More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Pasadena to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
So the question arises: what suburbs of Pasadena are the worst?
Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Pasadena ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Pasadena area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Pasadena proper, although Hermosa Beach certainly tries.
We examined the 89 biggest suburbs of Pasadena 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 Pasadena in terms of quality of life.
Now don’t freak out.
What’s the worst suburb of Pasadena? Commerce ranks as the worst suburb of Pasadena for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Pasadena too.
The 10 Worst Pasadena Suburbs To Live For 2023
Median Income: $58,226 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (20th highest)
Median Home Value: $455,700 (15th lowest)
More on Commerce: Data
We’ll get the ball rolling with Commerce, the absolute worst place to live around Pasadena according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Commerce beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 7th worst in the Pasadena area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 15th 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 Commerce.
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: $47,050 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $434,200 (7th lowest)
More on Cudahy: Data
Welcome to Cudahy. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 13.8 miles to Pasadena. Income levels here are the lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $47,050 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: $51,065 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (highest)
Median Home Value: $452,300 (13th lowest)
More on Huntington Park: Data
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Pasadena suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Huntington Park 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 Pasadena suburbs.
But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.
Median Income: $62,297 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $423,000 (4th lowest)
More on Compton: Data
If you live in Compton, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 12th lowest Pasadena suburb for median household incomes.
Not only that, but this is the 7th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Pasadena. Remember, we looked at 89 cities for this study.
Compton is about 19.1 miles to downtown.
Median Income: $67,483 (19th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $423,300 (5th lowest)
More on Montclair: Data
Montclair has the distinction of being a Pasadena suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Montclair has the 5th lowest home values in the metro Pasadena area, where the median price is $423,300. The median income is $250,001.
Montclair has an unemployment rate of 7.76% which ranks 12th worst.
Median Income: $61,612 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $449,300 (10th lowest)
More on Lynwood: Data
Lynwood has 67,497 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 16.49350849838677%.
Median Income: $70,858 (26th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (17th highest)
Median Home Value: $332,400 (2nd lowest)
More on Palmdale: Data
Ah, Palmdale. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Pasadena.
It’s the place with the 17th most out of work residents in the Pasadena metro area (7.65%).
Median Income: $59,647 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $470,200 (18th lowest)
More on South Gate: Data
South Gate is a city about 15.3 miles from Pasadena, but Pasadena 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. South Gate has the 7th most uninsured people, 8th worst incomes, and has the 4th highest unemployment rate (8.65%) in the entire Pasadena metro area.
Homes only cost $470,200 for a reason. That’s cheap for Pasadena standards.
Median Income: $50,311 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (48th highest)
Median Home Value: $423,700 (6th lowest)
More on Bell Gardens: Data
If you absolutely have to live near Pasadena, then Bell Gardens might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Pasadena suburb.
About 5.8% of residents are out of work.
Median Income: $51,183 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (36th highest)
Median Home Value: $450,900 (11th lowest)
More on Bell: Data
Rounding out the ten worst Pasadena suburbs to call home is Bell.
Located 12.7 miles outside the city, Bells is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 36th highest unemployment rate (6.58%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Pasadena for 2023
To figure out how bad a Pasadena 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 Pasadena.
We also limited the analysis to places with over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 89 suburbs to evaluate around Pasadena.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 89 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 Pasadena.” We’re looking at you, Commerce.
We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Pasadena.
Summary: The areas around Pasadena where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Pasadena with Commerce casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Pasadena aren’t all bad. Hermosa Beach takes the cake as the best place to live around Pasadena.
- Hermosa Beach
- Manhattan Beach
- Redondo Beach
For more California reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In California
- Cheapest Places To Live In California
- Most Dangerous Cities In California
- 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 Pasadena Suburbs
|Rank||City||Population||Median Income||Median Home Values|
|12||South El Monte||19,860||$60,244||$478,800|
|30||Santa Fe Springs||18,817||$75,086||$490,200|
|77||La Habra Heights||5,651||$181,591||$945,800|
|78||Rolling Hills Estates||8,305||$160,724||$1,461,500|
|86||Palos Verdes Estates||13,403||$202,569||$2,000,001|