The 10 Worst Sunnyvale Suburbs

The worst Sunnyvale suburbs are Hayward and San Leandro based on Saturday Night Science. Find out where your town ranks.

More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Sunnyvale to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: what suburbs of Sunnyvale are the worst?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Sunnyvale ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Sunnyvale area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Sunnyvale proper, although Los Altos Hills certainly tries.

We examined the 43 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.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 worst suburbs around Sunnyvale for 2023

  1. Hayward
  2. San Leandro
  3. Oakland
  4. Brisbane
  5. Santa Cruz
  6. East Palo Alto
  7. San Jose
  8. Capitola
  9. Newark
  10. Alameda

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Sunnyvale? Hayward ranks as the worst suburb of Sunnyvale for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

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.

The 10 Worst Sunnyvale Suburbs To Live For 2023

Hayward, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Mercurywoodrose | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 162,254
Median Income: $98,837 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $653,500 (lowest)
More on Hayward: Data

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 6th worst in the Sunnyvale area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 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.

San Leandro, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Walter Siegmund | GFDL
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Population: 91,176
Median Income: $89,663 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $658,400 (2nd lowest)
More on San Leandro: Data

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

This city is 23.2 miles to Sunnyvale. Income levels here are the 3rd lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $89,663 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.

Oakland, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Basil D Soufi | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 437,548
Median Income: $85,628 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $772,400 (4th lowest)
More on Oakland: Data

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

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

Brisbane, CA

Source: Wikipedia User ERobson at English Wikipedia | CC BY 3.0
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Population: 4,803
Median Income: $122,202 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (highest)
Median Home Value: $923,800 (8th lowest)
More on Brisbane: Data

If you live in Brisbane, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 11th lowest Sunnyvale suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Sunnyvale. Remember, we looked at 43 cities for this study.

Brisbane is about 28.0 miles to downtown.

Santa Cruz, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Aaronbrick | GFDL
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Population: 62,714
Median Income: $96,217 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $933,000 (10th lowest)
More on Santa Cruz: Data

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

All snarkiness aside, Santa Cruz has the 10th lowest home values in the metro Sunnyvale area, where the median price is $933,000. The median income is $250,001.

Santa Cruz has an unemployment rate of 7.03% which ranks 2nd worst.

East Palo Alto, CA

Source: Wikipedia User David.Monniaux | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 29,888
Median Income: $96,349 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (15th highest)
Median Home Value: $955,300 (11th lowest)
More on East Palo Alto: Data

East Palo Alto has 29,888 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 12.037409493161704%.

San Jose, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Flickr upload bot | CC BY 2.0
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Population: 1,013,337
Median Income: $125,075 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $986,700 (15th lowest)
More on San Jose: Data

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

It’s the place with the 12th most out of work residents in the Sunnyvale metro area (4.88%).

Capitola, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,041
Median Income: $83,726 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (37th highest)
Median Home Value: $706,600 (3rd lowest)
More on Capitola: Data

Capitola is a city about 28.6 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. Capitola has the 6th most uninsured people, worst incomes, and has the 37th highest unemployment rate (3.16%) in the entire Sunnyvale metro area.

Homes only cost $706,600 for a reason. That’s cheap for Sunnyvale standards.

Newark, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 47,815
Median Income: $144,011 (20th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $870,200 (6th lowest)
More on Newark: Data

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

About 5.03% of residents are out of work.

Alameda, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Sanfranman59 | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 78,320
Median Income: $113,339 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (17th highest)
Median Home Value: $972,800 (13th lowest)
More on Alameda: Data

Rounding out the ten worst Sunnyvale suburbs to call home is Alameda.

Located 27.7 miles outside the city, Alamedas is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 17th highest unemployment rate (4.62%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Sunnyvale for 2023

To figure out how bad a Sunnyvale 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 Sunnyvale.

We also limited the analysis to places with over 3,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 43 suburbs to evaluate around Sunnyvale.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 43 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 looking at you, Hayward.

We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Sunnyvale.

Summary: The areas around Sunnyvale where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023

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 Hills takes the cake as the best place to live around Sunnyvale.

  • Los Altos Hills
  • Los Altos
  • Monte Sereno

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Sunnyvale Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Hayward 162,254 $98,837 $653,500
2 San Leandro 91,176 $89,663 $658,400
3 Oakland 437,548 $85,628 $772,400
4 Brisbane 4,803 $122,202 $923,800
5 Santa Cruz 62,714 $96,217 $933,000
6 East Palo Alto 29,888 $96,349 $955,300
7 San Jose 1,013,337 $125,075 $986,700
8 Capitola 10,041 $83,726 $706,600
9 Newark 47,815 $144,011 $870,200
10 Alameda 78,320 $113,339 $972,800
11 Morgan Hill 45,267 $139,161 $930,200
12 San Mateo 105,087 $133,612 $1,283,900
13 South San Francisco 66,331 $112,818 $965,300
14 Half Moon Bay 11,792 $137,346 $1,265,300
15 Milpitas 79,593 $149,312 $994,200
16 San Bruno 43,775 $117,747 $1,027,400
17 Scotts Valley 12,317 $114,504 $883,100
18 Pacifica 38,595 $138,548 $1,012,200
19 Livermore 88,403 $139,904 $851,300
20 Fremont 231,502 $153,475 $1,069,700
21 Millbrae 23,083 $141,399 $1,606,700
22 Santa Clara 127,922 $150,244 $1,199,500
23 Campbell 43,954 $130,171 $1,232,700
24 Mountain View 82,409 $158,104 $1,613,300
25 Pleasanton 79,558 $167,932 $1,116,800
26 Belmont 28,109 $178,125 $1,682,000
27 Dublin 69,818 $171,168 $983,000
28 San Ramon 85,688 $173,519 $1,063,200
29 Burlingame 31,142 $150,182 $2,000,001
30 Menlo Park 33,677 $179,913 $2,000,001
31 Los Gatos 33,309 $166,642 $1,893,200
32 Danville 43,673 $181,453 $1,252,400
33 Palo Alto 68,624 $194,782 $2,000,001
34 San Carlos 30,754 $204,570 $1,904,400
35 Portola Valley 4,458 $250,001 $2,000,001
36 Woodside 5,316 $250,001 $2,000,001
37 Hillsborough 11,390 $250,001 $2,000,001
38 Cupertino 60,681 $199,778 $2,000,001
39 Saratoga 31,194 $224,179 $2,000,001
40 Atherton 7,181 $250,001 $2,000,001
41 Monte Sereno 3,502 $250,001 $2,000,001
42 Los Altos 31,562 $250,001 $2,000,001
43 Los Altos Hills 8,520 $250,001 $2,000,001
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

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