Los Angeles’s neighborhoods conjure up too many stereotypes to count. You’ve got hipster areas, preppy places, neighborhoods where college kids thrive, and of course, ghettos.
It seems as if there’s a neighborhood for everyone in Los Angeles.
And while the city consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the country thanks in part to a strong economy and tons of entertainment, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine in Los Angeles. Some neighborhoods aren’t as great as others.
So the question arises, which Los Angeles neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?
Today, we’ll use science and data to determine which Los Angeles hoods need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Los Angeles area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the neighborhoods to be amazing, although West Los Angeles ranks way above the rest.
We examined 83 of Los Angeles’s neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These ten places don’t quite measure up to Los Angeles’s reputation:
- Fashion District
- Wholesale District-Skid Row
- Southeast Los Angeles
- South Park
- Boyle Heights
Read on to see how we determined the places around Los Angeles that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
Once you’re done, you can look at the bottom of the story for a complete chart of every neighborhood we looked at from worst to best.
Looking for places to avoid outside of the city? You can also check out the worst suburbs of Los Angeles.
For more reading on California, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In California
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In California
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In California
How we determined the worst Los Angeles hoods
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 places have the least amount of those things. We threw the following criteria into this analysis in order to get the best, most complete results possible. We used this set of criteria for each neighborhood in Los Angeles:
- High unemployment (Less jobs)
- Low median income (Less pay)
- Low population density (No things to do)
- Low home values (No one’s willing to pay to live here)
- High crime (Estimated)
Then, we ranked each neighborhood in Los Angeles for each of these criteria from worst to best.
Next, we averaged the individual rankings for each criteria into a “Worst Score”.
The neighborhood with the lowest “Worst Score” ranks as the worst neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Los Angeles to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 83 neighborhoods ranked from worst to best.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased. Hold on to your pants.
1. Fashion District
Median Income: $24,426
Median Home Value: $81,475
The Los Angeles Fashion District is a design, warehouse, and distribution nexus of the clothing, accessories and fabric industry in Downtown Los Angeles. The Fashion District spans 90 blocks and is the hub of the apparel industry on the West Coast of the United States.
Thousands of fast-fashion wholesale vendors line the streets of the Los Angeles Fashion District. Fast-fashion vendors stock the most recent fashion trends straight from the catwalk.
2. Wholesale District-Skid Row
Median Income: $27,606
Median Home Value: $175,157
Skid Row is an area of Downtown Los Angeles. As of the 2000 census, the population of the district was 17,740. Skid Row was defined in a decision in Jones v. City of Los Angeles as the area east of Main Street, south of Third Street, west of Alameda Street, and north of Seventh Street. Skid Row contains one of the largest stable populations of homeless people in the United States.
Median Income: $49,599
Median Home Value: $266,785
Pacoima is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the northern San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. It covers an area of 7.14 square miles and has a population of over 81,000 people, with a density of approximately 10,510 people per square mile. The vast majority of the population is Hispanic.
Median Income: $25,759
Median Home Value: $164,055
Downtown Los Angeles is the central business district of Los Angeles, California, as well as a diverse residential neighborhood of some 58,000 people. A 2013 study found that the district is home to over 500,000 jobs. It is also part of Central Los Angeles.
A heritage of the city’s founding in 1781, Downtown Los Angeles today is composed of different areas ranging from a fashion district to a skid row, and it is the hub of the city’s Metro rapid transit system. Banks, department stores and movie palaces at one time drew residents and visitors into the area, but the district declined economically and suffered a downturn for decades until its recent renaissance starting in the early 2000s: old buildings are being modified for new uses, and skyscrapers have been built. Downtown Los Angeles is known for its government buildings, parks, theaters and other public places.
Median Income: $49,490
Median Home Value: $287,061
Wilmington is a neighborhood in the Los Angeles Harbor Region area of Los Angeles, California, covering 9.14 square miles.
Featuring a heavy concentration of industry and the third-largest oil field in the United States, it is considered sparsely populated in comparison with the city as a whole and within the city it is distinguished by its youthful population and high percentage of Latino and foreign-born residents.
It is the site of Los Angeles Harbor College, Banning High School and ten other primary and secondary schools. Wilmington has six parks, including one on the waterfront.
Median Income: $29,993
Median Home Value: $160,583
Westlake is a residential and commercial neighborhood in Central Los Angeles, California. It was developed in the 1920s, but many of its elegant mansions have been turned into apartments, and many new multiple-occupancy buildings have been constructed.
Westlake is a high-density area, with a young and heavily Latino population. It has a score of primary and secondary schools.
7. Southeast Los Angeles
Median Income: $30,649
Median Home Value: $241,422
South Los Angeles, formerly known as South Central, is a region in southern Los Angeles County, California. According to the Los Angeles Times, it comprises 51 square miles, consisting of 25 neighborhoods within the City of Los Angeles and also three unincorporated neighborhoods.
Median Income: $28,389
Median Home Value: $173,231
Watts is a neighborhood in southern Los Angeles, California. It is located within the South Los Angeles region, bordering the cities of Lynwood and South Gate, and the unincorporated community of Willowbrook, all in Los Angeles County.
Founded in the late nineteenth century as a ranching community, the arrival of the railroads and the construction of Watts Station saw the rapid development of Watts as an independent city, but in 1926 was consolidated with Los Angeles. By the 1940s, Watts transformed into a primarily working class African American neighborhood, but from the 1960s developed a reputation as a low-income, high-crime area, following the Watts riots and the increasing influence of street gangs. Today Watts is a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood with a significant African American minority, and remains one of the most impoverished and dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles despite falling crime rates since the 1990s. Notable civic activities by residents of Watts include the “Toys for Watts” toy drive, the Watts Christmas parade, and the “Watts Summer Games” athletic tournament, as well as a local theatre and a dance company, in an effort to improve the neighborhood.
9. South Park
Median Income: $38,886
Median Home Value: $161,600
The neighborhood took the name of a municipal park, named South Park, which opened in 1900.
The neighborhood’s only recreation facility, South Park is at 345 East 51st Street, was established on a 20-acre plot purchased from “the Boetcher estate” in 1900, and after its planting with orange, oak and walnut trees, it was said to “compare favorably with any of the city’s older beauty spots.” It fronted on South Park Avenue, now Avalon Boulevard. The water well and pump house developed at that time are still in existence.
10. Boyle Heights
Median Income: $35,076
Median Home Value: $287,457
Boyle Heights was called Paredon Blanco when California was part of Mexico. The area is named after Andrew Boyle, an Irishman who purchased 22 acres on the bluffs overlooking the Los Angeles River after fighting in the Mexican-American War.
From 1889 through 1909 the city was divided into nine wards. In 1899 a motion was introduced at the Ninth Ward Development Association to use the name Boyle Heights to apply to all the highlands of the Ninth Ward, including Brooklyn Heights, Euclid Heights, and the aforementioned Boyle Heights.
In 2017, some residents were protesting gentrification of their neighborhood by the influx of new businesses.
The ‘hoods around Los Angeles that are really hoods
Well there you have it — the worst of the neighborhoods in Los Angeles with Fashion District landing at the bottom of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Los Angeles aren’t all bad. West Los Angeles takes the cake as the best place to live in Los Angeles.
We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.
For more California reading , check out:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In California
- These Are The 10 Fastest Growing Cities In California
- 10 Safest Places In California
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In California
- 10 Worst Places To Live In California
Detailed List Of The Worst Los Angeles Neighborhoods
|Wholesale District-Skid Row||2|
|Southeast Los Angeles||7|
|Central City East||11|
|South Los Angeles||14|
|Civic Center-Little Tokyo||25|
|Playa Del Ray||73|
|Mid City West||79|
|West Los Angeles||83|