When you think of the neighborhoods in and around Chicago, numerous stereotypes come to mind. There are preppy areas, hipster neighborhoods, college town areas, but also areas that are known for crimes and poverty. Overall, the Chicago land region regularly ranks as one of the best locations in which to live in the United States as a result of world-class culture, a strong economy, excellent academic institutions, walkability, and many famous fine-dining locations. There is a neighborhood to fit everyone’s taste in Chicago.
However, there can be a darker side to Chicago that many hopefully never experience. There are some neighborhoods that are tucked away from the main touristy areas of Chicago that most outside visitors do not get to experience. These are the tougher neighborhoods. While they are unfortunately riddled with crime, many say these neighborhoods are the backbone of Chicago and the reason that the city is what it is today. That being said, it’s still our duty to report which ones are considered the most dangerous by statistical data.
Of Chicago’s 76 neighborhoods, the most dangerous neighborhoods include:
Chatham is located between 79th and 93rd street along route 90/94. Homes in this neighborhood cost less than $150,000 on average and the area has a 14% unemployment rate. With a population of 32,100, it has the 19th worst crime index of all Chicago neighborhoods. This combined with low housing costs, dense population, high unemployment and low median income break Chatham into the top 10.
9. Grand Crossing
Located between E. 67th and E. 79th, close to the lake is Grand Crossing. With a population of 32,000 over a wide area, Grand Crossing did not rank higher due to the lower density of the neighborhood. The crime index is 14th worst while the median income is $31,000.
8. West Garfield Park
Coming in at number eight is West Garfield Park, a neighborhood that is not in South Chicago. At a median income of $26,000, most residents live below the poverty line and crime is much higher here than most other Chicago neighborhoods. In West Garfield Park, you have a 1-in-20 chance of being a crime victim for each year spent within the neighborhood limits. The population is 19,000 and the crime index is 18th worst in the city.
7. Chicago Lawn
As the eighth most dangerous neighborhood, Chicago Lawn has a high population of 54,000 that is crammed into a relatively small space. The crime index is set at the 8th worst and the median income is $36,000. Homes are only valued at $146,000 as a result of the crime but, on the bright side, only 10-percent of residents are unemployed. Although this is double the national average, it is still considered excellent for a south side Chicago neighborhood.
6. Gage Park
Located between 51st and 59th streets is Gage Park. Incomes are higher than all other neighborhoods on this list at $38,000 and the population is at 39,000. The crime index is the 13th worst in the city.
5. Fuller Park
With a low density of 2,800 residents but a crime index of the second worst in Chicago, Fuller Park comes in at number five on this list. The median income is $18,000. Understandably, homes sell for an average of $114,000 each. Fuller Park straddles 90/94 between E. Pershing and W. Garfield with no exits to this small area.
4. Auburn Gresham
As the 11th worst crime index in Chicago, like most other dangerous neighborhoods, Auburn Gresham is also on the south side. With 49,000 residents densely packed into a small area between 75th and 91st streets, crime is not as bad as others on this list but it is still a rough area. 16% of the neighborhood is out of work and entire families only bring in an average of $33,000 per year.
Located halfway between downtown and Chicago Heights along interstate 94 at East 130th Street, Riverdale did not top the list solely because of its low density population of 7,000 residents. The crime index is worst in Chicago and median income is $14,000. The entire population of Riverdale lives below the poverty line as one-in-five residents does not have a job. Homes sell for a mere $90,000 due to low desirability and rental properties. Most Riverdale residents and other folks in Chicago call it a “suburb” but it still deserves a place on this list.
The slightly smaller and even poorer twin of West Englewood is Englewood. This neighborhood boasts a population of 28,000, a crime index that is fourth worst in Chi-town, and a median income of only $20,000. According to government standards, a family of four needs at least $25,000 per year to remain above the poverty line.
1. West Englewood
The worst neighborhood in Chicago is West Englewood which has a population of 35,000, a median income of $29,000 and the 3rd worst crime index in the city. You know this neighborhood has a reputation when Google auto-suggests “West Englewood Crime” before you finish typing the name of the neighborhood. In addition to a low median income, high population and terrible crime index, many residents of the neighborhood struggle to make ends meet. The borders of the neighborhood are W. Garfield Blvd, S. Racine Ave. and railroad tracks.