The 10 Worst Los Angeles Suburbs For 2023

We used data and Friday Night Science to identify the worst suburbs of Los Angeles for 2023. The worst Los Angeles suburbs are Commerce and Cudahy.

The suburbs of Los Angeles call to all types of people looking to escape city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Los Angeles to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Los Angeles ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Los Angeles area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Los Angeles proper, although Hermosa Beach certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Los Angeles are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones.

We examined the 79 biggest suburbs of Los Angeles to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in California lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Los Angeles in terms of quality of life.

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Los Angeles? Commerce ranks as the worst suburb of Los Angeles for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Read on to see how we determined the places around Los Angeles that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.

Or, if you’re thinking of moving to elsewhere in California check out the best places in California overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Los Angeles too.

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

For more California reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Los Angeles Suburbs To Live For 2023

Commerce, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Justefrain | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 12,459
Median Income: $58,226 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (17th highest)
Median Home Value: $455,700 (13th lowest)
More on Commerce:

We’ll get the ball rolling with Commerce, the absolute worst place to live around Los Angeles according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Commerce beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 7th worst in the Los Angeles area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 13th worst when it comes to home values.

But hey, at least it’s cheap to live there. But there’s a reason for that… it’s Commerce.

You won’t feel bad about not having a great income for the area. There aren’t a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.

Cudahy, CA

Source: Flickr User [email protected] | CC BY 2.0
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Population: 23,003
Median Income: $47,050 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $434,200 (6th lowest)
More on Cudahy:

Welcome to Cudahy. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 13.6 miles to Los Angeles. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $47,050 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

Huntington Park, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Jmiles92 | GFDL
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Population: 55,439
Median Income: $51,065 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (highest)
Median Home Value: $452,300 (11th lowest)
More on Huntington Park:

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Los Angeles suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Huntington Park on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that’s an understatement.

In terms of numbers, it’s in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school dropout rate is poor compared to other Los Angeles suburbs.

But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.

Compton, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Epolk at English Wikipedia | GFDL
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Population: 96,083
Median Income: $62,297 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $423,000 (4th lowest)
More on Compton:

If you live in Compton, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 13th lowest Los Angeles suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 8th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Los Angeles. Remember, we looked at 79 cities for this study.

Compton is about 13.6 miles to downtown.

Lynwood, CA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 67,497
Median Income: $61,612 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $449,300 (8th lowest)
More on Lynwood:

Lynwood has the distinction of being a Los Angeles suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Lynwood has the 8th lowest home values in the metro Los Angeles area, where the median price is $449,300. The median income is $250,001.

Lynwood has an unemployment rate of 9.55% which ranks 3rd worst.

Bell Gardens, CA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 39,870
Median Income: $50,311 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (39th highest)
Median Home Value: $423,700 (5th lowest)
More on Bell Gardens:

Bell Gardens has 39,870 residents that probably know it’s a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you’ve ever been there, you don’t need to look at the data.)

Incomes are towards the bottom, and the poverty rate sits at 25.60545735805037%.

South Gate, CA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 93,308
Median Income: $59,647 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $470,200 (16th lowest)
More on South Gate:

Ah, South Gate. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Los Angeles.

It’s the place with the 5th most out of work residents in the Los Angeles metro area (8.65%).

Bell, CA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 33,915
Median Income: $51,183 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (3highest)
Median Home Value: $450,900 (9th lowest)
More on Bell:

Bell is a city about 13.5 miles from Los Angeles, but Los Angeles probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a worse place to live. Bell has the 6th most uninsured people, 4th worst incomes, and has the 3highest unemployment rate (6.58%) in the entire Los Angeles metro area.

Homes only cost $450,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for Los Angeles standards.

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Population: 19,860
Median Income: $60,244 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (44th highest)
Median Home Value: $478,800 (18th lowest)
More on South El Monte:

If you absolutely have to live near Los Angeles, then South El Monte might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Los Angeles suburb.

About 5.61% of residents are out of work.

El Monte, CA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 110,144
Median Income: $56,524 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (2highest)
Median Home Value: $508,200 (23rd lowest)
More on El Monte:

Rounding out the ten worst Los Angeles suburbs to call home is El Monte.

Located 22.2 miles outside the city, El Montes is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 2highest unemployment rate (7.09%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Los Angeles for 2023

To figure out how bad a Los Angeles suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

It’s Saturday Night Science.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2017-2021, this is the criteria we used:

  • High unemployment rate
  • Low median household incomes
  • Low population density (no things to do)
  • Low home values
  • A lot of high school dropouts
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Los Angeles.

We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 79 suburbs to evaluate around Los Angeles.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 79 in each category, where 1 was the “worst.”

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality-of-life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index, the “Worst Suburb near Los Angeles.” We’re looking at you, Commerce.

We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Los Angeles.

Summary: The areas around Los Angeles where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Los Angeles with Commerce casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Los Angeles aren’t all bad. Hermosa Beach takes the cake as the best place to live around Los Angeles.

  • Hermosa Beach
  • Manhattan Beach
  • Palos Verdes Estates

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Los Angeles Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Commerce 12,459 $58,226 $455,700
2 Cudahy 23,003 $47,050 $434,200
3 Huntington Park 55,439 $51,065 $452,300
4 Compton 96,083 $62,297 $423,000
5 Lynwood 67,497 $61,612 $449,300
6 Bell Gardens 39,870 $50,311 $423,700
7 South Gate 93,308 $59,647 $470,200
8 Bell 33,915 $51,183 $450,900
9 South El Monte 19,860 $60,244 $478,800
10 El Monte 110,144 $56,524 $508,200
11 Maywood 25,477 $54,535 $481,800
12 Paramount 53,904 $60,456 $412,300
13 Hawaiian Gardens 14,178 $66,578 $439,900
14 Stanton 38,167 $68,821 $454,200
15 Inglewood 108,206 $62,845 $603,900
16 Azusa 49,457 $74,043 $477,300
17 Montebello 62,828 $66,584 $557,400
18 Baldwin Park 72,813 $72,554 $464,800
19 La Puente 38,447 $73,827 $467,200
20 Bellflower 79,070 $70,236 $535,300
21 Hawthorne 87,863 $63,847 $644,600
22 Long Beach 466,565 $71,150 $614,900
23 Lawndale 32,035 $72,246 $587,900
24 San Fernando 24,086 $64,581 $525,200
25 Santa Fe Springs 18,817 $75,086 $490,200
26 Rosemead 51,698 $64,224 $610,000
27 Gardena 60,917 $68,413 $562,400
28 Pico Rivera 62,383 $78,056 $490,300
29 Glendale 196,512 $74,488 $865,400
30 Westlake 4,858 $60,690 $126,400
31 Carson 95,104 $92,548 $541,900
32 Temple 5,093 $77,509 $129,100
33 La Habra 63,287 $88,002 $600,400
34 Artesia 16,390 $83,321 $635,000
35 Signal Hill 11,780 $79,309 $551,000
36 Monterey Park 61,153 $68,497 $667,300
37 Duarte 21,723 $86,903 $575,500
38 Los Alamitos 11,780 $91,051 $822,100
39 San Gabriel 39,673 $76,918 $768,500
40 Fullerton 142,964 $92,718 $698,600
41 Downey 114,293 $77,972 $608,600
42 Norwalk 103,330 $83,217 $487,800
43 West Covina 109,396 $89,834 $602,400
44 Monrovia 37,999 $87,077 $723,000
45 Whittier 87,184 $80,306 $630,200
46 Pasadena 138,771 $89,661 $863,100
47 Burbank 107,364 $82,246 $837,900
48 Alhambra 83,174 $73,035 $654,000
49 Buena Park 83,974 $90,503 $627,200
50 Santa Clarita 227,182 $106,166 $591,400
51 Seal Beach 25,216 $75,821 $451,900
52 West Hollywood 35,678 $78,719 $782,500
53 Lomita 20,884 $85,852 $643,500
54 Calabasas 23,410 $132,838 $1,141,600
55 Beverly Hills 32,903 $103,944 $2,000,001
56 Simi Valley 126,809 $102,627 $635,000
57 La Mirada 47,957 $97,672 $629,900
58 Lakewood 82,419 $102,163 $620,100
59 Arcadia 56,697 $99,588 $1,152,200
60 Santa Monica 92,828 $99,847 $1,484,500
61 Torrance 147,156 $100,215 $840,900
62 Thousand Oaks 127,274 $113,942 $794,200
63 Cypress 50,279 $109,180 $702,000
64 Cerritos 49,630 $115,600 $764,200
65 La Habra Heights 5,651 $181,591 $945,800
66 El Segundo 17,243 $126,683 $1,244,200
67 Rolling Hills Estates 8,305 $160,724 $1,461,500
68 La Palma 15,650 $106,473 $733,600
69 Agoura Hills 20,362 $141,099 $857,700
70 Malibu 10,915 $178,594 $2,000,001
71 South Pasadena 26,837 $115,088 $1,174,400
72 Sierra Madre 11,253 $116,884 $1,048,300
73 Hidden Hills 2,182 $250,001 $2,000,001
74 Rancho Palos Verdes 42,316 $158,996 $1,247,600
75 Redondo Beach 70,998 $123,874 $1,026,500
76 San Marino 12,620 $174,722 $2,000,001
77 Palos Verdes Estates 13,403 $202,569 $2,000,001
78 Manhattan Beach 35,585 $169,586 $2,000,001
79 Hermosa Beach 19,787 $144,388 $1,674,500
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 Worst Los Angeles Suburbs For 2023

  1. ☆☆☆☆☆SHARE & Pass this message around☆☆☆☆☆☆

    First, whoever wrote this article took the worse pictures to provide the worse impression of the Antelope Valley, The writer obviously failed to do their research which shows incompetancy and ignorance on their ability to write a true and factual story.

    Any article that states ” dont shoot the messagnger- means its solely based on this person opinions and no actual facts.

    I honestly dont believe the writer of this article even knows how to write an article with any facts whatsoever.

    Lancaster, Palmdale, and Quartz Hill have a lot more to offer than open dirt fields and nothing to do. People fail to realize that our location is the perfect location as we are 1 hour away from could possibly want to do.

    From mountains, outdoor hiking, traveling to the beaches, heading out dirt bike & quad riding, fishing, snowboarding, and much more we have the capability to do it all.

    I am so sick of outsiders and insiders not giving these towns the credit they deserve. Yes, we have some areas we could clean up and beautify. Like the eastside of both our major towns.

    And, yes do we need more jobs? Most definately, but what city in California doesnt?

    However, this author obviously wouldnt know a gem from a cortz if when he saw one.

    It just goes to show how living in the trashy streets of LA wiuldnt allow him to appreciate and understand the simpler and easier life the Antelope Valley has to offer.

    Community and country living offers to simple of a life for this narrow minded writer. I dont feel I need some big city minded folk tearing down our home towns.

    Lancaster, Palmdale, and Quartz Hill is well worth living in and visiting for awhile we have so many community and home town events and actually care about the people in our cities.

  2. Mistakes Recognized: I have placed the edited version of my statement in the facebook comments. Sadly, my autotext caused severe spelling errors in my above written statement. Hopefully, by posting this mistake publicly it will show the writer how to correct a mistake correctly when one is made.

  3. Well I guess the only part of your article that has any value to it is that it will keep some people from the areas and slow down crowding. You could find some pretty amazing things about the Antelope Valley if you listened to the people who CHOOSE to live it. That’s right choose. They are passionate about the AV and all it has to offer. But don’t tell anyone, because then we would have the traffic, a slightly less % of parking and more people coming here who didn’t want to have to wait to see GOOD doctors, dentists. I can’t think of anything I need to do or go south to buy, that can’t be found here. There are GOOD jobs here too. AND hardworking people. “Hardworking people of Palos Verde?” I guess the same work is harder there? Or does $$$ equate with quality of life?
    After you’ve made it you still have to spend it to live. The ratios? Also, if you are spending $$$ to live somewhere, you have less $$ and time to spend with family & friends.

  4. On top of all of the ridiculousness, the pictures don’t even portray the cities of Lancaster, Palmdale, nor Quartz Hill! Let’s drive out to the middle of nowhere and take pictures of nothing! Whoever wrote this article is a totally blithering idiot and his company should fire him and be ashamed of allowing such extreme stupidity to be published.

  5. Aubray you must not have lived long in the Antelope Valley if you think it’s all that. I was born and raised there and it went to shit in 1987. Did you also know it has the busiest 911 call average in the United States? ST33 and ST131. Also you have one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation, not mention parolee’s. The Metrolink and the Syte prison was the final nail in the coffin for that place. It was a awesome to grow up, but it is a lost cause now. LA cesspool and Highway14 North is the supply line.

    Bottom line. AV deserves #1

    1. S. Skinner: Thank you for your response. I have lived in the Antelope Valley my whole life. Born in a city up north, traveled down to the AV when I was 2 yr. old- left the area for 2 years to live by the beach at 18- then moved back by the time I was almost 20. I’ve been here to see the area turn from towns into cities, watch the good ol’ AV Mall bloom into what it is today. I grew up in Eastside Lancaster which is one of the hardest hit areas in desperate need of clean up since the last economical fall. You talked in your reply about the AV having one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation. I’m not sure how long it has been since you have been to the area- but we didn’t even make the list.

      Don’t misunderstand me, our area has it problems, and there is definitely some work there is definitely some work that needs to be done. However, we have come a long way since our up and down past and we still have a long way to go, but I believe and always have believed that it can be done.

      The AV Community is just that- a community- dedicated to helping one another. We have a lot to offer to tourist, families, and major businesses who want to invest in bringing their companies here. There’s tons of open land opportunities to develop on and even more educational perks for study and observation.

      Sure, we have had our ups and downs- but what city hasn’t. Bottom Line: The facts are the facts and the AV isn’t on the list and the author of this original article is full of sh**

      Though, I’m sorry you may have had a bad experience- and though I am sure other may have had their own as well we are much more than just a pile of dirt sitting somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

  6. While the writer may have it wrong on some level, he also has it right. Yes, the photo may be somewhat misleading, but not much. If you know the history of the area going back about 30 years, it isn’t difficult to see how the decline occurred. Lancaster/Palmdale/QH once had a bright future. Much of the employment was tied to aerospace. That had it’s own advantages and drawback, too. No place that survives on essentially a single source for its employment is going to last without reinventing itself (take Pittsburg for example). That entire area has come to rely more on the prison system to provide jobs than attracting any other industry to the area. As a result, many families of the incarcerated have migrated to the area. Some bringing even more criminal elements with them. Having this higher concentration of renters vs. homeowners and add in the criminal element and there is no real mystery as to how the decline happened. Throw in corrupt city council and the apathy of the voters in the area (since a majority of the people moving in are low income) and the exodus of those with higher incomes. So, while you may enjoy Lancaster/Palmdale/QH and what it has to offer, as someone who grew up there and watched/experienced the decline, I can tell you that for me, it is a miserable place to live. In addition, even whenI was growing up there, the school system was terrible. Because of the affiliation with L.A. County, it seems that the teachers are left to thei own devices and many no longer cared.

    Look, you can’t drive a decent car anywhere past Division street on the East side of Lancaster without being glared at by some a hole crossing the street as slow as possible with a chip on their shoulder. Go into a 7-11 over there and tell me you don’t feel the least bit apprehensive. There are places all over the valley that were once perfectly safe to be in, even at night as a kid, that are now at a minimum, risky to go into as an adult in broad daylight.

    So, don’t fool yourself about the quality of life there. In fact, I’d love to see eh area go back to its former state. But that takes the current residents to insist on a better way of life. If you’re all satisfied with the way things are now, then life there will never get any better because you’re not demanding more and attracting industry through better education of your children.

    1. R. Tuck: After reading your share I had to respond. I’m sorry to hear that your perspective of the AV has obviously downsized in someway. However, we are making strides. You discussed the issues with education and it’s not necessarily the teachers as it is the lack of them. A 9k shortage of teachers in the area with an increasing population does not help. I am blessed to be able to go into the schools and help out as often as I can, but I will tell you many of these teachers work 10-14 hour days going to meetings, dealing with children who seem to have a lack of respect for any being in front of them, but it’s only due to their non-life experiences in which they have yet to have gone through. I’m not sure what you do for a living, but many of our students are achieving amazing things.

      I would like to encourage you to go to Here you will find my organization in which we recognize all the graduating students of the Antelope Valley who have obtained a 4.0 GPA for all 4 years of high school. Yes, that’s right- this is actually taking place in the Antelope Valley. Our teachers work day in and day out, have dedicated their time and efforts to these students to help them achieve amazing things.

      Like, I previously said not all teachers are alike, but I can’t say the education problems are because of the teachers. Teaching a child starts at home. Parents have to contribute their time just as much as teachers to help a child find success.

      1. A few good teachers and students don’t address all of the issues that make the area overall, terrible. In fact, those few bright spots you speak of will in all likelihood grow up, experience what life is like in places that don’t present an immediate threat to them or their families and leave. So, thank you for the efforts. For that I commend you. For me, though, I left and will never go back.

        I travel for a living and I can tell you first hand that once you see how much your quality of life can improve by going elsewhere, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. God gives you one life to live. Don’t waste it making excuses for a place that so many others tell you is miserable. Perhaps exploring their reasons may enlighten you and hopefully give you the same opportunity others have discovered to live life in a place where the likelihood of your being a victim of a crime is even or less than the odds of winning the lottery.

  7. As for the article writer and for the ones leaving comments did u all for get that the a.v. has the highest rate for child abuse and sexual abuse in all of LA County and with that being said forget about no work, drugs, and gangs the abuse categories are enough to make the av #1 as the worst place to live.

  8. I don’t know where you got your information about Lancaster, CA, or what you have
    been smoking, but if you would rather live in Compton or Watts than Lancaster your
    are insane. I noticed there was no mention of Lancaster’s beautiful minor league
    baseball stadium, our world-class Lancaster Performing Arts Center, our national
    soccer complex, Southern California’s largest and busiest 24-hr Fitness complex, our
    newly revitalized downtown, the Antelope Valley College campus, Cinemark’s 22
    theater movie facility, the Sage Planetarium, and many very nice, modern parks.

  9. Matter of interpretation on how the AV is seen. I reside here since 2005. Nothing negative said about how the SFV changed in the 1960-2005, from a beautiful home, in my own opinion, into a gutterswamp filled with changes I fail to comprehend, also in my own opinion. I moved out to Palmdale in 2005, then to Lancaster in 2007, further north after that. The residents that live above Lancaster feel the issues of the AV infiltrates their Payton place and threatens their livelihood, as mentioned in various postings of theirs. It seems indicative of mankind to spread out and bring with him his “issues” that comes across as his “trash”. Not to mention, Lancaster becomes a dumping ground for criminals and homeless. I see it first hand every day. GR lines increase, more places exclude homeless, save for churches, food giveaways, homeless shelters. I hear more griping out on the streets, see it in the editorials, online. LASD is looked at with disdain as theyhave to deal with hoodlums, released parolees, and the public. Despite having a decent mall, a few movie theaters and a good community college, the embittered and embattled feeling that either AV is home or sewer is a matter of personal interpretation. I still think SFV is a sewer, since I’d seen it changed before my eyes from the above decades mentioned. AV may not be so different, but not the same. Listen to police calls on a scanner, and one would think AV is a warzone. But, is it? That is a question best asked of each person that lives and works in the AV, isn’t it?

  10. My problem is that its classist.

    My sisters and I grew up on free school lunch program, the “entitlements” that Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly rant about. We lived in a North OC house beginning in 1972. Never had a problem with crime even though it is right up against some iffy looking apartments (back then, the apartments had little white-haired old ladies but now that it’s more brown, it hasn’t changed the safety of the area). My Mom still lives there. The most exciting thing in our neighborhood to happen in over 40 years were two apartment building fires next door. We were poor because my father was an auto mechanic and my mom stayed home to raise us. But we weren’t dumb. We all graduated from college, my sister with honors in music (pianist), my other sister become a doctor, my other sister is a teacher in one of the best-paid school districts in the IE. I myself earned two degrees. Both of our parents had no degree. Being on school lunch program didn’t mean we were trash. Living in a low income area doesn’t mean you’re a Welfare queen. The leading cause of poverty is being a SINGLE MOTHER, so blame divorce and family breakup, not “lifestyle” for the problem. The second leading cause of poverty (and bankruptcy) is MEDICAL EXPENSE, so let’s blame people who have disabilities and illnesses and accidents on the job for ending up in a low income household. Being low income doesn’t mean you’re a dumb, lazy idiot, no matter what Faux News pumps into your boob tube.

    The income levels that are cited as low income in the IE and AV would be considered sufficient in many parts of the country to get you into a good school district and a decent size house. Ever watch HGTV and ask yourself how these people can spend $200K for a three acres and a 3,000 SQ Ft house? The ONLY thing that is separating people who make these income levels elsewhere in the country from being “poor” instead of “middle class” is HOUSING COSTS.

    Look it up: Southern California, and Los Angeles, specifically, now tops the list according to the Lusk Center for Real Estate for being the most poverty-stricken area in the nation. That’s the entire region, folks, because we know it only gets worse in the OC! The reason? Median wages for everybody in Los Angeles are lower than what it takes, on average, to live here, and we have less rent control than the areas we typically think of as high-cost like Manhattan or San Francisco. At the same time, Southern California and LA/OC, particularly, have the worst housing shortage. So the new homes are being built for people who make over six figures a year. I’ve got news for you: If you make a six figure income here, even if that’s only “middle class”, Uncle Sam says you’re part of the top 5-10 percent of all income earners nationally. And if you earn a mid-six figure income, for tax purposes you are in “1 percent” territory.

    When the cost of living goes up but wages do not, you end up with poverty. Southern California only works for two-income earner households, for the most part. If one person suffers a prolonged setback with job, health or just a more basic thing like caring for sick or aging parent or family member, you can quickly lose your entire standard of living. And here we had Gloria Steinham promising us in the 1960s that we would be liberated? All it did is allow employers to slash wages on the presumption that everyone would have a working spouse or partner to make up the difference. That’s WHY in today’s dollars a single income is worth less in practical terms than what single-breadwinner households made in the past. Those neighborhoods that were built in the 1950s had blue collar people in them. Now they have mid level managers. Not-so-large homes in South OC have dentists and doctors whose kids are doubling up and sharing rooms just like their low-income counterparts! All the while, you can flip on HGTV on any given day and see some yahoo with a stay-at-home wife buy a McMansion that would make a Californian blush! Do we realize that JOKE is on us? It’s not that people in these communities are “poor” by any national definition, it’s that they do the same work their non-California counterparts do and can’t afford to live because SoCal is so built out that the land and development costs are through the roof. I once heard that on a waitress’s salary in South Dakota, she can own her own home. Does the same waitress in the LA/OC/ID/AV area deserve to be on Section 8 or have a succession of roommates while she contemplates taking on two- or six-figure student loan debts to get a “better job” (after which much of her increased “earning power” will go toward paying off the school loans rather than actually getting ahead from a housing perspective?).

    The entire SoCal area from the IE to the AV and all parts in between are riddled with gangs, crime and homeless. (Thank you, Reagan, for letting out all the crazies who needed institutional care to save the state money. I remember not knowing WHAT a panhandler was — because I had never seen one even in lower-class North OC — before you became California’s governor!)

    Reality check, here: Drive two or three blocks outside of Beverly Hills and there are shifty characters, homeless, GHETTO. Get ‘yer guns, pa, pa: The “safe zones” are shrinking!!! Hello! There’s no point in saying this or that area is safe and this or that area is not safe if they’re less than 5-10 miles apart!

  11. Why is “Fairfax” listed in the longer list? Fairfax is a district of the City of Los Angeles and NOT a suburb.

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