Irvine Third Best City in the US for Families; San Bernardino 8th worst, according to survey – Orange County Register

Survey Says looks at various rankings and scorecards of geographic locations and finds that these ratings are best viewed as a mix of art and data.

To hum: Irvine was ranked the nation’s third best major city to raise a family, while San Bernardino was ranked 8th among the worst and lowest of 29 California cities.

Source: WalletHub analyzed 48 economic and demographic factors to produce relative ratings for 182 cities across five key criteria – family fun, health and safety, education and childcare, affordability, and socio-economy.


Rankings like this are part science and part art, but if you look at the bigger picture you can see that California did well in this study.

My trusted table tells me that the average overall ranking for 29 cities in the Golden State on this scorecard was 75th – 20 points higher than the average of # 95 for the other 153 cities in the rest of the nation. It collapsed like this …

Family fun: California’s average rank was 51 points higher – (# 49 vs. 100). There is much to be done in this state.

Health and safety: California 54 points higher – (No. 46 vs. 100). Less crime, good health facilities.

Education and child care: California 28 points higher – (No. 68 vs. 96). Better than most.

Affordability: California 48 points lower – (No. 132 vs. 84). Nobody should be surprised.

Socioeconomics: California 32 points higher – (No. 64 vs. 97). A surprising conclusion.

The question every family must ask: “Is California worth the price?”


California had 11 cities in the bottom half of the ranking – Anaheim, Riverside, Oxnard, Fontana, Fresno, Ontario, Moreno Valley, Santa Ana, Oakland, Stockton – plus San Bernardino.

Bottom line

Only Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City, and Fremont, in the Bay Area, did better than Irvine. Then came the suburbs of Dallas, Plano and Columbia, Md., Between Baltimore and Washington, DC.

At the bottom of the scorecard was Detroit, then Cleveland, Memphis, Hialeah, Florida, and Newark, NJ

You might conclude that families do best outside of big cities – or at least look mathematically better in the suburbs.


“Irvine has the lowest number of violent crimes (per 1,000 people), 0.64, which is 30.7 times less than Detroit, the city with the highest 19.65,” WalletHub noted.

Post script

Here’s how cities fared in the four counties covered by the Southern California News Group …

# 3 Irvine: # 17 for fun; # 1 for security; No. 3 for grooming; No. 57 for Affordability; and No. 9 for Socioeconomics.

# 12 Huntington Beach: # 64 for fun; No. 10 for security; No. 4 for grooming; # 96 for affordability; and No. 12 for Socioeconomics.

No. 31 Santa Clarita: No. 85 for fun; No. 4 for security; No. 16 for care; No. 114 for Affordability; and No. 76 for Socioeconomics.

No. 32 Rancho Cucamonga: No. 68 for fun; No. 48 on safety; No. 32 for care; No. 102 for Affordability; and No. 10 for Socioeconomics.

No. 53 Garden Grove: No. 38 for fun; No. 15 for security; No. 15 for care; No. 173 for Affordability; and No. 38 for Socioeconomics.

No. 66 Glendale: No. 45 for fun; No. 11 for safety; No. 18 for care; No. 171 for Affordability; and no. 73 for socio-economics.

# 83 Los Angeles: # 1 for Fun; No. 41 for security; No. 63 for care; # 176 for Affordability; and No. 120 for Socioeconomics.

# 88 Long Beach: # 16 for fun; No. 20 for security; No. 17 for care; No. 178 for Affordability; and No. 124 for Socioeconomics.

No. 92 Anaheim: No. 34 for Fun; No. 14 for security; No. 73 for care; No. 174 for Affordability; and No. 54 for Socioeconomics.

# 110 Riverside: # 71 for fun; No. 55 on safety; No. 125 for care; # 156 for affordability; and No. 47 for Socioeconomics.

No. 116 Fontana: No. 32 for fun; No. 67 on safety; No. 158 for care; No. 165 for affordability; and No. 34 for Socioeconomics.

No. 128 Ontario: No. 46 for fun; No. 72 on safety; No. 128 for care; # 170 for affordability; and No. 68 for Socioeconomics.

No. 131 Moreno Valley: No. 40 for fun; No. 53 on safety; # 176 for care; # 166 for Affordability; and No. 74 for Socioeconomics.

# 133 Santa Ana: # 91 for fun; No. 18 for security; No. 69 for care; # 180 for affordability; and No. 49 for Socioeconomics.

No. 175 San Bernardino: No. 15 for fun; No. 157 on safety; No. 174 for care; No. 177 for Affordability; and # 154 for Socioeconomics.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at [email protected]

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