The 10 Snobbiest Places In California For 2023

The Snobbiest places in California are Los Altos Hills and Los Altos for 2023 based on Saturday Night Science.

There are all types when it comes to being a snob in California. You’ve got your Wine Snobs, Book Snobs, and, of course, Clothes Snobs. Then there are the Technology Snobs, Car Snobs, and yes, even City Snobsas in, I’m better than you because I live in (insert snooty city here).

How can we tell which California cities are the snobbiest? By measuring snobby things, that’s how.

We used Saturday Night Science to look at things like expensive homes, high incomes, and overly educated populations by city in California. These are the criteria you’d argue with a friend over a foodie dinner about who’s snobbier.

After analyzing 411 of the state’s most populous areas over 5,000 people, we came up with this ranking of the ten snobbiest places in the state of California.

The Californian in these places aren’t snobby, they just know they’re better than you.

Don’t freak out.

What’s the snobbiest place in California? The snobbiest place in California is Los Altos Hills based on the data. If we had their wealth and lifestyle, we’d probably be a little snobby, too.

The most laid back? That would be Calipatria.

We’re not so full of ourselves as to make this ranking up from nowhere. So here’s a look at the top ten and more on how we did it. And if you’re curious, California is the 8th snobbiest in the United States.

For more California reading, check out:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 Snobbiest Places In California For 2023

Los Altos Hills, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 8,520
% Highly Educated: 87.0%
Median Income: $250,001
Median Home Price: $2,000,001
More on Los Altos Hills:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Los Altos, CA

Source: Wikipedia User User:Kelly | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 31,562
% Highly Educated: 86.0%
Median Income: $250,001
Median Home Price: $2,000,001
More on Los Altos:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Piedmont, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Sam Pullara | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 11,368
% Highly Educated: 85.0%
Median Income: $250,001
Median Home Price: $2,000,001
More on Piedmont:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Atherton, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 7,181
% Highly Educated: 84.0%
Median Income: $250,001
Median Home Price: $2,000,001
More on Atherton:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Hillsborough, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Sanfranman59 | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 11,390
% Highly Educated: 83.0%
Median Income: $250,001
Median Home Price: $2,000,001
More on Hillsborough:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Saratoga, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 31,194
% Highly Educated: 81.0%
Median Income: $224,179
Median Home Price: $2,000,001
More on Saratoga:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Woodside, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Users Jawed, Jawed on en.wikipedia | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,316
% Highly Educated: 78.0%
Median Income: $250,001
Median Home Price: $2,000,001
More on Woodside:  Cost Of Living

Palo Alto, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 68,624
% Highly Educated: 82.0%
Median Income: $194,782
Median Home Price: $2,000,001
More on Palo Alto:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Palos Verdes Estates, CA

Source: Wikipedia User | CC SA 1.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 13,403
% Highly Educated: 81.0%
Median Income: $202,569
Median Home Price: $2,000,001
More on Palos Verdes Estates:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Cupertino, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Coolcaesar at en.wikipedia | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 60,681
% Highly Educated: 81.0%
Median Income: $199,778
Median Home Price: $2,000,001
More on Cupertino:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Methodology: How we determined the snobbiest cities in the Golden State

Do you think wed just come up with this list willy-nilly? Not a chance – we only use Saturday Night Science around here.

We gathered up all of the places in California with populations of 5,000 people or more. This left us with a total of 411 places. Then, we looked at each place in terms of these snoot-er-iffic criteria (And no, its not a word. English snob.):

  • Median home price (Higher is snobbier)
  • Median household income (Higher is snobbier)
  • Percent of population with a college degree (Higher is snobbier)

Turned out this simple criteria was much better at sniffing out the snobby places then more snobby criteria like:

  • Libaries per capita (Higher is snobbier)
  • Museums per capita (Higher is snobbier)
  • Private schools per capita (Higher is snobbier)

From there, we ranked each of our 411 places in each category with scores from one to 411. We then averaged each places ranking into one overall score, where the lowest score went to the snobbiest place in California. So lets all flip a table in honor of Los Altos Hills (with our pinkies up, of course.)

Before you get upset and ruin your blowout or something drastic here, lets remember that this is all in good fun. Would we live in one of these 10 places if we had the chance? Of course, we would.

And it’s not like your real estate agent would ever point out how snobby the town you’re moving to is. We’re here to keep you grounded, even if you’re wearing a monocle.

There You Have It – Now That You’re On Your High Horse

When it comes to snobbery, these places in California are heading ever upward. Residents in these communities are well educated, well paid, and appear to have all the sophisticated culture and entertainment of an Ernst Lubitsch film right at their fingertips.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

If you’re also curious enough, here are the most laid back places in California, according to science:

  1. Calipatria
  2. Huron
  3. Firebaugh

For more California reading, check out:

Table: The Snobbiest Cities In California For 2023

Rank City Population
1 Los Altos Hills, CA 8,520
2 Los Altos, CA 31,562
3 Piedmont, CA 11,368
4 Atherton, CA 7,181
5 Hillsborough, CA 11,390
6 Saratoga, CA 31,194
7 Woodside, CA 5,316
8 Palo Alto, CA 68,624
9 Palos Verdes Estates, CA 13,403
10 Cupertino, CA 60,681
11 Orinda, CA 19,497
12 Tiburon, CA 9,146
13 San Marino, CA 12,620
14 Menlo Park, CA 33,677
15 Manhattan Beach, CA 35,585
16 Mill Valley, CA 14,240
17 Lafayette, CA 25,384
18 Corte Madera, CA 10,145
19 Malibu, CA 10,915
20 Los Gatos, CA 33,309
21 San Carlos, CA 30,754
22 Hermosa Beach, CA 19,787
23 Belmont, CA 28,109
24 Mountain View, CA 82,409
25 Moraga, CA 16,750
26 Danville, CA 43,673
27 Newport Beach, CA 85,806
28 Rolling Hills Estates, CA 8,305
29 Burlingame, CA 31,142
30 Laguna Beach, CA 23,121
31 Sunnyvale, CA 155,550
32 San Anselmo, CA 12,795
33 San Ramon, CA 85,688
34 Sausalito, CA 7,260
35 Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 42,316
36 Larkspur, CA 12,972
37 Pleasanton, CA 79,558
38 Dublin, CA 69,818
39 Santa Clara, CA 127,922
40 Villa Park, CA 5,864
41 Fremont, CA 231,502
42 Calabasas, CA 23,410
43 San Mateo, CA 105,087
44 Coronado, CA 20,627
45 La Habra Heights, CA 5,651
46 Millbrae, CA 23,083
47 Solana Beach, CA 13,025
48 Encinitas, CA 62,140
49 South Pasadena, CA 26,837
50 St. Helena, CA 5,530
51 Campbell, CA 43,954
52 San Francisco, CA 865,933
53 El Segundo, CA 17,243
54 Beverly Hills, CA 32,903
55 Redondo Beach, CA 70,998
56 Milpitas, CA 79,593
57 Agoura Hills, CA 20,362
58 Walnut Creek, CA 69,876
59 Albany, CA 19,958
60 Half Moon Bay, CA 11,792
61 Sierra Madre, CA 11,253
62 Clayton, CA 11,136
63 Santa Monica, CA 92,828
64 Irvine, CA 297,868
65 Yorba Linda, CA 68,319
66 Laguna Niguel, CA 64,608
67 El Cerrito, CA 25,898
68 Berkeley, CA 119,607
69 Pacifica, CA 38,595
70 Carlsbad, CA 114,858
71 Alameda, CA 78,320
72 Pleasant Hill, CA 34,649
73 Fairfax, CA 7,605
74 San Clemente, CA 64,600
75 Walnut, CA 28,641
76 San Jose, CA 1,013,337
77 Morgan Hill, CA 45,267
78 Dana Point, CA 33,327
79 Scotts Valley, CA 12,317
80 Arcadia, CA 56,697
81 Livermore, CA 88,403
82 Mission Viejo, CA 93,932
83 Poway, CA 49,005
84 Newark, CA 47,815
85 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 48,190
86 San Rafael, CA 61,158
87 San Bruno, CA 43,775
88 Aliso Viejo, CA 51,943
89 Cerritos, CA 49,630
90 Claremont, CA 36,312
91 Santa Cruz, CA 62,714
92 Thousand Oaks, CA 127,274
93 Lake Forest, CA 85,516
94 Pacific Grove, CA 15,169
95 Laguna Hills, CA 31,409
96 Torrance, CA 147,156
97 Novato, CA 53,214
98 South San Francisco, CA 66,331
99 Goleta, CA 32,677
100 Santa Barbara, CA 89,132
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

19 thoughts on “The 10 Snobbiest Places In California For 2023

  1. Jeez, Orinda is waaay snobbier than Lafayette. I should know, I’m from there. Orinda is home of the leaf blower ban and the “Stop the Housing Element Team”. We may have even invented the acronym NIMBY. Our roads are the worst in the Bay Area, just to keep casual drivers out. We’re too cheap to have many private schools or theaters – we just use Lafayette’s, Berkeley’s, Oakland’s and San Francisco’s.

    1. Of course Orinda is snobbier than Lafayette. They totally screwed the pooch by limiting their survey to cities with populations of 10,000 and up. They missed ALL the truly snobby places.

    1. Haha Mark, I hope you realize how ironic your comment is. If you read the article, you’d see that the author wasn’t trying to insult anybody (and if they did, it was in good humor).

      I thought this was an interesting piece. Obviously the title and the wording of the article was tailored as clickbait but really it was just a study on affluence, education, and culture. It’s nothing scientific and it probably took the author an hour or two of research, but it was an amusing and informative read nonetheless.

  2. Clearly you haven’t actually spent any time in the cities you are reviewing. One of my very first experiences as a new mother in Mill Valley involved a total stranger offering to run into the grocery store for me to pick up milk & eggs so I wouldn’t have to struggle with taking in my newborn and toddler. I was overwhelmed by the kindness of another mother who didn’t even know me. I have had other similar experiences over the years and our local public schools are fantastic (no need for private). You can’t judge the kindness of someone’s heart by the cost of their house. Shame on you.

  3. Stanford University is in the town of Stanford, not Palo Alto. Yes, it is right next door and it has a lot of influence on Palo Alto, but it has never been a part of that city.

  4. I live in Palo Alto, and I never doubted that we ranked high on snobbery. After all, not only do we have a community theater company and a community orchestra, but we have a community opera company as well.
    I don’t know where Palo Alto stands with this metric or how much it is weighted, but I take objection to your inclusion of private school density as a criterion. Firstly, the number of private schools in a city relative to that city’s population is not necessarily the best measure of how many eligible students in a city attend private school, as private schools may vary in size and often do not restrict enrollment to the residents of their host city. Secondly, while private school enrollment (if that were the metric used, which it isn’t) is an understandable measure to be associated with snobbery, given that in most parts of the country elites seek out private schools for the usually superior quality of education they provide, Palo Alto may be an exception that proves the rule. In Palo Alto, the quality of our public schools rivals that of many nearby private schools. Therefore, many Palo Alto parents proudly send their children to public school, deeming private school unnecessarily expensive for its relative value. Does this fact make us more or less snobby?

  5. FWIW, the Stanford University campus is not actually located in Palo Alto. It is located in unincorporated Santa Clara County, adjacent to Palo Alto.

    The Stanford Industrial Park, Stanford Shopping Center, and the Stanford Medical Center are within the Palo Alto city limits, but the academic campus, including the medical school, and student and faculty housing are not.

  6. Lived in Los Gatos for 15 years, and yes it’s a desired community but because of the exceptional school system level, the photo is the high school which is the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen and I’ve lived all over the states, with the best teaching staff in the country, and its facilities are like a university…I grew up in Ann Arbor, Mi. Which is a university town and gorgeous. I now live and have for 28 years on Catalina island, in Avalon which is the most mellow in the state, and beautiful… Location, location.

  7. How “snobby” can little San Carlos actually be?
    We don’t even have a high school anymore…they tore it down!!

  8. I’ve worked in Palo Alto and San Carlos & live near Los Gatos. I like shopping there, the good stores are closer together than in San Jose and I’ve found it friendly. More so than San Carlos. Palo Alto isn’t a place I’d ever want to live. I watched pregnant women freaking out about getting their kid into the right daycare so they’d get into the right private school in order to get into the right college…their lives didn’t seem pleasant at all.
    But I’m weird. I’ve always preferred happiness to bragging rights.

  9. I’m a little late to the party, but shouldn’t snobbery show in human behavior rather than how financially privileged the people are? Seems like actual incidents should tell the tale. I was expecting LA to rank on here becuse of all the times I’ve come across people from LA sneering at the towns and counties around them or referring to everything in the area as LA despite how many different cities there are. Also I’m kinda sick of them being LA and the rest of us being “the Southland.”

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