The 10 Worst Sacramento Suburbs

The worst Sacramento suburbs are Rio Vista and Citrus Heights based on Saturday Night Science. Find out where your town ranks.

More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Sacramento to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: what suburbs of Sacramento are the worst?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Sacramento ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Sacramento area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Sacramento proper, although Rocklin certainly tries.

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.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Sacramento? Rio Vista ranks as the worst suburb of Sacramento for 2024 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

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 Sacramento too.

The 10 Worst Sacramento Suburbs To Live For 2024

Rio Vista, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Brocken Inaglory | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,074
Median Income: $83,538 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 13.4% (highest)
Median Home Value: $475,869 (2nd lowest)
More on Rio Vista: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

We’ll get the ball rolling with Rio Vista, the absolute worst place to live around Sacramento according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Rio Vista 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 Rio Vista.

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.

Citrus Heights, CA

Source: Wikipedia User The original uploader was J.smith at English Wikipedia | CC BY-SA 2.5
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 87,127
Median Income: $75,022 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $465,791 (lowest)
More on Citrus Heights: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Welcome to Citrus Heights. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 13.2 miles to Sacramento. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $75,022 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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 79,128
Median Income: $85,099 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $512,286 (4th lowest)
More on Rancho Cordova: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Sacramento suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Rancho Cordova 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 Sacramento suburbs.

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

West Sacramento, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 54,163
Median Income: $87,044 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $508,715 (3rd lowest)
More on West Sacramento: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you live in West Sacramento, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 7th lowest Sacramento suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 7th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Sacramento. Remember, we looked at 15 cities for this study.

West Sacramento is about 4.4 miles to downtown.

Woodland, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 61,227
Median Income: $84,494 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $528,955 (6th lowest)
More on Woodland: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Woodland has the distinction of being a Sacramento suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Woodland has the 6th lowest home values in the metro Sacramento area, where the median price is $528,955. The median income is $134,935.

Woodland has an unemployment rate of 4.96% which ranks 9th worst.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 25,350
Median Income: $85,069 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $516,561 (5th lowest)
More on Galt: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Galt has 25,350 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 7.241256103854858%.

Dixon, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,071
Median Income: $92,138 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $578,864 (7th lowest)
More on Dixon: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Ah, Dixon. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Sacramento.

It’s the place with the 14th most out of work residents in the Sacramento metro area (3.17%).

Winters, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,270
Median Income: $128,679 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 1.9% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $586,928 (8th lowest)
More on Winters: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Winters is a city about 27.5 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. Winters has the most uninsured people, 14th worst incomes, and has the 15th highest unemployment rate (1.93%) in the entire Sacramento metro area.

Homes only cost $586,928 for a reason. That’s cheap for Sacramento standards.

Davis, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 67,203
Median Income: $83,592 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $858,412 (14th lowest)
More on Davis: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you absolutely have to live near Sacramento, then Davis might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Sacramento suburb.

About 5.75% of residents are out of work.

Elk Grove, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 176,105
Median Income: $115,864 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $627,121 (10th lowest)
More on Elk Grove: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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 2nd highest unemployment rate (6.41%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Sacramento for 2024

To figure out how bad a Sacramento suburb is to live in, we used Saturday Night Science to identify the kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2018-2022, 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 Sacramento.

We also limited the analysis to places with 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 looking at you, Rio Vista.

We updated this article for 2024, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Sacramento.

Summary: The areas around Sacramento where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2024

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Sacramento with Rio Vista casting itself ahead of the pack.

The worst suburbs of Sacramento are .

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Sacramento aren’t all bad. Rocklin takes the cake as the best place to live around Sacramento.

  • Rocklin
  • Folsom
  • Loomis

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Sacramento Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Rio Vista 10,074 $83,538 $475,869
2 Citrus Heights 87,127 $75,022 $465,791
3 Rancho Cordova 79,128 $85,099 $512,286
4 West Sacramento 54,163 $87,044 $508,715
5 Woodland 61,227 $84,494 $528,955
6 Galt 25,350 $85,069 $516,561
7 Dixon 19,071 $92,138 $578,864
8 Winters 7,270 $128,679 $586,928
9 Davis 67,203 $83,592 $858,412
10 Elk Grove 176,105 $115,864 $627,121
11 Lincoln 50,131 $99,434 $631,747
12 Roseville 148,879 $112,265 $625,711
13 Loomis 6,831 $100,159 $882,385
14 Folsom 81,077 $134,935 $747,314
15 Rocklin 71,676 $116,006 $672,750
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

3 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Sacramento Suburbs

  1. If Sacramento county is not near the worst places in the US to live, following after Placer county, the inarguable far worst, then its hard to find a worse place in the country, possibly the world for that matter. Consider that the chance of falling victim to serious property crime is almost 100 percent, meaning, in mathematical terms, that half the population are criminal. There is not doubt that criminality is strongly favored and the law compliance is apt to get you in trouble with the law or to have a gun pulled on you by police or taken down with injury by police. And example of life in unincorporated “Sac” County would be 14 burglaries and grand thefts over 5 years including $4000 riding tractor mower, $800 lawnmowers, $600 landscape equipment, $1200 window smash theft, $1300 dual door smash (sans lock sets), $2,500 semitrailer vehicle theft, $2100 Tech Ring theft, $100+ classic bike and $300 new bike in carton thefts; and on an one plus (in three days) $4000+ motorcycle, $1200 garage door theft by destroy (to remove motorcycle) $60 gas storage container, plus $265 hydraulic table and left if constant fear/vigilance due to removal of all protections and assurance the thieves will return to get what was left behind…oh and didd I mention $10,000 to replace 300+ foot destroyed fence….yes all of that including fence in three weeks to one Sacramento residence. Or how about a Sac Physician (UCDavis) filing perjured statements to Social Security an cutting off retiree/disabled social security for over 4 months after deliberately inflicting ten of thousands of personal and property injury on a patient and relatives plus causing relative to be arrested and prosecuted for doing what the law demands…and there is not recourse because physician/hospiital criminality is immunized from the state penal code and from civil liability. Sound like a good place to live? The by all means come to Sacramento County or its neighbor Placer County, California. Oh, and don’t worry about you kids having it too tough in school…at schools that provide the lowest quality education–and functional illiteracy to boot–of any other state in the U.S.

  2. Forgive the typo’s, but that, too, tells you what it is like to live there…in fear and totally on your own for protection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *