford 17,240 $87,245 $295,633
13 Deer Park 34,046 $89,219 $270,700
14 Iowa Colony 9,500 $110,000 $395,615
15 Seabrook 13,558 $96,223 $346,205
16 Meadows Place 4,719 $78,396 $284,797
17 Katy 22,826 $114,917 $415,489
18 Oak Ridge North 3,033 $106,944 $326,188
19 Manvel 11,265 $105,188 $413,399
20 Nassau Bay 5,215 $74,542 $411,649
21 Pearland 124,478 $111,123 $367,684
22 Friendswood 40,888 $121,301 $435,930
23 El Lago 3,039 $99,375 $314,774
24 Sugar Land 110,077 $132,247 $431,661
25 West University Place 14,963 $250,001 $1,706,657
26 Bellaire 17,163 $215,636 $986,454
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

19 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Houston Suburbs

  1. Years ago, as in the 70s, my grandfather cut up a Tomball Chamber of Commerce bumper sticker that read ‘Tomball: Just A Smile’s Drive Away’ and reworked it to read ‘Tomball: Just Drive Away.’…

  2. I believe the author, Sam Sparkes is 1) Lazy – Because he obviously didn’t research the cities he listed as “the worst”. For instance, The Woodlands and Sugar Land, the two most prosperous cities around Houston with class “A” concert venues, shopping, museums, park n ride facilities, award winning schools, an abundance of public parks and playgrounds, low crime rate, low property taxes and complete hike and bike trail systems. And 2) Idiotic – For thinking that anyone will take his research and writing seriously after publishing this garbage.

  3. Most of what people refer to as Katy isn’t even in the Katy city limits. I suspect the same is true for many other suburbs listed. It’s difficult to get accurate statistics for unincorporated areas.

  4. This report is based on:
    •No jobs? In Tomball? Really?
    •Low incomes? Really?
    •Low population density (No things to do)? You haven’t been to Tomball lately, huh?
    •Low home values? Because of the growth to the northwest and Exxon moving into the Woodlands, Tomball is among the communities most often chosen to live because of its relatively low cost of living . . . and did we mention the quality of the schools and numbers of churches?
    •High cost of living? Really? Really? Compared to what?

    Did you even realize that the photo used to represent the city shows a building that has been gone for almost five years? As your disclaimer reads . . . “Snarkiness incorporated for entertainment purposes only.” This certainly is for entertainment, because the facts are limited.”

  5. Texas City – longest dike in USA ( five miles) ,second most boat launches annually in Texas, unlimited golf for $700.00/ year, world class fitness center with two indoor pools for $45.00/ year, gun range, miles of bike/ walking trails, movie complex, senior center, tons of dining options, revitalized downtown the list goes on. That’s why I retired in Texas City . I love it!!

  6. Whoever did this needs a life. You just wasted your time on stuff you had no idea what your talking about.


  7. The logic and research used here is as flawed as the link to “Best places to live in Houston” which lists no places near Houston. Just another troll website looking for clicks. I should expect better from the Houston Chronicle than to mention this, but I don’t.

  8. Just goes to show you how people that think they are smart and come up with the logic to determine the worst places to live in Houston are pretty stupid. Katy is one of the best places to live in Houston and if you actually lived in Houston, you would know that. You need to include all of Katy in your analysis, meaning Katy Independent School District which include unincorporated Katy. You quoted a population of 14,363 in Katy, city limits! Katy ISD population was 309,556 in 2015. You quoted a median income of $69,279 but was actually $89,485 in 2015. You didn’t mention anything in your analysis about schools. Maybe you should educate yourself. Katy has one of the best school districts, in Texas! Word of advice.

  9. Hello everybody . after reading the article and the commenets I am totally confuced by now . I am moving to Texas in the next few months . I am 45 and have 5 kids between 19 and 6 years old . Iam not rich and expect my live to be a hard one especially first two yeras . I am trying to figure out where is best for me and my family to settle so that we can make ends meet up . I care alot a bout the saftey of my family and their education . in the same time i need to be where i can find a descent job so that we survive . in addition to that we want to be in a place where we can enjoy the outdoor activties and nature . dot wanna be i a boring place like where i ive noe in europe . I apprciate any Help . I am mving to USA because of the treats I received for my privious work withe the US army in the middle east . Thank you

    1. Hey The Confused,
      The majority of people in the comments don’t really understand the data. This list takes into account only the 25 places around Houston, not the entirety of the state or country. Therefore, a place can rank low on this list (for places around Houston), yet still be a very good place to live (relative to the entire state of Texas or country).

      Our data is accurate and you can use as a way to judge the relative quality of life for places around Houston. For a look at the entire state check out:

  10. This “article” reads like it was written by an emtionally-regressed high school moron.

    Note I have no bias as I don’t even live in Texas.

  11. This has got to be the worst thing I’ve ever read. You should base your article of facts like crime rates etc. not your opinion!

  12. Humble being crime-ridden is misleading. It’s a much bigger town than the population numbers would suggest. And it borders George Bush Intercontinental Airport to the West, and it home to a big shopping mall and has many businesses and restaurants. It’s not some sleepy little country town that the photo used in the article would suggest. That’s a photo of “old Humble” and isn’t really indicative of what Humble looks like. People from all over the North Houston area come to Humble on a daily basis whether it’s to the shopping mall, movie theater, the traffic from the airport, and other major businesses that attracts people from all around the area. On any given day the number of people in Humble could be in the hundreds of thousands. So using the population of a little over 15 thousand is very misleading.

  13. I live in a Houston suburb. I admittedly don’t know much about Galena Park, which was listed as the #1 worst place. But when it said that the #2 was “Humble. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations” I just couldn’t read any further. You say the article was based on fact & science, so I went to just for shits & grins. Just as I thought…there isn’t a Kmart within 100 miles of Humble. The closest one is in McAllen (350+ miles from Humble.).

    So why should I believe any of these bogus “facts” or inaccurate science???Especially when the photos for both Webster and Pasadena are the same photo – which is a photo of Kemah?!?!?!?!

    1. He obviously meant Walmart. Humble is indeed a ghetto. If you don’t think so then you’re part of the reason why it’s a ghetto.

  14. This article calls West University a “suburb”, yet it’s totally contained inside of Houston’s city limits..I really don’t see the point in this article if the author is not going to distinguish this, when the actual worst neighborhoods to avoid are basically all inside Houston city limits proper anyway, right alongside “good” places like West University and Southside Place. Almost every “bad” place listed in this article is still 10X better than Sunnyside, Alief, Acres Homes, Gulfton, 5th Ward… plus excluding crime data statistics is the dumbest move this article could have made.

  15. I am a 6th generation Texan. I have owned homes in Colleyville, Kingwood (by Humble), and now live in Zilker(Austin central) my daughter lives in the Woodlands, my son in Bunker Hill and works in Bellaire. This is pretty spot on with the worst places. Not too good with the best. Westlake is about 1.2 million per house and no crime and about 5 miles from Texas Capital with schools ranked #1. My own neighborhood is $800 sq foot for new homes on tiny lots with no garages. They presell months in advance. Any article without an Austin neighborhood is out of touch.

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