These Are The 10 Worst Vancouver Suburbs For 2018

We used science and data to determine which Vancouver 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 Vancouver.

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 Vancouver ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Vancouver area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Vancouver proper, although Sherwood certainly tries.

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

We examined the 30 biggest suburbs of Vancouver to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Washington lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Vancouver in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Vancouver for 2018:

  1. Columbia
  2. St. Helens (Photos)
  3. Gresham (Photos)
  4. Woodland (Photos)
  5. Cornelius (Photos)
  6. Forest Grove (Photos)
  7. Fairview (Photos)
  8. Newberg (Photos)
  9. Troutdale (Photos)
  10. Scappoose (Photos)

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

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

And remember, there are some good places to live around Vancouver 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 Washington reading, check out:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Vancouver 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 Vancouver.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 30 suburbs to evaluate around Vancouver.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 30 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 Vancouver.” We’re lookin’ at you, Columbia.

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. Columbia

Population: 10,382
Unemployment Rate: 9.5%
Median Home Price: $102,100
Median Income: $39,625
More on Columbia: Data | Jobs

We’ll get the ball rolling with Columbia, the absolute worst place to live around Vancouver according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Columbia beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 1st worst in the Vancouver 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 Columbia.

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. St. Helens

St. Helens, Washington

Population: 13,169
Unemployment Rate: 7.7%
Median Home Price: $179,300
Median Income: $45,727
More on St. Helens: Data | Jobs

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

This city is 18.6 miles to Vancouver. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $45,727 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. Gresham

Gresham, Washington

Population: 110,042
Unemployment Rate: 8.8%
Median Home Price: $224,000
Median Income: $49,866
More on Gresham: Data | Jobs

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Vancouver suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Gresham 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 Vancouver suburbs.

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

4. Woodland

Woodland, Washington

Population: 5,684
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Median Home Price: $193,900
Median Income: $62,344
More on Woodland: Data | Jobs

If you live in Woodland, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 15th lowest Vancouver suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 28th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Vancouver. Remember, we looked at 30 cities for this study.

Woodland is about 21.0 miles to downtown.

5. Cornelius

Cornelius, Washington

Population: 12,241
Unemployment Rate: 11.5%
Median Home Price: $193,300
Median Income: $58,420
More on Cornelius: Data | Jobs

Cornelius has the distinction of being a Vancouver suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Cornelius has the 3rd lowest home values in the metro Vancouver area, where the median price is $193,300. To put that into perspective, in Sherwood, the median income is $106,197, which is the best in the area.

Cornelius has an unemployment rate of 11.5% which ranks 2nd worst.

6. Forest Grove

Forest Grove, Washington

Source: Public domain

Population: 23,214
Unemployment Rate: 7.6%
Median Home Price: $232,400
Median Income: $49,857
More on Forest Grove: Data | Jobs

Forest Grove has 23,214 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 15.4%.

7. Fairview

Fairview, Washington

Population: 9,215
Unemployment Rate: 7.3%
Median Home Price: $211,600
Median Income: $54,802
More on Fairview: Data | Jobs

Ah, Fairview. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Vancouver.

It’s the place with the 12th most out of work residents in the Vancouver metro area (7.3%).

8. Newberg

Newberg, Washington

Population: 22,749
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Median Home Price: $228,000
Median Income: $53,075
More on Newberg: Data | Jobs

Newberg is a city about 28.7 miles from Vancouver, but Vancouver 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. Newberg has the 12th most uninsured people, 5th worst incomes, and has the 17th highest unemployment rate (6.6%) in the entire Vancouver metro area.

Homes only cost $228,000 for a reason. That’s cheap for Vancouver standards.

9. Troutdale

Troutdale, Washington

Population: 16,535
Unemployment Rate: 11.6%
Median Home Price: $233,600
Median Income: $62,992
More on Troutdale: Data | Jobs

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

About 11.6% of residents are out of work.

10. Scappoose

Scappoose, Washington

Source: Public domain

Population: 6,901
Unemployment Rate: 9.2%
Median Home Price: $222,400
Median Income: $63,175
More on Scappoose: Data | Jobs

Rounding out the ten worst Vancouver suburbs to call home is Scappoose.

Located 15.9 miles outside the city, Scappooses is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 4th highest unemployment rate (9.2%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around Vancouver where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Vancouver with Columbia casting itself ahead of the pack.

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

For more Washington reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Vancouver Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Columbia 10,382 9.5% $102,100 $39,625
2 St. Helens 13,169 7.7% $179,300 $45,727
3 Gresham 110,042 8.8% $224,000 $49,866
4 Woodland 5,684 3.6% $193,900 $62,344
5 Cornelius 12,241 11.5% $193,300 $58,420
6 Forest Grove 23,214 7.6% $232,400 $49,857
7 Fairview 9,215 7.3% $211,600 $54,802
8 Newberg 22,749 6.6% $228,000 $53,075
9 Troutdale 16,535 11.6% $233,600 $62,992
10 Scappoose 6,901 9.2% $222,400 $63,175
11 Battle Ground 18,987 6.8% $223,000 $60,644
12 Beaverton 94,865 7.9% $303,500 $59,620
13 Gladstone 11,850 8.8% $232,300 $57,169
14 Portland 620,589 7.5% $319,400 $58,423
15 Hillsboro 100,462 6.3% $255,700 $70,180
16 Sandy 10,369 6.6% $219,600 $61,687
17 Milwaukie 20,643 7.2% $245,000 $55,880
18 Washougal 14,987 7.3% $243,400 $70,943
19 Canby 17,218 5.4% $256,900 $62,035
20 Tigard 50,787 6.1% $320,100 $65,505
21 Wilsonville 21,814 6.8% $349,800 $63,097
22 Damascus 10,842 8.0% $360,300 $82,830
23 Tualatin 27,024 6.2% $337,100 $71,896
24 Ridgefield 6,112 3.1% $287,600 $88,286
25 Oregon 9,912 3.5% $226,900 $76,480
26 Camas 21,393 5.4% $341,300 $94,350
27 Happy Valley 17,474 6.5% $425,300 $106,197
28 West Linn 26,242 5.6% $397,500 $89,806
29 Lake Oswego 38,065 6.3% $508,500 $89,979
30 Sherwood 18,965 4.8% $313,000 $86,111

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.


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