The 10 Worst Houston Suburbs For 2023

We used data and Friday Night Science to identify the worst suburbs of Houston for 2023. The worst Houston suburbs are Galena Park and Arcola.

The suburbs of Houston call to all types of people looking to escape city live. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Houston to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

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 Bellaire certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Houston are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..

We examined the 28 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 2023:

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

What’s the worst suburb of Houston? Galena Park ranks as the worst suburb of Houston for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Read on to see how we determined the places around Houston that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.

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.

For more Texas reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Houston Suburbs To Live For 2023

Galena Park, TX

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,770
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Income: $45,518 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 12.1% (highest)
Median Home Value: $84,800 (lowest)
More on Galena Park:  Data | Photos

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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,593
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Income: $65,099 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $138,800 (3rd lowest)
More on Arcola:  Data

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

This city is 19.8 miles to Houston. Income levels here are the 11th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $65,099 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.

Baytown, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 82,543
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $56,409 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $140,000 (4th lowest)
More on Baytown:  Data | Photos

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 drop out rate is poor compared to other Houston suburbs.

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

South Houston, TX

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,354
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $51,188 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $129,500 (2nd lowest)
More on South Houston:  Data | Photos

If you live in South Houston, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 2nd lowest Houston suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 5th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Houston. Remember, we looked at 28 cities for this study.

South Houston is about 12.6 miles to downtown.

Humble, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,603
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $57,522 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $144,700 (6th lowest)
More on Humble:  Data | Photos

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

All snarkiness aside, Humble has the 6th lowest home values in the metro Houston area, where the median price is $144,700. To put that into perspective, in Bellaire, the median income is $250,001, which is the best in the area.

Humble has an unemployment rate of 7.18% which ranks 7th worst.

Pasadena, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 151,964
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $61,182 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $142,900 (5th lowest)
More on Pasadena:  Data | Photos

Pasadena has 151,964 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 17.907420663326175%.

Webster, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,280
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $56,586 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $203,800 (12th lowest)
More on Webster:  Data | Photos

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

It’s the place with the 9th most out of work residents in the Houston metro area (6.41%).

Richmond, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,768
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $52,589 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (2highest)
Median Home Value: $175,600 (9th lowest)
More on Richmond:  Data | Photos

Richmond is a city about 26.3 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. Richmond has the 7th most uninsured people, 4th worst incomes, and has the 2highest unemployment rate (3.64%) in the entire Houston metro area.

Homes only cost $175,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Houston standards.

Alvin, TX

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 26,982
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $59,806 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (22nd highest)
Median Home Value: $165,900 (8th lowest)
More on Alvin:  Data | Photos

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

About 3.58% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,878
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 7)
Median Income: $94,286 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $239,800 (15th lowest)
More on Kemah:  Data

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

Located 28.0 miles outside the city, Kemahs is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 8th highest unemployment rate (6.78%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Houston for 2023

To figure out how bad a Houston suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs 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 2017-2021, 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 1,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 28 suburbs to evaluate around Houston.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 28 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.

Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2023. This is our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Houston.

Summary: The areas around Houston where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023

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. Bellaire takes the cake as the best place to live around Houston.

  • Bellaire
  • West University Place
  • El Lago

For more Texas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Houston Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Galena Park 10,770 $45,518 $84,800
2 Arcola 2,593 $65,099 $138,800
3 Baytown 82,543 $56,409 $140,000
4 South Houston 16,354 $51,188 $129,500
5 Humble 16,603 $57,522 $144,700
6 Pasadena 151,964 $61,182 $142,900
7 Webster 12,280 $56,586 $203,800
8 Richmond 11,768 $52,589 $175,600
9 Alvin 26,982 $59,806 $165,900
10 Kemah 1,878 $94,286 $239,800
11 Tomball 12,333 $65,981 $233,700
12 La Porte 35,566 $78,665 $165,800
13 Stafford 17,170 $77,718 $200,800
14 Shenandoah 3,350 $52,140 $0
15 Iowa Colony 8,187 $93,732 $260,300
16 Deer Park 34,240 $81,558 $190,800
17 Manvel 10,139 $99,081 $244,900
18 Seabrook 13,487 $94,967 $277,200
19 Meadows Place 4,755 $71,250 $206,900
20 Nassau Bay 5,191 $62,449 $310,400
21 Katy 21,926 $115,250 $290,200
22 Friendswood 40,780 $114,516 $313,900
23 Oak Ridge North 3,043 $108,864 $242,800
24 Pearland 122,609 $107,941 $271,600
25 Sugar Land 110,272 $123,733 $344,400
26 El Lago 3,060 $95,417 $261,700
27 West University Place 14,975 $250,001 $1,192,200
28 Bellaire 17,262 $211,202 $857,900