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 100 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 2019:
- Commerce (Photos)
- Cudahy (Photos)
- Compton (Photos)
- Maywood (Photos)
- Pomona (Photos)
- Huntington Park (Photos)
- Bell Gardens (Photos)
- Hawaiian Gardens (Photos)
- Ontario (Photos)
- South Gate (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.
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:
- 10 Best Places To Live In California
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Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Santa Ana 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 Santa Ana.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 3,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 100 suburbs to evaluate around Santa Ana.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 100 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.
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 8th worst in the Santa Ana area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 18th 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.
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 $39,804 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 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.
If you live in Maywood, 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 7th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Santa Ana. Remember, we looked at 100 cities for this study.
Maywood is about 24.7 miles to downtown.
Pomona has the distinction of being a Santa Ana suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Pomona has the 12th lowest home values in the metro Santa Ana area, where the median price is $344,200. To put that into perspective, in Redondo Beach, the median income is $180,815, which is the best in the area.
Pomona has an unemployment rate of 9.7% which ranks 6th worst.
Huntington Park has 58,993 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 28.0%.
Ah, Bell Gardens. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Santa Ana.
It’s the place with the 13th most out of work residents in the Santa Ana metro area (8.9%).
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 9th most uninsured people, 3rd worst incomes, and has the 5th highest unemployment rate (10.3%) in the entire Santa Ana metro area.
Homes only cost $307,100 for a reason. That’s cheap for Santa Ana standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Santa Ana, then Ontario might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Santa Ana suburb.
About 8.8% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Santa Ana suburbs to call home is South Gate.
Located 22.8 miles outside the city, South Gates is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 2nd highest unemployment rate (11.1%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Santa Ana where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019
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.
- Redondo Beach
- Palos Verdes Estates
- San Marino
For more California reading, check out:
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- 10 Worst Places To Live In California
Detailed List Of The Worst Santa Ana Suburbs
|14||South El Monte||20,712|
|34||Santa Fe Springs||17,669|
|54||San Juan Capistrano||35,948|
|90||La Habra Heights||5,425|
|92||Rancho Santa Margarita||49,078|
|95||Rolling Hills Estates||8,229|
|97||Rancho Palos Verdes||42,463|
|99||Palos Verdes Estates||13,591|