These Are The 10 Worst Indianapolis Suburbs For 2018


We used data and science to determine which suburbs around Indy 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 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 Zionsville 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 22 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 2018:

  1. Shelbyville (Photos)
  2. Martinsville (Photos)
  3. Beech Grove (Photos)
  4. Lawrence (Photos)
  5. Speedway (Photos)
  6. Lebanon (Photos)
  7. Mooresville (Photos)
  8. Greenfield (Photos)
  9. Franklin (Photos)
  10. Greenwood (Photos)

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:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Indianapolis 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 Indianapolis.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 22 suburbs to evaluate around Indianapolis.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 22 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, Shelbyville.

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.

1. Shelbyville

Shelbyville, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 19,083
Unemployment Rate: 8.8%
Median Home Price: $96,900
Median Income: $42,283
More on Shelbyville: Data | Jobs

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

And in the world of worst rankings, Shelbyville beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 4th worst in the Indianapolis area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 4th 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 Shelbyville.

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. Martinsville

Martinsville, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 11,714
Unemployment Rate: 8.5%
Median Home Price: $93,900
Median Income: $40,890
More on Martinsville: Data | Jobs

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

This city is 28.5 miles to Indianapolis. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $40,890 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. Beech Grove

Beech Grove, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 14,319
Unemployment Rate: 9.1%
Median Home Price: $94,300
Median Income: $37,951
More on Beech Grove: Data | Jobs

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

4. Lawrence

Lawrence, Indiana

Population: 47,415
Unemployment Rate: 8.9%
Median Home Price: $129,700
Median Income: $48,650
More on Lawrence: Data | Jobs

If you live in Lawrence, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 6th lowest Indianapolis suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 2nd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Indianapolis. Remember, we looked at 22 cities for this study.

Lawrence is about 10.3 miles to downtown.

5. Speedway

Speedway, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 12,145
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Median Home Price: $116,200
Median Income: $40,499
More on Speedway: Data | Jobs

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 7th lowest home values in the metro Indianapolis area, where the median price is $116,200. To put that into perspective, in Zionsville, the median income is $118,190, which is the best in the area.

Speedway has an unemployment rate of 8.0% which ranks 5th worst.

6. Lebanon

Lebanon, Indiana

Population: 15,846
Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
Median Home Price: $113,400
Median Income: $46,943
More on Lebanon: Data | Jobs

Lebanon has 15,846 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 8.2%.

7. Mooresville

Mooresville, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 9,553
Unemployment Rate: 7.0%
Median Home Price: $124,300
Median Income: $51,408
More on Mooresville: Data | Jobs

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

It’s the place with the 6th most out of work residents in the Indianapolis metro area (7.0%).

8. Greenfield

Greenfield, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 21,380
Unemployment Rate: 6.5%
Median Home Price: $125,600
Median Income: $52,513
More on Greenfield: Data | Jobs

Greenfield is a city about 19.8 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. Greenfield has the 9th most uninsured people, 8th worst incomes, and has the 10th highest unemployment rate (6.5%) in the entire Indianapolis metro area.

Homes only cost $125,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Indianapolis standards.

9. Franklin

Franklin, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 24,021
Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
Median Home Price: $114,500
Median Income: $53,207
More on Franklin: Data | Jobs

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

About 4.9% of residents are out of work.

10. Greenwood

Greenwood, Indiana

Source: Public domain

Population: 54,564
Unemployment Rate: 6.5%
Median Home Price: $138,900
Median Income: $53,592
More on Greenwood: Data | Jobs

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

Located 12.0 miles outside the city, Greenwoods is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 10th highest unemployment rate (6.5%), and poverty is far above the area average.

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

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Indianapolis with Shelbyville casting itself ahead of the pack.

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

For more Indiana reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Indianapolis Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Shelbyville 19,083 8.8% $96,900 $42,283
2 Martinsville 11,714 8.5% $93,900 $40,890
3 Beech Grove 14,319 9.1% $94,300 $37,951
4 Lawrence 47,415 8.9% $129,700 $48,650
5 Speedway 12,145 8.0% $116,200 $40,499
6 Lebanon 15,846 2.9% $113,400 $46,943
7 Mooresville 9,553 7.0% $124,300 $51,408
8 Greenfield 21,380 6.5% $125,600 $52,513
9 Franklin 24,021 4.9% $114,500 $53,207
10 Greenwood 54,564 6.5% $138,900 $53,592
11 New Whiteland 5,814 7.0% $95,900 $57,043
12 Danville 9,482 6.4% $149,100 $54,681
13 Plainfield 30,318 6.6% $147,200 $61,410
14 Cumberland 5,422 6.5% $152,100 $55,610
15 Bargersville 6,824 2.6% $159,000 $72,096
16 Brownsburg 24,072 3.7% $153,000 $68,647
17 Mccordsville 5,924 4.8% $196,500 $92,838
18 Avon 15,712 4.8% $182,800 $93,116
19 Noblesville 58,719 3.2% $177,500 $70,276
20 Westfield 34,284 3.1% $226,000 $90,048
21 Carmel 86,940 3.4% $306,500 $106,546
22 Zionsville 25,709 2.6% $343,400 $118,190

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6 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Indianapolis Suburbs For 2018

  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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