The 10 Worst Vancouver Suburbs For 2023

We used data and Friday Night Science to identify the worst suburbs of Vancouver for 2023. The worst Vancouver suburbs are Woodland and Gresham.

The suburbs of Vancouver call to all types of people looking to escape city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Vancouver to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

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 Saturday Night Science to determine which Vancouver ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Vancouver area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of 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.

We examined the 33 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.

The 10 worst suburbs around Vancouver for 2023

  1. Woodland
  2. Gresham
  3. Estacada
  4. St. Helens
  5. Fairview
  6. Cornelius
  7. Columbia
  8. Kalama
  9. Gladstone
  10. Washougal

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Vancouver? Woodland ranks as the worst suburb of Vancouver for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

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.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

For more Washington reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Vancouver Suburbs To Live For 2023

Woodland, WA

Source: Wikipedia User Oldhippy1947 at English Wikipedia | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,368
Median Income: $74,221 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $275,900 (3rd lowest)
More on Woodland:

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

And in the world of worst rankings, Woodland beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 8th worst in the Vancouver area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 3rd 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 Woodland.

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. Gresham

Gresham, OR

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY 4.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 114,164
Median Income: $61,826 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $347,600 (11th lowest)
More on Gresham:

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

This city is 11.8 miles to Vancouver. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $61,826 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.

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

3. Estacada

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,353
Median Income: $75,000 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $363,000 (14th lowest)
More on Estacada:

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Vancouver suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Estacada 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 dropout rate is poor compared to other Vancouver suburbs.

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

4. St. Helens

St. Helens, OR

Source: Wikipedia User Cacophony | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,808
Median Income: $67,839 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $251,000 (2nd lowest)
More on St. Helens:

If you live in St. Helens, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th lowest Vancouver suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 10th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Vancouver. Remember, we looked at 33 cities for this study.

St. Helens is about 18.6 miles to downtown.

5. Fairview

Fairview, OR

Source: Wikipedia User Finetooth | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,439
Median Income: $65,604 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.6% (29th highest)
Median Home Value: $328,600 (6th lowest)
More on Fairview:

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

All snarkiness aside, Fairview has the 6th lowest home values in the metro Vancouver area, where the median price is $328,600. The median income is $131,980.

Fairview has an unemployment rate of 2.63% which ranks 29th worst.

6. Cornelius

Cornelius, OR

Source: Wikipedia User M.O. Stevens | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,893
Median Income: $72,917 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (23rd highest)
Median Home Value: $330,000 (7th lowest)
More on Cornelius:

Cornelius has 12,893 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 10.428537975177582%.

7. Columbia

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,243
Median Income: $45,507 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (20th highest)
Median Home Value: $122,900 (lowest)
More on Columbia:

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

It’s the place with the 20th most out of work residents in the Vancouver metro area (4.02%).

Kalama, WA

Source: Wikipedia User Joe Mabel | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,888
Median Income: $87,500 (19th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 1.4% (32nd highest)
Median Home Value: $324,700 (5th lowest)
More on Kalama:

Kalama is a city about 28.0 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. Kalama has the 3rd most uninsured people, 19th worst incomes, and has the 32nd highest unemployment rate (1.38%) in the entire Vancouver metro area.

Homes only cost $324,700 for a reason. That’s cheap for Vancouver standards.

9. Gladstone

Gladstone, OR

Source: Wikipedia User M.O. Stevens | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,017
Median Income: $83,214 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $365,100 (15th lowest)
More on Gladstone:

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

About 5.91% of residents are out of work.

Washougal, WA

Source: Wikipedia User Jared Adams | CC BY 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,664
Median Income: $95,894 (25th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (highest)
Median Home Value: $376,000 (17th lowest)
More on Washougal:

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

Located 12.8 miles outside the city, Washougals is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the highest unemployment rate (8.4%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Vancouver for 2023

To figure out how bad a Vancouver suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

It’s Saturday Night Science.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2017-2021, 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 dropouts
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Vancouver.

We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 33 suburbs to evaluate around Vancouver.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 33 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 looking at you, Woodland.

We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Vancouver.

Summary: The areas around Vancouver where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Vancouver with Woodland 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.

  • Sherwood
  • West Linn
  • Lake Oswego

For more Washington reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Vancouver Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Woodland 6,368 $74,221 $275,900
2 Gresham 114,164 $61,826 $347,600
3 Estacada 4,353 $75,000 $363,000
4 St. Helens 13,808 $67,839 $251,000
5 Fairview 10,439 $65,604 $328,600
6 Cornelius 12,893 $72,917 $330,000
7 Columbia 10,243 $45,507 $122,900
8 Kalama 2,888 $87,500 $324,700
9 Gladstone 12,017 $83,214 $365,100
10 Washougal 16,664 $95,894 $376,000
11 Forest Grove 25,767 $73,499 $370,900
12 Newberg 25,108 $81,210 $357,900
13 Portland 647,176 $78,476 $462,800
14 Troutdale 16,353 $85,131 $351,500
15 Canby 18,078 $83,948 $385,700
16 Milwaukie 21,108 $73,351 $388,700
17 Wilsonville 25,887 $78,508 $464,100
18 Battle Ground 20,536 $85,943 $344,700
19 Hillsboro 105,909 $91,540 $386,700
20 Sandy 12,383 $88,775 $347,000
21 Beaverton 97,466 $82,380 $419,600
22 Tualatin 27,821 $97,931 $466,200
23 Scappoose 7,871 $86,528 $339,800
24 La Center 3,471 $91,375 $399,700
25 Ridgefield 10,432 $107,861 $450,700
26 Oregon 11,100 $89,301 $292,800
27 Tigard 54,750 $93,532 $456,500
28 North Plains 3,280 $101,988 $419,800
29 Happy Valley 23,442 $131,980 $559,300
30 Camas 25,774 $121,094 $497,100
31 Lake Oswego 40,390 $120,585 $691,700
32 West Linn 27,173 $124,098 $572,000
33 Sherwood 20,281 $104,651 $454,400
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

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