Worst Oakland Suburbs For 2020


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 2020. This is our sixth 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.

What's the worst suburb of Oakland? Richmond ranks as the worst suburb of Oakland for 2020 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 2020

Richmond, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 109,340
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $64,575 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $422,300 (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 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.

Pittsburg, CA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 70,492
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $70,770 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $356,300 (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 $70,770 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.

Antioch, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 110,730
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $71,422 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $366,100 (4th lowest)
More on Antioch:  Data | Photos

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

Vallejo, CA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 120,977
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $66,606 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (1st highest)
Median Home Value: $338,200 (2nd lowest)
More on Vallejo:  Data | Photos

If you live in Vallejo, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th lowest Oakland suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 1st 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.

San Pablo, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 30,839
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $49,226 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $325,600 (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 $325,600. To put that into perspective, in Belvedere, the median income is $250,001, which is the best in the area.

San Pablo has an unemployment rate of 6.75% which ranks 6th worst.

Hayward, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 158,241
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $80,093 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (18th highest)
Median Home Value: $519,600 (11th lowest)
More on Hayward:  Data | Photos

Hayward has 158,241 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 9.328195247270392%.

Concord, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 128,758
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $81,961 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $509,500 (9th 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 (6.07%).

San Leandro, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 90,103
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $70,723 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (16th highest)
Median Home Value: $543,100 (12th lowest)
More on San Leandro:  Data | Photos

San Leandro is a city about 5.7 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. San Leandro has the 10th most uninsured people, 5th worst incomes, and has the 16th highest unemployment rate (5.17%) in the entire Oakland metro area.

Homes only cost $543,100 for a reason. That's cheap for Oakland standards.

East Palo Alto, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 29,633
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $64,794 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (19th highest)
Median Home Value: $704,500 (19th lowest)
More on East Palo Alto:  Data | Photos

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

About 4.98% of residents are out of work.

Pinole, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 19,264
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 3)
Median Income: $90,734 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $462,000 (6th lowest)
More on Pinole:  Data | Photos

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

Located 16.8 miles outside the city, Pinoles is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 9th highest unemployment rate (5.99%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Oakland for 2020

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 2014-2018, 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.

The areas around Oakland where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2020

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
  • Piedmont
  • Los Altos

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Oakland Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Richmond 109,340 $64,575 $422,300
2 Pittsburg 70,492 $70,770 $356,300
3 Antioch 110,730 $71,422 $366,100
4 Vallejo 120,977 $66,606 $338,200
5 San Pablo 30,839 $49,226 $325,600
6 Hayward 158,241 $80,093 $519,600
7 Concord 128,758 $81,961 $509,500
8 San Leandro 90,103 $70,723 $543,100
9 East Palo Alto 29,633 $64,794 $704,500
10 Pinole 19,264 $90,734 $462,000
11 American Canyon 20,306 $98,247 $468,400
12 San Rafael 58,939 $87,262 $873,800
13 Daly City 106,638 $90,335 $711,800
14 Novato 55,523 $96,743 $732,200
15 Brisbane 4,692 $110,372 $872,700
16 Brentwood 60,446 $103,771 $543,900
17 El Cerrito 25,203 $100,422 $744,600
18 Martinez 38,117 $102,966 $557,700
19 Newark 46,276 $108,181 $668,700
20 Walnut Creek 69,007 $96,851 $758,500
21 Benicia 28,088 $99,018 $557,600
22 Alameda 78,462 $98,150 $797,300
23 Albany 19,758 $88,655 $812,800
24 Berkeley 120,926 $80,912 $938,400
25 South San Francisco 67,294 $96,930 $784,800
26 San Bruno 43,114 $102,101 $839,000
27 Pleasant Hill 34,785 $110,137 $680,500
28 Hercules 25,343 $110,476 $510,000
29 Milpitas 77,457 $125,161 $782,300
30 Half Moon Bay 12,706 $122,691 $917,500
31 Livermore 89,027 $116,942 $692,000
32 Emeryville 11,724 $100,568 $479,600
33 Fremont 233,083 $127,374 $863,800
34 Pacifica 39,065 $115,602 $818,100
35 San Mateo 104,035 $115,167 $1,007,200
36 Sunnyvale 152,323 $131,791 $1,111,800
37 Burlingame 30,459 $122,999 $1,709,500
38 Mountain View 80,993 $128,252 $1,214,800
39 Mountain View 80,993 $128,252 $1,214,800
40 Mountain View 80,993 $128,252 $1,214,800
41 Mountain View 80,993 $128,252 $1,214,800
42 Fairfax 7,591 $107,582 $820,000
43 Ross 2,309 $250,001 $2,000,001
44 Dublin 59,172 $144,564 $824,800
45 Menlo Park 33,869 $147,824 $2,000,001
46 Millbrae 22,703 $120,565 $1,230,900
47 Larkspur 12,375 $101,754 $1,264,800
48 Pleasanton 80,847 $148,852 $933,500
49 Lafayette 26,060 $157,453 $1,302,900
50 Palo Alto 67,019 $157,120 $2,000,001
51 Corte Madera 9,866 $147,587 $1,175,000
52 Woodside 5,541 $247,250 $2,000,001
53 San Anselmo 12,567 $125,189 $1,039,000
54 Moraga 17,398 $149,781 $1,093,600
55 Sausalito 7,139 $112,964 $1,272,700
56 Belmont 27,110 $135,342 $1,383,700
57 Hillsborough 11,439 $250,001 $2,000,001
58 Portola Valley 4,594 $210,625 $2,000,001
59 San Ramon 75,384 $151,026 $919,700
60 Danville 44,417 $152,714 $1,043,200
61 Clayton 11,967 $152,581 $710,800
62 Atherton 7,185 $250,001 $2,000,001
63 Orinda 19,431 $210,288 $1,342,100
64 San Carlos 30,080 $169,640 $1,502,300
65 Mill Valley 14,343 $158,839 $1,510,800
66 Los Altos Hills 8,517 $250,001 $2,000,001
67 Tiburon 9,151 $163,865 $2,000,001
68 Los Altos 30,588 $215,339 $2,000,001
69 Piedmont 11,308 $210,889 $1,844,000
70 Belvedere 2,098 $223,182 $2,000,001

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