These Are The 10 Worst Santa Ana Suburbs For 2018


We used science and data to determine which Santa Ana 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 Santa Ana.

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 Santa Ana ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Santa Ana area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Santa Ana proper, although Redondo Beach certainly tries.

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

We examined the 98 biggest suburbs of Santa Ana 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 Santa Ana in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Santa Ana for 2018:

  1. Commerce (Photos)
  2. Cudahy
  3. Compton (Photos)
  4. Huntington Park (Photos)
  5. Bell Gardens (Photos)
  6. Pomona (Photos)
  7. Bell (Photos)
  8. Hawaiian Gardens (Photos)
  9. Maywood (Photos)
  10. Ontario (Photos)

Read on to see how we determined the places around Santa Ana 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 Santa Ana 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 Santa Ana 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 Santa Ana.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 98 suburbs to evaluate around Santa Ana.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 98 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 Santa Ana.” We’re lookin’ at you, Commerce.

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.

1. Commerce

Commerce, California

Population: 12,997
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
Median Home Price: $343,200
Median Income: $42,235
More on Commerce: Data | Jobs

We’ll get the ball rolling with Commerce, the absolute worst place to live around Santa Ana 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 9th worst in the Santa Ana area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 20th 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.

2. Cudahy


Population: 24,106
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%
Median Home Price: $285,900
Median Income: $39,058
More on Cudahy: Data | Jobs

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

This city is 23.3 miles to Santa Ana. Income levels here are the 6th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $39,058 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. Compton

Compton, California

Population: 97,740
Unemployment Rate: 13.9%
Median Home Price: $264,300
Median Income: $45,406
More on Compton: Data | Jobs

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Santa Ana suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Compton 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 Santa Ana suburbs.

But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.

4. Huntington Park

Huntington Park, California

Population: 58,921
Unemployment Rate: 11.1%
Median Home Price: $322,300
Median Income: $35,629
More on Huntington Park: Data | Jobs

If you live in Huntington Park, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 1st lowest Santa Ana suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 6th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Santa Ana. Remember, we looked at 98 cities for this study.

Huntington Park is about 25.5 miles to downtown.

5. Bell Gardens

Bell Gardens, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 42,805
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Median Home Price: $318,700
Median Income: $37,183
More on Bell Gardens: Data | Jobs

Bell Gardens has the distinction of being a Santa Ana suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Bell Gardens has the 11th lowest home values in the metro Santa Ana area, where the median price is $318,700. To put that into perspective, in Redondo Beach, the median income is $200,766, which is the best in the area.

Bell Gardens has an unemployment rate of 10.6% which ranks 9th worst.

6. Pomona

Pomona, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 151,807
Unemployment Rate: 11.0%
Median Home Price: $310,100
Median Income: $50,360
More on Pomona: Data | Jobs

Pomona has 151,807 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 21.5%.

7. Bell

Bell, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 35,927
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
Median Home Price: $322,900
Median Income: $38,823
More on Bell: Data | Jobs

Ah, Bell. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Santa Ana.

It’s the place with the 4th most out of work residents in the Santa Ana metro area (11.4%).

8. Hawaiian Gardens

Hawaiian Gardens, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 14,468
Unemployment Rate: 10.5%
Median Home Price: $288,200
Median Income: $36,026
More on Hawaiian Gardens: Data | Jobs

Hawaiian Gardens is a city about 12.7 miles from Santa Ana, but Santa Ana 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. Hawaiian Gardens has the 8th most uninsured people, 2nd worst incomes, and has the 10th highest unemployment rate (10.5%) in the entire Santa Ana metro area.

Homes only cost $288,200 for a reason. That’s cheap for Santa Ana standards.

9. Maywood

Maywood, California

Population: 27,672
Unemployment Rate: 9.5%
Median Home Price: $325,600
Median Income: $36,696
More on Maywood: Data | Jobs

If you absolutely have to live near Santa Ana, then Maywood might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Santa Ana suburb.

About 9.5% of residents are out of work.

10. Ontario

Ontario, California

Population: 169,389
Unemployment Rate: 9.3%
Median Home Price: $293,000
Median Income: $54,896
More on Ontario: Data | Jobs

Rounding out the ten worst Santa Ana suburbs to call home is Ontario.

Located 26.3 miles outside the city, Ontarios is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 21st highest unemployment rate (9.3%), and poverty is far above the area average.

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

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Santa Ana with Commerce casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Santa Ana aren’t all bad. Redondo Beach takes the cake as the best place to live around Santa Ana.

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Santa Ana Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Commerce 12,997 11.4% $343,200 $42,235
2 Cudahy 24,106 11.9% $285,900 $39,058
3 Compton 97,740 13.9% $264,300 $45,406
4 Huntington Park 58,921 11.1% $322,300 $35,629
5 Bell Gardens 42,805 10.6% $318,700 $37,183
6 Pomona 151,807 11.0% $310,100 $50,360
7 Bell 35,927 11.4% $322,900 $38,823
8 Hawaiian Gardens 14,468 10.5% $288,200 $36,026
9 Maywood 27,672 9.5% $325,600 $36,696
10 Ontario 169,389 9.3% $293,000 $54,896
11 Lynwood 71,233 10.2% $312,100 $43,848
12 South Gate 95,219 11.7% $329,000 $45,522
13 Montclair 38,294 9.3% $281,100 $50,374
14 Paramount 54,941 9.1% $283,400 $46,364
15 South El Monte 20,566 7.0% $363,100 $42,460
16 El Monte 115,665 9.2% $374,900 $40,654
17 Stanton 38,594 8.0% $322,200 $48,332
18 Duarte 21,792 10.4% $385,600 $65,571
19 Baldwin Park 76,511 8.8% $333,500 $53,651
20 Hawthorne 86,938 9.8% $419,600 $45,089
21 La Puente 40,384 8.1% $343,000 $57,174
22 Azusa 48,498 8.1% $342,000 $56,569
23 Montebello 63,416 8.1% $413,900 $47,518
24 Rosemead 54,507 8.2% $455,100 $45,510
25 Pico Rivera 63,724 8.6% $351,300 $57,203
26 Chino 83,670 9.0% $365,500 $72,832
27 Bellflower 77,687 8.3% $367,300 $50,704
28 Anaheim 346,776 8.1% $457,600 $61,826
29 Long Beach 469,793 9.4% $448,800 $55,151
30 Gardena 59,898 8.3% $372,500 $50,137
31 Norwalk 106,360 8.0% $350,600 $61,050
32 Lawndale 33,161 7.0% $401,700 $51,934
33 Carson 92,780 10.8% $366,700 $73,829
34 La Habra 61,660 10.0% $436,200 $65,799
35 Signal Hill 11,404 7.0% $446,000 $70,286
36 Garden Grove 174,676 7.6% $445,700 $60,522
37 Santa Fe Springs 17,436 4.9% $371,400 $58,147
38 Westminster 91,635 7.4% $499,400 $55,287
39 Corona 161,614 7.8% $378,500 $72,309
40 Monterey Park 61,001 7.5% $532,700 $54,008
41 San Juan Capistrano 36,006 7.1% $590,500 $79,393
42 West Covina 107,634 9.9% $430,800 $71,217
43 Covina 48,539 9.7% $415,300 $65,451
44 Fullerton 139,491 8.6% $551,300 $67,110
45 Norco 26,809 8.5% $445,700 $87,067
46 Downey 113,223 6.8% $449,900 $65,332
47 Glendora 51,285 10.1% $481,800 $78,448
48 San Gabriel 40,200 6.9% $605,600 $54,015
49 Upland 75,851 5.9% $444,200 $62,369
50 Artesia 16,789 5.2% $419,500 $58,651
51 Lomita 20,652 8.0% $532,300 $61,580
52 Orange 139,919 7.3% $565,800 $79,192
53 Whittier 86,630 6.7% $458,500 $67,431
54 Alhambra 84,866 6.0% $518,800 $53,138
55 Buena Park 82,771 5.7% $448,900 $70,341
56 Tustin 79,396 6.8% $543,200 $70,822
57 Seal Beach 24,510 6.3% $308,400 $60,222
58 Costa Mesa 112,439 6.5% $637,200 $70,438
59 Laguna Woods 16,347 5.1% $228,700 $39,201
60 Los Alamitos 11,661 7.8% $680,100 $80,926
61 San Dimas 34,109 7.0% $481,000 $79,081
62 Eastvale 58,217 9.6% $460,100 $104,940
63 La Verne 32,078 7.0% $500,300 $78,385
64 Placentia 52,168 6.8% $554,500 $80,668
65 La Mirada 49,130 6.9% $448,400 $81,956
66 Chino Hills 77,266 7.0% $537,800 $97,222
67 Diamond Bar 56,456 7.3% $593,100 $89,845
68 Claremont 35,827 6.8% $581,100 $94,005
69 Lakewood 81,054 6.3% $445,800 $82,175
70 Brea 41,351 6.4% $579,600 $85,555
71 Laguna Hills 31,127 6.2% $628,800 $92,690
72 Fountain Valley 56,670 6.6% $626,600 $84,763
73 La Palma 15,834 6.4% $602,000 $83,760
74 Lake Forest 80,658 5.2% $550,600 $92,415
75 Walnut 30,026 6.6% $679,700 $97,345
76 Arcadia 57,755 6.5% $920,700 $83,958
77 Dana Point 34,009 6.1% $780,300 $83,913
78 El Cerrito 24,646 6.6% $636,600 $92,670
79 Irvine 246,992 6.2% $718,800 $93,823
80 Huntington Beach 198,724 6.0% $659,700 $85,312
81 Cypress 48,978 5.2% $540,900 $84,469
82 Cerritos 49,797 6.6% $620,500 $95,373
83 Laguna Beach 23,204 6.8% $1,390,500 $100,506
84 Villa Park 5,922 8.7% $1,030,800 $131,386
85 Torrance 147,307 6.4% $652,600 $80,862
86 San Clemente 65,082 5.5% $801,100 $97,210
87 Laguna Niguel 64,984 6.4% $712,000 $97,894
88 La Habra Heights 5,406 4.9% $893,200 $110,329
89 Mission Viejo 96,178 6.0% $608,100 $104,886
90 Yorba Linda 67,362 6.5% $728,300 $119,697
91 Rancho Santa Margarita 49,038 3.6% $584,000 $104,556
92 Aliso Viejo 50,219 5.9% $539,000 $103,261
93 San Marino 13,324 4.3% $1,518,400 $139,792
94 Newport Beach 86,813 5.4% $1,584,900 $115,845
95 Rolling Hills Estates 8,206 4.4% $1,096,400 $129,728
96 Rancho Palos Verdes 42,412 4.3% $1,003,300 $120,668
97 Palos Verdes Estates 13,582 2.0% $1,609,500 $200,766
98 Redondo Beach 67,664 5.8% $775,300 $103,782

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