These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In New York (2023)

This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as info-tainment. Don’t freak out.

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There are lots of people who throw the term ‘ghetto’ around. But where is the actual ghetto in New York?

How do you decide if a place is ghetto or not? You ask the internet. According to the Urban Dictionary, a ghetto is defined as:

“urban; of or relating to (inner) city life” and “poor; of or relating to the poor life.”

Using that criteria, it’s not hard to scrape the internet, run some scientific data on where ghettos might exist in a state and then put out a list.

After analyzing all cities with a decent amount of people in them, we came up with this list as the most ghetto places in New York:

  1. Monticello (Photos)
  2. Middletown
  3. Poughkeepsie (Photos)
  4. Hempstead (Photos)
  5. Troy (Photos)
  6. South Jamaica
  7. Uniondale
  8. Newburgh (Photos)
  9. Brownsville
  10. Utica (Photos)

Read on below to see where your town ranked.

For more New York reading, check out:

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What ghetto criteria did we use?

In order to rank the most ghetto places in New York, we had to determine what criteria defines a ghetto city or neighborhood.

Since a ghetto is defined as a poor area, we used income levels and education levels as a guide to determine where the most broke citizens of a state live.

Additionally, the staples of inner city life include cheap and discounted retail outlets.

We started by making a list of every place in New York with more than 2,000 people based on the 2013 American Community Survey. That left us with over 500 places in the Empire State.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using Yelp and Area Vibes, this is the criteria we used:

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  • Household income levels
  • High school graduation rates
  • Number of convenience stores
  • Number of drug stores
  • Number of discount stores

Note: For the sake of getting reliable numbers, we counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance.

All of these results are listed in a per capita basis. Meaning number of stores per person in a state. Additionally, high school graduation rates are determined by looking at the total number of people who live in a city, not the current graduation rate of an area’s high schools.

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1. Monticello

These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In New York (1)

Source: wikipedia

Income: $22,897
High school: 75%
Convenience stores: 41st in NY
Discount stores: 20th

About 90 minutes north of downtown is the small, ghetto city of Monticello. Here, a quarter of the population is uneducated, and the median income is the lowest in the entire state.

The government says the poverty line for a family of 4 is $25,000. In Monticello, the average household earns less than that.

The number of drug stores and discount stores is in the top 5% in the state as well.

A recent raid by state and federal authorities brought down 14 criminals in Monticello, one of NYC suburbs with ties to major gangs. And an NPR story that was written not too long ago talked about how gangs are taking over these once decent middle class suburbs of NYC.

2. Middletown

These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In New York (2)

Source: Public Domain

Income: $53,096
High school: 70%
Convenience stores: 20th

Middletown can also be considered a northern suburb of NYC.

And speaking of the NPR story, a majority of the focus was on Middletown. While, as recently as 2000, Middletown was a decent middle class suburb, it has really gone downhill since. There are ties to major gangs here, and it seems to be getting worse.

And the data backs that up. The average income and education levels in Middletown are far below average.

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3. Poughkeepsie

These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In New York (3)

Source: wikipedia

Income: $39,528
High school: 72%
Drug stores: 51st in NY

Three years ago, Forbes Magazine dissed Poughkeepsie big time, calling it one of the most miserable cities in America. If you give Poughkeepsie a Google, you’ll see many mentions from locals and former Vassar College students calling the place a ghetto, too.

The numbers back it up – Poughkeepsie’s overall income levels are in the bottom 10% in the state, and more than a quarter of the population never took the time to finish high school.

The inner city shopping experiences are in the top 20% – not the worst by far, but way up there.

Throw it all together, and what you have is a pretty ghetto city.

4. Hempstead

These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In New York (4)

Income: $53,729
High school: 65%
Drug stores: 11th most

There were 10 murders in Hempstead in 2013, making it one of the most dangerous places in the state. And when you look at the education numbers and number of inner city shopping outlets in the area, Hempstead is by definition, a ghetto.

Located on Long Island, this city has seen its fair share of negative coverage from news outlets across the country. Newsweek Magazine once wrote about the drug war that takes place here.

5. Troy

These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In New York (5)

Source: wikipedia

Income: $38,122
High school: 75%
Convenience stores: 16th most

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Troy has the 12th highest violent crime rate in the state of New York, and, statistically, is the 10th most dangerous place in the state overall.

Located on the banks of the Hudson River just north of Albany, Troy has been described as ghetto, grimy, gritty and run down on several internet forums, which backs up the data we analyzed.

6. South Jamaica

These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In New York (6)

Source: Public Domain

Income: $58,343
High school: 66%
Drug stores: 9th most

South Jamaica is a working class neighborhood in Queens that’s pretty famously known as being called one of the most ghetto places in New York.

Merely 1 in 3 people graduated from high school here, and the number of reports of dangerous elements here is reported pretty much daily.

Notable residents of South Jamaica include 50 Cent, Nikki Minaj, G-Unit and a rapper called Mr. Cheeks.

7. Uniondale

These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In New York (7)

Source: Public Domain

Income: $72,370
High school: 72%
Drug stores: 11th most

Uniondale is a CDP in Nassau County on Long Island in Hempstead. While not as dangerous as Hempstead, it’s still a pretty ghetto place when you look at the data. While certain parts of the area aren’t ‘ghetto’ by definition, the north side of Uniondale more than makes up for it.

Statistically, the north end of Uniondale is one of the more dangerous areas in the state, where education and income levels are in the bottom 5% of the state.

Here’s what one Twitter user had to say:

“Hempstead, and Uniondale is the ghetto of LI 4 those who don’t know. Ppl are always getting arrested”

8. Newburgh

These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In New York (8)

Source: wikipedia

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Income: $36,077
High school: 60%
Convenience stores: 12th most

Newburgh has the 2nd highest number of high school dropouts in the state of New York, and as a result, income levels are just about as low as you can get as well.

New York Magazine called Newburgh the murder capital of New York. It also referred to Newburgh as a place where drugs are openly sold, where gangs thrive, and where residents are afraid to walk on the streets, even in the daytime.

Newburgh is along the Hudson, about an hour’s drive north of downtown.

9. Brownsville

These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In New York (9)

Source: Public Domain

Income: $31,833
High school: 30%
Drug stores: 1st

When you Google Brownsville, Google auto suggests ‘Brownsville New York crime rate’. And, there’s a subsection on the Brownsville Wikipedia page that mentions the police. That’s also not a good sign.

Brownsville is a neighborhood in Brooklyn with a staggeringly low 70% dropout rate, where the income levels are bordering the poverty line.

10. Utica

These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Places In New York (10)

Source: wikipedia

Income: $31,048
High school: 73%
Convenience stores: 16th most

Utica has been cited in numerous studies as having one of the highest crime rates in the state of New York. When you look at the number of high school dropouts, income levels and inner city shopping options, you can see why.

In many of the chat rooms that talk about Utica, people argue back and forth about whether or not Utica is actually a ‘ghetto.’ Most former and current residents are resigned to the fact that, indeed, Utica has become a ghetto, but that it has potential to turn things around.

There You Have It

If you’re measuring the locations in New York where there are a high number of poor and uneducated residents, and where there are a high number of discounted shopping stores, this is an accurate list.

Additionally, here are the least ghetto places in New York:

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  1. East Shoreham (Pop. 6,266)
  2. Fort Salonga (Pop. 9,875)
  3. West Hills (Pop. 5,297)
  4. Hastings-on-Hudson (Pop. 7,855)
  5. North Wantagh (Pop. 11,562)

We wrote about the 10 Drunkest Cities in New York if you want another interesting read.

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FAQs

What is the ghetto in New York called? ›

Harlem
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
CityNew York City
BoroughManhattan
18 more rows

Is Central Park safe at night? ›

First off, it's never a good idea to go through Central Park at night. While Central Park is an idyllic tourist attraction during the day, it is technically supposed to be closed late at night and in the early hours of the morning. The vast majority of cases of crime and violence in the park occur at night.

Where should I avoid in Manhattan? ›

Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, and Dumbo are the risky NYC neighborhoods to steer clear from. There are a few select neighborhoods in New York City that you should avoid if you want to stay safe.

Is New York Bronx safe? ›

While the Bronx does feature neighborhoods with some of the highest crime rates in NYC, it isn't any more dangerous than many other urban areas of the same population. But tourists and visitors are wise to avoid certain Bronx neighborhoods and always be on alert when visiting the borough.

Why is Harlem famous? ›

Known internationally as the center of Black heritage and culture, Harlem has a wealth of activities to enjoy, from music to theater to comfort food. Here's what to see and do in one of the most culturally rich neighborhoods in one of the most culturally rich cities in the world.

Why is it called the hood? ›

Traditionally, the word 'hood referred to areas where the main population was African American. In areas where a lot of Hispanic immigrants have settled, the areas are often called barrios, the Spanish word for neighborhood.

Is Times Square safe at night? ›

Times Square is a great place to visit at night and it stays populated until after midnight when theater-goers head home. One of the most common crimes that target tourists, besides pickpocketing, is taxi scams.

Is Harlem safe? ›

Central Harlem is safe for tourists and also has the most sites of interest which is why we offer pay-what-you-like walking tours of the area. Central Harlem runs east to west from 5th Avenue to St. Nicholas Avenue and from 110th Street to 155th Street.

Do homeless people live in Central Park? ›

While the number of unsheltered residents in the park is disputed, citywide homelessness in the past several years has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression, according to the Coalition for the Homeless.

What is the poorest part of Manhattan? ›

So, What are the Poorest Neighborhoods?
  • District 16: West Bronx, Morrisania, Highbridge and Melrose.
  • District 17: Melrose, Longwood, Hunts Point, Morrisania and Crotona Park East.
  • District 15: Fordham, Bathgate, Bronxdale, Van Nest and Mount Hope.
  • District 8: El Barrio/East Harlem and South Bronx.
9 Jan 2022

What is the safest area in New York? ›

Tribeca. The safest neighborhood in New York City is Tribeca. Located in southern Manhattan along the banks of the Hudson River, Tribeca sits in one of the most prominent parts of Manhattan for the rich and famous.

What is the highest crime in America? ›

Washington, DC had the highest property crime rate in 2020, at 3,493 crimes per 100,000 residents. This was 21% higher than Louisiana, the state with the next-highest property crime rate. Massachusetts had the lowest property crime rate, at 1,053 crimes per 100,000 residents.

Is Brooklyn safe? ›

OVERALL RISK : LOW

In general, Brooklyn is quite safe for tourists. As long as they avoid more crime-ridden neighborhoods like Vinegar Hill, East New York, Fort Greene, Crown Heights, and DUMBO, they should expect to have an average, or medium, risk when it comes to their own safety.

Are there nice parts of the Bronx? ›

The Bronx's Riverdale neighborhood is one of the best neighborhoods for families and one of the best places to buy a home in NYC! Located along the Hudson River, this neighborhood is full of beautiful riverfront views and fun outdoor things to do.

What is Bronx known for? ›

The Bronx is famous for its Co-Op City, the largest cooperative-owned space in America. This division is also home to the famous and iconic Yankee Stadium, the largest urban zoo, The Bronx Zoo, and the gorgeous New York City Botanical Gardens.

What percent of Harlem is black? ›

Black people now make up 36.9 percent of Harlem, compared to 40.6 for Latinos. In 2020, Black residents held the plurality at 42.9, followed by Latinos at 40.6.

What do New Yorkers call NYC? ›

New York City is known by many nicknames—such as “the City that Never Sleeps” or “Gotham”—but the most popular one is probably “the Big Apple.” How did this nickname come about? Although uses of the phrase are documented in the early 1900s, the term first became popular in the 1920s when John J.

Is Central Harlem safe to live? ›

Overall, Central Harlem ranks as 54th safest for per capita crime in DNAinfo.com's survey of 69 neighborhoods, landing in the middle for Manhattan neighborhoods.

What is a hood dude? ›

Someone who is from the ghetto. 3. Someone who acts like they are from the ghetto.

Who invented a hood? ›

Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. (March 4, 1877 – July 27, 1963) was an American inventor, businessman, and community leader. His most notable inventions were a three-position traffic signal and a smoke hood (a predecessor to the gas mask) notably used in a 1916 tunnel construction disaster rescue.

What does Da hood mean? ›

Da Hood (slang for "the neighborhood") usually refers to an underclass big-city neighborhood, with high crime rates, low-income housing and a general mentality of despair and hopelessness. It may also refer to: Da Hood (album), a 1995 album by the Menace Clan. A rap group signed to Hoo-Bangin' Records.

Is Brooklyn safer than Manhattan? ›

Crime Rates - Manhattan and Brooklyn Are Equally Safe

The crime indexes in Manhattan and Brooklyn are, according to Neighborhood Scout, 30 and 32, respectively. There are many more crimes committed in Brooklyn, but that's also because the population is much larger than in Manhattan.

Which NYC borough is the safest? ›

The only borough that's considered safer is Staten Island, but it also has a population that is 5x smaller than in Queens. NYC is among the safest large cities in the world, but that doesn't mean it's without its dangerous areas.

Is Bronx New York safe? ›

While the Bronx does feature neighborhoods with some of the highest crime rates in NYC, it isn't any more dangerous than many other urban areas of the same population. But tourists and visitors are wise to avoid certain Bronx neighborhoods and always be on alert when visiting the borough.

What is the safest area in New York? ›

Tribeca. The safest neighborhood in New York City is Tribeca. Located in southern Manhattan along the banks of the Hudson River, Tribeca sits in one of the most prominent parts of Manhattan for the rich and famous.

Which is nicer Brooklyn or Queens? ›

Both Brooklyn and Queens have great nightclubs that are less crowded and also less frequented by tourists. Brooklyn probably edges out Queens as far as liveliness, but if you're looking for a dive or a quieter bar, both neighborhoods have plenty to offer.

Is Brooklyn rich or poor? ›

One in five Brooklyn households has a median income of over $100,000 per year—twice as many as a decade before—while one in five receives food stamp benefits. Brooklyn ranks first in NYC in total number of children living in poverty.

Is Queens NY Safe? ›

Not only is Queens one of the safest boroughs in NYC, but it's also a great place for families to buy a home! Compared to boroughs like Manhattan and Brooklyn, Queens has a significantly lower cost of living and more affordable housing with options like single-family homes, rowhouses, and condos.

What is the poorest area in New York City? ›

New York's persistently high-poverty neighborhoods are tightly clustered. Roughly half of them are in the Bronx, which contains only two turnaround neighborhoods. If the Bronx were treated as its own city, its poverty trends would be dismal.

What is the poorest borough in New York City? ›

The Bronx contains the poorest congressional district in the United States, the 15th.
...
The Bronx.
The Bronx Bronx County, New York
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
CountyBronx (coterminous)
CityNew York City
28 more rows

What's the richest borough in New York? ›

Manhattan has the most expensive real estate in the city and most of the richest areas, followed by Brooklyn. The Bronx is the most affordable borough in NYC.

Is Harlem safe? ›

Central Harlem is safe for tourists and also has the most sites of interest which is why we offer pay-what-you-like walking tours of the area. Central Harlem runs east to west from 5th Avenue to St. Nicholas Avenue and from 110th Street to 155th Street.

Is Times Square safe at night? ›

Times Square is a great place to visit at night and it stays populated until after midnight when theater-goers head home. One of the most common crimes that target tourists, besides pickpocketing, is taxi scams.

Is Manhattan safe at night? ›

Manhattan is one of the most vigilantly policed and regulated cities in the world. While there are sometimes violent crimes in Manhattan, they usually occur in residential neighborhoods, and tourists are rarely targets. The biggest risks to visitors in Manhattan are generally pickpockets and curbside scams.

What city in New York has the most crime? ›

1. Buffalo, NY. Buffalo has the inauspicious title of being the most dangerous city in 2022, moving one spot up the list from the previous year. With 1,042 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, Buffalo's crime rate tops the charts.

Which city in NY has the lowest crime rate? ›

New York State's safest community is East Hampton Town, an affluent Long Island community which logged a very high 1.29 score on the Safety Index. East Hampton enjoys a low violent crime rate of 0.85 per 1,000 and a property crime rate of 11.34 per 1,000.

Where does NYC rank in crime? ›

The uptick was led by a spike in homicide. The number of murders surged by nearly 30%, from 16,669 in 2019 to 21,570 in 2020, the largest year-over-year increase on record.
...
How the Violent Crime Rate in New York Compares to Other States.
Rank26
StateNew York
Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2020363.8
Total violent crimes, 202070,339
Total homicides, 2020808
49 more columns

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