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:
- Richmond (Photos)
- Pittsburg (Photos)
- Vallejo (Photos)
- Antioch (Photos)
- San Pablo (Photos)
- Hayward (Photos)
- Concord (Photos)
- East Palo Alto (Photos)
- San Leandro (Photos)
- 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.
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:
- 10 Best Places To Live In California
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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%.
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 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.
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.
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.
- Los Altos
For more California reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In California
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- 10 Worst Places To Live In California
Detailed List Of The Worst Oakland Suburbs
|8||East Palo Alto||29,646|
|24||South San Francisco||67,120|
|29||Half Moon Bay||12,565|
|67||Los Altos Hills||8,490|