The 10 Worst Indianapolis Suburbs

The worst Indianapolis suburbs are Morgantown and Speedway based on Saturday Night Science. Find out where your town ranks.

More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Indianapolis to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: what suburbs of Indianapolis are the worst?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Indianapolis ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Indianapolis area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Indianapolis proper, although Carmel certainly tries.

We examined the 34 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.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 worst suburbs around Indianapolis for 2024

  1. Morgantown
  2. Speedway
  3. Sheridan
  4. Beech Grove
  5. Shelbyville
  6. Lebanon
  7. Ingalls
  8. Lawrence
  9. Brooklyn
  10. Southport

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Indianapolis? Morgantown ranks as the worst suburb of Indianapolis for 2024 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

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.

The 10 Worst Indianapolis Suburbs To Live For 2024

1. Morgantown

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,734
Median Income: $29,103 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.7% (highest)
Median Home Value: $133,317 (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.

Speedway, IN

Source: Wikipedia User NaBUru38 | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,646
Median Income: $52,627 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $227,778 (9th lowest)
More on Speedway: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

This city is 5.5 miles to Indianapolis. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $52,627 a year, which only goes so far 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


Population: 3,464
Median Income: $58,021 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $283,566 (18th lowest)
More on Sheridan: Data | Crime

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 dropout rate is poor compared to other Indianapolis suburbs.

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

Beech Grove, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,181
Median Income: $51,352 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $183,313 (4th lowest)
More on Beech Grove: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you live in Beech Grove, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 2nd lowest Indianapolis suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 6th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Indianapolis. Remember, we looked at 34 cities for this study.

Beech Grove is about 5.3 miles to downtown.

Shelbyville, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,678
Median Income: $55,850 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (23rd highest)
Median Home Value: $201,373 (5th lowest)
More on Shelbyville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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 $201,373. The median income is $152,788.

Shelbyville has an unemployment rate of 2.81% which ranks 23rd worst.

Lebanon, IN

Source: Wikipedia User Paul J Everett | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 17,277
Median Income: $63,125 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (24th highest)
Median Home Value: $248,292 (11th lowest)
More on Lebanon: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Lebanon has 17,277 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 9.590692627644824%.

7. Ingalls

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,404
Median Income: $70,313 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $161,328 (3rd lowest)
More on Ingalls:

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

It’s the place with the 13th most out of work residents in the Indianapolis metro area (4.5%).

Lawrence, IN

Source: Wikipedia User NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 49,218
Median Income: $70,762 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $252,234 (12th lowest)
More on Lawrence: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Lawrence is a city about 10.3 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. Lawrence has the 4th most uninsured people, 15th worst incomes, and has the 4th highest unemployment rate (5.38%) in the entire Indianapolis metro area.

Homes only cost $252,234 for a reason. That’s cheap for Indianapolis standards.

9. Brooklyn

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,248
Median Income: $66,425 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 1.3% (3highest)
Median Home Value: $149,860 (2nd lowest)
More on Brooklyn:

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

About 1.34% of residents are out of work.

10. Southport

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,088
Median Income: $68,182 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $224,073 (8th lowest)
More on Southport:

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

Located 8.2 miles outside the city, Southports is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 12th highest unemployment rate (4.57%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Indianapolis for 2024

To figure out how bad a Indianapolis suburb is to live in, we used Saturday Night Science to identify the kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2018-2022, 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 dropouts
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Indianapolis.

We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 34 suburbs to evaluate around Indianapolis.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 34 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 looking at you, Morgantown.

We updated this article for 2024, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Indianapolis.

Summary: The areas around Indianapolis where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2024

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

The worst suburbs of Indianapolis are .

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
  • Westfield
  • Pittsboro

For more Indiana reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Indianapolis Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Morgantown 2,734 $29,103 $133,317
2 Speedway 13,646 $52,627 $227,778
3 Sheridan 3,464 $58,021 $283,566
4 Beech Grove 15,181 $51,352 $183,313
5 Shelbyville 19,678 $55,850 $201,373
6 Lebanon 17,277 $63,125 $248,292
7 Ingalls 2,404 $70,313 $161,328
8 Lawrence 49,218 $70,762 $252,234
9 Brooklyn 2,248 $66,425 $149,860
10 Southport 2,088 $68,182 $224,073
11 Martinsville 11,916 $57,383 $264,822
12 Plainfield 35,078 $77,249 $310,684
13 Fortville 5,206 $79,806 $279,914
14 Franklin 26,073 $72,344 $255,388
15 Whiteland 4,278 $85,351 $262,844
16 Greenfield 23,669 $69,571 $247,376
17 Mooresville 9,525 $68,089 $287,287
18 Pendleton 4,937 $81,413 $301,763
19 Lapel 2,517 $69,028 $204,772
20 Bargersville 9,520 $102,045 $413,710
21 Greenwood 63,579 $75,398 $308,640
22 New Whiteland 5,591 $83,958 $210,861
23 Avon 21,783 $98,162 $337,215
24 Cicero 5,356 $63,288 $356,053
25 Noblesville 70,442 $99,458 $358,434
26 Brownsburg 29,379 $101,883 $329,814
27 Danville 10,842 $90,686 $301,935
28 Cumberland 5,991 $83,718 $274,160
29 New Palestine 2,831 $86,082 $354,706
30 Mccordsville 9,098 $103,539 $349,911
31 Zionsville 30,832 $152,788 $571,985
32 Pittsboro 3,814 $118,750 $340,031
33 Westfield 48,262 $117,519 $431,094
34 Carmel 99,453 $132,859 $519,540
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

8 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Indianapolis Suburbs

  1. So, basically anything NOT on the north side. Worst is a matter of opinion and you know what they say about those!

  2. 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.

  3. 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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