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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 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 25 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.
What's the worst suburb of Winston-Salem? Lexington ranks as the worst suburb of Winston-Salem for 2022 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.
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:
- Best Places To Live In North Carolina
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The 10 Worst Winston-Salem Suburbs To Live For 2022
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 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 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.
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 $28,984 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.
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $28,984 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.7% (highest)
Median Home Value: $82,700 (lowest)
More on Mayodan: 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.
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $54,556 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $112,300 (3rd lowest)
More on Spencer: Data
If you live in Thomasville, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 5th lowest Winston-Salem suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 5th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Winston-Salem. Remember, we looked at 25 cities for this study.
Thomasville is about 18.3 miles to downtown.
Madison has the distinction of being a Winston-Salem suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Madison has the 6th lowest home values in the metro Winston-Salem area, where the median price is $122,000. To put that into perspective, in Oak Ridge, the median income is $124,342, which is the best in the area.
Madison has an unemployment rate of 4.64% which ranks 12th worst.
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $43,884 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $122,000 (6th lowest)
More on Madison: Data
Mocksville has 5,241 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 23.225806451612907%.
Ah, Yadkinville. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Winston-Salem.
It's the place with the 9th most out of work residents in the Winston-Salem metro area (5.83%).
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $39,643 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $126,400 (7th lowest)
More on Yadkinville: Data
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 6th most uninsured people, 9th worst incomes, and has the 7th highest unemployment rate (6.84%) in the entire Winston-Salem metro area.
Homes only cost $162,000 for a reason. That's cheap for Winston-Salem standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Winston-Salem, then Walnut Cove might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Winston-Salem suburb.
About 3.42% of residents are out of work.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 5)
Median Income: $37,453 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.4% (2highest)
Median Home Value: $120,600 (5th lowest)
More on Walnut Cove: Data
Rounding out the ten worst Winston-Salem suburbs to call home is Greensboro.
Located 24.2 miles outside the city, Greensboros is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 8th highest unemployment rate (6.54%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Winston-Salem for 2022
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 2016-2020, 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 25 suburbs to evaluate around Winston-Salem.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 25 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.
Summary: The areas around Winston-Salem where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022
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
For more North Carolina reading, check out:
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Detailed List Of The Worst Winston-Salem Suburbs