Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Sacramento.
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 Sacramento ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Sacramento area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Sacramento proper, although Folsom certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Sacramento are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
We examined the 15 biggest suburbs of Sacramento 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 Sacramento in terms of quality of life.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Sacramento for 2019:
- Rancho Cordova
- West Sacramento (Photos)
- Dixon (Photos)
- Citrus Heights (Photos)
- Woodland (Photos)
- Winters (Photos)
- Rio Vista (Photos)
- Loomis (Photos)
- Elk Grove (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Sacramento that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Sacramento 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 Sacramento for 2019
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 2013-2017, 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 Sacramento.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 6,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 15 suburbs to evaluate around Sacramento.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 15 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 Sacramento.” We’re lookin’ at you, Rancho Cordova.
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.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $57,965 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (1st highest)
Median Home Value: $251,500 (2nd lowest)
More on Rancho Cordova: Data
We’ll get the ball rolling with Rancho Cordova, the absolute worst place to live around Sacramento according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Rancho Cordova beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 2nd worst in the Sacramento area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 2nd 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 Rancho Cordova.
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 West Sacramento. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 4.4 miles to Sacramento. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $59,586 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 Sacramento suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Dixon 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 Sacramento suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Income: $68,908 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $270,300 (3rd lowest)
More on Galt: Data
If you live in Galt, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 7th lowest Sacramento suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 3rd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Sacramento. Remember, we looked at 15 cities for this study.
Galt is about 22.5 miles to downtown.
Citrus Heights has the distinction of being a Sacramento suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Citrus Heights has the 1st lowest home values in the metro Sacramento area, where the median price is $246,600. To put that into perspective, in Folsom, the median income is $106,718, which is the best in the area.
Citrus Heights has an unemployment rate of 8.1% which ranks 6th worst.
Woodland has 58,324 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 13.0%.
Ah, Winters. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Sacramento.
It’s the place with the 4th most out of work residents in the Sacramento metro area (8.8%).
Rio Vista is a city about 30.0 miles from Sacramento, but Sacramento 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. Rio Vista has the 9th most uninsured people, 6th worst incomes, and has the 10th highest unemployment rate (6.7%) in the entire Sacramento metro area.
Homes only cost $290,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for Sacramento standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Sacramento, then Loomis might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Sacramento suburb.
About 7.3% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Sacramento suburbs to call home is Elk Grove.
Located 11.4 miles outside the city, Elk Groves is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 7th highest unemployment rate (7.5%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Sacramento where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Sacramento with Rancho Cordova casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Sacramento aren’t all bad. Folsom takes the cake as the best place to live around Sacramento.
For more California reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In California
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In California
- 10 Safest Places In California
- 10 Worst Places To Live In California
Detailed List Of The Worst Sacramento Suburbs