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.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Los Angeles too.
For more California reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In California
- Cheapest Places To Live In California
- Most Dangerous Cities In California
The 10 Worst Los Angeles Suburbs To Live For 2023
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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%).
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.
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.
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:
- Best Places To Retire In California
- Richest Cities In California
- Safest Places In California
- Worst Places To Live In California
Detailed List Of The Worst Los Angeles Suburbs
|9||South El Monte||19,860|
|25||Santa Fe Springs||18,817|
|65||La Habra Heights||5,651|
|67||Rolling Hills Estates||8,305|
|74||Rancho Palos Verdes||42,316|
|77||Palos Verdes Estates||13,403|