The 10 Worst Irvine Suburbs For 2021


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 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst suburbs around Irvine.

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 2021:

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

What's the worst suburb of Irvine? Jurupa Valley ranks as the worst suburb of Irvine for 2021 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 2021

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 105,653
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $70,642 (23rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (highest)
Median Home Value: $363,000 (8th 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 23rd worst in the Irvine area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 8th 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. Lakeland

Lakeland Location In Florida

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 107,922
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 7)
Median Income: $47,511 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $149,500 (2nd lowest)
More on 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 $47,511 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.

Pomona, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 152,209
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $60,598 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $394,500 (15th lowest)
More on Pomona:  Data | Photos

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

Bell Gardens, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 42,421
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $42,223 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $388,100 (14th lowest)
More on Bell Gardens:  Data | Photos

If you live in Bell Gardens, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 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 73 cities for this study.

Bell Gardens is about 29.5 miles to downtown.

Montclair, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 39,155
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $62,024 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $354,500 (6th lowest)
More on Montclair:  Data | Photos

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

All snarkiness aside, Montclair has the 6th lowest home values in the metro Irvine area, where the median price is $354,500. To put that into perspective, in Yorba Linda, the median income is $165,000, which is the best in the area.

Montclair has an unemployment rate of 7.47% which ranks 6th worst.

Ontario, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 176,760
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Median Income: $65,046 (15th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $375,000 (12th lowest)
More on Ontario:  Data | Photos

Ontario has 176,760 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 13.623601104877979%.

Lynwood, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 70,635
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $52,213 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $399,100 (16th 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 2nd most out of work residents in the Irvine metro area (8.37%).

Lake Elsinore, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 65,817
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $71,476 (26th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $352,600 (5th lowest)
More on Lake Elsinore:  Data | Photos

Lake Elsinore is a city about 25.0 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. Lake Elsinore has the 27th most uninsured people, 26th worst incomes, and has the 3rd highest unemployment rate (8.17%) in the entire Irvine metro area.

Homes only cost $352,600 for a reason. That's cheap for Irvine standards.

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 36,445
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Median Income: $74,991 (28th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $356,700 (7th lowest)
More on Wildomar:  Data

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 7.67% of residents are out of work.

Hawaiian Gardens, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 14,337
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Income: $49,483 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (22nd highest)
Median Home Value: $363,500 (9th lowest)
More on Hawaiian Gardens:  Data | Photos

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

Located 20.3 miles outside the city, Hawaiian Gardenss is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 22nd highest unemployment rate (5.74%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Irvine for 2021

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 2015-2019, 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. 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.

The areas around Irvine where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2021

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. Yorba Linda takes the cake as the best place to live around Irvine.

  • Yorba Linda
  • Newport Beach
  • Aliso Viejo

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Irvine Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Jurupa Valley 105,653 $70,642 $363,000
2 Lakeland 107,922 $47,511 $149,500
3 Pomona 152,209 $60,598 $394,500
4 Bell Gardens 42,421 $42,223 $388,100
5 Montclair 39,155 $62,024 $354,500
6 Ontario 176,760 $65,046 $375,000
7 Lynwood 70,635 $52,213 $399,100
8 Lake Elsinore 65,817 $71,476 $352,600
9 Wildomar 36,445 $74,991 $356,700
10 Hawaiian Gardens 14,337 $49,483 $363,500
11 Riverside 326,414 $69,045 $365,300
12 Paramount 54,513 $55,670 $343,800
13 La Puente 40,020 $64,592 $419,800
14 Santa Ana 332,794 $66,145 $491,300
15 Stanton 38,377 $57,598 $386,400
16 Bellflower 77,195 $60,011 $458,600
17 Long Beach 466,776 $63,017 $556,100
18 Anaheim 349,964 $71,763 $575,600
19 Chino 89,631 $81,711 $459,100
20 Norwalk 105,304 $70,667 $440,800
21 La Habra 60,594 $79,325 $539,200
22 Pico Rivera 63,001 $67,636 $440,600
23 Santa Fe Springs 17,810 $68,685 $447,400
24 Signal Hill 11,512 $75,508 $505,900
25 Midway 3,221 $59,625 $147,700
26 Carson 92,079 $82,305 $462,600
27 Westminster 91,137 $62,625 $603,700
28 Corona 166,972 $83,752 $467,000
29 Garden Grove 173,258 $69,278 $554,400
30 Artesia 16,758 $67,647 $542,200
31 Covina 48,095 $70,780 $509,200
32 Downey 112,322 $75,878 $569,300
33 Fullerton 139,611 $79,978 $650,000
34 Buena Park 82,489 $78,932 $579,100
35 West Covina 106,589 $82,938 $540,500
36 Orange 139,887 $91,793 $656,100
37 Costa Mesa 113,159 $84,138 $749,400
38 Laguna Woods 16,053 $44,020 $288,400
39 Whittier 86,090 $77,270 $574,400
40 San Juan Capistrano 35,922 $91,600 $720,200
41 Norco 26,670 $102,817 $544,900
42 Los Alamitos 11,534 $88,729 $761,200
43 Seal Beach 24,204 $68,852 $371,600
44 Tustin 79,863 $84,697 $647,500
45 La Mirada 48,764 $95,685 $569,500
46 San Dimas 34,048 $86,410 $576,800
47 Brea 42,678 $94,492 $660,400
48 Chino Hills 80,701 $106,347 $622,300
49 Placentia 51,818 $95,757 $630,500
50 Diamond Bar 56,211 $99,083 $664,400
51 Laguna Hills 31,617 $100,985 $707,700
52 Lakewood 80,292 $93,432 $568,600
53 La Habra Heights 6,574 $115,762 $928,200
54 Fountain Valley 56,026 $93,075 $734,800
55 Canyon Lake 11,170 $100,682 $442,900
56 Lake Forest 83,974 $109,492 $647,500
57 Walnut 29,903 $108,669 $774,400
58 Cerritos 50,143 $106,190 $685,300
59 Cypress 48,893 $93,137 $632,900
60 Huntington Beach 200,259 $95,046 $771,100
61 Eastvale 62,046 $119,213 $574,500
62 Laguna Beach 23,036 $129,983 $1,771,600
63 El Cerrito 25,398 $108,298 $804,700
64 Dana Point 33,769 $99,409 $878,300
65 Laguna Niguel 65,808 $108,537 $827,100
66 San Clemente 64,878 $110,434 $906,100
67 Mission Viejo 95,516 $118,477 $693,000
68 Villa Park 5,861 $165,000 $1,184,100
69 La Palma 15,604 $107,724 $659,100
70 Rancho Santa Margarita 48,503 $121,017 $662,200
71 Aliso Viejo 50,663 $112,689 $632,900
72 Newport Beach 85,694 $127,223 $1,898,900
73 Yorba Linda 67,725 $129,995 $858,300

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