These Are The 10 Worst Sunnyvale Suburbs For 2018

We used science and data to determine which Sunnyvale 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 Sunnyvale.

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

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

We examined the 40 biggest suburbs of Sunnyvale 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 Sunnyvale in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Sunnyvale for 2018:

  1. Hayward (Photos)
  2. Oakland (Photos)
  3. East Palo Alto (Photos)
  4. San Leandro (Photos)
  5. San Jose (Photos)
  6. Santa Cruz (Photos)
  7. Newark (Photos)
  8. Morgan Hill (Photos)
  9. Milpitas (Photos)
  10. South San Francisco (Photos)

Read on to see how we determined the places around Sunnyvale 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 Sunnyvale 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 Sunnyvale 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 Sunnyvale.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 40 suburbs to evaluate around Sunnyvale.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 40 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 Sunnyvale.’ We’re lookin’ at you, Hayward.

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. Hayward

Hayward, California

Population: 154,507
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Median Home Price: $404,500
Median Income: $68,138
More on Hayward: Data | Jobs

We’ll get the ball rolling with Hayward, the absolute worst place to live around Sunnyvale according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Hayward beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 5th worst in the Sunnyvale area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 1st 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 Hayward.

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. Oakland

Oakland, California

Population: 412,040
Unemployment Rate: 9.3%
Median Home Price: $500,500
Median Income: $57,778
More on Oakland: Data | Jobs

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

This city is 28.7 miles to Sunnyvale. Income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $57,778 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. East Palo Alto

East Palo Alto, California

Population: 29,353
Unemployment Rate: 8.1%
Median Home Price: $515,900
Median Income: $55,170
More on East Palo Alto: Data | Jobs

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Sunnyvale suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see East Palo Alto 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 Sunnyvale suburbs.

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

4. San Leandro

San Leandro, California

Population: 89,039
Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
Median Home Price: $426,900
Median Income: $64,065
More on San Leandro: Data | Jobs

If you live in San Leandro, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 4th lowest Sunnyvale 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 Sunnyvale. Remember, we looked at 40 cities for this study.

San Leandro is about 23.2 miles to downtown.

5. San Jose

San Jose, California

Population: 1,009,363
Unemployment Rate: 7.4%
Median Home Price: $658,000
Median Income: $90,303
More on San Jose: Data | Jobs

San Jose has the distinction of being a Sunnyvale suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, San Jose has the 11th lowest home values in the metro Sunnyvale area, where the median price is $658,000. To put that into perspective, in Los Altos, the median income is $250,000, which is the best in the area.

San Jose has an unemployment rate of 7.4% which ranks 5th worst.

6. Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California

Population: 63,310
Unemployment Rate: 8.5%
Median Home Price: $707,600
Median Income: $62,471
More on Santa Cruz: Data | Jobs

Santa Cruz has 63,310 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 24.1%.

7. Newark

Newark, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 44,677
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Home Price: $547,800
Median Income: $91,965
More on Newark: Data | Jobs

Ah, Newark. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Sunnyvale.

It’s the place with the 15th most out of work residents in the Sunnyvale metro area (5.7%).

8. Morgan Hill

Morgan Hill, California

Population: 41,839
Unemployment Rate: 6.4%
Median Home Price: $678,900
Median Income: $100,900
More on Morgan Hill: Data | Jobs

Morgan Hill is a city about 27.5 miles from Sunnyvale, but Sunnyvale 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. Morgan Hill has the 11th most uninsured people, 14th worst incomes, and has the 10th highest unemployment rate (6.4%) in the entire Sunnyvale metro area.

Homes only cost $678,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for Sunnyvale standards.

9. Milpitas

Milpitas, California

Population: 73,447
Unemployment Rate: 7.3%
Median Home Price: $635,300
Median Income: $103,623
More on Milpitas: Data | Jobs

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

About 7.3% of residents are out of work.

10. South San Francisco

South San Francisco, California

Population: 66,587
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Median Home Price: $644,500
Median Income: $85,076
More on South San Francisco: Data | Jobs

Rounding out the ten worst Sunnyvale suburbs to call home is South San Francisco.

Located 26.7 miles outside the city, South San Franciscos is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 9th highest unemployment rate (6.6%), and poverty is far above the area average.

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

Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Sunnyvale with Hayward casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Sunnyvale aren’t all bad. Los Altos takes the cake as the best place to live around Sunnyvale.

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Sunnyvale Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Hayward 154,507 8.0% $404,500 $68,138
2 Oakland 412,040 9.3% $500,500 $57,778
3 East Palo Alto 29,353 8.1% $515,900 $55,170
4 San Leandro 89,039 6.8% $426,900 $64,065
5 San Jose 1,009,363 7.4% $658,000 $90,303
6 Santa Cruz 63,310 8.5% $707,600 $62,471
7 Newark 44,677 5.7% $547,800 $91,965
8 Morgan Hill 41,839 6.4% $678,900 $100,900
9 Milpitas 73,447 7.3% $635,300 $103,623
10 South San Francisco 66,587 6.6% $644,500 $85,076
11 Alameda 77,409 6.4% $677,000 $83,048
12 Capitola 10,109 4.3% $560,500 $73,935
13 San Bruno 42,736 5.4% $668,700 $89,000
14 Livermore 86,493 4.6% $595,500 $104,223
15 Santa Clara 122,725 5.2% $734,500 $102,533
16 San Mateo 102,224 5.3% $850,200 $95,667
17 Half Moon Bay 12,281 4.9% $774,000 $106,211
18 Fremont 227,934 5.3% $702,800 $111,613
19 Scotts Valley 11,824 5.9% $654,600 $104,150
20 Mountain View 78,827 4.7% $973,000 $109,249
21 Pacifica 38,844 4.1% $680,500 $103,545
22 Millbrae 22,522 5.0% $1,037,400 $98,533
23 Campbell 40,788 3.9% $804,500 $103,704
24 Los Gatos 30,491 5.0% $1,338,400 $127,278
25 Menlo Park 33,319 3.6% $1,581,700 $126,045
26 Burlingame 30,118 4.5% $1,447,400 $102,443
27 Dublin 54,523 4.0% $693,900 $128,403
28 Belmont 26,918 5.0% $1,074,600 $120,169
29 Pleasanton 77,046 4.3% $828,900 $130,170
30 Palo Alto 66,649 4.8% $1,702,100 $137,043
31 Cupertino 60,297 6.8% $1,214,300 $147,929
32 San Carlos 29,596 5.8% $1,107,600 $135,220
33 Atherton 7,127 6.1% $2,000,000 $250,000
34 Saratoga 30,830 5.5% $1,742,900 $169,579
35 Danville 43,758 5.1% $919,500 $146,603
36 Woodside 5,496 3.4% $2,000,000 $223,934
37 Hillsborough 11,312 5.4% $2,000,000 $216,292
38 San Ramon 74,366 3.9% $810,700 $134,188
39 Los Altos Hills 8,376 3.5% $2,000,000 $243,701
40 Los Altos 30,238 3.2% $2,000,000 $187,656

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.