These Are The 10 Worst St. Paul Suburbs For 2018


We used science and data to determine which St. Paul suburbs are the real pits.

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Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround St. Paul.

So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?

Today, we’ll use science and data to determine which St. Paul ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the St. Paul area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to St. Paul proper, although Victoria certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of St. Paul are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

We examined the 78 biggest suburbs of St. Paul to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Minnesota lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of St. Paul in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around St. Paul for 2018:

  1. Brooklyn Center (Photos)
  2. Columbia Heights (Photos)
  3. Anoka (Photos)
  4. Fridley (Photos)
  5. South St. Paul (Photos)
  6. West St. Paul (Photos)
  7. Minneapolis (Photos)
  8. Spring Lake Park (Photos)
  9. Brooklyn Park (Photos)
  10. Richfield (Photos)

Read on to see how we determined the places around St. Paul that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.

Or, if you’re thinking of moving to elsewhere in Minnesota check out the best places in Minnesota overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around St. Paul too.

Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around St. Paul for 2018

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 cities have the least amount of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data, this is the criteria we used:

  • High unemployment rate
  • Low median household incomes
  • Low population density (no things to do)
  • Low home values
  • A lot of high school drop outs
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of St. Paul.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 78 suburbs to evaluate around St. Paul.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 78 in each category, where 1 was the “worst”.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index the “Worst Suburb near St. Paul.” We’re lookin’ at you, Brooklyn Center.

Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.

1. Brooklyn Center

Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

Population: 30,785
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Median Home Price: $140,000
Median Income: $46,400
More on Brooklyn Center: Data | Jobs

We’ll get the ball rolling with Brooklyn Center, the absolute worst place to live around St. Paul according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Brooklyn Center beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the St. Paul area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 1st worst when it comes to home values.

But hey, at least it’s cheap to live there. But there’s a reason for that… it’s Brooklyn Center.

You won’t feel bad about not having a great income for the area, there aren’t a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.

2. Columbia Heights

Columbia Heights, Minnesota

Population: 19,689
Unemployment Rate: 8.7%
Median Home Price: $155,300
Median Income: $48,791
More on Columbia Heights: Data | Jobs

Welcome to Columbia Heights. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 9.8 miles to St. Paul. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $48,791 a year, which doesn’t go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

3. Anoka

Anoka, Minnesota

Population: 17,325
Unemployment Rate: 6.2%
Median Home Price: $167,800
Median Income: $48,850
More on Anoka: Data | Jobs

Back up the highway we go for the third worst St. Paul suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Anoka on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that’s an understatement.

In terms of numbers, it’s in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school drop out rate is poor compared to other St. Paul suburbs.

But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.

4. Fridley

Fridley, Minnesota

Population: 27,447
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
Median Home Price: $166,600
Median Income: $55,006
More on Fridley: Data | Jobs

If you live in Fridley, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 12th lowest St. Paul suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 11th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near St. Paul. Remember, we looked at 78 cities for this study.

Fridley is about 12.1 miles to downtown.

5. South St. Paul

South St. Paul, Minnesota

Population: 20,281
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Median Home Price: $160,800
Median Income: $54,777
More on South St. Paul: Data | Jobs

South St. Paul has the distinction of being a St. Paul suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, South St. Paul has the 5th lowest home values in the metro St. Paul area, where the median price is $160,800. To put that into perspective, in Victoria, the median income is $143,191, which is the best in the area.

South St. Paul has an unemployment rate of 6.3% which ranks 7th worst.

6. West St. Paul

West St. Paul, Minnesota

Population: 19,779
Unemployment Rate: 8.6%
Median Home Price: $175,100
Median Income: $51,066
More on West St. Paul: Data | Jobs

West St. Paul has 19,779 residents that probably know it’s a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you’ve ever been there, you don’t need to look at the data.)

Incomes are towards the bottom and the poverty rate sits at 10.1%.

7. Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Population: 404,670
Unemployment Rate: 6.9%
Median Home Price: $212,800
Median Income: $52,611
More on Minneapolis: Data | Jobs

Ah, Minneapolis. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around St. Paul.

It’s the place with the 6th most out of work residents in the St. Paul metro area (6.9%).

8. Spring Lake Park

Spring Lake Park, Minnesota

Source: Public domain

Population: 6,519
Unemployment Rate: 7.3%
Median Home Price: $160,400
Median Income: $57,993
More on Spring Lake Park: Data | Jobs

Spring Lake Park is a city about 13.4 miles from St. Paul, but St. Paul probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.

You’d be hard pressed to find a worse place to live. Spring Lake Park has the 17th most uninsured people, 15th worst incomes, and has the 4th highest unemployment rate (7.3%) in the entire St. Paul metro area.

Homes only cost $160,400 for a reason. That’s cheap for St. Paul standards.

9. Brooklyn Park

Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

Source: Public domain

Population: 78,823
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Home Price: $186,400
Median Income: $65,695
More on Brooklyn Park: Data | Jobs

If you absolutely have to live near St. Paul, then Brooklyn Park might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst St. Paul suburb.

About 5.7% of residents are out of work.

10. Richfield

Richfield, Minnesota

Source: Public domain

Population: 35,912
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
Median Home Price: $188,100
Median Income: $54,642
More on Richfield: Data | Jobs

Rounding out the ten worst St. Paul suburbs to call home is Richfield.

Located 10.1 miles outside the city, Richfields is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 15th highest unemployment rate (5.5%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around St. Paul where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding St. Paul with Brooklyn Center casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around St. Paul aren’t all bad. Victoria takes the cake as the best place to live around St. Paul.

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst St. Paul Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Brooklyn Center 30,785 6.3% $140,000 $46,400
2 Columbia Heights 19,689 8.7% $155,300 $48,791
3 Anoka 17,325 6.2% $167,800 $48,850
4 Fridley 27,447 5.8% $166,600 $55,006
5 South St. Paul 20,281 6.3% $160,800 $54,777
6 West St. Paul 19,779 8.6% $175,100 $51,066
7 Minneapolis 404,670 6.9% $212,800 $52,611
8 Spring Lake Park 6,519 7.3% $160,400 $57,993
9 Brooklyn Park 78,823 5.7% $186,400 $65,695
10 Richfield 35,912 5.5% $188,100 $54,642
11 North St. Paul 12,102 9.0% $180,200 $57,156
12 Mounds View 12,708 5.5% $168,600 $56,753
13 Maplewood 39,678 6.2% $188,400 $63,367
14 St. Paul Park 5,352 5.7% $161,300 $68,586
15 Little Canada 10,202 5.1% $203,600 $51,154
16 Inver Grove Heights 34,757 5.5% $216,400 $69,893
17 New Hope 20,819 4.6% $194,900 $50,000
18 Robbinsdale 14,382 5.5% $166,600 $60,388
19 Hopkins 18,077 4.6% $204,300 $51,466
20 River Falls 15,152 2.6% $174,600 $52,598
21 Hastings 22,501 4.9% $182,800 $62,155
22 Coon Rapids 62,159 5.4% $171,200 $66,313
23 Burnsville 61,158 5.0% $215,300 $66,225
24 Crystal 22,777 4.1% $159,600 $60,494
25 Shakopee 39,656 5.3% $221,500 $79,648
26 Bloomington 85,080 4.3% $221,900 $67,473
27 Roseville 35,254 4.2% $224,000 $63,022
28 Dayton 5,031 4.2% $238,900 $78,477
29 New Brighton 22,233 4.7% $223,400 $66,003
30 Forest Lake 19,208 4.2% $234,700 $73,091
31 East Bethel 11,618 4.2% $210,300 $90,134
32 Oakdale 27,956 4.1% $201,900 $67,991
33 Oak Grove 8,334 3.8% $239,000 $85,446
34 Blaine 61,210 4.2% $189,100 $79,915
35 White Bear Lake 24,992 3.9% $192,800 $63,916
36 Cottage Grove 35,632 4.3% $216,500 $85,516
37 Wyoming 7,785 5.0% $201,300 $84,712
38 Vadnais Heights 13,115 3.1% $206,400 $72,673
39 Mound 9,306 4.5% $225,200 $78,920
40 Golden Valley 21,040 5.4% $264,900 $81,919
41 St. Louis Park 47,486 4.1% $236,900 $68,451
42 Hudson 13,367 3.6% $225,900 $65,182
43 Chaska 25,078 2.5% $243,700 $76,673
44 Eagan 65,874 4.4% $251,500 $82,855
45 Apple Valley 50,602 3.7% $218,100 $83,450
46 Corcoran 5,572 4.0% $305,100 $101,659
47 Falcon Heights 5,534 4.7% $283,200 $75,167
48 Arden Hills 10,126 7.1% $282,200 $91,875
49 Ham Lake 15,878 4.9% $268,600 $93,900
50 Ramsey 25,329 3.6% $210,200 $88,286
51 St. Anthony 8,790 3.2% $232,300 $64,504
52 Rosemount 23,099 4.0% $240,300 $92,939
53 Farmington 22,226 2.4% $213,800 $86,447
54 Lake Elmo 8,445 3.1% $375,800 $96,944
55 Hugo 14,223 2.4% $236,200 $86,789
56 Savage 29,399 3.3% $263,300 $97,584
57 Prior Lake 24,997 3.7% $286,100 $101,128
58 Stillwater 19,142 3.4% $248,400 $79,293
59 Andover 31,906 3.7% $241,800 $100,358
60 Minnetonka 51,651 4.1% $301,400 $83,496
61 Lakeville 59,786 2.9% $260,400 $98,864
62 Lino Lakes 20,758 4.0% $263,800 $105,934
63 Orono 7,772 4.9% $593,000 $119,393
64 Champlin 23,929 3.4% $205,700 $84,042
65 Mahtomedi 7,964 3.9% $298,200 $95,679
66 Shoreview 26,161 2.8% $238,100 $81,353
67 Minnetrista 6,963 2.2% $422,400 $143,191
68 Plymouth 75,105 3.0% $310,900 $88,378
69 Mendota Heights 11,231 4.3% $351,100 $100,903
70 Maple Grove 66,969 3.6% $254,400 $96,410
71 Woodbury 66,699 4.0% $282,700 $101,922
72 Medina 5,633 2.2% $586,600 $137,692
73 Eden Prairie 63,206 3.2% $319,400 $101,094
74 Chanhassen 24,796 3.1% $339,800 $115,449
75 Edina 49,976 3.6% $424,500 $91,847
76 Rogers 12,284 1.7% $279,600 $109,023
77 Shorewood 7,548 2.9% $428,100 $123,629
78 Victoria 8,385 2.1% $394,800 $132,431

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