Best Oakland Suburbs To Live For 2020


We analyzed over 67 places around Oakland to identify the most in demand places to live.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best Oakland suburbs.

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Big city living isn't for everyone--but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There's the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There's traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing--pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you're looking at.

But that's where the suburbs come in--they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

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

What's the best suburb of Oakland? Belvedere ranks as the best suburb of Oakland for 2020 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Belvedere, you're probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We'll tell you what makes each of these 10 Oakland 'burbs better than the rest--but first, a bit about our methodology.

Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.
Or feel free to check out some more reading about California:

The 10 Best Oakland Suburbs To Live For 2020

Belvedere, CA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,098
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $223,182
Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
Poverty Rate: 2.3%
More on Belvedere: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Belvedere is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Oakland area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Belvedere."

Everyone here is rich; families average $223,182 a year, which is the 6th highest in the Oakland region. And only 2.92% are out of work. Homes average more than $2,000,001 each.

Piedmont, CA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 11,308
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $210,889
Unemployment Rate: 3.0%
Poverty Rate: 2.7%
More on Piedmont: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Piedmont is the second best 'burb we looked at near Oakland for 2020.

It ranks 8th for incomes in the area and only 1.49% of residents lack insurance, good for 15th best.

Los Altos, CA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 30,588
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $215,339
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Poverty Rate: 3.4%
More on Los Altos: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Los Altos, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the Oakland metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Los Altos.

Tiburon, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 9,151
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $163,865
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
Poverty Rate: 2.6%
More on Tiburon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Tiburon ranks as the 4th best suburb of Oakland for 2020.

You won't find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Tiburon and the schools are some of the best around.

Los Altos Hills, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 8,517
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $250,001
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
Poverty Rate: 3.9%
More on Los Altos Hills: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Los Altos Hills.

Los Altos Hills gets kudos for having the 6th most expensive homes in the Oakland area, where houses sell for an average of $2,000,001. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Mill Valley, CA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 14,343
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $158,839
Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
Poverty Rate: 4.7%
More on Mill Valley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mill Valley is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here's why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 2.46% which is 1st best in the area.

According to online reports, Mill Valley is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Oakland area, meaning you need to get in soon.

San Carlos, CA

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 30,080
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $169,640
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 2.9%
More on San Carlos: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to San Carlos.

San Carlos schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it's only 19.1 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Orinda, CA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 19,431
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $210,288
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Poverty Rate: 2.6%
More on Orinda: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Orinda is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 1.26% of people lack insurance, good for 11th in the area.

Atherton, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 7,185
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 6)
Median Income: $250,001
Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
Poverty Rate: 3.4%
More on Atherton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is 'Everything Better In Atherton?'

Almost.

It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it's really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

Danville, CA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 44,417
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Income: $152,714
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Poverty Rate: 3.3%
More on Danville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten for 2020 is Danville.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It's far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Oakland for 2020

Figuring out the best suburbs around Oakland was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

Then we used the newest American Community Survey data for 2014-2018 to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Oakland.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 70 suburbs to evaluate around Oakland.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 70 in each category, where 1 was the "best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the "Best Suburb near Oakland." We're lookin' at you, Belvedere. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

Welcome to the Best Oakland 'Burbs of 2020

We said it once and we'll say it again--life in the big city isn't for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you're hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Oakland, but don't want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Oakland Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Belvedere, CA 2,098 $223,182
2 Piedmont, CA 11,308 $210,889
3 Los Altos, CA 30,588 $215,339
4 Tiburon, CA 9,151 $163,865
5 Los Altos Hills, CA 8,517 $250,001
6 Mill Valley, CA 14,343 $158,839
7 San Carlos, CA 30,080 $169,640
8 Orinda, CA 19,431 $210,288
9 Atherton, CA 7,185 $250,001
10 Danville, CA 44,417 $152,714
11 Clayton, CA 11,967 $152,581
12 San Ramon, CA 75,384 $151,026
13 Portola Valley, CA 4,594 $210,625
14 Hillsborough, CA 11,439 $250,001
15 Belmont, CA 27,110 $135,342
16 Sausalito, CA 7,139 $112,964
17 Moraga, CA 17,398 $149,781
18 San Anselmo, CA 12,567 $125,189
19 Woodside, CA 5,541 $247,250
20 Palo Alto, CA 67,019 $157,120
21 Corte Madera, CA 9,866 $147,587
22 Lafayette, CA 26,060 $157,453
23 Pleasanton, CA 80,847 $148,852
24 Larkspur, CA 12,375 $101,754
25 Millbrae, CA 22,703 $120,565
26 Menlo Park, CA 33,869 $147,824
27 Dublin, CA 59,172 $144,564
28 Ross, CA 2,309 $250,001
29 Fairfax, CA 7,591 $107,582
30 Mountain View, CA 80,993 $128,252
31 Mountain View, CA 80,993 $128,252
32 Mountain View, CA 80,993 $128,252
33 Mountain View, CA 80,993 $128,252
34 Burlingame, CA 30,459 $122,999
35 Sunnyvale, CA 152,323 $131,791
36 San Mateo, CA 104,035 $115,167
37 Pacifica, CA 39,065 $115,602
38 Fremont, CA 233,083 $127,374
39 Emeryville, CA 11,724 $100,568
40 Livermore, CA 89,027 $116,942
41 Half Moon Bay, CA 12,706 $122,691
42 Milpitas, CA 77,457 $125,161
43 Hercules, CA 25,343 $110,476
44 Pleasant Hill, CA 34,785 $110,137
45 San Bruno, CA 43,114 $102,101
46 South San Francisco, CA 67,294 $96,930
47 Berkeley, CA 120,926 $80,912
48 Albany, CA 19,758 $88,655
49 Alameda, CA 78,462 $98,150
50 Walnut Creek, CA 69,007 $96,851
51 Benicia, CA 28,088 $99,018
52 Newark, CA 46,276 $108,181
53 Martinez, CA 38,117 $102,966
54 El Cerrito, CA 25,203 $100,422
55 Brentwood, CA 60,446 $103,771
56 Brisbane, CA 4,692 $110,372
57 Novato, CA 55,523 $96,743
58 Daly City, CA 106,638 $90,335
59 San Rafael, CA 58,939 $87,262
60 American Canyon, CA 20,306 $98,247
61 Pinole, CA 19,264 $90,734
62 East Palo Alto, CA 29,633 $64,794
63 San Leandro, CA 90,103 $70,723
64 Concord, CA 128,758 $81,961
65 Hayward, CA 158,241 $80,093
66 San Pablo, CA 30,839 $49,226
67 Vallejo, CA 120,977 $66,606
68 Antioch, CA 110,730 $71,422
69 Pittsburg, CA 70,492 $70,770
70 Richmond, CA 109,340 $64,575

How Is Your Town In ?

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.