Article Table Of Contents
Seattle'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 Seattle.
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 Seattle. Some neighborhoods aren't as great as others.
So the question arises, which Seattle neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?
Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Seattle hoods need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Seattle area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the neighborhoods to be amazing, although Laurelhurst ranks way above the rest.
We examined 78 of Seattle's neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These places don't quite measure up to Seattle's reputation.
So what's the worst neighborhood to live in Seattle for 2022? According to the most recent census data, South Park looks to be the worst neighborhood in Seattle.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Seattle 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 Seattle.
For more Washington reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Washington
- Cheapest Places To Live In Washington
- Most Dangerous Cities In Washington
The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Seattle For 2022
No, this isn't the home of foul-mouthed cartoon characters. That South Park is in Colorado. You'll find this South Park in the southern part of Seattle, across the Duwamish Waterway from the city's airport.
Located near a busy aviation hub and an industrialized estuary, South Park doesn't seem to present many park-like elements. Still, it doesn't have a smattering of green space and some pleasant areas by the water.
Cosmetic aspects aside, residents wrestle with weighty financial concerns. The median income only reaches $37,624 - not exactly yacht money. In addition, the unemployment rate touches 7.0%.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $193,200 (worst)
Median Income: $37,624 (2nd worst)
More on South Park: Data
Welcome to Georgetown, home of the King County International Airport/Boeing Field. It's already a theme on this list and a trend common to most cities: you don't want to live near the airport. Unless you were one of those kids you just loved watching planes take off and land, you're better off searching out a more inviting part of the city.
That said, the Seattle airport has some special features. Specifically, it serves as the base for airplane maker Boeing, which uses it for test flights.
All this activity helps support a robust economy, with a median income of $64,669 and an unemployment rate of 5.9%. Unfortunately, it's hard to find amenities nearby and the median home price runs high at $314,817.
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $314,817 (8th worst)
Median Income: $64,669 (17th worst)
More on Georgetown: Data
Located in the southwest part of the city, a short drive from the bay, Roxhill makes this list for one major reason. It ranks as the number 3 worst part of Seattle for 2022 because of the high real estate prices.
The median home value in the area comes in at a hefty $324,975. That's a lot to afford, even when the local median income reaches $63,066.
Also, it's a lot to spend for the location. Notice we said "near the bay," not "on the bay." It will take a 10-minute drive to reach Lincoln Park and the water. You'll also have to commute to downtown, leaving the area separate from the city's main attractions.
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $324,975 (9th worst)
Median Income: $63,066 (15th worst)
More on Roxhill: Data
Sand Point is less of neighborhood and more of a giant park. It sits along the Sand Point peninsula in the northeastern part of the city, overlooking Lake Washington. It mostly consists of Magnuson Park, though there are a few residential areas as well.
You really couldn't ask for a prettier spot to live. Of course, that kind of view comes at a cost. The median home value in this section amounts to $396,900. Also, while they're close to the water and all the park attractions, residents live far from the heart of the city. This means they have to venture out for many amusements and necessities.
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $396,900 (25th worst)
Median Income: $66,250 (18th worst)
More on Sand Point: Data
Don't let the name fool you. North Delridge is located in the southern part of the city, near Harbor Island and a series of industrial districts. That said, the area itself is quite green. It has a host of park space, including Puget Park.
As we've seen elsewhere on this list, the cost of living undermines an otherwise beautiful neighborhood. Sure, the median income around here equals $73,541. But that's not enough to make the mortgage on $350,000 house affordable. And that's what you're looking at as a median home price in North Delridge.
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $352,340 (14th worst)
Median Income: $73,541 (26th worst)
More on North Delridge: Data
Maybe just stay away from any Delridges. They all seem to end up on this list of the worst neighborhoods in Seattle for 2022. Elsewhere, you'll find North Delridge. Now, you've got her southern sister. Meanwhile, this neighborhood's western neighbor, Roxhill, makes the list as well.
With those associations, you might consider this the bad part of town. But that idea is relative. In some cities, a median income of $52,981 and an unemployment rate of 6.6% would merit a parade. Here, it counts as a sluggish economy. This disconnect comes about because of a comparably high cost of living, with a median home price of $280,467.
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $280,467 (3rd worst)
Median Income: $52,981 (6th worst)
More on South Delridge: Data
In a medieval castle, or on a Game of Thrones set, you might expect a drawbridge and some archer towers. As in, "Look out! The wildlings are attacking the North Gate!" Here, the neighborhood just marks the northern stretch of Seattle.
With I-5 running through the center of the area, Northgate comes with its share of diversions. You've got amenities like the Jackson Park Golf Course. However, you also face an issue we've encountered elsewhere on this list: high real estate prices. In this case, a home will run you a median cost of $363,225. Compare that to the local median income of $55,515.
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $363,225 (19th worst)
Median Income: $55,515 (9th worst)
More on Northgate: Data
Rainier Beach sounds like a resort. Like, "Hey, let's take my private jet to Rainier Beach and spend the weekend skinny dipping and drinking champagne." Well, it's not quite on that level. But this portion of southeastern Seattle does sit by the water, overlooking the shores of Lake Washington.
The only other way Rainier Beach resembles an exotic tropical destination: it's expensive. Not private island expensive. But hard to afford for anyone making a regular salary. The median home value in the area tops $330,000. Meanwhile, the median income barely ticks above $60,000.
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $334,780 (11th worst)
Median Income: $61,016 (13th worst)
More on Rainier Beach: Data
Credit for honesty: the University District does contain a university. It's home to the University of Washington. Located in the northern part of the city, along the Union and Portage bays, it has charm beyond college parties and late-night discussions of philosophy.
That said, there are drawbacks. After all, this counts as the number 9 worst location in Seattle for 2022. The economy doesn't offer all it could. Compared with the surrounding areas, unemployment is a bit elevated. Meanwhile, costs remain high in this part of town, with a median home value of nearly $300,000.
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $298,214 (4th worst)
Median Income: $51,109 (5th worst)
More on University District: Data
Yes, Riverview has a view of the river. The Duwamish Waterway to be exact. That's just one of the attractions in this part of southern Seattle. You'll also find plenty of park land, including the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails. Riverview also plays host to South Seattle College.
Yet, we wouldn't mention the neighborhood on this list if everything was rosy. Once again, a high cost of living acts as the culprit here. Sure, the median income for the neighborhood hits $76,727, more than enough for many cities. But in a neighborhood where the median home value reaches $335,700, that amount of cash can still often fall short.
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $335,700 (12th worst)
Median Income: $76,727 (28th worst)
More on Riverview: Data
Methodology: How we determined the worst Seattle 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 Seattle:
- 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 Seattle, Washington 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 Seattle.
Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Seattle to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 78 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 Seattle
Well there you have it -- the worst of the neighborhoods in Seattle with South Park landing at the bottom of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Seattle aren't all bad. Laurelhurst takes the cake as the best place to live in Seattle.
We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.
For more Washington reading, check out: