The 10 Worst Oakland Suburbs For 2022

We used science and data to determine which Oakland 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 Oakland.

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 Oakland 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Oakland area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Oakland proper, although Los Altos certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Oakland are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..

We examined the 70 biggest suburbs of Oakland 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 Oakland in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Oakland for 2022:

  1. Richmond
  2. Antioch
  3. Pittsburg
  4. Vallejo
  5. San Pablo
  6. Hayward
  7. San Rafael
  8. Concord
  9. San Leandro
  10. American Canyon

What's the worst suburb of Oakland? Richmond ranks as the worst suburb of Oakland for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Read on to see how we determined the places around Oakland 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 Oakland 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 Oakland Suburbs To Live For 2022

We'll get the ball rolling with Richmond, the absolute worst place to live around Oakland according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Richmond beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 2nd worst in the Oakland 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 Richmond.

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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 110,051
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $72,463 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $505,800 (5th lowest)
More on Richmond:  Data | Photos

Richmond, CA

Welcome to Antioch. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 27.4 miles to Oakland. Income levels here are the 4th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $80,234 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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 111,468
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $80,234 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.5% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $428,800 (4th lowest)
More on Antioch:  Data | Photos

Antioch, CA

Source: Public domain

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

But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 71,723
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $83,163 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $425,300 (3rd lowest)
More on Pittsburg:  Data | Photos

Pittsburg, CA

If you live in Vallejo, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 3rd lowest Oakland suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 4th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Oakland. Remember, we looked at 70 cities for this study.

Vallejo is about 23.4 miles to downtown.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 121,275
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $73,869 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $404,600 (2nd lowest)
More on Vallejo:  Data | Photos

Vallejo, CA

San Pablo has the distinction of being a Oakland suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, San Pablo has the lowest home values in the metro Oakland area, where the median price is $380,700. To put that into perspective, in Los Altos, the median income is $250,001, which is the best in the area.

San Pablo has an unemployment rate of 6.83% which ranks 5th worst.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 30,959
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $60,819 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $380,700 (lowest)
More on San Pablo:  Data | Photos

San Pablo, CA

Source: Public domain

Hayward has 158,817 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 8.495151857172173%.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 158,817
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $91,490 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $622,700 (13th lowest)
More on Hayward:  Data | Photos

Hayward, CA

Ah, San Rafael. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Oakland.

It's the place with the 17th most out of work residents in the Oakland metro area (5.04%).

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 59,178
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Income: $97,009 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (17th highest)
Median Home Value: $975,500 (34th lowest)
More on San Rafael:  Data | Photos

San Rafael, CA

Concord is a city about 18.6 miles from Oakland, but Oakland 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. Concord has the 8th most uninsured people, 10th worst incomes, and has the 23rd highest unemployment rate (4.74%) in the entire Oakland metro area.

Homes only cost $581,900 for a reason. That's cheap for Oakland standards.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 129,227
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $92,706 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (23rd highest)
Median Home Value: $581,900 (10th lowest)
More on Concord:  Data | Photos

Concord, CA

Source: Public domain

If you absolutely have to live near Oakland, then San Leandro might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Oakland suburb.

About 4.99% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 90,489
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $86,604 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (20th highest)
Median Home Value: $624,900 (15th lowest)
More on San Leandro:  Data | Photos

San Leandro, CA

Rounding out the ten worst Oakland suburbs to call home is American Canyon.

Located 28.1 miles outside the city, American Canyons is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 27th highest unemployment rate (4.48%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,256
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $108,884 (23rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (27th highest)
Median Home Value: $517,600 (6th lowest)
More on American Canyon:  Data | Photos

American Canyon, CA

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Oakland for 2022

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 2016-2020, 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 Oakland.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 70 suburbs to evaluate around Oakland.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 70 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 Oakland." We're lookin' at you, Richmond. 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.

Summary: The areas around Oakland where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Oakland with Richmond casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Oakland aren't all bad. Los Altos takes the cake as the best place to live around Oakland.

  • Los Altos
  • Piedmont
  • Belvedere

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Oakland Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Richmond 110,051 $72,463 $505,800
2 Antioch 111,468 $80,234 $428,800
3 Pittsburg 71,723 $83,163 $425,300
4 Vallejo 121,275 $73,869 $404,600
5 San Pablo 30,959 $60,819 $380,700
6 Hayward 158,817 $91,490 $622,700
7 San Rafael 59,178 $97,009 $975,500
8 Concord 129,227 $92,706 $581,900
9 San Leandro 90,489 $86,604 $624,900
10 American Canyon 20,256 $108,884 $517,600
11 Pinole 19,343 $104,904 $567,900
12 Novato 53,781 $101,629 $804,900
13 East Palo Alto 29,448 $83,511 $941,300
14 Fairfax 7,629 $106,474 $858,500
15 Brisbane 4,645 $114,583 $926,500
16 Daly City 107,197 $99,910 $851,800
17 El Cerrito 25,280 $108,294 $858,000
18 Brentwood 63,013 $113,298 $610,000
19 Berkeley 123,065 $91,259 $1,059,500
20 Hercules 26,090 $110,669 $564,600
21 Martinez 38,397 $109,994 $622,800
22 Half Moon Bay 12,583 $131,233 $1,155,000
23 Alameda 79,827 $106,737 $920,200
24 Walnut Creek 69,836 $108,689 $814,900
25 South San Francisco 66,878 $106,005 $911,000
26 Benicia 28,158 $106,989 $597,500
27 San Mateo 103,619 $126,102 $1,186,400
28 Newark 48,148 $127,619 $816,100
29 Pleasant Hill 34,903 $125,573 $777,700
30 San Bruno 44,663 $113,103 $958,300
31 Emeryville 11,679 $104,063 $538,300
32 Milpitas 75,182 $137,000 $927,200
33 Fremont 234,829 $142,374 $999,500
34 Pacifica 38,663 $130,466 $943,500
35 Albany 20,145 $103,132 $907,700
36 Livermore 91,763 $131,664 $806,100
37 Larkspur 12,363 $115,543 $1,311,000
38 Mountain View 80,104 $144,116 $1,560,600
39 Mountain View 80,104 $144,116 $1,560,600
40 Mountain View 80,104 $144,116 $1,560,600
41 Mountain View 80,104 $144,116 $1,560,600
42 Moraga 16,896 $152,788 $1,171,500
43 Pleasanton 79,975 $160,689 $1,056,100
44 Dublin 63,856 $152,745 $934,500
45 Clayton 11,585 $153,607 $806,600
46 Sausalito 7,177 $120,920 $1,451,800
47 Belmont 26,963 $160,046 $1,604,700
48 Millbrae 22,998 $126,319 $1,528,900
49 Sunnyvale 152,569 $150,464 $1,397,200
50 San Ramon 81,344 $167,345 $1,001,600
51 Corte Madera 9,793 $153,101 $1,290,100
52 Menlo Park 35,211 $167,567 $2,000,001
53 Danville 44,933 $167,827 $1,152,300
54 Ross 2,453 $220,714 $2,000,001
55 Palo Alto 67,973 $174,003 $2,000,001
56 San Anselmo 12,623 $146,179 $1,147,100
57 Burlingame 30,071 $138,344 $2,000,001
58 Lafayette 25,949 $188,140 $1,557,200
59 Portola Valley 4,568 $235,469 $2,000,001
60 Tiburon 9,167 $178,125 $2,000,001
61 Atherton 7,060 $250,001 $2,000,001
62 Woodside 5,593 $250,001 $2,000,001
63 Hillsborough 11,608 $250,001 $2,000,001
64 Mill Valley 14,456 $170,946 $1,625,400
65 Orinda 19,461 $231,230 $1,515,500
66 San Carlos 29,647 $189,739 $1,756,800
67 Los Altos Hills 8,496 $250,001 $2,000,001
68 Belvedere 2,246 $247,768 $2,000,001
69 Piedmont 11,454 $250,001 $2,000,001
70 Los Altos 30,878 $240,094 $2,000,001

How Is Your Town In ?

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 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the worst suburbs around Oakland.