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 Newport Beach certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Irvine are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
We examined the 72 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 2018:
- Pomona (Photos)
- Ontario (Photos)
- Bell Gardens
- Hawaiian Gardens (Photos)
- Lynwood (Photos)
- Lake Elsinore (Photos)
- Riverside (Photos)
- Paramount (Photos)
- Montclair (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Irvine that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
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.
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Irvine 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 Irvine.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 3,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 72 suburbs to evaluate around Irvine.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 72 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, Pomona.
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.
Population: 151,807Unemployment Rate: 11.0%
Median Home Price: $310,100
Median Income: $50,360
We’ll get the ball rolling with Pomona, the absolute worst place to live around Irvine according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Pomona beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 8th worst in the Irvine area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 12th 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 Pomona.
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.
Population: 169,389Unemployment Rate: 9.3%
Median Home Price: $293,000
Median Income: $54,896
Welcome to Ontario. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 26.7 miles to Irvine. Income levels here are the 12th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $54,896 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. Bell Gardens
Population: 42,805Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Median Home Price: $318,700
Median Income: $37,183
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Irvine suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Bell Gardens 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.
4. Hawaiian Gardens
Population: 14,468Unemployment Rate: 10.5%
Median Home Price: $288,200
Median Income: $36,026
If you live in Hawaiian Gardens, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 1st lowest Irvine 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 Irvine. Remember, we looked at 72 cities for this study.
Hawaiian Gardens is about 20.3 miles to downtown.
Population: 71,233Unemployment Rate: 10.2%
Median Home Price: $312,100
Median Income: $43,848
Lynwood has the distinction of being a Irvine suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Lynwood has the 13th lowest home values in the metro Irvine area, where the median price is $312,100. To put that into perspective, in Newport Beach, the median income is $131,386, which is the best in the area.
Lynwood has an unemployment rate of 10.2% which ranks 8th worst.
6. Lake Elsinore
Population: 60,230Unemployment Rate: 12.8%
Median Home Price: $259,700
Median Income: $63,306
Lake Elsinore has 60,230 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 15.0%.
Population: 102,714 Unemployment Rate: 9.5%
Median Home Price: $109,300
Median Income: $40,918
Ah, Lakeland. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Irvine.
It’s the place with the 13th most out of work residents in the Irvine metro area (9.5%).
Population: 318,678Unemployment Rate: 11.0%
Median Home Price: $286,600
Median Income: $58,979
Riverside is a city about 28.1 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. Riverside has the 20th most uninsured people, 20th worst incomes, and has the 3rd highest unemployment rate (11.0%) in the entire Irvine metro area.
Homes only cost $286,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Irvine standards.
Population: 54,941Unemployment Rate: 9.1%
Median Home Price: $283,400
Median Income: $46,364
If you absolutely have to live near Irvine, then Paramount might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Irvine suburb.
About 9.1% of residents are out of work.
Population: 38,294Unemployment Rate: 9.3%
Median Home Price: $281,100
Median Income: $50,374
Rounding out the ten worst Irvine suburbs to call home is Montclair.
Located 27.5 miles outside the city, Montclairs is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 15th highest unemployment rate (9.3%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Irvine where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Irvine with Pomona casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Irvine aren’t all bad. Newport Beach takes the cake as the best place to live around Irvine.
For more California reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In California
- These Are The 10 Snobbiest Cities In California
- These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In California
Detailed List Of The Worst Irvine Suburbs
|Santa Fe Springs||25|
|San Juan Capistrano||29|
|La Habra Heights||66|
|Rancho Santa Margarita||70|