Some of you might be asking yourself, at this very moment: is California a good place?
The answer is unequivocally yes… if you know where to locate the best places to live in California.
Lucky for you, we’re here to help you identify the best counties to live in the Golden State based on the most recently available data from the Census. And this isn’t our first rodeo — we’ve been helping people find the best places to live in America for years.
So, the question becomes, if you wanted to relocate to the best pat of California, where would you go? To answer that we looked at crime, cost of living, and demographic data for all 50 counties in the state.
After the analytic dust settled, we identified the 10 best counties to live in Golden State for 2018:
- Marin County (Photos)
- Placer County (Photos)
- Napa County (Photos)
- El Dorado County (Photos)
- Contra Costa County (Photos)
- San Francisco County (Photos)
- Sonoma County (Photos)
- San Luis Obispo County (Photos)
- San Mateo County (Photos)
- Ventura County (Photos)
Marin County is the county to be when it comes to living the good life in California. And you might want to avoid Imperial County if you can — at least according to the data.
So if you’re thinking of making the move California, we’ve got you covered. Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.
How do you determine which California county is the best?
To give you the best county in California, we have to look at a handful of metrics that signal the quality of a place. To do that, we need to make some assumptions about what’s a ‘best county’ and what isn’t. And, for reference, we are trying to make the kind of argument you’d make at a bar using facts, don’t take this analysis to court.
We paid particular attention to:
- Violent Crime Rates
- Property Crime Rates
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Unemployment Rates
- Adult Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty Rates
We then ranked each county in California across each of the criteria from one to 50, with one being the best.
Taking the average rank across all criteria, we created a quality of life score with the county posting the lowest overall score being the ‘Best County To Live In California’.
The result is some of the safest, quiet, and best counties to raise a family in the Golden State.
Read on to see why Marin County is the best county, while Imperial County is probably in contention for being the worst county in California.
1. Marin County
3. Napa County
Biggest Place: El Dorado Hills
Median Income: $72,586 (12th best)
Median Home Price: $379,200 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (28th best)
More on El Dorado County: Photos | Data
Biggest Place: San Francisco
Median Income: $87,701 (4th best)
Median Home Price: $858,800 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (4th best)
More on San Francisco County: Photos | Data
Biggest Place: San Luis Obispo
Median Income: $64,014 (18th best)
Median Home Price: $471,800 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (2nd best)
More on San Luis Obispo County: Photos | Data
10. Ventura County
There You Have It – The Best Counties In California To Call Home For 2018
It turns out living in California can vary from one part of the state to the next — who woulda thought?
But now you the know the really good parts and the parts to avoid and that’s why you came here to learn at the end of the day. And for that, you are welcome.
Here’s a look at the worst counties in California according to the data:
- Imperial County
- Lake County
- Kern County
For more California reading, check out:
- 10 Safest Places In California
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In California
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In California
- 10 Worst Places To Live In California
Detailed List Of The Best Counties In California
|El Dorado County||4|
|Contra Costa County||5|
|San Francisco County||6|
|San Luis Obispo County||8|
|San Mateo County||9|
|Santa Clara County||12|
|San Benito County||13|
|San Diego County||14|
|Santa Cruz County||15|
|Santa Barbara County||20|
|San Joaquin County||36|
|Los Angeles County||40|
|San Bernardino County||43|