These Are The 10 Worst Irvine Suburbs For 2018


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

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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 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:

  1. Jurupa Valley
  2. Pomona (Photos)
  3. Ontario (Photos)
  4. Bell Gardens (Photos)
  5. Hawaiian Gardens (Photos)
  6. Lynwood (Photos)
  7. Lake Elsinore (Photos)
  8. Lakeland
  9. Paramount (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 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 5,000 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, 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.

1. Jurupa Valley


Population: 100,737
Unemployment Rate: 12.7%
Median Home Price: $270,700
Median Income: $58,849
More on Jurupa Valley: Data | Jobs

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 19th worst in the Irvine area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 5th 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.

2. Pomona

Pomona, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 151,807
Unemployment Rate: 11.0%
Median Home Price: $310,100
Median Income: $50,360
More on Pomona: Data | Jobs

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 8th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $50,360 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. Ontario

Ontario, California

Population: 169,389
Unemployment Rate: 9.3%
Median Home Price: $293,000
Median Income: $54,896
More on Ontario: Data | Jobs

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Irvine suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Ontario 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. Bell Gardens

Bell Gardens, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 42,805
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Median Home Price: $318,700
Median Income: $37,183
More on Bell Gardens: Data | Jobs

If you live in Bell Gardens, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 2nd 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.

Bell Gardens is about 29.5 miles to downtown.

5. Hawaiian Gardens

Hawaiian Gardens, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 14,468
Unemployment Rate: 10.5%
Median Home Price: $288,200
Median Income: $36,026
More on Hawaiian Gardens: Data | Jobs

Hawaiian Gardens has the distinction of being a Irvine suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Hawaiian Gardens has the 9th lowest home values in the metro Irvine area, where the median price is $288,200. To put that into perspective, in Newport Beach, the median income is $131,386, which is the best in the area.

Hawaiian Gardens has an unemployment rate of 10.5% which ranks 8th worst.

6. Lynwood

Lynwood, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 71,233
Unemployment Rate: 10.2%
Median Home Price: $312,100
Median Income: $43,848
More on Lynwood: Data | Jobs

Lynwood has 71,233 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 24.3%.

7. Lake Elsinore

Lake Elsinore, California

Population: 60,230
Unemployment Rate: 12.8%
Median Home Price: $259,700
Median Income: $63,306
More on Lake Elsinore: Data | Jobs

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

It’s the place with the 1st most out of work residents in the Irvine metro area (12.8%).

8. Lakeland


Population: 102,714
Unemployment Rate: 9.5%
Median Home Price: $109,300
Median Income: $40,918
More on Lakeland: Data | Jobs

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 37th most uninsured people, 4th worst incomes, and has the 14th highest unemployment rate (9.5%) in the entire Irvine metro area.

Homes only cost $109,300 for a reason. That’s cheap for Irvine standards.

9. Paramount

Paramount, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 54,941
Unemployment Rate: 9.1%
Median Home Price: $283,400
Median Income: $46,364
More on Paramount: Data | Jobs

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.

10. Riverside

Riverside, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 318,678
Unemployment Rate: 11.0%
Median Home Price: $286,600
Median Income: $58,979
More on Riverside: Data | Jobs

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 4th highest unemployment rate (11.0%), 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 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.

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Irvine Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Jurupa Valley 100,737 12.7% $270,700 $58,849
2 Pomona 151,807 11.0% $310,100 $50,360
3 Ontario 169,389 9.3% $293,000 $54,896
4 Bell Gardens 42,805 10.6% $318,700 $37,183
5 Hawaiian Gardens 14,468 10.5% $288,200 $36,026
6 Lynwood 71,233 10.2% $312,100 $43,848
7 Lake Elsinore 60,230 12.8% $259,700 $63,306
8 Lakeland 102,714 9.5% $109,300 $40,918
9 Paramount 54,941 9.1% $283,400 $46,364
10 Riverside 318,678 11.0% $286,600 $58,979
11 Montclair 38,294 9.3% $281,100 $50,374
12 Wildomar 34,775 12.1% $266,900 $62,976
13 Stanton 38,594 8.0% $322,200 $48,332
14 La Puente 40,384 8.1% $343,000 $57,174
15 Santa Ana 333,605 7.1% $383,900 $54,062
16 Pico Rivera 63,724 8.6% $351,300 $57,203
17 Chino 83,670 9.0% $365,500 $72,832
18 Bellflower 77,687 8.3% $367,300 $50,704
19 Long Beach 469,793 9.4% $448,800 $55,151
20 Anaheim 346,776 8.1% $457,600 $61,826
21 Norwalk 106,360 8.0% $350,600 $61,050
22 Carson 92,780 10.8% $366,700 $73,829
23 La Habra 61,660 10.0% $436,200 $65,799
24 Garden Grove 174,676 7.6% $445,700 $60,522
25 Santa Fe Springs 17,436 4.9% $371,400 $58,147
26 Signal Hill 11,404 7.0% $446,000 $70,286
27 Westminster 91,635 7.4% $499,400 $55,287
28 Corona 161,614 7.8% $378,500 $72,309
29 San Juan Capistrano 36,006 7.1% $590,500 $79,393
30 Fullerton 139,491 8.6% $551,300 $67,110
31 West Covina 107,634 9.9% $430,800 $71,217
32 Covina 48,539 9.7% $415,300 $65,451
33 Downey 113,223 6.8% $449,900 $65,332
34 Norco 26,809 8.5% $445,700 $87,067
35 Artesia 16,789 5.2% $419,500 $58,651
36 Orange 139,919 7.3% $565,800 $79,192
37 Whittier 86,630 6.7% $458,500 $67,431
38 Buena Park 82,771 5.7% $448,900 $70,341
39 Tustin 79,396 6.8% $543,200 $70,822
40 Seal Beach 24,510 6.3% $308,400 $60,222
41 Costa Mesa 112,439 6.5% $637,200 $70,438
42 Laguna Woods 16,347 5.1% $228,700 $39,201
43 Los Alamitos 11,661 7.8% $680,100 $80,926
44 San Dimas 34,109 7.0% $481,000 $79,081
45 Eastvale 58,217 9.6% $460,100 $104,940
46 Placentia 52,168 6.8% $554,500 $80,668
47 Canyon Lake 10,985 7.4% $379,400 $84,015
48 La Mirada 49,130 6.9% $448,400 $81,956
49 Chino Hills 77,266 7.0% $537,800 $97,222
50 Diamond Bar 56,456 7.3% $593,100 $89,845
51 Lakewood 81,054 6.3% $445,800 $82,175
52 Laguna Hills 31,127 6.2% $628,800 $92,690
53 Brea 41,351 6.4% $579,600 $85,555
54 La Palma 15,834 6.4% $602,000 $83,760
55 Fountain Valley 56,670 6.6% $626,600 $84,763
56 Lake Forest 80,658 5.2% $550,600 $92,415
57 Dana Point 34,009 6.1% $780,300 $83,913
58 Walnut 30,026 6.6% $679,700 $97,345
59 El Cerrito 24,646 6.6% $636,600 $92,670
60 Cypress 48,978 5.2% $540,900 $84,469
61 Huntington Beach 198,724 6.0% $659,700 $85,312
62 Laguna Beach 23,204 6.8% $1,390,500 $100,506
63 Cerritos 49,797 6.6% $620,500 $95,373
64 Villa Park 5,922 8.7% $1,030,800 $131,386
65 San Clemente 65,082 5.5% $801,100 $97,210
66 La Habra Heights 5,406 4.9% $893,200 $110,329
67 Laguna Niguel 64,984 6.4% $712,000 $97,894
68 Mission Viejo 96,178 6.0% $608,100 $104,886
69 Rancho Santa Margarita 49,038 3.6% $584,000 $104,556
70 Yorba Linda 67,362 6.5% $728,300 $119,697
71 Aliso Viejo 50,219 5.9% $539,000 $103,261
72 Newport Beach 86,813 5.4% $1,584,900 $115,845

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