The 10 Worst Winston-Salem Suburbs For 2021


We used science and data to determine which Winston-Salem 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 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst suburbs around Winston-Salem.

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

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 Winston-Salem 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Winston-Salem area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Winston-Salem proper, although Oak Ridge certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Winston-Salem are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..

We examined the 24 biggest suburbs of Winston-Salem to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in north carolina lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Winston-Salem in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Winston-Salem for 2021:

  1. Lexington
  2. Mayodan
  3. Spencer
  4. Madison
  5. Thomasville
  6. Yadkinville
  7. Mocksville
  8. High Point
  9. Archdale
  10. Trinity

What's the worst suburb of Winston-Salem? Lexington ranks as the worst suburb of Winston-Salem for 2021 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

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

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

And remember, there are some good places to live around Winston-Salem 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 North Carolina reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Winston-Salem Suburbs To Live For 2021

Lexington, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 18,861
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $29,938 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.0% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $104,200 (3rd lowest)
More on Lexington:  Data | Photos

We'll get the ball rolling with Lexington, the absolute worst place to live around Winston-Salem according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Lexington beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 2nd worst in the Winston-Salem 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 Lexington.

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.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,508
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $27,614 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $91,100 (lowest)
More on Mayodan:  Data

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

This city is 27.4 miles to Winston-Salem. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $27,614 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.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 3,230
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $53,163 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.5% (highest)
Median Home Value: $98,500 (2nd lowest)
More on Spencer:  Data

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Winston-Salem suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Spencer 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 Winston-Salem suburbs.

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

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,347
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $44,560 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $114,200 (4th lowest)
More on Madison:  Data

If you live in Madison, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 6th lowest Winston-Salem 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 Winston-Salem. Remember, we looked at 24 cities for this study.

Madison is about 25.6 miles to downtown.

Thomasville, NC

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 26,784
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $40,648 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $116,800 (5th lowest)
More on Thomasville:  Data | Photos

Thomasville has the distinction of being a Winston-Salem suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Thomasville has the 5th lowest home values in the metro Winston-Salem area, where the median price is $116,800. To put that into perspective, in Oak Ridge, the median income is $127,578, which is the best in the area.

Thomasville has an unemployment rate of 6.28% which ranks 6th worst.

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,888
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $40,335 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $126,900 (7th lowest)
More on Yadkinville:  Data

Yadkinville has 2,888 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 12.903225806451614%.

Mocksville, NC

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,213
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $42,872 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (20th highest)
Median Home Value: $140,400 (9th lowest)
More on Mocksville:  Data | Photos

Ah, Mocksville. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Winston-Salem.

It's the place with the 20th most out of work residents in the Winston-Salem metro area (3.21%).

High Point, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 111,714
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $47,234 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $151,900 (12th lowest)
More on High Point:  Data | Photos

High Point is a city about 17.2 miles from Winston-Salem, but Winston-Salem 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. High Point has the 7th most uninsured people, 7th worst incomes, and has the 5th highest unemployment rate (6.95%) in the entire Winston-Salem metro area.

Homes only cost $151,900 for a reason. That's cheap for Winston-Salem standards.

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 11,510
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Median Income: $53,030 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $138,000 (8th lowest)
More on Archdale:  Data

If you absolutely have to live near Winston-Salem, then Archdale might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Winston-Salem suburb.

About 5.05% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,579
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Income: $54,598 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $142,400 (10th lowest)
More on Trinity:  Data

Rounding out the ten worst Winston-Salem suburbs to call home is Trinity.

Located 21.0 miles outside the city, Trinitys is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 15th highest unemployment rate (4.26%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Winston-Salem for 2021

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 2015-2019, 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 Winston-Salem.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 24 suburbs to evaluate around Winston-Salem.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 24 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 Winston-Salem." We're lookin' at you, Lexington. You can download the data here.

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.

The areas around Winston-Salem where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2021

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Winston-Salem with Lexington casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Winston-Salem aren't all bad. Oak Ridge takes the cake as the best place to live around Winston-Salem.

  • Oak Ridge
  • Clemmons
  • Summerfield

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Winston-Salem Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Lexington 18,861 $29,938 $104,200
2 Mayodan 2,508 $27,614 $91,100
3 Spencer 3,230 $53,163 $98,500
4 Madison 2,347 $44,560 $114,200
5 Thomasville 26,784 $40,648 $116,800
6 Yadkinville 2,888 $40,335 $126,900
7 Mocksville 5,213 $42,872 $140,400
8 High Point 111,714 $47,234 $151,900
9 Archdale 11,510 $53,030 $138,000
10 Trinity 6,579 $54,598 $142,400
11 Rural Hall 3,188 $48,700 $124,300
12 Greensboro 291,303 $48,964 $156,300
13 Midway 4,840 $58,034 $160,300
14 Kernersville 24,576 $51,645 $181,300
15 Tobaccoville 2,634 $67,500 $152,700
16 Jamestown 15,289 $51,789 $144,800
17 Stokesdale 5,396 $84,583 $205,400
18 King 6,961 $65,833 $158,000
19 Wallburg 3,053 $63,555 $170,500
20 Lewisville 13,861 $78,464 $195,400
21 Bermuda Run 2,666 $83,049 $264,300
22 Summerfield 11,151 $103,769 $361,100
23 Clemmons 20,313 $70,659 $226,600
24 Oak Ridge 6,901 $127,578 $383,300

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