The 10 Worst Indianapolis Suburbs For 2021


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 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst suburbs around Indianapolis.

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..

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 2021:

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

What's the worst suburb of Indianapolis? Morgantown ranks as the worst suburb of Indianapolis for 2021 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 2021

1. Morgantown

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,650
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $26,581 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $83,800 (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 worst in the Indianapolis 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 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.

Martinsville, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 11,635
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $44,898 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (highest)
Median Home Value: $98,500 (3rd lowest)
More on Martinsville:  Data | Photos

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 4th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $44,898 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.

Sheridan, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,959
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $48,173 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $128,500 (10th lowest)
More on Sheridan:  Data | Photos

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Indianapolis suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Sheridan 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: 14,990
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $43,802 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $101,600 (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 3rd lowest Indianapolis 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 Indianapolis. Remember, we looked at 32 cities for this study.

Beech Grove is about 5.3 miles to downtown.

Shelbyville, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 18,951
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Income: $52,901 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $102,100 (5th lowest)
More on Shelbyville:  Data | Photos

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

All snarkiness aside, Shelbyville has the 5th lowest home values in the metro Indianapolis area, where the median price is $102,100. To put that into perspective, in Carmel, the median income is $137,377, which is the best in the area.

Shelbyville has an unemployment rate of 4.26% which ranks 14th worst.

Speedway, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 12,266
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $42,188 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $122,000 (8th lowest)
More on Speedway:  Data | Photos

Speedway has 12,266 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 19.30798106740656%.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,203
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Income: $51,339 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $105,700 (6th lowest)
More on Ingalls:  Data

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

It's the place with the 12th most out of work residents in the Indianapolis metro area (4.53%).

Mooresville, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,661
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $56,455 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $138,600 (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 13th most uninsured people, 10th worst incomes, and has the 6th highest unemployment rate (6.48%) in the entire Indianapolis metro area.

Homes only cost $138,600 for a reason. That's cheap for Indianapolis standards.

Lawrence, IN

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 48,699
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Median Income: $56,819 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $148,700 (17th lowest)
More on Lawrence:  Data | Photos

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

About 5.7% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,358
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Income: $57,845 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $116,200 (7th lowest)
More on Lapel:  Data

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

Located 25.5 miles outside the city, Lapels is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 15th highest unemployment rate (3.69%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Indianapolis for 2021

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 2015-2019, 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 2021

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 2,650 $26,581 $83,800
2 Martinsville 11,635 $44,898 $98,500
3 Sheridan 2,959 $48,173 $128,500
4 Beech Grove 14,990 $43,802 $101,600
5 Shelbyville 18,951 $52,901 $102,100
6 Speedway 12,266 $42,188 $122,000
7 Ingalls 2,203 $51,339 $105,700
8 Mooresville 9,661 $56,455 $138,600
9 Lawrence 48,699 $56,819 $148,700
10 Lapel 2,358 $57,845 $116,200
11 Lebanon 15,932 $53,020 $124,500
12 Franklin 25,106 $59,930 $129,200
13 Greenfield 22,160 $53,270 $139,000
14 Plainfield 32,879 $61,046 $170,400
15 Greenwood 57,764 $63,474 $155,300
16 Pendleton 4,246 $66,497 $152,700
17 Whiteland 4,423 $75,741 $141,300
18 Danville 9,923 $77,806 $161,900
19 Fortville 4,574 $63,785 $135,100
20 Cicero 4,891 $67,702 $148,000
21 Bargersville 7,085 $87,763 $219,100
22 Avon 17,453 $94,213 $210,600
23 New Whiteland 6,051 $70,975 $97,100
24 Brownsburg 26,046 $78,877 $195,700
25 Cumberland 5,718 $69,711 $156,300
26 Noblesville 63,071 $82,218 $209,100
27 Pittsboro 3,396 $77,500 $162,400
28 New Palestine 2,365 $90,278 $202,900
29 Mccordsville 6,857 $99,497 $230,000
30 Westfield 39,610 $98,376 $254,800
31 Zionsville 27,463 $137,377 $385,700
32 Carmel 97,464 $112,765 $333,200

How Is Your Town In ?

8 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Indianapolis Suburbs For 2021

  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.

    1. I can see why Lebanon is on the list. I have two grandsons that live there and can’t wait to move somewhere else. The oldest is 15 and the other is 12. Conversation with the 12 year old goes like this, “almost every kid in school is huffing, smoking weed, or drinking. When these kids find out there is someone who doesn’t do these things, they try their hardest to get you to do it too.” He is terrified about going to middle school. He says the best thing to do is stay in your house and not go outside. He longs for a friend who doesn’t want to follow the pack. So many people who use drugs up there. And yes I know drugs are everywhere it’s just too bad that it’s some of the parents who are supplying it for their kids and they don’t even know it!

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