The suburbs of Oakland call to all types of people looking to escape city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Oakland to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
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 Saturday Night Science to determine which Oakland ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Oakland area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of 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 68 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.
Now don’t freak out.
What’s the worst suburb of Oakland? Richmond ranks as the worst suburb of Oakland for 2023 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.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Oakland too.
For more California reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In California
- Cheapest Places To Live In California
- Most Dangerous Cities In California
The 10 Worst Oakland Suburbs To Live For 2023
Median Income: $79,478 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $557,900 (7th lowest)
More on Richmond:
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 3rd worst in the Oakland area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 7th 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.
Median Income: $82,244 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $467,500 (4th lowest)
More on Antioch:
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 $82,244 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.
But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.
Median Income: $88,343 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $456,300 (3rd lowest)
More on Pittsburg:
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 dropout rate is poor compared to other Oakland suburbs.
But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.
Median Income: $78,243 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $434,800 (2nd lowest)
More on Vallejo:
If you live in Vallejo, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 2nd lowest Oakland suburb for median household incomes.
Not only that, but this is the 5th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Oakland. Remember, we looked at 68 cities for this study.
Vallejo is about 23.4 miles to downtown.
Median Income: $67,294 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $413,000 (lowest)
More on San Pablo:
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 $413,000. The median income is $250,001.
San Pablo has an unemployment rate of 6.96% which ranks 7th worst.
Median Income: $98,837 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (17th highest)
Median Home Value: $653,500 (14th lowest)
More on Hayward:
Hayward has 162,254 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 7.9659167857948985%.
Median Income: $89,663 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $658,400 (15th lowest)
More on San Leandro:
Ah, San Leandro. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Oakland.
It’s the place with the 15th most out of work residents in the Oakland metro area (5.62%).
Median Income: $100,011 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (27th highest)
Median Home Value: $612,600 (10th lowest)
More on Concord:
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 27th highest unemployment rate (4.82%) in the entire Oakland metro area.
Homes only cost $612,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Oakland standards.
Median Income: $107,975 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (18th highest)
Median Home Value: $839,700 (18th lowest)
More on Novato:
If you absolutely have to live near Oakland, then Novato might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Oakland suburb.
About 5.4% of residents are out of work.
Median Income: $122,202 (27th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $923,800 (25th lowest)
More on Brisbane:
Rounding out the ten worst Oakland suburbs to call home is Brisbane.
Located 10.8 miles outside the city, Brisbanes is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 2nd highest unemployment rate (10.3%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Oakland for 2023
To figure out how bad a Oakland suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.
It’s Saturday Night Science.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2017-2021, 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 dropouts
- High poverty
- High rate of uninsured families
We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Oakland.
We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 68 suburbs to evaluate around Oakland.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 68 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 looking at you, Richmond.
We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Oakland.
Summary: The areas around Oakland where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023
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
- Los Altos Hills
For more California reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In California
- Richest Cities In California
- Safest Places In California
- Worst Places To Live In California
Detailed List Of The Worst Oakland Suburbs
|13||East Palo Alto||29,888|
|26||Half Moon Bay||11,792|
|28||South San Francisco||66,331|
|67||Los Altos Hills||8,520|