These Are The 10 Worst Los Angeles Suburbs For 2018


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

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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:

  1. Commerce (Photos)
  2. Cudahy
  3. Compton (Photos)
  4. Huntington Park (Photos)
  5. Bell Gardens (Photos)
  6. Bell (Photos)
  7. Hawaiian Gardens (Photos)
  8. Maywood (Photos)
  9. Lynwood (Photos)
  10. 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.

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:

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.

1. Commerce

Commerce, California

Population: 12,997
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
Median Home Price: $343,200
Median Income: $42,235
More on Commerce: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

2. Cudahy


Population: 24,106
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%
Median Home Price: $285,900
Median Income: $39,058
More on Cudahy: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

3. Compton

Compton, California

Population: 97,740
Unemployment Rate: 13.9%
Median Home Price: $264,300
Median Income: $45,406
More on Compton: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

Huntington Park, California

Population: 58,921
Unemployment Rate: 11.1%
Median Home Price: $322,300
Median Income: $35,629
More on Huntington Park: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 42,805
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Median Home Price: $318,700
Median Income: $37,183
More on Bell Gardens: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

6. Bell

Bell, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 35,927
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
Median Home Price: $322,900
Median Income: $38,823
More on Bell: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

Hawaiian Gardens, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 14,468
Unemployment Rate: 10.5%
Median Home Price: $288,200
Median Income: $36,026
More on Hawaiian Gardens: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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%).

8. Maywood

Maywood, California

Population: 27,672
Unemployment Rate: 9.5%
Median Home Price: $325,600
Median Income: $36,696
More on Maywood: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

9. Lynwood

Lynwood, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 71,233
Unemployment Rate: 10.2%
Median Home Price: $312,100
Median Income: $43,848
More on Lynwood: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

South Gate, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 95,219
Unemployment Rate: 11.7%
Median Home Price: $329,000
Median Income: $45,522
More on South Gate: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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:

Detailed List Of The Worst Los Angeles Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Commerce 12,997 11.4% $343,200 $42,235
2 Cudahy 24,106 11.9% $285,900 $39,058
3 Compton 97,740 13.9% $264,300 $45,406
4 Huntington Park 58,921 11.1% $322,300 $35,629
5 Bell Gardens 42,805 10.6% $318,700 $37,183
6 Bell 35,927 11.4% $322,900 $38,823
7 Hawaiian Gardens 14,468 10.5% $288,200 $36,026
8 Maywood 27,672 9.5% $325,600 $36,696
9 Lynwood 71,233 10.2% $312,100 $43,848
10 South Gate 95,219 11.7% $329,000 $45,522
11 Paramount 54,941 9.1% $283,400 $46,364
12 South El Monte 20,566 7.0% $363,100 $42,460
13 El Monte 115,665 9.2% $374,900 $40,654
14 Inglewood 111,012 13.3% $355,300 $44,377
15 Baldwin Park 76,511 8.8% $333,500 $53,651
16 Stanton 38,594 8.0% $322,200 $48,332
17 San Fernando 24,396 8.6% $343,500 $55,734
18 La Puente 40,384 8.1% $343,000 $57,174
19 Azusa 48,498 8.1% $342,000 $56,569
20 Montebello 63,416 8.1% $413,900 $47,518
21 Hawthorne 86,938 9.8% $419,600 $45,089
22 Duarte 21,792 10.4% $385,600 $65,571
23 Pico Rivera 63,724 8.6% $351,300 $57,203
24 Rosemead 54,507 8.2% $455,100 $45,510
25 Long Beach 469,793 9.4% $448,800 $55,151
26 Bellflower 77,687 8.3% $367,300 $50,704
27 Gardena 59,898 8.3% $372,500 $50,137
28 Carson 92,780 10.8% $366,700 $73,829
29 Norwalk 106,360 8.0% $350,600 $61,050
30 Lawndale 33,161 7.0% $401,700 $51,934
31 La Habra 61,660 10.0% $436,200 $65,799
32 Signal Hill 11,404 7.0% $446,000 $70,286
33 Santa Fe Springs 17,436 4.9% $371,400 $58,147
34 Monterey Park 61,001 7.5% $532,700 $54,008
35 Glendale 197,895 9.2% $639,700 $56,069
36 Fullerton 139,491 8.6% $551,300 $67,110
37 West Covina 107,634 9.9% $430,800 $71,217
38 San Gabriel 40,200 6.9% $605,600 $54,015
39 Monrovia 37,090 9.6% $583,300 $67,167
40 Downey 113,223 6.8% $449,900 $65,332
41 Artesia 16,789 5.2% $419,500 $58,651
42 Alhambra 84,866 6.0% $518,800 $53,138
43 Seal Beach 24,510 6.3% $308,400 $60,222
44 Santa Clarita 180,303 8.1% $417,400 $85,042
45 Lomita 20,652 8.0% $532,300 $61,580
46 Pasadena 140,268 7.1% $649,800 $73,029
47 Whittier 86,630 6.7% $458,500 $67,431
48 Buena Park 82,771 5.7% $448,900 $70,341
49 Los Alamitos 11,661 7.8% $680,100 $80,926
50 La Mirada 49,130 6.9% $448,400 $81,956
51 Thousand Oaks 128,623 7.9% $637,100 $101,045
52 Lakewood 81,054 6.3% $445,800 $82,175
53 Simi Valley 126,126 6.2% $472,700 $91,196
54 La Palma 15,834 6.4% $602,000 $83,760
55 West Hollywood 35,661 7.3% $642,200 $61,127
56 Arcadia 57,755 6.5% $920,700 $83,958
57 El Segundo 16,901 7.2% $828,300 $91,623
58 Santa Monica 92,247 8.3% $1,086,300 $82,123
59 Torrance 147,307 6.4% $652,600 $80,862
60 Cerritos 49,797 6.6% $620,500 $95,373
61 Cypress 48,978 5.2% $540,900 $84,469
62 Beverly Hills 34,627 8.0% $1,900,500 $100,630
63 Malibu 12,853 6.1% $1,802,800 $116,904
64 South Pasadena 25,936 6.2% $876,900 $84,593
65 Agoura Hills 20,689 5.3% $699,200 $114,313
66 La Habra Heights 5,406 4.9% $893,200 $110,329
67 Calabasas 24,091 5.2% $926,800 $111,111
68 Sierra Madre 11,067 5.3% $861,200 $95,256
69 San Marino 13,324 4.3% $1,518,400 $139,792
70 Rolling Hills Estates 8,206 4.4% $1,096,400 $129,728
71 Rancho Palos Verdes 42,412 4.3% $1,003,300 $120,668
72 Redondo Beach 67,664 5.8% $775,300 $103,782
73 Palos Verdes Estates 13,582 2.0% $1,609,500 $200,766
74 Manhattan Beach 35,573 5.1% $1,537,200 $144,868
75 Hermosa Beach 19,726 4.1% $1,166,800 $121,345

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19 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Los Angeles Suburbs For 2018

  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 everything.you 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. http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/neighborhoods/crime-rates/top100dangerous/

      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 http://www.avstudentrecognition.com 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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