The 10 Worst Irvine Suburbs For 2022


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

RoadSnacks is reader-supported. When you click through real estate links on our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Irvine.

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 Irvine 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Irvine area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Irvine proper, although Yorba Linda certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Irvine are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..

We examined the 73 biggest suburbs of Irvine 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 Irvine in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Irvine for 2022:

  1. Montclair
  2. Lakeland
  3. Jurupa Valley
  4. Lynwood
  5. Lake Elsinore
  6. Bell Gardens
  7. Ontario
  8. Pomona
  9. Wildomar
  10. Paramount

What's the worst suburb of Irvine? Montclair ranks as the worst suburb of Irvine for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Read on to see how we determined the places around Irvine 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 Irvine 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:

The 10 Worst Irvine Suburbs To Live For 2022

We'll get the ball rolling with Montclair, the absolute worst place to live around Irvine according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Montclair beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 9th worst in the Irvine area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 6th 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 Montclair.

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.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 40,041
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 4)
Median Income: $63,245 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $388,100 (6th lowest)
More on Montclair:  Data | Photos

Montclair, CA

2. Lakeland

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

This city is 23.3 miles to Irvine. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $50,136 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.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 110,335
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $50,136 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (22nd highest)
Median Home Value: $160,400 (lowest)
More on Lakeland:

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Irvine suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Jurupa Valley 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 Irvine suburbs.

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

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 106,646
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Income: $77,787 (29th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $393,200 (9th lowest)
More on Jurupa Valley:  Data

If you live in Lynwood, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 5th lowest Irvine suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Irvine. Remember, we looked at 73 cities for this study.

Lynwood is about 30.0 miles to downtown.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 69,625
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $57,063 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (highest)
Median Home Value: $422,200 (14th lowest)
More on Lynwood:  Data | Photos

Lynwood, CA

Source: Public domain

Lake Elsinore has the distinction of being a Irvine suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Lake Elsinore has the 4th lowest home values in the metro Irvine area, where the median price is $366,200. To put that into perspective, in Yorba Linda, the median income is $164,476, which is the best in the area.

Lake Elsinore has an unemployment rate of 7.71% which ranks 2nd worst.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 64,201
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Income: $74,490 (23rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $366,200 (4th lowest)
More on Lake Elsinore:  Data | Photos

Lake Elsinore, CA

Bell Gardens has 41,770 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 26.62392645457845%.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 41,770
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Income: $45,289 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (18th highest)
Median Home Value: $402,600 (10th lowest)
More on Bell Gardens:  Data | Photos

Bell Gardens, CA

Source: Public domain

Ah, Ontario. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Irvine.

It's the place with the 19th most out of work residents in the Irvine metro area (6.47%).

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 178,194
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $67,357 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (19th highest)
Median Home Value: $408,000 (11th lowest)
More on Ontario:  Data | Photos

Ontario, CA

Pomona is a city about 26.3 miles from Irvine, but Irvine 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. Pomona has the 8th most uninsured people, 8th worst incomes, and has the 2highest unemployment rate (6.29%) in the entire Irvine metro area.

Homes only cost $420,600 for a reason. That's cheap for Irvine standards.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 151,124
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 4)
Median Income: $62,407 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (2highest)
Median Home Value: $420,600 (13th lowest)
More on Pomona:  Data | Photos

Pomona, CA

Source: Public domain

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

About 7.23% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 36,091
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $76,791 (27th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $378,100 (5th lowest)
More on Wildomar:  Data

Rounding out the ten worst Irvine suburbs to call home is Paramount.

Located 27.3 miles outside the city, Paramounts is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 28th highest unemployment rate (5.47%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 53,949
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Income: $57,313 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (28th highest)
Median Home Value: $388,300 (7th lowest)
More on Paramount:  Data | Photos

Paramount, CA

Source: Public domain

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Irvine for 2022

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 2016-2020, 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 Irvine.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 3,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 73 suburbs to evaluate around Irvine.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 73 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 Irvine." We're lookin' at you, Montclair. You can download the data here.

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.

Summary: The areas around Irvine where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Irvine with Montclair casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Irvine aren't all bad. Yorba Linda takes the cake as the best place to live around Irvine.

  • Yorba Linda
  • Newport Beach
  • La Palma

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Irvine Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Montclair 40,041 $63,245 $388,100
2 Lakeland 110,335 $50,136 $160,400
3 Jurupa Valley 106,646 $77,787 $393,200
4 Lynwood 69,625 $57,063 $422,200
5 Lake Elsinore 64,201 $74,490 $366,200
6 Bell Gardens 41,770 $45,289 $402,600
7 Ontario 178,194 $67,357 $408,000
8 Pomona 151,124 $62,407 $420,600
9 Wildomar 36,091 $76,791 $378,100
10 Paramount 53,949 $57,313 $388,300
11 Riverside 327,569 $72,738 $389,500
12 Stanton 38,317 $66,017 $432,600
13 La Puente 39,780 $66,132 $446,800
14 Bellflower 76,339 $63,848 $483,100
15 Hawaiian Gardens 14,212 $61,422 $428,300
16 Santa Ana 332,610 $72,406 $525,900
17 Long Beach 462,081 $66,410 $584,200
18 Chino 89,170 $85,659 $476,800
19 Anaheim 353,085 $76,723 $602,400
20 Westminster 90,857 $67,142 $624,000
21 Santa Fe Springs 17,643 $69,922 $462,400
22 Carson 91,354 $86,040 $494,800
23 Norwalk 104,524 $77,425 $461,000
24 Garden Grove 172,800 $73,611 $580,300
25 La Habra 62,787 $83,532 $577,900
26 Pico Rivera 62,507 $70,620 $464,700
27 Covina 47,787 $77,913 $549,500
28 Corona 168,112 $88,434 $491,000
29 Downey 111,263 $75,974 $582,500
30 Los Alamitos 11,521 $89,323 $772,300
31 Fullerton 141,061 $85,471 $667,300
32 Midway 3,132 $51,005 $162,900
33 Artesia 16,456 $74,375 $600,000
34 Whittier 84,821 $76,026 $598,000
35 Signal Hill 11,430 $86,140 $528,300
36 Laguna Woods 16,056 $46,449 $309,400
37 West Covina 105,808 $85,626 $578,800
38 Buena Park 82,228 $84,680 $608,800
39 Norco 27,021 $106,370 $559,100
40 Costa Mesa 112,958 $90,370 $807,000
41 Orange 139,322 $96,605 $680,300
42 Tustin 80,815 $88,386 $693,000
43 San Dimas 33,812 $90,234 $604,600
44 Seal Beach 24,268 $72,596 $417,700
45 San Juan Capistrano 35,976 $103,922 $760,400
46 Chino Hills 82,800 $104,661 $642,500
47 Fountain Valley 56,118 $89,924 $777,200
48 La Mirada 48,260 $92,493 $606,200
49 Canyon Lake 11,237 $107,868 $479,500
50 Lakewood 79,676 $96,487 $595,200
51 Brea 44,182 $100,969 $687,700
52 Laguna Hills 31,613 $102,358 $744,800
53 Placentia 52,049 $100,707 $653,400
54 Lake Forest 84,666 $112,988 $682,700
55 Huntington Beach 199,778 $97,469 $803,400
56 Diamond Bar 55,870 $100,723 $690,500
57 Walnut 29,764 $108,264 $806,900
58 Cypress 49,137 $102,005 $665,100
59 Eastvale 65,766 $127,881 $596,200
60 Laguna Niguel 65,048 $119,608 $863,600
61 Laguna Beach 22,991 $128,099 $1,874,400
62 El Cerrito 25,280 $108,294 $858,000
63 Cerritos 49,388 $109,229 $716,000
64 La Habra Heights 5,318 $163,750 $916,500
65 San Clemente 64,929 $108,183 $931,400
66 Dana Point 33,782 $105,250 $923,100
67 Rancho Santa Margarita 48,280 $125,329 $679,500
68 Aliso Viejo 50,385 $118,540 $656,600
69 Villa Park 5,883 $164,476 $1,238,800
70 Mission Viejo 95,638 $121,299 $732,100
71 La Palma 15,657 $108,363 $686,800
72 Newport Beach 86,694 $133,849 $1,976,400
73 Yorba Linda 68,103 $133,088 $862,900

How Is Your Town In ?

Editor's Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don't freak out we updated this article for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the worst suburbs around Irvine.
 Worst