10 Worst Neighborhoods In Seattle 2024: The Other Side

worst Seattle neighborhoods

Seattle, the Emerald City, is a vibrant tapestry of neighborhoods, each with its own unique flavor. Picture a bustling cityscape where hipsters, preppies, and college kids all find their own corners to call home. And yes, there are even areas that feel a bit rough around the edges.

Seattle is a city of contrasts, a place where everyone can find their niche. It’s a city that consistently ranks among the best places to live in the U.S., thanks to a robust economy and a plethora of entertainment options.

But let’s be honest, not every corner of Seattle is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Some neighborhoods, well, they could use a little sprucing up.

So, let’s embark on a journey today, a journey guided by science and data, to uncover the neighborhoods in Seattle that could use a little extra TLC.

Think of them as the underdogs of the city, the ones that haven’t quite caught up with Seattle’s shining reputation.

And remember, even in a city as diverse and dynamic as Seattle, not every neighborhood can be the Laurelhurst, which stands out like a beacon of desirability.

We’ve taken a deep dive into 78 of Seattle’s neighborhoods to uncover those that might not be at the top of your relocation list. And the neighborhood that seems to be in need of the most love? According to the latest census data, that would be South Park.

But don’t shoot the messenger! We’re just here to give you the lay of the land. And remember, every neighborhood has its charm, its unique character that makes it special to those who call it home.

Once we’ve finished our tour of the city, you’ll find a complete chart ranking every neighborhood from those most in need of a pick-me-up to the shining stars of the city.

And if you’re curious about areas to steer clear of beyond the city limits, we’ve got you covered with a list of the suburbs that might not be quite up to par.

So buckle up, and let’s explore the diverse neighborhoods of Seattle, from the diamonds in the rough to the crown jewels of the city.

10 Cruddiest Places

Georgetown 2,000 $314,817 $64,669
Roxhill 5,249 $324,975 $63,066
Sand Point 703 $396,900 $66,250
North Delridge 4,280 $352,340 $73,541
South Delridge 6,231 $280,467 $52,981
Northgate 4,283 $363,225 $55,515
Rainier Beach 15,358 $334,780 $61,016
University District 26,977 $298,214 $51,109
Riverview 3,508 $335,700 $76,727

1. South Park

South Park Seattle

  • Population: 3,549
  • Median Home Value: $193,200
  • Median Income: $37,624

South Park, a neighborhood far removed from its animated namesake, is tucked away in the southern reaches of Seattle. It’s a stone’s throw away from the city’s bustling airport, separated only by the Duwamish Waterway.

While it may not be the verdant oasis its name suggests, it does offer a smattering of green spaces and some quaint spots by the water.

However, it’s a neighborhood that’s seen its share of struggles, with a median income of $37,624 and an unemployment rate of 7.0%. It’s a place where the American Dream seems a little harder to reach, but its spirit remains unbroken.

2. Georgetown

Georgetown Seattle

  • Population: 2,000
  • Median Home Value: $314,817
  • Median Income: $64,669

Georgetown, the neighborhood that plays host to the King County International Airport/Boeing Field, is a place where the sky is rarely quiet. Unless you’re a die-hard plane spotter, the constant hum of aircraft might not be music to your ears.

Despite a robust economy, with a median income of $64,669 and an unemployment rate of 5.9%, the lack of nearby amenities and a high median home price of $314,817 make it a challenging place to call home.

It’s a neighborhood that’s more about function than form, a place where industry takes precedence over residential comfort.

3. Roxhill

  • Population: 5,249
  • Median Home Value: $324,975
  • Median Income: $63,066

Roxhill, nestled in the southwest corner of the city, is a neighborhood that’s feeling the pinch of Seattle’s booming real estate market.

With a median home value of $324,975, it’s a tough nut to crack, especially when the local median income is $63,066. It’s a place where the dream of homeownership might feel just out of reach.

Plus, its location means a bit of a commute to downtown and the bay, adding to the challenges of living here.

4. Sand Point

Sand Point Seattle

  • Population: 703
  • Median Home Value: $396,900
  • Median Income: $66,250

Sand Point, more of a sprawling park than a traditional neighborhood, is perched on the northeastern part of the city, offering sweeping views of Lake Washington.

It’s a place where nature’s beauty is on full display, but such a view comes with a hefty price tag. The median home value here is a staggering $396,900, and residents have to venture a bit for amenities and city attractions.

It’s a neighborhood that offers a tranquil retreat from the city, but at a cost that might be prohibitive for many.

5. North Delridge

  • Population: 4,280
  • Median Home Value: $352,340
  • Median Income: $73,541

North Delridge, despite its somewhat misleading name, is located in the southern part of the city. It’s a neighborhood that’s green in more ways than one, with plenty of parks and a high cost of living.

The median home price in North Delridge is a steep $352,340, which is a bit of a stretch for the average income of $73,541.

It’s a place where the cost of living might make you feel like you’re always playing catch-up, despite the neighborhood’s natural beauty.

6. South Delridge

  • Population: 6,231
  • Median Home Value: $280,467
  • Median Income: $52,981

South Delridge, the sibling neighborhood to North Delridge, also finds a spot on this list. Despite a median income of $52,981 and an unemployment rate of 6.6%, the high cost of living, with a median home price of $280,467, makes it a challenging place to live.

It’s a neighborhood where making ends meet can feel like a constant struggle, despite its close-knit community and the promise of a better tomorrow.

7. Northgate


  • Population: 4,283
  • Median Home Value: $363,225
  • Median Income: $55,515

Northgate, marking the northern boundary of Seattle, is bisected by the I-5 freeway. It’s a neighborhood that offers a mix of amenities, like the Jackson Park Golf Course, but the high real estate prices, with a median home cost of $363,225, make it a tough neighborhood for those earning the median income of $55,515.

It’s a place where the American Dream might feel a little out of reach, despite the promise of a better life just beyond the horizon.

8. Rainier Beach

Rinnier Seattle

  • Population: 15,358
  • Median Home Value: $334,780
  • Median Income: $61,016

Rainier Beach, located in southeastern Seattle, overlooks the tranquil shores of Lake Washington. It’s a place that sounds like a dream, but the cost of living here can be a rude awakening.

The median home value in the area is $330,000, while the median income is just above $60,000. It’s a neighborhood where the cost of living can feel like a constant uphill battle, despite the picturesque surroundings.

9. University District

University District

  • Population: 26,977
  • Median Home Value: $298,214
  • Median Income: $51,109

The University District, home to the University of Washington, has its own unique charm. However, it’s not all late-night study sessions and philosophical debates over coffee.

The economy here could be better, and the cost of living is high, with a median home value of nearly $300,000. It’s a neighborhood where the pursuit of knowledge might be accompanied by the struggle to make ends meet, despite the promise of a brighter future.

10. Riverview

  • Population: 3,508
  • Median Home Value: $335,700
  • Median Income: $76,727

Riverview, located in southern Seattle, offers a view of the Duwamish Waterway and plenty of park land. Despite a median income of $76,727, the high cost of living, with a median home value of $335,700, can make it a challenging place to live.

It’s a neighborhood where the cost of living can feel like a constant uphill battle, despite the picturesque surroundings and the promise of a better tomorrow.

The Green River Killer: Seattle’s Darkest Chapter

In the annals of Seattle’s history, the case of the Green River Killer stands out as one of the most horrific and chilling episodes.

The moniker was derived from the Green River, a location where the first victims were discovered in the early 1980s. The city was gripped with fear as the body count rose, with the victims primarily being young women, many of whom were involved in sex work or were runaways.

The man behind these heinous acts was Gary Ridgway, who would later earn the infamous distinction of being one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.

Ridgway’s reign of terror spanned nearly two decades, during which he murdered at least 49 women, although he confessed to killing as many as 71. His victims were strangled and their bodies dumped in wooded areas around the Green River, hence the name given to the case.

Ridgway was finally apprehended in 2001, thanks to advances in DNA technology. His capture brought an end to the long-standing mystery and fear that had enveloped Seattle.

The Green River Killer’s case remains a grim reminder of the city’s past, a chapter that continues to haunt the collective memory of its residents.


What are some of the initiatives taken by the city to improve the economic conditions in the “worst” neighborhoods?

The City of Seattle has several initiatives aimed at improving economic conditions in underprivileged neighborhoods. These include affordable housing programs, economic development initiatives, job training programs, and community grants.

The city also works with various non-profit organizations and community groups to address specific local needs and challenges.

How does the public transportation system in Seattle serve these “worst” neighborhoods?

Seattle has a robust public transportation system operated by King County Metro, which includes buses, light rail, and ferries. These services cover the entire city, including the neighborhoods mentioned in the list.

However, the frequency and convenience of service can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. The city continuously works on improving access to reliable public transportation as a part of its commitment to equitable access to services.

What are some of the best schools in Seattle, and are they accessible to these “worst” neighborhoods?

Seattle is home to several highly rated schools. Some of the top-rated ones include Roosevelt High School, Ballard High School, and Garfield High School.

As for accessibility, Seattle Public Schools uses a school choice system, which means students are not strictly bound to schools in their neighborhood.

However, transportation and other factors can impact the practicality of attending a school outside of a student’s immediate neighborhood.

What is the impact of gentrification in these “worst” neighborhoods?

Gentrification can have a significant impact on neighborhoods, leading to increased property values, changes in the character and culture of the neighborhood, and displacement of long-term residents who can no longer afford to live there.

In Seattle, gentrification has been a concern in several neighborhoods, particularly those close to downtown. The city has implemented measures to mitigate the negative impacts of gentrification, but it remains a complex issue.

What are some of the community resources available in these “worst” neighborhoods?

Despite their challenges, these neighborhoods often have a variety of community resources. These can include community centers, libraries, parks, and non-profit organizations that offer various services.

For example, South Park has the South Park Community Center, which offers a variety of programs and activities for residents. Similarly, Georgetown is home to several art galleries and studios that contribute to a vibrant local culture.

Final Words

In conclusion, every city has its highs and lows, its shining stars and its hidden shadows. Seattle, with its vibrant diversity and dynamic neighborhoods, is no exception.

While some areas may need a bit more love and attention, it’s important to remember that every neighborhood has its own unique charm and potential.

As for the chilling tale of the Green River Killer, it serves as a stark reminder of the darker chapters in Seattle’s history.

Yet, it’s through acknowledging and learning from these past horrors that we can strive to create a safer, more inclusive city for all. Here’s to a future where every neighborhood in Seattle, and every city around the world, can truly thrive.

All Posts


Related Posts