10 Worst Neighborhoods In Chicago 2024: Navigating the Toughest Corners

chicago neoghborhoods

Alright, let me paint you a picture. Imagine you’re sitting across from me in a cozy coffee shop in downtown Chicago.

The aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air, and the murmur of city life hums in the background. I lean in, my eyes serious, and begin to share a tale that’s as real as the Windy City’s biting winter chill.

You see, Chicago, my friend, is a city of contrasts. It’s a place where the glitz and glamour of the Magnificent Mile coexist with the harsh realities of neighborhoods that see nearly 450 murders a year.

It’s a city that’s as famous for its deep-dish pizza as it is infamous for its crime rate.

So, before you decide to pack your bags and make Chi-town your new home, I’ve got some insider info you might want to consider.

I’ve got my hands on RoadSnacks’ list of the worst neighborhoods in Chicago for 2024. Now, you might be wondering, how did they come up with this list? Well, it’s not as simple as throwing darts at a map.

We used a system they call ‘Snackability’. They took a deep dive into the latest census data, analyzing income levels, unemployment rates, crime statistics, and home prices for 77 Chicago neighborhoods with over 2,000 residents each.

The neighborhoods that scored low on this scale, well, let’s just say they’re not the kind of places you’d want to stroll through at night.

But don’t get me wrong, Chicago isn’t all doom and gloom. There are plenty of neighborhoods where the only crimes committed are against fashion.

Places like North Center, where their annual Holiday Delight is a sight to behold, or Logan Square, where the Art’s Festival is a must-see.

10 Impoverished Communities 2024

Rank Neighborhood Population Home Value Median Income
1 Riverdale 7,361 $24,186 $15,894
2 Englewood 25,858 $70,261 $23,317
3 Washington Park 11,871 $104,058 $24,556
4 Fuller Park 2,348 $109,700 $22,962
5 West Englewood 30,662 $90,438 $30,441
6 Burnside 2,423 $100,900 $25,642
7 South Deering 14,598 $88,955 $37,207
8 Pullman 6,565 $107,912 $38,397
9 Grand Crossing 32,217 $112,668 $30,799
10 South Chicago 27,113 $101,252 $32,122

10. South Chicago

South Chicago

South Chicago, despite its challenges, has its charms. Its location along Lake Michigan offers its 27,113 residents beachside summer weekends, and it boasts a collection of beautiful churches, including the historic St. Michael’s.

However, a tough economy, marked by a 13.2% unemployment rate and a median income of $32,122, places South Chicago among the city’s least desirable neighborhoods.

  • Population: 27,113
  • Median Home Value: $101,252 (8th worst)
  • Median Income: $32,122 (14th worst)

9. Grand Crossing

Our tour takes us next to Grand Crossing, a neighborhood nestled between 67th and 79th, home to 32,217 residents. Despite its proximity to the lake, it’s not a place you’d want to visit.

With the 8th worst crime rate, median income levels around $30,799, and average home values at $112,668, Grand Crossing is far from a parade-worthy neighborhood.

  • Population: 32,217
  • Median Home Value: $112,668 (14th worst)
  • Median Income: $30,799 (13th worst)

8. Pullman

Pullman Chicago Neighborhood

Pullman, originally a company town named after the Pullman Company, a luxury railroad car manufacturer, has seen better days. With the decline of train manufacturing, Pullman has borne the brunt of economic shifts, making it one of Chicago’s least desirable places to live.

Despite a 13.0% unemployment rate and a median income of $38,397, Pullman’s rich history lends it a unique charm, as evidenced by the stunning Pullman National Monument Visitor Center.

  • Population: 6,565
  • Median Home Value: $107,912 (10th worst)
  • Median Income: $38,397 (26th worst)

7. South Deering

South Deering

Next, we venture to South Deering, one of Chicago’s southernmost neighborhoods. Once buoyed by local steel refineries, the area now languishes among the city’s least appealing spots.

The local economy is harsh, with a staggering 14.5% unemployment rate and a median income of $37,207 among its 14,598 residents. Yet, South Deering’s cultural heritage endures, with the renowned Calumet Fisheries drawing visitors from far and wide.

  • Population: 14,598
  • Median Home Value: $88,955 (3rd worst)
  • Median Income: $37,207 (25th worst)

6. Burnside

Our journey continues to Burnside, a neighborhood named after Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, whose unique facial hair inspired the term “sideburns.” However, this fun fact is overshadowed by Burnside’s reputation as one of the city’s least desirable places to live.

Located in the South Side, Burnside has been grappling with economic challenges since the closure of local manufacturing facilities in the latter half of the 20th century.

With a median income of $25,642 and a 9.6% unemployment rate among its 2,423 residents, the struggle is real. Yet, amidst the hardship, Burnside Park offers a breath of fresh air, and the neighborhood’s nightlife is surprisingly vibrant.

  • Population: 2,423
  • Median Home Value: $100,900 (7th worst)
  • Median Income: $25,642 (6th worst)

5. West Englewood

West Englewood Chicago

Our tour concludes in West Englewood, a neighborhood that’s a stone’s throw away from the worst conditions in the city. Home to 30,662 residents, it ranks low in home values and income levels, and high in crime.

West Englewood locals are easy to spot – they’re the ones with a 40, a pistol, a beat-up car, and a loyal pit bull by their side.

  • Population: 30,662
  • Median Home Value: $90,438 (4th worst)
  • Median Income: $30,441 (12th worst)

4. Fuller Park

Fuller Park

Fuller Park, a historical hotspot of danger in Chicago, is next on our list. With a struggling economy and high crime rate, this South Side neighborhood is far from appealing.

The 2,348 residents face a 13.6% unemployment rate and a median income of just $22,962. Yet, amidst the urban decay, there’s a silver lining – the Eden Place Nature Center, a beacon of environmental education nestled within the neighborhood’s namesake park.

  • Population: 2,348
  • Median Home Value: $109,700 (11th worst)
  • Median Income: $22,962 (2nd worst)

While exploring the toughest corners of Chicago, it’s also worth taking a broader look at the safety concerns across the state of Illinois. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the most dangerous cities in Illinois for 2024.

3. Washington Park

Washington Park

Our journey takes us to Washington Park, where job hunting is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. With an unemployment rate of 16.2% and median income of just $24,556, this South Side neighborhood is a tough place to call home.

But it’s not all bleak. The neighborhood’s namesake park and cultural gems like the DuSable Museum of African American History offer a glimmer of hope.

  • Population: 11,871
  • Median Home Value: $104,058 (9th worst)
  • Median Income: $24,556 (5th worst)

2. Englewood

Next stop, Englewood, a neighborhood that’s gained quite a notorious reputation. Sandwiched between Garfield and 75th Street, west of I-90, this area is home to about 25,858 souls.

Poverty is a harsh reality for 40% of the residents, and crime rates are sky-high, with around 40 murders last year alone.

Once a bustling community of 100,000, Englewood’s population has dwindled to a quarter of that. Day or night, a stroll through this neighborhood is not for the faint-hearted.

  • Population: 25,858
  • Median Home Value: $70,261 (2nd worst)
  • Median Income: $23,317 (3rd worst)

1. Riverdale

Chicago Riverdale

Let’s embark on this journey with Riverdale, the infamous crown holder of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

Nestled halfway between the heart of the city and Chicago Heights, along the veins of I-94, Riverdale is a place you’d want to bypass, especially if you stumble upon E. 130th Street.

When the sun sets, Riverdale reveals its true colors. With one in four residents unemployed and families scraping by on a meager $14,000 a year, some corners of this neighborhood bear an uncanny resemblance to a third world country.

Fancy a home here for a mere $24,186? I thought not.

  • Population: 7,361
  • Median Home Value: $24,186 (worst)
  • Median Income: $15,894 (worst)

While discussing the challenges of Chicago’s neighborhoods, it’s important to consider the broader context of gang activity across Illinois. This article provides an in-depth look at the growing gang problem in the state.


To unravel the mystery of which neighborhoods in Chicago are the least desirable to live in, I had to get into the minds of the people. What do they value? What do they avoid?

Once I had a grasp on these preferences, I could identify the neighborhoods that lacked these desirable qualities. I used the following criteria to guide my analysis, aiming for the most comprehensive results:

  1. High unemployment (Fewer job opportunities)
  2. Low median income (Lower earnings)
  3. Low population density (Lack of social activities)
  4. Low home values (Indicating reluctance to invest in living here)
  5. High crime (Estimated)

With these criteria in mind, I ranked each of Chicago’s neighborhoods from worst to best.

Next, I averaged the individual rankings for each criterion to create a “Worst Score.”

The neighborhood with the lowest “Worst Score” earned the dubious honor of being the worst neighborhood in Chicago.

Join me as we delve deeper into these less-than-ideal places to live in Chicago. Or, if you’re in a hurry, skip to the end to see the full list of all 77 neighborhoods, ranked from worst to best.


What are some of the historical factors that have contributed to the conditions in these neighborhoods? 

Many urban neighborhoods have been shaped by a variety of historical events and policies, such as industrial decline, housing discrimination, and urban renewal projects.

These factors have often resulted in concentrated poverty and disinvestment in certain neighborhoods.

How do they compare to others in the United States with similar issues? 

While each neighborhood has its unique challenges, many of the issues faced by these neighborhoods, such as high crime rates, unemployment, and low income, are common in disadvantaged neighborhoods across the United States.

What resources are available for residents in these neighborhoods to improve their living conditions?

: Resources can vary, but often include social services like food assistance programs, job training and placement services, affordable housing programs, and educational resources.

How do schools in these neighborhoods perform compared to other areas in Chicago?

School performance can vary greatly, but schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods often face challenges such as lower test scores and graduation rates, and fewer resources.

What is the impact of gentrification?

Gentrification can lead to increased property values and improvements in neighborhood amenities. However, it can also lead to displacement of long-term residents who can no longer afford to live in the neighborhood.

What role do community organizations play in these neighborhoods?

Community organizations often play a crucial role in providing services, advocating for residents, and working towards neighborhood improvement.

How does public transportation acces to other parts of Chicago?

 Access to public transportation can vary. In some neighborhoods, residents may have easy access to buses and trains, while in others, public transportation may be less accessible.

What are the health outcomes for residents in these neighborhoods?

Health outcomes can be influenced by a variety of factors, including access to healthcare, environmental factors, and lifestyle. Residents in disadvantaged neighborhoods often face greater health challenges and have lower life expectancies.

In addition to the issues faced by Chicago’s neighborhoods, Illinois as a whole is grappling with a significant crime problem. This article offers a detailed comparison of the murder rate in Illinois to the rest of the U.S.


Well there you have it — the worst of the neighborhoods in Chicago with Riverdale landing at the bottom of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Chicago aren’t all bad. North Center takes the cake as the best place to live in Chicago.

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