The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Washington For 2021

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

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our fifth time ranking the worst neighborhoods to live in Washington.
Worst Neighborhoods In Washington
Source: Public domain

Washington'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 Washington.

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 Washington. Some neighborhoods aren't as great as others.

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

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

We examined 34 of Washington's neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These places don't quite measure up to Washington's reputation.

So what's the worst neighborhood to live in Washington for 2021? According to the most recent census data, Brentwood looks to be the worst neighborhood in Washington.

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

For more Washington Dc reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Washington For 2021

Brentwood Washington, DC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 28,660
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $375,268 (4th worst)
Median Income: $57,873 (3rd worst)
More on Brentwood:  Data

Brentwood is a neighborhood in Northeast Washington, D.C. and is named after the Brentwood Mansion built at Florida Avenue and 6th Street NE in 1817 by Robert Brent, the first mayor of Washington City. He built it as a wedding present for his daughter Eleanor on her marriage as second wife to Congressman Joseph Pearson, and it stood for a hundred years before burning down in 1917.

Deanwood Washington, DC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 29,798
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $221,083 (2nd worst)
Median Income: $41,869 (2nd worst)
More on Deanwood:  Data

Deanwood is a neighborhood in Northeast Washington, D.C., bounded by Eastern Avenue to the northeast, Kenilworth Avenue to the northwest, Division Avenue to the southeast, and Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue to the south.

One of Northeast's oldest neighborhoods, Deanwood's relatively low-density, small wood-frame and brick homes, and dense tree cover give it a small-town character that is unique in the District of Columbia.

Anacostia Washington, DC

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Population: 117,488
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $204,972 (worst)
Median Income: $38,135 (worst)
More on Anacostia:  Data

Anacostia is a historic neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Its downtown is located at the intersection of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. It is located east of the Anacostia River, after which the neighborhood is named. Like the other quadrants of Washington, D.C., Southeast encompasses a large number of named neighborhoods, of which Anacostia is the most well known. Anacostia includes all of the Anacostia Historic District that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Often the name Anacostia is incorrectly used to refer to the entire portion of the city that is southeast of the Anacostia River.

Stadium-Armory Washington, DC

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Population: 21,142
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $383,542 (7th worst)
Median Income: $67,389 (5th worst)
More on Stadium-Armory:  Data

Stadium-Armory is an island-platformed Washington Metro station in the Kingman Park neighborhood of Southeast Washington, D.C., United States. The station was opened on July 1, 1977, and is operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Stadium-Armory serves the Blue, Orange and Silver Lines. It is a transfer station for the Blue/Silver and Orange lines, as this is the last station shared by the three lines before the lines diverge going east. The station has entrances on 19th Street at C Street and Independence Avenue.

South West Washington, DC

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Population: 11,100
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $376,320 (5th worst)
Median Income: $73,812 (7th worst)
More on South West:  Data

Southwest is the southwestern quadrant of Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, and is located south of the National Mall and west of South Capitol Street. It is the smallest quadrant of the city. Southwest is small enough that it is frequently referred to as a neighborhood in and of itself. However, it actually contains five separate neighborhoods.

Downtown Washington, DC

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Population: 8,132
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $376,550 (6th worst)
Median Income: $96,571 (15th worst)
More on Downtown:  Data

Downtown is a neighborhood of Washington, D.C., as well as a colloquial name for the central business district in the northwest quadrant of the city. Geographically, the area extends roughly five to six blocks west, northwest, north, northeast, and east of the White House. Several important museums, theaters, and a major sports venue are located in the area. A portion of this area is known as the Downtown Historic District and was listed on the NRHP in 2001.

Fort Totten-Upper Northeast Washington, DC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,123
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $409,893 (8th worst)
Median Income: $69,793 (6th worst)
More on Fort Totten-Upper Northeast:  Data

Fort Totten is a neighborhood located in Ward 5 of Northeast Washington, D.C. Fort Totten is contained between Riggs Rd NE to the north, Bates Rd NE, Allison Street NE, and the southern end of Fort Totten Park to the south, the Washington Metropolitan Area Red Line train tracks to the east, and North Capitol Street NW to the west. The Washington Metropolitan Green Line train tracks also goes through the Fort Totten neighborhood through an underground tunnel that goes through Fort Totten Park when traveling between the Fort Totten and Georgia Avenue - Petworth Metro Stations. Fort Totten borders the adjacent neighborhoods of Riggs Park, Brightwood Park, North Michigan Park and Michigan Park, Pleasant Hill, and Petworth.

Catholic University-Brookland Washington, DC

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Population: 57,481
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $437,657 (9th worst)
Median Income: $77,486 (8th worst)
More on Catholic University-Brookland:  Data

Brookland is a neighborhood in the Northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., historically centered along 12th Street NE. Brookland is bounded by Michigan Avenue to the north, Rhode Island Avenue NE to the south, South Dakota Avenue to the east, and the tracks for the Red Line of the Washington Metro to the west. The western boundary originates with the establishment of the former Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1873, creating the physical barrier which continues to separate Brookland from Edgewood to the west today.

Brookland is served by the Brookland-CUA station on the Red Line of the Washington Metro.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 55,592
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $587,596 (17th worst)
Median Income: $102,238 (19th worst)
More on Capitol Hill:  Data

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 34,835
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $549,242 (13th worst)
Median Income: $79,273 (9th worst)
More on Columbia Heights:  Data

How we determined the worst Washington 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 Washington:

  • 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 Washington, Washington Dc 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 Washington.

Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Washington to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 34 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 Washington that are really hoods

Well there you have it -- the worst of the neighborhoods in Washington with Brentwood landing at the bottom of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Washington aren't all bad. Au-Tenleytown takes the cake as the best place to live in Washington.

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

For more Washington Dc reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Neighborhoods To Live In Washington For 2021?

Rank Neighborhood Population Home Value Median Income
1 Brentwood 28,660 $375,268 $57,873
2 Deanwood 29,798 $221,083 $41,869
3 Anacostia 117,488 $204,972 $38,135
4 Stadium-Armory 21,142 $383,542 $67,389
5 South West 11,100 $376,320 $73,812
6 Downtown 8,132 $376,550 $96,571
7 Fort Totten-Upper Northeast 24,123 $409,893 $69,793
8 Catholic University-Brookland 57,481 $437,657 $77,486
9 Capitol Hill 55,592 $587,596 $102,238
10 Columbia Heights 34,835 $549,242 $79,273
11 Mount Vernon Square 6,077 $551,333 $86,024
12 Shaw 13,782 $652,492 $88,444
13 Foggy Bottom 16,297 $364,920 $66,121
14 Brightwood 16,318 $600,254 $81,113
15 Ledroit Park 11,683 $599,300 $94,929
16 Petworth 11,886 $716,475 $102,992
17 Takoma Park 5,302 $751,983 $154,600
18 U Street Corridor 10,104 $669,883 $107,136
19 Mount Pleasant 12,696 $552,782 $91,084
20 Dupont Circle 13,633 $522,360 $98,703
21 Adams Morgan 17,154 $529,538 $101,976
22 Friendship Heights 3,065 $828,100 $147,242
23 Logan Circle 13,768 $538,670 $100,118
24 Georgetown 14,118 $1,056,531 $150,426
25 Foxhall Village 912 $944,350 $115,365
26 Berkley 2,252 $1,083,560 $156,869
27 Glover Park 12,937 $573,173 $115,917
28 Kalorama 2,608 $1,335,200 $134,859
29 Woodley Park 7,667 $948,260 $140,259
30 Barnaby Woods 9,436 $1,017,370 $176,403
31 Chevy Chase 18,506 $919,342 $142,356
32 The Palisades 3,598 $1,188,500 $166,149
33 Cleveland Park 11,732 $759,100 $138,234
34 Au-Tenleytown 18,855 $973,793 $178,534