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Tucson'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 Tucson.
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 Tucson. Some neighborhoods aren't as great as others.
So the question arises, which Tucson neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?
Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Tucson hoods need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Tucson area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the neighborhoods to be amazing, although Desert Palms Park ranks way above the rest.
We examined 127 of Tucson's neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These places don't quite measure up to Tucson's reputation.
So what's the worst neighborhood to live in Tucson for 2021? According to the most recent census data, Fairgrounds looks to be the worst neighborhood in Tucson.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Tucson 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 Tucson.
For more Arizona reading, check out:
The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Tucson For 2021
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $71,300 (16th worst)
Median Income: $25,005 (19th worst)
More on Fairgrounds: Data
Living in a place called Fairgrounds seems like a lot of laughs. And, to be fair, this neighborhood does house the Tucson Rodeo
A lack of amenities and a weak economy contribute to the neighborhood's bad character. The unemployment rate sits at 8.4% and the median income comes in at $8.4. At least Fairgrounds is affordable. The median home value stands at $71,300.
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $66,200 (9th worst)
Median Income: $25,976 (24th worst)
More on El Presidio: Data
The El Presidio district has great historical significance. This centrally located neighborhood represents the area where the city was originally founded as a Spanish military fort. It has modern cultural significance as well, with restaurants, shops, and sites like the Tucson Museum of Art
Living in the area is difficult, however. In fact, it ranks as the number 2 least inviting regions of the city. A lack of jobs holds the neighborhood back. Locals have to contend with a 11.3% unemployment rate and make due with a median income of just $25,976. Meanwhile, the median home price sits at $66,200.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $97,600 (4worst)
Median Income: $44,922 (9worst)
More on Parkway Terrace: Data
Parkway Terrace is a compact triangle of a neighborhood nestled into the intersection of E. 22nd Street and E. Aviation Parkway. A lack of amenities and an anemic economy make this one of the least attractive places in Tucson to put down roots.
This is a small neighborhood of just 81 residents. Those few have to struggle with an unemployment rate of 18.1%. At the same time, Parkway Terrace's median income comes in at $44,922.
This section of the city is mostly residential, bounded on two sides by train tracks and major roadways. As a result, there's not much to do in Parkway Terrace itself. However, a short trip down the road will take you to Reid Park Zoo and other amenities.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $47,800 (2nd worst)
Median Income: $19,452 (4th worst)
More on Alvernon Heights: Data
Alvernon Heights is a square neighborhood bordered by E. 22nd Street on the north, E. 29th Street on the South, S. Alvernon Way to the west, and S. Columbus Blvd. to the east. It is also situated kitty-corner from the Randolph Golf Complex and the Tucson Police Department.
The area benefits from modest amenities and a good safety reputation. Still, it ranks as one of the worst neighborhoods in the city. Why? Well, the economy leaves a lot to be desired.
The numbers tell the story. The unemployment rate sits at 10.4% and the median income comes in at $19,452. The median home price in the area stands at $47,800.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $67,300 (11th worst)
Median Income: $19,452 (4th worst)
More on Roberts: Data
Living in Roberts offers a lot of benefits. There area is safe and reasonably affordable, with a large number of amenities available nearby. Yet, it ranks as the number 5 worst spot to live in Tucson, largely as a result of a stagnant economy.
It's tough to find a job in this part of the city. The unemployment rate comes in at 14.3%. Even the available jobs make it hard to make ends meet. The median income hovers at $19,452.
Located south of Alvernon Heights and Naylor, Roberts provides a home to 2,156 people. It sits just across Golf Links Rd. from the U.S. Border Patrol Sector Headquarters.
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $96,667 (38th worst)
Median Income: $28,574 (3worst)
More on South Park: Data
No, this isn't the hilarious home of a bunch of cartoons. This version represents one of the least attractive neighborhoods in Tucson.
A relatively large section of the city, centered on Silverlake Park, South Park offers reasonable safety and affordability. Unfortunately, finances are a challenge for the area's 3,131 residents. It suffers an elevated 8.6% unemployment rate and a median income of just $28,574.
There are notable amenities in the region. Bordered on the north by E. Aviation Pkwy and on the south by the I-10, South Park contains a mixed-use development that houses attractions like a tech park sponsored by the University of Arizona.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $88,850 (32nd worst)
Median Income: $30,286 (37th worst)
More on Santa Rita Park: Data
As the name suggests, the neighborhood of Santa Rita Park is centered around a park of the same name. Even with this feature lending some character, this section of the city ranks as the number 7 worst spot in in Tucson.
A lack of amenities and a weak economy hold Santa Rita Park back. The 586 residents contend with a 9.7% unemployment rate and a $30,286 median income. Still, home values in the area are affordable, with a median home price of $88,850.
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $71,450 (17th worst)
Median Income: $19,844 (6th worst)
More on San Ignacio Yaqui: Data
Located along the I-10, San Ignacio Yaqui provides some draws. Still, the area has issues with affordability, jobs, and a lack of other amenities. This makes it one of the least attractive areas in the city.
The median home price in San Ignacio Yaqui sits at $71,450. In most places, that represents a highly affordable figure. However, it's a tough mortgage to cover with a local median income of just $19,844. At the same time, the unemployment rate comes in at 6.1%.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $48,150 (3rd worst)
Median Income: $25,509 (20th worst)
More on Myers: Data
Located south of Rosemont West, between S. Swan Rd. and S. Craycroft Rd., Myers provides a home to 5,159 people. Unfortunately, a weak economy makes this neighborhood a difficult place to raise a family. The median income equals $25,509 and the unemployment rate hovers at 7.1%.
Myers is far from a wasteland, however. It has plenty of amenities and provides affordable housing. The median home value comes in at $48,150.
The residents can enjoy a number of recreational activities. These include sports and swimming at Freedom Park and shopping on main street at local shops.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $107,200 (52nd worst)
Median Income: $31,458 (42nd worst)
More on Sunset Villa: Data
Sunset Villa sounds like an excellent place to sit back, relax, and stare into the horizon, doesn't it? Unfortunately, names can be deceiving. In reality, Sunset Villa represents one of the most unappealing locations in Tucson.
You can blame a lack of amenities and a weak economy for Sunset Villa's bad reputation. The neighborhood's 338 inhabitants have to deal with a 8.7% unemployment rate and make due with a median income of just $31,458.
Located along 1-19 and north of W. Ajo Way, Sunset Villa has its draws as well. Housing is relatively affordable, with a median home value of $107,200. Meanwhile, it's located close to Santa Cruz River Park.
How we determined the worst Tucson hoods in 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 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 Tucson:
- 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 Tucson, Arizona 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 Tucson.
Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Tucson to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 127 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.
The 'hoods around Tucson that are really hoods
Well there you have it -- the worst of the neighborhoods in Tucson with Fairgrounds landing at the bottom of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Tucson aren't all bad. Desert Palms Park takes the cake as the best place to live in Tucson.
We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.
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