These Are The 10 Worst St. Paul Suburbs For 2019


We used science and data to determine which St. Paul suburbs 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 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the worst suburbs around St. Paul.

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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 Deephaven 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 98 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 2019:

  1. Brooklyn Center (Photos)
  2. Fridley (Photos)
  3. Columbia Heights (Photos)
  4. Anoka (Photos)
  5. Somerset
  6. West St. Paul (Photos)
  7. South St. Paul (Photos)
  8. Spring Lake Park (Photos)
  9. Minneapolis (Photos)
  10. Brooklyn Park (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 2019

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 from 2013-2017, 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 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 98 suburbs to evaluate around St. Paul.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 98 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.

Brooklyn Center, MN

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 30,885
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $50,618 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $151,500 (2nd lowest)
More on Brooklyn Center:  Data | Photos

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 3rd worst in the St. Paul area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 2nd 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.

Fridley, MN

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 27,573
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Median Income: $56,583 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $174,000 (10th lowest)
More on Fridley:  Data | Photos

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

This city is 12.1 miles to St. Paul. Income levels here are the 13th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $56,583 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.

Columbia Heights, MN

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 19,823
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $51,071 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $161,100 (3rd lowest)
More on Columbia Heights:  Data | Photos

Back up the highway we go for the third worst St. Paul suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Columbia Heights 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.

Anoka, MN

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 17,374
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $50,625 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $175,200 (11th lowest)
More on Anoka:  Data | Photos

If you live in Anoka, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th lowest St. Paul suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 9th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near St. Paul. Remember, we looked at 98 cities for this study.

Anoka is about 23.3 miles to downtown.

5. Somerset

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,696
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $61,625 (20th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (32nd highest)
Median Home Value: $150,000 (1st lowest)
More on Somerset:

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

All snarkiness aside, Somerset has the 1st lowest home values in the metro St. Paul area, where the median price is $150,000. To put that into perspective, in Deephaven, the median income is $148,783, which is the best in the area.

Somerset has an unemployment rate of 4.2% which ranks 31st worst.

West St. Paul, MN

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 19,750
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $52,144 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $183,300 (18th lowest)
More on West St. Paul:  Data | Photos

West St. Paul has 19,750 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 11.0%.

South St. Paul, MN

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 20,280
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $58,026 (16th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (17th highest)
Median Home Value: $169,200 (7th lowest)
More on South St. Paul:  Data | Photos

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

It’s the place with the 17th most out of work residents in the St. Paul metro area (5.0%).

Spring Lake Park, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 6,535
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Income: $57,582 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $167,900 (5th lowest)
More on Spring Lake Park:  Data | Photos

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 22nd most uninsured people, 14th worst incomes, and has the 6th highest unemployment rate (6.3%) in the entire St. Paul metro area.

Homes only cost $167,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for St. Paul standards.

Minneapolis, MN

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 411,452
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $55,720 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $222,600 (36th lowest)
More on Minneapolis:  Data | Photos

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

About 6.0% of residents are out of work.

Brooklyn Park, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 79,462
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Income: $68,274 (31st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $194,200 (22nd lowest)
More on Brooklyn Park:  Data | Photos

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

Located 16.4 miles outside the city, Brooklyn Parks is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 14th highest unemployment rate (5.1%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around St. Paul where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019

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. Deephaven takes the cake as the best place to live around St. Paul.

  • Deephaven
  • Victoria
  • Elko New Market

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst St. Paul Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Brooklyn Center 30,885 $50,618 $151,500
2 Fridley 27,573 $56,583 $174,000
3 Columbia Heights 19,823 $51,071 $161,100
4 Anoka 17,374 $50,625 $175,200
5 Somerset 2,696 $61,625 $150,000
6 West St. Paul 19,750 $52,144 $183,300
7 South St. Paul 20,280 $58,026 $169,200
8 Spring Lake Park 6,535 $57,582 $167,900
9 Minneapolis 411,452 $55,720 $222,600
10 Brooklyn Park 79,462 $68,274 $194,200
11 St. Paul Park 5,376 $70,231 $167,300
12 Maplewood 40,127 $63,941 $198,400
13 Richfield 35,993 $59,844 $197,500
14 Hopkins 18,217 $53,027 $214,200
15 North St. Paul 12,241 $61,225 $183,300
16 New Hope 20,909 $53,228 $202,400
17 Inver Grove Heights 34,976 $73,296 $226,900
18 Newport 3,485 $63,445 $185,500
19 Crystal 22,910 $62,831 $168,200
20 Burnsville 61,302 $67,397 $224,700
21 Robbinsdale 14,446 $62,891 $171,800
22 River Falls 15,256 $54,350 $177,500
23 Little Canada 10,321 $49,750 $202,700
24 Coon Rapids 62,342 $68,586 $178,400
25 Mounds View 12,872 $60,184 $179,300
26 Osseo 2,680 $52,569 $171,500
27 Bloomington 85,417 $70,512 $227,900
28 Lauderdale 2,501 $47,390 $175,500
29 Hastings 22,620 $66,403 $192,500
30 Shakopee 40,024 $84,400 $241,100
31 New Brighton 22,440 $68,775 $230,200
32 Oakdale 27,972 $69,525 $205,800
33 Roseville 35,624 $67,242 $232,100
34 Oak Park Heights 4,823 $57,655 $224,300
35 Dayton 5,238 $87,966 $246,800
36 Forest Lake 19,406 $74,475 $244,500
37 Blaine 62,453 $80,423 $202,000
38 East Bethel 11,733 $86,893 $223,200
39 Excelsior 2,375 $55,000 $462,700
40 White Bear Lake 25,411 $66,662 $204,900
41 Cottage Grove 35,902 $90,337 $224,300
42 North Hudson 3,806 $64,320 $228,200
43 Centerville 3,943 $98,214 $242,800
44 Corcoran 5,671 $102,708 $304,500
45 Hudson 13,456 $69,065 $231,500
46 Mound 9,380 $82,010 $228,100
47 Wyoming 7,793 $85,250 $210,500
48 Oak Grove 8,453 $97,782 $255,200
49 Arden Hills 10,250 $89,831 $283,700
50 Golden Valley 21,208 $87,964 $278,400
51 Prescott 4,234 $75,391 $181,900
52 St. Louis Park 48,124 $71,346 $239,800
53 Lake Elmo 8,621 $101,528 $394,500
54 Apple Valley 51,109 $85,181 $230,900
55 Columbus 4,009 $84,773 $245,000
56 Chaska 25,578 $81,938 $249,900
57 Falcon Heights 5,560 $68,654 $284,900
58 Bayport 3,688 $75,815 $217,100
59 Eagan 66,102 $84,756 $262,500
60 Circle Pines 4,967 $81,672 $188,200
61 Vadnais Heights 13,283 $77,855 $221,200
62 Wayzata 4,467 $72,965 $471,500
63 St. Anthony 8,930 $67,910 $238,000
64 Ham Lake 16,119 $95,962 $280,000
65 Ramsey 25,853 $92,984 $221,500
66 Prior Lake 25,452 $100,190 $286,300
67 Rosemount 23,474 $94,341 $249,600
68 Farmington 22,502 $88,674 $224,000
69 Afton 2,963 $109,688 $427,700
70 Savage 30,011 $101,899 $276,100
71 Scandia 4,044 $87,171 $342,300
72 Minnetonka 52,102 $86,672 $315,800
73 Andover 32,257 $105,270 $258,400
74 Stillwater 19,232 $82,205 $255,900
75 Hugo 14,415 $88,813 $249,300
76 Champlin 24,209 $89,043 $219,700
77 Lakeville 61,056 $102,943 $276,500
78 Orono 7,887 $130,300 $563,700
79 Plymouth 76,258 $91,867 $327,000
80 Mendota Heights 11,253 $107,865 $361,600
81 Shoreview 26,432 $84,362 $248,600
82 Mahtomedi 8,005 $95,592 $306,000
83 Lino Lakes 20,950 $107,438 $268,900
84 Woodbury 67,648 $103,308 $295,200
85 Maple Grove 68,362 $101,859 $266,500
86 Minnetrista 7,187 $148,783 $445,900
87 Chanhassen 25,108 $116,569 $350,600
88 Eden Prairie 63,660 $103,426 $334,000
89 Medina 5,920 $138,125 $631,000
90 Carver 4,470 $109,938 $309,300
91 Grant 4,140 $110,278 $444,900
92 Edina 50,603 $96,477 $438,300
93 Shorewood 7,696 $127,361 $436,100
94 Rogers 12,564 $120,602 $298,700
95 North Oaks 4,961 $142,083 $580,900
96 Elko New Market 4,556 $118,750 $280,000
97 Victoria 8,679 $140,889 $414,700
98 Deephaven 3,818 $136,331 $550,400

 Worst 

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