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 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 2019:
- Jurupa Valley
- Pomona (Photos)
- Hawaiian Gardens (Photos)
- Montclair (Photos)
- Ontario (Photos)
- Bell Gardens (Photos)
- Lynwood (Photos)
- Lake Elsinore (Photos)
- Riverside (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.
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 Irvine 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 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, Jurupa Valley.
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: $63,286 (21st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $308,900 (9th lowest)
More on Jurupa Valley: Data
We’ll get the ball rolling with Jurupa Valley, the absolute worst place to live around Irvine according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Jurupa Valley beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 21st worst in the Irvine area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 9th 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 Jurupa Valley.
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 Pomona. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 26.3 miles to Irvine. Income levels here are the 9th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $53,281 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 Irvine suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Hawaiian 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.
If you live in Montclair, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 10th lowest Irvine suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 8th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Irvine. Remember, we looked at 73 cities for this study.
Montclair is about 27.5 miles to downtown.
Ontario has the distinction of being a Irvine suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Ontario has the 11th lowest home values in the metro Irvine area, where the median price is $320,000. To put that into perspective, in Newport Beach, the median income is $142,628, which is the best in the area.
Ontario has an unemployment rate of 8.8% which ranks 11th worst.
Bell Gardens has 42,845 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 29.7%.
Ah, Lynwood. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Irvine.
It’s the place with the 7th most out of work residents in the Irvine metro area (9.4%).
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $42,033 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (18th highest)
Median Home Value: $119,700 (1st lowest)
More on Lakeland:
Lakeland is a city about 23.3 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. Lakeland has the 29th most uninsured people, 4th worst incomes, and has the 18th highest unemployment rate (8.1%) in the entire Irvine metro area.
Homes only cost $119,700 for a reason. That’s cheap for Irvine standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Irvine, then Lake Elsinore might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Irvine suburb.
About 11.3% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Irvine suburbs to call home is Riverside.
Located 28.1 miles outside the city, Riversides is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 6th highest unemployment rate (9.5%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Irvine where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Irvine with Jurupa Valley 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.
- Newport Beach
- Aliso Viejo
- Yorba Linda
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 Irvine Suburbs
|23||Santa Fe Springs||17,669|
|37||San Juan Capistrano||35,948|
|66||La Habra Heights||5,425|
|70||Rancho Santa Margarita||49,078|