These Are The 10 Worst Oakland Suburbs For 2018


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. So without further ado…

We examined the 67 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 2018:

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

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Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Oakland 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 Oakland.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 67 suburbs to evaluate around Oakland.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 67 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.

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1. Richmond

Richmond, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 108,303
Unemployment Rate: 9.3%
Median Home Price: $330,200
Median Income: $57,107
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.

2. Pittsburg

Pittsburg, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 67,998
Unemployment Rate: 11.8%
Median Home Price: $280,900
Median Income: $63,950
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 5th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $63,950 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. Vallejo

Vallejo, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 119,644
Unemployment Rate: 13.0%
Median Home Price: $254,100
Median Income: $59,600
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.

4. Hayward

Hayward, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 154,507
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Median Home Price: $404,500
Median Income: $68,138
If you live in Hayward, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 8th lowest Oakland suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 9th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Oakland. Remember, we looked at 67 cities for this study.

Hayward is about 11.8 miles to downtown.

5. San Pablo

San Pablo, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 29,991
Unemployment Rate: 10.1%
Median Home Price: $221,400
Median Income: $45,503
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 $221,400. To put that into perspective, in Los Altos, the median income is $250,000, which is the best in the area.

San Pablo has an unemployment rate of 10.1% which ranks 3rd worst.

6. Antioch

Antioch, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 108,675
Unemployment Rate: 9.7%
Median Home Price: $291,400
Median Income: $65,530
Antioch has 108,675 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 14.3%.

7. East Palo Alto

East Palo Alto, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 29,353
Unemployment Rate: 8.1%
Median Home Price: $515,900
Median Income: $55,170
Ah, East Palo Alto. 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 (8.1%).

8. Concord

Concord, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 126,938
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Median Home Price: $423,100
Median Income: $71,477
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 5th most uninsured people, 10th worst incomes, and has the 9th highest unemployment rate (8.0%) in the entire Oakland metro area.

Homes only cost $423,100 for a reason. That’s cheap for Oakland standards.

9. San Leandro

San Leandro, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 89,039
Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
Median Home Price: $426,900
Median Income: $64,065
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 6.8% of residents are out of work.

10. American Canyon

American Canyon, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 20,334
Unemployment Rate: 8.3%
Median Home Price: $374,200
Median Income: $83,673
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 7th highest unemployment rate (8.3%), and poverty is far above the area average.

The areas around Oakland where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2018

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.

For more California reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Oakland Suburbs

City Rank Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
Richmond 1 108,303 9.3% $330,200 $57,107
Pittsburg 2 67,998 11.8% $280,900 $63,950
Vallejo 3 119,644 13.0% $254,100 $59,600
Hayward 4 154,507 8.0% $404,500 $68,138
San Pablo 5 29,991 10.1% $221,400 $45,503
Antioch 6 108,675 9.7% $291,400 $65,530
East Palo Alto 7 29,353 8.1% $515,900 $55,170
Concord 8 126,938 8.0% $423,100 $71,477
San Leandro 9 89,039 6.8% $426,900 $64,065
American Canyon 10 20,334 8.3% $374,200 $83,673
San Rafael 11 58,948 5.9% $758,600 $81,360
Pinole 12 19,040 5.9% $387,500 $74,124
Newark 13 44,677 5.7% $547,800 $91,965
Brentwood 14 56,923 7.4% $428,500 $94,130
Milpitas 15 73,447 7.3% $635,300 $103,623
Benicia 16 27,780 6.2% $475,500 $87,011
Alameda 17 77,409 6.4% $677,000 $83,048
South San Francisco 18 66,587 6.6% $644,500 $85,076
Emeryville 19 11,111 6.3% $396,900 $74,295
Novato 20 54,790 4.7% $625,900 $83,895
El Cerrito 21 24,646 6.6% $636,600 $92,670
Martinez 22 37,544 6.7% $462,300 $93,874
Brisbane 23 4,568 5.4% $699,800 $91,127
Berkeley 24 118,585 7.3% $795,200 $70,393
Walnut Creek 25 67,568 6.7% $647,400 $82,848
Hercules 26 25,011 5.3% $422,200 $103,044
San Bruno 27 42,736 5.4% $668,700 $89,000
Livermore 28 86,493 4.6% $595,500 $104,223
Pleasant Hill 29 34,395 6.0% $584,700 $93,476
Half Moon Bay 30 12,281 4.9% $774,000 $106,211
San Mateo 31 102,224 5.3% $850,200 $95,667
Albany 32 19,420 6.1% $697,600 $85,458
Fremont 33 227,934 5.3% $702,800 $111,613
Sunnyvale 34 149,596 6.0% $859,100 $109,799
Mountain View 35 78,827 4.7% $973,000 $109,249
Mountain View 36 78,827 4.7% $973,000 $109,249
Pacifica 37 38,844 4.1% $680,500 $103,545
Ross 38 2,381 9.2% $2,000,000 $199,107
Millbrae 39 22,522 5.0% $1,037,400 $98,533
Fairfax 40 7,598 3.4% $733,800 $99,438
San Anselmo 41 12,623 7.2% $914,400 $107,818
Menlo Park 42 33,319 3.6% $1,581,700 $126,045
Sausalito 43 7,115 6.6% $1,163,500 $116,325
Moraga 44 16,977 6.0% $971,700 $136,336
Dublin 45 54,523 4.0% $693,900 $128,403
Larkspur 46 12,268 5.3% $1,117,800 $91,848
Burlingame 47 30,118 4.5% $1,447,400 $102,443
Clayton 48 11,655 6.3% $629,200 $136,946
Pleasanton 49 77,046 4.3% $828,900 $130,170
Belmont 50 26,918 5.0% $1,074,600 $120,169
Palo Alto 51 66,649 4.8% $1,702,100 $137,043
Lafayette 52 25,381 5.0% $1,127,400 $142,977
Portola Valley 53 4,550 6.8% $2,000,000 $232,981
Corte Madera 54 9,694 4.5% $1,061,700 $125,915
Atherton 55 7,127 6.1% $2,000,000 $250,000
San Carlos 56 29,596 5.8% $1,107,600 $135,220
Danville 57 43,758 5.1% $919,500 $146,603
Woodside 58 5,496 3.4% $2,000,000 $223,934
San Ramon 59 74,366 3.9% $810,700 $134,188
Orinda 60 18,936 4.6% $1,125,000 $178,704
Hillsborough 61 11,312 5.4% $2,000,000 $216,292
Tiburon 62 9,170 3.9% $1,847,800 $149,510
Los Altos Hills 63 8,376 3.5% $2,000,000 $243,701
Mill Valley 64 14,318 2.6% $1,201,600 $149,336
Belvedere 65 2,017 4.9% $2,000,000 $178,750
Piedmont 66 11,201 3.7% $1,572,700 $202,083
Los Altos 67 30,238 3.2% $2,000,000 $187,656

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