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. So without further ado…
We examined the 75 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 2018:
- Commerce (Photos)
- Compton (Photos)
- Huntington Park (Photos)
- Bell Gardens (Photos)
- Bell (Photos)
- Hawaiian Gardens (Photos)
- Maywood (Photos)
- Lynwood (Photos)
- South Gate (Photos)
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.
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:
- 10 Best Places To Live In California
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In California
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In California
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Los Angeles for 2018
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, 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 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 75 suburbs to evaluate around Los Angeles.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 75 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.
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.
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 8th worst in the Los Angeles area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 16th 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.
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 6th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $39,058 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.
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.
4. Huntington Park
If you live in Huntington Park, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 1st lowest Los Angeles suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 7th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Los Angeles. Remember, we looked at 75 cities for this study.
Huntington Park is about 11.4 miles to downtown.
5. Bell Gardens
Bell Gardens has the distinction of being a Los Angeles suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Bell Gardens has the 7th lowest home values in the metro Los Angeles area, where the median price is $318,700. To put that into perspective, in Hermosa Beach, the median income is $200,766, which is the best in the area.
Bell Gardens has an unemployment rate of 10.6% which ranks 9th worst.
Bell has 35,927 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 25.3%.
7. Hawaiian Gardens
Ah, Hawaiian Gardens. 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 (10.5%).
Maywood is a city about 13.0 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. Maywood has the 2nd most uninsured people, 3rd worst incomes, and has the 17th highest unemployment rate (9.5%) in the entire Los Angeles metro area.
Homes only cost $325,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Los Angeles standards.
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 10.2% of residents are out of work.
10. South Gate
Rounding out the ten worst Los Angeles suburbs to call home is South Gate.
Located 13.5 miles outside the city, South Gates is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 4th highest unemployment rate (11.7%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Los Angeles where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018
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.
For more California reading, check out:
- 10 Most Ghetto Cities In California
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In California
- 10 Safest Places In California
- 10 Worst Places To Live In California