These Are The 10 Worst Irvine Suburbs For 2019


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

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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 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the worst suburbs around Irvine.

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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:

  1. Jurupa Valley
  2. Pomona (Photos)
  3. Hawaiian Gardens (Photos)
  4. Montclair (Photos)
  5. Ontario (Photos)
  6. Bell Gardens (Photos)
  7. Lynwood (Photos)
  8. Lakeland
  9. Lake Elsinore (Photos)
  10. 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.

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:

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.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 102,202
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.

Pomona, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 152,366
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $53,281 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $344,200 (14th lowest)
More on Pomona:  Data | Photos

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.

Hawaiian Gardens, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 14,465
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Median Income: $38,553 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $307,100 (7th lowest)
More on Hawaiian Gardens:  Data | Photos

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.

Montclair, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 38,613
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 6)
Median Income: $54,192 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $304,200 (4th lowest)
More on Montclair:  Data | Photos

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, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 171,041
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Income: $57,544 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $320,000 (11th lowest)
More on Ontario:  Data | Photos

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, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 42,845
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Income: $39,008 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $347,300 (16th lowest)
More on Bell Gardens:  Data | Photos

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%.

Lynwood, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 71,350
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $45,839 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $345,100 (15th lowest)
More on Lynwood:  Data | Photos

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%).

8. Lakeland

Lakeland Location In Florida

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 104,165
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.

Lake Elsinore, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 62,229
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Median Income: $66,032 (26th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.3% (1st highest)
Median Home Value: $306,400 (6th lowest)
More on Lake Elsinore:  Data | Photos

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.

Riverside, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 321,570
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $62,460 (18th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $319,200 (10th lowest)
More on Riverside:  Data | Photos

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:

Detailed List Of The Worst Irvine Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Jurupa Valley 102,202 $63,286 $308,900
2 Pomona 152,366 $53,281 $344,200
3 Hawaiian Gardens 14,465 $38,553 $307,100
4 Montclair 38,613 $54,192 $304,200
5 Ontario 171,041 $57,544 $320,000
6 Bell Gardens 42,845 $39,008 $347,300
7 Lynwood 71,350 $45,839 $345,100
8 Lakeland 104,165 $42,033 $119,700
9 Lake Elsinore 62,229 $66,032 $306,400
10 Riverside 321,570 $62,460 $319,200
11 Paramount 55,020 $49,064 $304,400
12 Stanton 38,648 $50,601 $339,000
13 Wildomar 35,492 $67,510 $308,100
14 La Puente 40,451 $60,019 $364,300
15 Santa Ana 334,493 $57,151 $421,600
16 Midway 3,322 $56,458 $130,500
17 Chino 85,609 $75,530 $400,900
18 Bellflower 77,852 $52,944 $398,000
19 Long Beach 470,489 $58,314 $476,400
20 Pico Rivera 63,750 $61,586 $380,200
21 Anaheim 349,007 $65,313 $491,400
22 Norwalk 106,404 $63,669 $375,400
23 Santa Fe Springs 17,669 $63,540 $409,200
24 Carson 92,927 $75,517 $402,500
25 Corona 163,585 $73,594 $411,600
26 Garden Grove 174,812 $62,675 $476,300
27 La Habra 61,965 $72,178 $473,200
28 Signal Hill 11,508 $75,843 $445,700
29 Westminster 91,785 $57,575 $546,200
30 Downey 113,358 $68,162 $479,500
31 Fullerton 139,976 $71,660 $589,600
32 West Covina 107,786 $74,551 $459,500
33 Covina 48,601 $68,311 $441,100
34 Artesia 16,853 $62,702 $437,200
35 Norco 26,711 $91,915 $476,900
36 Buena Park 83,020 $71,005 $482,300
37 San Juan Capistrano 35,948 $81,730 $635,100
38 Orange 140,289 $83,500 $604,300
39 Whittier 86,852 $69,058 $488,200
40 Costa Mesa 112,930 $75,109 $671,800
41 Tustin 80,007 $73,567 $585,700
42 Seal Beach 24,510 $65,401 $338,100
43 Laguna Woods 16,314 $40,837 $246,600
44 Los Alamitos 11,639 $79,459 $741,100
45 Canyon Lake 11,043 $89,446 $394,900
46 Eastvale 59,733 $110,685 $496,000
47 La Mirada 49,162 $87,400 $478,400
48 San Dimas 34,334 $81,242 $513,300
49 Chino Hills 78,025 $102,746 $567,200
50 Placentia 52,294 $88,501 $585,800
51 Lake Forest 81,812 $96,963 $585,100
52 Lakewood 81,106 $84,055 $475,800
53 Diamond Bar 56,600 $94,531 $614,800
54 Brea 41,921 $90,214 $610,700
55 Walnut 30,062 $98,329 $703,800
56 Laguna Hills 31,235 $99,797 $649,700
57 Fountain Valley 56,640 $86,602 $654,100
58 Cerritos 50,145 $98,953 $638,600
59 El Cerrito 24,982 $96,914 $682,300
60 Dana Point 34,028 $90,310 $833,800
61 Huntington Beach 200,415 $88,079 $688,700
62 La Palma 15,814 $91,024 $612,200
63 Villa Park 5,935 $142,628 $1,077,600
64 Laguna Beach 23,224 $117,586 $1,570,700
65 San Clemente 65,226 $101,843 $849,300
66 La Habra Heights 5,425 $112,273 $871,200
67 Laguna Niguel 65,429 $99,206 $737,400
68 Cypress 49,108 $90,345 $576,500
69 Mission Viejo 96,535 $107,988 $640,800
70 Rancho Santa Margarita 49,078 $106,939 $619,200
71 Yorba Linda 67,740 $123,962 $792,700
72 Aliso Viejo 50,691 $106,353 $582,300
73 Newport Beach 86,793 $119,379 $1,695,700

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