5 Worst Places to Live in Maryland

Maryland, affectionately known as the “Old Line State,” offers a diverse mix of bustling cities, charming coastal towns, and picturesque countryside. However, as with any state, some areas struggle with challenges that make them less than ideal for residents. This article explores the five worst places to live in Maryland, examining factors such as crime rates, economic conditions, education quality, and overall standard of living.


To determine the worst places to live in Maryland, this article considers the following data sources and metrics:

  • Crime Rates: FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics and data from reputable websites like [invalid URL removed]. Focus will be on violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft).
  • Economic indicators: Median household income, unemployment rates, and poverty levels sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Education: School performance data, including test scores, graduation rates, and student-teacher ratios as reported by the Maryland State Department of Education and websites like GreatSchools.org.
  • Quality of Life: This includes factors like access to amenities (parks, recreation centers), commute times, pollution levels, and overall community desirability.

Worst Places to Live in Maryland

  1. Baltimore
  • The Challenges: Baltimore consistently struggles with some of the highest crime rates in the nation, particularly concerning violent crime. Economic disparity is evident, with pockets of deep poverty alongside areas of affluence. The city’s public school system faces significant challenges, impacting educational outcomes for many students.
  • The Reality: While Baltimore possesses cultural and historical significance, the challenges of crime, poverty, and educational shortcomings significantly impact the quality of life for many residents.
  1. Salisbury
  • The Challenges: Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Salisbury experiences higher crime rates than the national average. Economic opportunities can be limited, and there are concerns about the quality of education in some of the city’s schools.
  • The Reality: While Salisbury offers a lower cost of living than some Maryland areas, the elevated crime and lack of robust economic growth make it a less desirable place to live for many.
  1. Elkton
  • The Challenges: Elkton, located in the northeastern corner of Maryland, grapples with elevated property crime rates. Substance abuse problems are a significant issue within the community. Additionally, the town can feel homogenous, lacking a diverse cultural landscape.
  • The Reality: While Elkton provides affordable housing options, the high property crime, substance abuse problems, and limited social vibrancy diminish its appeal as a place to settle down.
  1. Dundalk
  • The Challenges: Dundalk, a suburb of Baltimore, has seen a decline in its once-thriving blue-collar industries. The area has aging infrastructure and a higher crime perception than some surrounding communities.
  • The Reality: Dundalk offers more affordable housing compared to some Baltimore suburbs, but its economic difficulties and less-than-ideal reputation create obstacles for attracting new residents and revitalizing the area.
  1. Edgewood
  • The Challenges: Edgewood’s proximity to Aberdeen Proving Ground results in a highly transient population, which can contribute to fluctuations in crime rates. The cost of housing can be a strain for some residents, creating affordability issues.
  • The Reality: Although Edgewood has areas of natural beauty, the transiency of its residents due to the military base and housing costs impact the town’s overall stability and desirability as a place to live.

Important Considerations

  • Data Limitations: It’s crucial to acknowledge that crime statistics and economic data don’t tell the whole story. Every town and city has its unique strengths, challenges, and pockets of vibrancy, even within areas that might rank poorly overall.
  • The Power of Community: Resident engagement and community-led initiatives can significantly improve living conditions in any place. A strong sense of community can often offset some of the negative statistics.
  • Individual Needs and Preferences: What makes a place undesirable for some may be perfectly suitable or even appealing to others. Factors like affordability, job proximity, and lifestyle preferences heavily influence individual choices about where to live.

Potential Solutions and Paths Forward

  • Addressing Crime: Multi-pronged approaches are vital, focusing on community policing strategies, crime prevention programs, investment in youth development, and addressing the root causes of poverty and social inequality.
  • Economic Revitalization: Attracting new businesses, investing in workforce development, and creating incentives for entrepreneurship can revive local economies and create opportunities for residents in struggling areas.
  • Strengthening Education: Increased funding for schools, teacher support, innovative educational programs, and fostering partnerships between schools and the community are essential to providing quality education and a pathway to a brighter future.
  • Improving Infrastructure and Housing: Investing in infrastructure upgrades, addressing dilapidated or abandoned properties, and creating affordable housing options can enhance both quality of life and community pride.


While Maryland offers many wonderful places to live, it’s important to be aware of the challenges facing certain communities. Understanding these challenges is a crucial step toward finding solutions and creating positive change. It’s essential to remember that statistics are just one part of the picture. The commitment of residents, community leaders, and policymakers is crucial to foster a higher quality of life in all corners of Maryland.

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MBS Staff
Articles: 6290

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