Worst Indianapolis Suburbs For 2020


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

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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 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the worst suburbs around Indianapolis.

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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 Indianapolis.

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 Indianapolis 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Indianapolis area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Indianapolis proper, although Carmel certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Indianapolis are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado...

We examined the 32 biggest suburbs of Indianapolis to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in indiana lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Indianapolis in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Indianapolis for 2020:

  1. Morgantown
  2. Sheridan (Photos)
  3. Martinsville (Photos)
  4. Beech Grove (Photos)
  5. Speedway (Photos)
  6. Shelbyville (Photos)
  7. Lawrence (Photos)
  8. Mooresville (Photos)
  9. Ingalls
  10. Lebanon (Photos)

What's the worst suburb of Indianapolis? Morgantown ranks as the worst suburb of Indianapolis for 2020 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

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

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

And remember, there are some good places to live around Indianapolis 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 Indiana reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Indianapolis Suburbs To Live For 2020

1. Morgantown

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,627
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $24,452 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $77,500 (1st lowest)
More on Morgantown:

We'll get the ball rolling with Morgantown, the absolute worst place to live around Indianapolis according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Morgantown beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the Indianapolis 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 Morgantown.

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.

Sheridan, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,847
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $43,947 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $120,400 (10th lowest)
More on Sheridan:  Data | Photos

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

This city is 24.7 miles to Indianapolis. Income levels here are the 4th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $43,947 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.

Martinsville, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 11,646
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $46,635 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $97,400 (3rd lowest)
More on Martinsville:  Data | Photos

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Indianapolis suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Martinsville 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 Indianapolis suburbs.

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

Beech Grove, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 14,912
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $40,741 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (1st highest)
Median Home Value: $98,800 (4th lowest)
More on Beech Grove:  Data | Photos

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

Not only that, but this is the 1st worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Indianapolis. Remember, we looked at 32 cities for this study.

Beech Grove is about 5.3 miles to downtown.

Speedway, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 12,188
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $41,325 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $119,400 (9th lowest)
More on Speedway:  Data | Photos

Speedway has the distinction of being a Indianapolis suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Speedway has the 9th lowest home values in the metro Indianapolis area, where the median price is $119,400. To put that into perspective, in Carmel, the median income is $132,409, which is the best in the area.

Speedway has an unemployment rate of 5.98% which ranks 9th worst.

Shelbyville, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 18,898
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $51,373 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $99,100 (5th lowest)
More on Shelbyville:  Data | Photos

Shelbyville has 18,898 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 16.652962780244476%.

Lawrence, IN

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 48,405
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $52,048 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $141,300 (17th lowest)
More on Lawrence:  Data | Photos

Ah, Lawrence. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Indianapolis.

It's the place with the 3rd most out of work residents in the Indianapolis metro area (7.68%).

Mooresville, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,604
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $55,554 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $128,900 (13th lowest)
More on Mooresville:  Data | Photos

Mooresville is a city about 16.7 miles from Indianapolis, but Indianapolis 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. Mooresville has the 15th most uninsured people, 12th worst incomes, and has the 5th highest unemployment rate (6.82%) in the entire Indianapolis metro area.

Homes only cost $128,900 for a reason. That's cheap for Indianapolis standards.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,282
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $52,917 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $99,900 (6th lowest)
More on Ingalls:  Data

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

About 4.0% of residents are out of work.

Lebanon, IN

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 15,816
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Income: $50,480 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 1.1% (31st highest)
Median Home Value: $115,300 (8th lowest)
More on Lebanon:  Data | Photos

Rounding out the ten worst Indianapolis suburbs to call home is Lebanon.

Located 24.1 miles outside the city, Lebanons is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 31st highest unemployment rate (1.13%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Indianapolis for 2020

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 2014-2018, 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 Indianapolis.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 32 suburbs to evaluate around Indianapolis.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 32 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 Indianapolis." We're lookin' at you, Morgantown. 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.

The areas around Indianapolis where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2020

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Indianapolis with Morgantown casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Indianapolis aren't all bad. Carmel takes the cake as the best place to live around Indianapolis.

  • Carmel
  • Zionsville
  • Westfield

For more Indiana reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Indianapolis Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Morgantown 2,627 $24,452 $77,500
2 Sheridan 2,847 $43,947 $120,400
3 Martinsville 11,646 $46,635 $97,400
4 Beech Grove 14,912 $40,741 $98,800
5 Speedway 12,188 $41,325 $119,400
6 Shelbyville 18,898 $51,373 $99,100
7 Lawrence 48,405 $52,048 $141,300
8 Mooresville 9,604 $55,554 $128,900
9 Ingalls 2,282 $52,917 $99,900
10 Lebanon 15,816 $50,480 $115,300
11 Franklin 24,813 $59,064 $123,000
12 Lapel 2,327 $52,841 $110,800
13 Greenfield 21,871 $53,061 $135,200
14 Plainfield 32,045 $62,828 $163,000
15 Greenwood 56,791 $62,025 $149,600
16 Pendleton 4,213 $68,778 $147,300
17 Fortville 4,460 $62,156 $129,800
18 Whiteland 4,394 $64,713 $127,000
19 New Whiteland 5,955 $63,901 $95,500
20 Cumberland 5,792 $72,626 $133,200
21 Cicero 4,861 $68,450 $144,500
22 Danville 9,791 $75,653 $158,700
23 Brownsburg 25,264 $70,354 $173,400
24 Bargersville 6,950 $82,036 $205,500
25 Avon 17,169 $91,587 $198,500
26 Noblesville 61,558 $77,717 $194,800
27 Pittsboro 3,298 $72,961 $164,000
28 New Palestine 2,235 $76,625 $203,400
29 Mccordsville 6,523 $97,100 $223,400
30 Westfield 37,769 $93,002 $242,500
31 Zionsville 26,209 $132,409 $369,600
32 Carmel 90,163 $116,867 $330,600

How Is Your Town In ?

7 thoughts on “Worst Indianapolis Suburbs, 2020

  1. Science, eh? Your way of saying you haven’t been to any of these places. Nowadays, when I see roadsnacks, I pretty much ignore, but this list is so offbase it’s breathtaking. You really need to grow up, little one.

  2. How cute. It’s Sam’s first big boy writing assignment.

    Not only is this ‘article (I took some liberties and self-worth sacrifice with that)’ full of non-existent research, it’s also a canvas for our guy, Samantha, to try her hand at some ‘humor’.

    Keep at it, cupcake. Maybe you’ll be able to write for Gawker one of these days.

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