The 10 Worst Los Angeles Suburbs For 2021


We used science and data to determine which Los Angeles suburbs are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst suburbs around Los Angeles.

Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Los Angeles.

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 science and data 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't expect all 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 78 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.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Los Angeles for 2021:

  1. Commerce
  2. Bell Gardens
  3. Compton
  4. Huntington Park
  5. Maywood
  6. Cudahy
  7. Bell
  8. South Gate
  9. Lynwood
  10. South El Monte

What's the worst suburb of Los Angeles? Commerce ranks as the worst suburb of Los Angeles for 2021 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.

Editor's Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it's because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

For more California reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Los Angeles Suburbs To Live For 2021

Commerce, CA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 12,830
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $47,518 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (2highest)
Median Home Value: $411,200 (13th lowest)
More on Commerce:  Data | Photos

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.

Bell Gardens, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 42,421
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $42,223 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $388,100 (9th lowest)
More on Bell Gardens:  Data | Photos

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

This city is 15.2 miles to Los Angeles. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $42,223 a year, which doesn't go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.

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

Compton, CA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 96,803
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Median Income: $52,883 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $355,200 (4th lowest)
More on Compton:  Data | Photos

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Los Angeles suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Compton 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 drop out rate is poor compared to other Los Angeles suburbs.

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

Huntington Park, CA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 58,353
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Income: $42,447 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $412,600 (14th lowest)
More on Huntington Park:  Data | Photos

If you live in Huntington Park, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 3rd lowest Los Angeles suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 5th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Los Angeles. Remember, we looked at 78 cities for this study.

Huntington Park is about 11.4 miles to downtown.

Maywood, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 27,332
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Income: $44,241 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $387,000 (8th lowest)
More on Maywood:  Data | Photos

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

All snarkiness aside, Maywood has the 8th lowest home values in the metro Los Angeles area, where the median price is $387,000. To put that into perspective, in Hermosa Beach, the median income is $194,543, which is the best in the area.

Maywood has an unemployment rate of 7.8% which ranks 7th worst.

Cudahy, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 23,890
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $46,642 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.5% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $420,700 (18th lowest)
More on Cudahy:  Data | Photos

Cudahy has 23,890 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 26.16120505181891%.

Bell, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 35,682
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Income: $44,327 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $413,400 (15th lowest)
More on Bell:  Data | Photos

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

It's the place with the 10th most out of work residents in the Los Angeles metro area (7.35%).

South Gate, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 94,642
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Income: $52,321 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (highest)
Median Home Value: $408,200 (11th lowest)
More on South Gate:  Data | Photos

South Gate 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. South Gate has the 7th most uninsured people, 12th worst incomes, and has the highest unemployment rate (9.55%) in the entire Los Angeles metro area.

Homes only cost $408,200 for a reason. That's cheap for Los Angeles standards.

Lynwood, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 70,635
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $52,213 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $399,100 (10th lowest)
More on Lynwood:  Data | Photos

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

About 8.37% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 20,721
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $52,204 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (33rd highest)
Median Home Value: $445,500 (22nd lowest)
More on South El Monte:  Data

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

Located 20.8 miles outside the city, South El Montes is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 33rd highest unemployment rate (5.81%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Los Angeles for 2021

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

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2015-2019, 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 drop outs
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Los Angeles.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 4,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 78 suburbs to evaluate around Los Angeles.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 78 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 lookin' at you, Commerce. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.

The areas around Los Angeles where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2021

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
  • Redondo Beach
  • Manhattan Beach

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Los Angeles Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Commerce 12,830 $47,518 $411,200
2 Bell Gardens 42,421 $42,223 $388,100
3 Compton 96,803 $52,883 $355,200
4 Huntington Park 58,353 $42,447 $412,600
5 Maywood 27,332 $44,241 $387,000
6 Cudahy 23,890 $46,642 $420,700
7 Bell 35,682 $44,327 $413,400
8 South Gate 94,642 $52,321 $408,200
9 Lynwood 70,635 $52,213 $399,100
10 South El Monte 20,721 $52,204 $445,500
11 Westlake 4,727 $42,156 $114,400
12 El Monte 115,517 $49,003 $454,900
13 Hawaiian Gardens 14,337 $49,483 $363,500
14 Montebello 62,742 $56,150 $492,300
15 Inglewood 109,613 $54,400 $483,000
16 Paramount 54,513 $55,670 $343,800
17 La Puente 40,020 $64,592 $419,800
18 Azusa 49,753 $68,216 $418,800
19 Baldwin Park 75,892 $65,904 $408,600
20 Stanton 38,377 $57,598 $386,400
21 Hawthorne 87,107 $54,215 $564,300
22 Long Beach 466,776 $63,017 $556,100
23 Duarte 21,559 $75,083 $482,200
24 Bellflower 77,195 $60,011 $458,600
25 San Fernando 24,535 $58,425 $431,100
26 La Habra 60,594 $79,325 $539,200
27 Temple 4,549 $58,594 $122,100
28 Pico Rivera 63,001 $67,636 $440,600
29 Gardena 59,709 $58,447 $474,700
30 Norwalk 105,304 $70,667 $440,800
31 Signal Hill 11,512 $75,508 $505,900
32 Santa Fe Springs 17,810 $68,685 $447,400
33 Rosemead 54,282 $57,999 $556,600
34 Glendale 200,232 $66,130 $769,900
35 Carson 92,079 $82,305 $462,600
36 Lawndale 32,819 $62,013 $518,000
37 San Gabriel 40,143 $62,541 $680,700
38 Monterey Park 60,439 $61,819 $616,000
39 Artesia 16,758 $67,647 $542,200
40 Fullerton 139,611 $79,978 $650,000
41 Downey 112,322 $75,878 $569,300
42 Buena Park 82,489 $78,932 $579,100
43 Monrovia 36,816 $77,111 $663,400
44 West Covina 106,589 $82,938 $540,500
45 Burbank 103,703 $75,827 $730,100
46 Pasadena 141,258 $83,068 $785,700
47 Alhambra 84,647 $61,384 $612,700
48 Santa Clarita 213,411 $99,666 $537,000
49 Seal Beach 24,204 $68,852 $371,600
50 Los Alamitos 11,534 $88,729 $761,200
51 Whittier 86,090 $77,270 $574,400
52 La Mirada 48,764 $95,685 $569,500
53 Lomita 20,514 $71,606 $604,300
54 Simi Valley 125,842 $99,151 $584,900
55 Lakewood 80,292 $93,432 $568,600
56 Sierra Madre 10,932 $100,988 $969,700
57 Cerritos 50,143 $106,190 $685,300
58 Arcadia 58,152 $93,574 $1,097,600
59 La Habra Heights 6,574 $115,762 $928,200
60 West Hollywood 36,450 $74,044 $755,400
61 Cypress 48,893 $93,137 $632,900
62 Thousand Oaks 127,873 $109,378 $726,100
63 El Segundo 16,731 $109,577 $1,094,300
64 Beverly Hills 34,186 $106,936 $2,000,001
65 Santa Monica 91,577 $96,570 $1,382,700
66 Torrance 145,492 $93,492 $762,700
67 Agoura Hills 20,533 $122,998 $815,000
68 Calabasas 23,988 $125,814 $1,076,600
69 Malibu 12,620 $150,747 $2,000,001
70 La Palma 15,604 $107,724 $659,100
71 South Pasadena 25,661 $104,308 $1,071,000
72 Rolling Hills Estates 8,169 $150,135 $1,326,600
73 Rancho Palos Verdes 42,030 $138,557 $1,156,700
74 San Marino 13,194 $166,607 $2,000,001
75 Palos Verdes Estates 13,434 $194,543 $2,000,000
76 Manhattan Beach 35,500 $153,023 $2,000,001
77 Redondo Beach 67,423 $113,499 $926,500
78 Hermosa Beach 19,539 $136,702 $1,542,900

How Is Your Town In ?