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Tampa'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 Tampa.
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 Tampa. Some neighborhoods aren't as great as others.
So the question arises, which Tampa neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?
Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Tampa hoods need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Tampa area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the neighborhoods to be amazing, although Parkland Estates ranks way above the rest.
We examined 71 of Tampa's neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These places don't quite measure up to Tampa's reputation.
So what's the worst neighborhood to live in Tampa for 2022? According to the most recent census data, Orient Park looks to be the worst neighborhood in Tampa.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Tampa 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 Tampa.
For more Florida reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Tampa For 2022
Don't look for too much green space in Orient Park. That "park" part is a bit of hype. Sure, you've got a few spots, like Bypass Canal Park. But this isn't a natural haven in the middle of the city. Rather, the neighborhood gets its name from a street - Orient Road, which runs through the middle of the area.
You'll have trouble finding a job in Orient Park. The unemployment rate sits at 11.6%. Even if you land a gig, you might not be able to pay all your bills. The median income comes in at a just $23,805.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $49,367 (3rd worst)
Median Income: $23,805 (4th worst)
More on Orient Park: Data
Located in the eastern part of the city, Highland Park centers around Melbourne Blvd. On the far northern end, you have the Tampa Garden of Memories cemetery. On the far southern end, you have the Skatepark of Tampa. Circle of life.
In between? Well, the journey of life in Highland Park comes with its share of struggle. That's probably true anywhere. But, in this case, a rough economy complicates matters. You'll find an unemployment rate of 10.5%. At the same time, the neighborhood's median income reaches just $28,848.
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $62,100 (5th worst)
Median Income: $28,848 (16th worst)
More on Highland Pines: Data
No, despite its name, kids do not flock to College Hill for an education. Kids don't really flock here at all...that's what the beaches are for. You'll find a couple magnet schools a little west down E. Lake Ave. But for College Hill itself, the "college" part is distinctly missing.
That's not the only crucial element absent in the neighborhood. You'll have trouble locating jobs as well. Just look at the unemployment rate, which sits at a frightening 14.1%. Check out the skimpy local wages as well, with a median annual figure of $25,735.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $69,333 (8th worst)
Median Income: $25,735 (8th worst)
More on College Hill: Data
Woodland Terrace is a rectangle of neighborhoods located just south of the Hillsborough River. Move to Tampa for beach views and sea breezes? Woodland Terrace might not be the best place to settle down. Well, given its rank as the number 4 worst spot in Tampa for 2022, it's probably not the best place to settle down no matter what. But if you want beach, you'll have jump in the car and take a 20-minute drive.
A lack of water views is far from the worst drawback of this section of the city. Top of the list: very few good jobs. Put down roots here and you'll face a 10.2% unemployment rate and a $25,805 median income.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $98,067 (24th worst)
Median Income: $25,805 (9th worst)
More on Woodland Terrace: Data
We're not going to spend a lot of time detailing where you can find Northeast Tampa. The name says it all. Instead, to give you a feel for the place, we're going to talk about the surrounding areas. See, Northeast Tampa represents part of a cluster. It's one of a group of neighborhoods located between the Hillsborough River and E. Hillsborough Ave. that wind up on this list. Guess there's a trend.
Adjacent to both Woodland Terrace and Live Oaks Square, Northeast Tampa suffers many of the same traumas that afflict those low-income neighborhoods. Poverty runs rampant here too. The median income stands at just $24,771. At the same time, the jobless rate runs 8.4%.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $87,100 (18th worst)
Median Income: $24,771 (5th worst)
More on Northeast: Data
Just like the name suggests, you can probably get a good view northward in Northview Hills. But the neighborhood comes with another view: the Myrtle Hill Memorial Park cemetery. Not exactly the vista you'd have in mind if you're picking out a house. Well, at least the area comes with some green space. Otherwise, things in Northview Hills are really dreary.
Yeah, walking through a cemetery could count as less dreary than everyday life in Northview Hills. Why? Well, at least the stroll will take your mind off your financial problems. Because if you live in Northview Hills, you're probably having trouble making ends meet. After all, you'll have to deal with an unemployment rate of 7.0% and a median income of $26,859.
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $43,620 (2nd worst)
Median Income: $26,859 (13th worst)
More on Northview Hills: Data
It could be worse. That may sound a little like hair-splitting when we're talking about the number 7 worst section of Tampa for 2022. But, hey, at least this isn't Dead Oaks Square, right? That would be really depressing.
As it stands, things are depressing enough. Here's another low-income neighborhood far from the tourist draws near the water. About 20 minutes from the beach, Live Oaks Square provides little to entice potential residents. The median income sits at just $17,948 and the unemployment rate hovers at 11.5%.
Even with these financial pressures, home ownership can be a stretch as well. The median home value of $84,425 prices many locals out of the market.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $84,425 (15th worst)
Median Income: $17,948 (worst)
More on Live Oaks Square: Data
Unlike most of the neighborhoods on this list, at least East Ybor sits near the water. You can get to the Florida Aquarium in less than 10 minutes. At the same time, you can head a little west to find the Ybor City Historic District, with its collection of shops and restaurants.
Not a bad location, all things considered. Still, the daily grind poses a problem. The jobless rate sits at a relatively healthy 4.9%. But the available jobs don't pay well. The median income reaches $23,582. And here's how the location can hurt: the median home value of $85,633 sits outside of what many neighborhood residents can afford.
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $85,633 (16th worst)
Median Income: $23,582 (3rd worst)
More on East Ybor: Data
Florence, or Florence Villa as it's sometimes known, centers around a stretch of I-4, which cuts through the heart of the neighborhood. The northern part of the area is dominated by the ADESA Tampa auto auction. So, it's a good place for cars. But what about humans? Well, not so good.
As we've seen so many times on this list, Florence ranks as the number 9 worst location in Tampa for 2022 as a result of economic troubles. Few jobs. Low salaries. The same old story. Just to give you the details, the unemployment rate equals 10.2% and the median income tracks at $26,806.
At least the houses are cheap. The median home value comes in at $63,500.
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $63,500 (6th worst)
Median Income: $26,806 (12th worst)
More on Florence: Data
When life gets you down, it's nice to escape to a haven. In Drew Park, you can cross over N. Dale Mabry Highway and get to Al Lopez Park. Hike. Fish. Have a picnic. Get your mind off your troubles.
Unfortunately, you'll find your share of troubles in this neighborhood. It has its amenities, sure...including a set of high-end car dealerships. But the residents of the area suffer from a scarcity of top-paying jobs.
The unemployment rate is elevated at 6.5%, but still better than most of the areas on this list. However, the median income still sits below $30,000. That compares to a median home price of $94,540, a tough mortgage to reach with mostly low-pay gigs to choose from.
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $94,540 (22nd worst)
Median Income: $28,344 (15th worst)
More on Drew Park: Data
Methodology: How we determined the worst Tampa neighborhoods in 2022
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 Tampa:
- 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 Tampa, Florida 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 Tampa.
Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Tampa to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 71 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.
Summary: The Worst Neighborhoods Around Tampa
Well there you have it -- the worst of the neighborhoods in Tampa with Orient Park landing at the bottom of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Tampa aren't all bad. Parkland Estates takes the cake as the best place to live in Tampa.
We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.
For more Florida reading, check out: