These Are The 10 Worst Oakland Suburbs For 2019


We used science and data to determine which Oakland 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 Oakland.

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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 Belvedere certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Oakland are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

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 2019:

  1. Richmond (Photos)
  2. Pittsburg (Photos)
  3. Vallejo (Photos)
  4. Antioch (Photos)
  5. San Pablo (Photos)
  6. Hayward (Photos)
  7. Concord (Photos)
  8. East Palo Alto (Photos)
  9. San Leandro (Photos)
  10. San Rafael (Photos)

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:

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Oakland 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 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.

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.

Richmond, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 108,853
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $61,045 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $371,900 (5th lowest)
More on Richmond:  Data | Photos

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 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.

Pittsburg, CA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 69,449
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $66,739 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $324,500 (3rd lowest)
More on Pittsburg:  Data | Photos

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

This city is 24.5 miles to Oakland. Income levels here are the 6th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $66,739 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.

Vallejo, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 120,599
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $62,272 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.7% (1st highest)
Median Home Value: $295,600 (2nd lowest)
More on Vallejo:  Data | Photos

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

Antioch, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 110,026
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $69,925 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $330,900 (4th lowest)
More on Antioch:  Data | Photos

If you live in Antioch, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 7th lowest Oakland suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 3rd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Oakland. Remember, we looked at 70 cities for this study.

Antioch is about 27.4 miles to downtown.

San Pablo, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 30,720
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $47,459 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $270,400 (1st lowest)
More on San Pablo:  Data | Photos

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 1st lowest home values in the metro Oakland area, where the median price is $270,400. To put that into perspective, in Belvedere, the median income is $250,000, which is the best in the area.

San Pablo has an unemployment rate of 8.2% which ranks 6th worst.

Hayward, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 156,917
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Income: $74,927 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $462,000 (11th lowest)
More on Hayward:  Data | Photos

Hayward has 156,917 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 10.5%.

Concord, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 128,160
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Income: $76,500 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $461,700 (10th lowest)
More on Concord:  Data | Photos

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

It’s the place with the 8th most out of work residents in the Oakland metro area (7.1%).

East Palo Alto, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 29,646
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $58,783 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $600,200 (16th lowest)
More on East Palo Alto:  Data | Photos

East Palo Alto is a city about 21.5 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. East Palo Alto has the 3rd most uninsured people, 2nd worst incomes, and has the 12th highest unemployment rate (6.3%) in the entire Oakland metro area.

Homes only cost $600,200 for a reason. That’s cheap for Oakland standards.

San Leandro, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 89,910
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $66,178 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $474,500 (12th lowest)
More on San Leandro:  Data | Photos

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 6.3% of residents are out of work.

San Rafael, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 59,180
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $85,931 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (18th highest)
Median Home Value: $816,700 (35th lowest)
More on San Rafael:  Data | Photos

Rounding out the ten worst Oakland suburbs to call home is San Rafael.

Located 21.2 miles outside the city, San Rafaels is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 18th highest unemployment rate (5.8%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around Oakland where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019

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. Belvedere takes the cake as the best place to live around Oakland.

  • Belvedere
  • Los Altos
  • Piedmont

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Oakland Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Richmond 108,853 $61,045 $371,900
2 Pittsburg 69,449 $66,739 $324,500
3 Vallejo 120,599 $62,272 $295,600
4 Antioch 110,026 $69,925 $330,900
5 San Pablo 30,720 $47,459 $270,400
6 Hayward 156,917 $74,927 $462,000
7 Concord 128,160 $76,500 $461,700
8 East Palo Alto 29,646 $58,783 $600,200
9 San Leandro 89,910 $66,178 $474,500
10 San Rafael 59,180 $85,931 $816,700
11 American Canyon 20,341 $91,705 $418,600
12 Daly City 106,480 $86,342 $651,600
13 Pinole 19,191 $84,255 $431,800
14 Newark 45,554 $96,817 $607,200
15 Novato 55,378 $89,812 $677,500
16 Brentwood 58,828 $96,945 $482,600
17 Emeryville 11,524 $88,661 $441,900
18 El Cerrito 24,982 $96,914 $682,300
19 Alameda 78,246 $89,045 $729,100
20 Berkeley 120,179 $75,709 $861,800
21 Martinez 37,902 $98,102 $505,400
22 Benicia 28,011 $95,225 $515,800
23 Milpitas 75,498 $110,752 $704,300
24 South San Francisco 67,120 $92,074 $697,400
25 Walnut Creek 68,516 $86,845 $704,900
26 San Bruno 43,105 $94,705 $754,700
27 Hercules 25,260 $107,221 $457,300
28 Pleasant Hill 34,662 $101,530 $633,400
29 Half Moon Bay 12,565 $110,900 $841,800
30 Brisbane 4,642 $109,632 $777,400
31 Livermore 88,232 $109,084 $643,200
32 San Mateo 103,500 $103,399 $921,700
33 Albany 19,682 $87,694 $766,000
34 Sunnyvale 151,565 $118,314 $968,700
35 Fremont 230,964 $122,191 $785,700
36 Pacifica 39,141 $106,959 $740,700
37 Mountain View 80,076 $120,351 $1,079,900
38 Mountain View 80,076 $120,351 $1,079,900
39 Mountain View 80,076 $120,351 $1,079,900
40 Mountain View 80,076 $120,351 $1,079,900
41 Fairfax 7,616 $98,092 $793,900
42 Ross 2,311 $199,531 $2,000,000
43 Millbrae 22,738 $109,984 $1,131,500
44 Larkspur 12,367 $95,592 $1,181,400
45 Menlo Park 33,661 $132,928 $1,764,600
46 Burlingame 30,401 $118,410 $1,591,600
47 Moraga 17,231 $139,018 $1,035,000
48 Dublin 57,022 $138,007 $756,800
49 Palo Alto 67,082 $147,537 $1,989,300
50 Lafayette 25,792 $152,609 $1,214,200
51 San Anselmo 12,619 $116,867 $963,300
52 Sausalito 7,147 $110,385 $1,191,700
53 Pleasanton 79,341 $138,269 $879,800
54 Corte Madera 9,811 $134,902 $1,144,800
55 Belmont 27,110 $125,958 $1,174,200
56 Clayton 11,838 $146,225 $667,400
57 Atherton 7,182 $250,000 $2,000,000
58 Portola Valley 4,589 $244,539 $2,000,000
59 San Ramon 75,048 $142,718 $863,800
60 Hillsborough 11,436 $238,750 $2,000,000
61 Woodside 5,550 $250,000 $2,000,000
62 Orinda 19,248 $186,075 $1,221,800
63 Danville 44,205 $152,798 $976,800
64 San Carlos 29,954 $152,521 $1,240,800
65 Tiburon 9,205 $151,429 $1,922,000
66 Mill Valley 14,392 $141,698 $1,242,100
67 Los Altos Hills 8,490 $248,218 $2,000,000
68 Piedmont 11,296 $202,631 $1,715,700
69 Los Altos 30,527 $208,309 $2,000,000
70 Belvedere 2,156 $213,500 $2,000,000

 Worst 

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