Best Suburbs of Los Angeles

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Los Angeles is the epicenter of the entertainment industry, a creative capital and one of the most diverse cities in the nation. And while many urban centers struggle with expensive housing, Los Angeles benefits from its diversity — it is made up of hundreds of distinct neighborhoods and suburbs, which allows residents to find a community that fits their needs.

NerdWallet analyzed the Los Angeles area to see which suburbs performed the best across various economic, social and quality of life categories.

We included cities in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area — which includes all cities and towns in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. We excluded cities that were more than an hour’s drive from Los Angeles. Over 150 cities were included in this analysis.

We ranked Los Angeles suburbs across several categories, including:

Highest-earning places
Where women make more than men
Fastest-growing Los Angeles suburbs
Most-educated places
Smallest gender pay gap
Most health care coverage

Highest-earning places

To find the highest-earning cities, we looked at the median annual income for both workers and households. We included the poverty rate to measure if the majority of residents have an adequate standard of living.

With a median annual household income of almost $150,000 a year, and a low poverty rate of 1.9%, La Cañada Flintridge earned the top spot on our list. The city also is home to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Rank City County Median annual
household income
Median annual income
for workers
Poverty rate Overall score
1 La Cañada Flintridge Los Angeles $146,528 $68,649 1.9% 100.8
2 Manhattan Beach Los Angeles $134,035 $76,159 3.7% 99.5
3 Rancho Palos Verdes Los Angeles $118,204 $62,874 4.0% 86.7
4 Calabasas Los Angeles $120,114 $62,164 6.3% 84.7
5 Yorba Linda Orange $112,447 $51,568 3.2% 79.2

Data was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau. We weighted each of the three variables equally.

Where women make more than men

To assess the Los Angeles suburbs where women make more than men, we compared male and female median annual incomes for year-round, full-time workers. We excluded part-time or seasonal workers.

The top city in this area was Inglewood. Its diverse economy has a strong health care presence, with the Centinela Hospital Medical Center and Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital in the heart of the city. Inglewood is ethnically diverse as well. Women earn, on average, 11.6% more than men.

Rank City County Median annual income for men who work full time Median annual income for women who work full time Women’s income as a percentage of men’s income
1 Inglewood Los Angeles $32,708 $36,517 111.6%
2 South San Jose Hills Los Angeles $22,728 $24,991 110.0%
3 Willowbrook Los Angeles $24,720 $26,515 107.3%
4 Azusa Los Angeles $29,877 $31,904 106.8%
5 San Fernando Los Angeles $32,600 $34,566 106.0%

Data was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Fastest-growing Los Angeles suburbs

Which suburbs of Los Angeles are thriving and attracting new residents? We looked at population growth over a two-year period.

The winner, Yorba Linda, is located in northeast Orange County, about 40 miles from Los Angeles. The city has grown 3.6% over the past two years. Yorba Linda’s economy is strong in health care and medical technology. Popular sites include a city-owned golf course and the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum — Yorba Linda is Nixon’s birthplace.

Rank City County 2010 population 2012 population Change in population
1 Yorba Linda Orange 64,414 66,739 3.6%
2 Corona Riverside 153,335 158,388 3.3%
3 Rancho Cucamonga San Bernadino 165,858 170,740 2.9%
4 Fontana San Bernadino 196,778 201,817 2.6%
5 Chino San Bernadino 78,237 80,181 2.5%

Data was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Most-educated places

Which suburbs of Los Angeles boast the most-educated residents? Because less than one-third of Americans hold a bachelor’s degree, we weighted high school graduation more heavily, at 75% of the overall score.

Manhattan Beach, with its top-performing school district, has 97.1% of residents who have at least graduated from high school. This city offers beaches, bike paths, surfing, swimming and volleyball.

Rank City County Percentage of high school graduates or higher Percentage with a bachelor’s degree or higher Overall score
1 Manhattan Beach Los Angeles 97.1% 73.2% 97.7
2 La Cañada Flintridge Los Angeles 97.4% 70.8% 97.2
3 Rancho Palos Verdes Los Angeles 98.2% 65.5% 96.3
4 Calabasas Los Angeles 97.7% 61% 96.0
5 Santa Monica Los Angeles 95% 64.5% 95.2

Data was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau. We weighted the percentage with a high school diploma or higher at 75%, and the percentage with a bachelor’s degree or higher at 25% to obtain the overall score.

Looking to buy real estate in Santa Monica? Find out how much homes cost there.

Smallest gender pay gap

American women earn, on average, 77 cents for every dollar that men make, and this figure is even lower for minorities. We compared men’s and women’s median annual incomes for year-round, full-time workers, excluding part-time or seasonal workers. In some cities, women made more than men; the rankings below are based on the size of the gap between the two.

La Habra’s gender pay gap is 0.4%, well below the U.S. average of 23%. Residents also enjoy access to nature in La Habra, which is home to 20 parks and within an hour of beaches and mountains.

Rank City County Median annual income for men who work full time Median annual income for women who work full time Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings
1 La Habra Orange $40,454 $40,273 99.6%
2 Monterey Park Los Angeles $40,075 $39,867 99.5%
3 Compton Los Angeles $29,088 $28,878 99.3%
5 Rosemead Los Angeles $31,096 $30,836 99.2%
6 El Monte Los Angeles $29,505 $29,776 100.9%

Data was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Most health care coverage

Across the U.S., 48 million Americans, about 15% of the population, don’t have health insurance. Residents in many Los Angeles suburbs have higher rates of health insurance coverage than people in other cities.

An affluent suburb of Los Angeles, Rancho Palos Verdes offers access to the beautiful Palos Verdes Hills and expansive views of the Pacific Ocean.

Rank City County Percentage with health insurance coverage
1 Rancho Palos Verdes Los Angeles 95.8%
2 Manhattan Beach Los Angeles 95.6%
3 La Cañada Flintridge Los Angeles 94.3%
4 Yorba Linda Orange 94.3%
5 Seal Beach Orange 93.7%

Data was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.


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