These Are The 5 Worst Neighborhoods In Phoenix For 2018

We used data and science to identify the neighborhoods in Phoenix that are the real pits.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out. Updated 2018-05-21.
Worst Neighborhoods In Phoenix
Source: Public domain

Phoenix’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 Phoenix.

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 Phoenix. Some neighborhoods aren’t as great as others.

So the question arises, which Phoenix neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?

Today, we’ll use science and data to determine which Phoenix hoods need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Phoenix area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the neighborhoods to be amazing, although Desert View ranks way above the rest.

We examined 15 of Phoenix’s neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These places don’t quite measure up to Phoenix’s reputation.

Here are the 5 worst neighborhoods in Phoenix according to data:

  1. Central City
  2. Maryvale
  3. Estrella
  4. South Mountain
  5. Alahambra

Read on to see how we determined the places around Phoenix 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 Phoenix.

For more reading on Arizona, check out:

How we determined the worst Phoenix 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 Phoenix:

  • 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 Phoenix 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 Phoenix.

Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Phoenix to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 15 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. Central City

Central City Phoenix, AZ

Population: 53,865
Median Income: $23,625
Median Home Value: $86,237

Central City Village is the urban village of Phoenix, Arizona, that includes the downtown area of the city. As of 2010, it had a population of 58,161 residents.

Because of its location at the historic center of Phoenix, there are many old homes and buildings located in the Central City Village that convey the history of Phoenix. Downtown, which includes the larger commercial and government buildings, as well as sports venues such as Talking Stick Resort Arena and Chase Field, is the core of the village and the city of Phoenix. Because of this, Center City village is almost unique, in that it has a much more urban environment than the other, more suburban, villages of Phoenix.

2. Maryvale

Maryvale Phoenix, AZ

Population: 211,609
Median Income: $33,948
Median Home Value: $69,777

Plans for Maryvale began to take shape during the 1950s, when developer John F. Long came up with the idea of developing a master-planned community on the western part of Phoenix, with an aim of turning the area into a working class suburb for Caucasians. It was the first master planned community in Arizona, and one of the first planned communities in the country. The community was designed to include space for parks, schools, and space to fulfill other community service requirements.

3. Estrella

Population: 84,229
Median Income: $37,337
Median Home Value: $80,451

4. South Mountain

South Mountain Phoenix, AZ

Population: 115,225
Median Income: $41,201
Median Home Value: $96,300

South Mountain Park preserves in a natural state a mountainous area of 16,283 acres or approximately 25.5 sq mi of native desert vegetation. Originally called Phoenix Mountain Park, it was formed in 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge sold its initial 13,000 acres to the city of Phoenix for $17,000. It has since been expanded through bond programs during the 1970s into the early 1980s. It is located south of central Phoenix, hence the name. Since the naming, suburban growth has nearly surrounded the park. Ahwatukee now borders to the south and Laveen to the west.

5. Alahambra

Alahambra Phoenix, AZ

Population: 131,584
Median Income: $41,563
Median Home Value: $125,731

Alhambra is an urban village of Phoenix, Arizona. It encompasses an area south of Northern Avenue, west of 7th Street, east of 43rd Avenue, and north of Grand Avenue or the Grand Canal.

The community’s name was chosen by W. J. Murphy, to designate one of the four North Phoenix areas he sub-divided and later developed. The area saw growth in the 1940s and 1950s, during a population boom that followed World War II. Many of those who moved to the area discovered it when they were stationed at Luke Air Force Base.

The ‘hoods around Phoenix that are really hoods

Well there you have it — the worst of the neighborhoods in Phoenix with Central City landing at the bottom of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Phoenix aren’t all bad. Desert View takes the cake as the best place to live in Phoenix.

We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.

For more Arizona reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Phoenix Neighborhoods

Rank Neighborhood Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Central City 53,865 $23,625 $86,237
2 Maryvale 211,609 $33,948 $69,777
3 Estrella 84,229 $37,337 $80,451
4 South Mountain 115,225 $41,201 $96,300
5 Alahambra 131,584 $41,563 $125,731
6 North Mountain 164,463 $48,344 $126,694
7 Laveen 50,986 $62,572 $158,462
8 Encanto 53,559 $43,273 $147,559
9 New Village 5,615 $84,160 $196,075
10 Deer Valley 165,609 $61,691 $147,528
11 Camelback East 136,706 $52,334 $226,153
12 Paradise Valley 175,020 $70,493 $231,544
13 North Gateway 15,539 $92,078 $238,312
14 Ahwatukee Foothills 77,349 $92,913 $273,545
15 Desert View 47,652 $97,488 $317,848

8 thoughts on “These Are The 5 Worst Neighborhoods In Phoenix For 2018

  1. Somebody did look very well for one of the worst parts of Phoenix!Does “Sunnyslope”ring a funky bell? Now we are the poster scum for Drugs,Ho’s(drug-ho’s)

  2. This article contains very little fact and a whole lot of inaccurate data. Several of the areas mentioned din this article are in fact highly desirable and or up and coming neighborhoods in Phoenix. The trend to urbanize has transformed many of these older neighborhoods into trendy areas.

    I sincerely doubt that the author of this article has ever set foot in the areas they are commenting about. What is even sadder is that people will read this article and believe that their methodology is accurate.

    The definition of an expert is “one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject”. This author possesses none of the expertise necessary to write an article of this nature.

  3. It’s pretty accurate, and the only urbanization I see is the light rail which makes it worse because now I am see drug ho’s walking on the streets more often. I work and partly live in the North side luckily, and just driving 2 miles south it turns into a third world country. I don’t know if the author has actually been there, but I don’t blame them. The police actually advise people not to go to certain areas, specifically south mountain, at night because something will literally happen to you. Even during the day, if you drive in south phoenix and sit at a stop light for too long there’s a chance someone will try to steal your car.

  4. The worst area in PHX, is Sunnyslope, it’s where all the dregs of society are, the lowest of the lows!! Dope Fiend central. Swindlers, hooligans, loser, failures!! A bad lot of lazy layabouts. Irresponsible people. A sorry bunch them slopers, as they proudly lable themselves!! Very run-down area, junky, slummy part of north Phx!!!

  5. The details as to why the cities were bad weren’t even explained??? It would have been nice if you elaborated more Mr expert. & I can’t see how paradise valley and Estrella made your list.

  6. Most of the comments I’ve read concerning this terribly inaccurate article seem to be made by snobs that probably have never set foot in any of these neighborhoods. Do me a favor, please, leave your snobby Scottsdale neighborhoods for a day and go visit some of these “ghettos.” You might find the areas and the people who live there aren’t scum like you Scottsdale snobs think.

  7. There are several areas of Phoenix that are bad, but the 3 areas in particular that I see, hear and read about all the time are just south of Metro Center, specifically the 27th ave corridor down to past buckeye. The West Side…35th to 99 avenues , Olive down to I 10. And as always, Broadway to Baseline 19th ave to 48th Street. These areas are where most of the Class 1-3 felonies are committed.

  8. I lived in Sunnyslope a few years ago as a young single female and never had an issue. Granted I wouldn’t walk my dog in my neighborhood after dark, but I had a home alarm system and never used it. I had more issues with homeless people when I lived in Midtown in the Ashland historic district. And since moving to a “quieter” neighborhood in Mesa I learned that someone was murdered in a complex across the street from me. So much for stats.

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