These Are The 10 Worst Houston Suburbs For 2018

We used science and data to determine which Houston suburbs are the real pits.

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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 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 2018:

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

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.

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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Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Houston for 2018

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, 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, Humble.

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.

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1. Humble

Humble, Texas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,569
Unemployment Rate: 10.0%
Median Home Price: $111,200
Median Income: $37,257
We’ll get the ball rolling with Humble, the absolute worst place to live around Houston according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Humble beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the Houston area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 6th 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 Humble.

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.

2. Galena Park

Galena Park, Texas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,119
Unemployment Rate: 8.4%
Median Home Price: $67,400
Median Income: $44,467
Welcome to Galena Park. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 9.4 miles to Houston. Income levels here are the 4th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $44,467 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.

3. Arcola

Population: 2,509
Unemployment Rate: 5.6%
Median Home Price: $129,300
Median Income: $37,813
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Houston suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Arcola 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.

4. South Houston

South Houston, Texas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 17,474
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Median Home Price: $83,400
Median Income: $42,016
If you live in South Houston, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 3rd lowest Houston suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 9th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Houston. Remember, we looked at 27 cities for this study.

South Houston is about 12.6 miles to downtown.

5. Baytown

Baytown, Texas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 75,310
Unemployment Rate: 9.8%
Median Home Price: $96,100
Median Income: $49,930
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 $96,100. To put that into perspective, in West University Place, the median income is $220,868, which is the best in the area.

Baytown has an unemployment rate of 9.8% which ranks 2nd worst.

6. Alvin

Alvin, Texas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,500
Unemployment Rate: 6.9%
Median Home Price: $113,800
Median Income: $45,949
Alvin has 25,500 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 16.9%.

7. Webster

Webster, Texas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,041
Unemployment Rate: 9.7%
Median Home Price: $150,500
Median Income: $46,829
Ah, Webster. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Houston.

It’s the place with the 3rd most out of work residents in the Houston metro area (9.7%).

8. Pasadena

Pasadena, Texas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 153,286
Unemployment Rate: 9.7%
Median Home Price: $104,500
Median Income: $48,607
Pasadena is a city about 16.5 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. Pasadena has the 5th most uninsured people, 8th worst incomes, and has the 3rd highest unemployment rate (9.7%) in the entire Houston metro area.

Homes only cost $104,500 for a reason. That’s cheap for Houston standards.

9. Richmond

Richmond, Texas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,939
Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Median Home Price: $99,100
Median Income: $48,111
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 4.3% of residents are out of work.

10. Tomball

Tomball, Texas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,353
Unemployment Rate: 7.4%
Median Home Price: $178,100
Median Income: $49,531
Rounding out the ten worst Houston suburbs to call home is Tomball.

Located 25.9 miles outside the city, Tomballs is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 10th highest unemployment rate (7.4%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around Houston where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Houston with Humble 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.

For more Texas reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Houston Suburbs

City Rank Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
Humble 1 15,569 10.0% $111,200 $37,257
Galena Park 2 11,119 8.4% $67,400 $44,467
Arcola 3 2,509 5.6% $129,300 $37,813
South Houston 4 17,474 8.0% $83,400 $42,016
Baytown 5 75,310 9.8% $96,100 $49,930
Alvin 6 25,500 6.9% $113,800 $45,949
Webster 7 11,041 9.7% $150,500 $46,829
Pasadena 8 153,286 9.7% $104,500 $48,607
Richmond 9 11,939 4.3% $99,100 $48,111
Tomball 10 11,353 7.4% $178,100 $49,531
La Porte 11 34,922 7.1% $126,500 $70,681
Katy 12 16,632 5.1% $156,400 $71,739
Stafford 13 18,026 4.7% $164,400 $59,402
Deer Park 14 33,517 8.5% $141,200 $78,703
Kemah 15 2,098 9.1% $172,300 $76,094
Manvel 16 7,402 2.0% $167,400 $82,170
El Lago 17 2,778 9.3% $175,200 $86,000
Nassau Bay 18 4,091 6.1% $210,200 $69,070
Shenandoah 19 2,653 3.4% $220,600 $72,024
Meadows Place 20 4,721 5.0% $154,600 $85,288
Friendswood 21 38,272 5.3% $241,700 $95,241
Seabrook 22 13,038 3.8% $199,800 $84,764
Pearland 23 106,238 4.5% $194,200 $96,954
Sugar Land 24 85,681 5.0% $283,400 $108,504
Oak Ridge North 25 3,142 3.3% $174,800 $93,214
Bellaire 26 18,140 2.1% $770,500 $187,805
West University Place 27 15,318 2.7% $917,800 $220,868

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13 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Houston Suburbs For 2018

  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.

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