Best San Jose Suburbs To Live For 2020

We analyzed over 30 places around San Jose 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 San Jose 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 San Jose 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 San Jose? Los Altos ranks as the best suburb of San Jose for 2020 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Los Altos, you're probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We'll tell you what makes each of these 10 San Jose '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 San Jose Suburbs To Live For 2020

Los Altos, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 30,588
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $215,339
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Poverty Rate: 3.4%
More on Los Altos: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Los Altos is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the San Jose area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Los Altos."

Everyone here is rich; families average $215,339 a year, which is the 5th highest in the San Jose region. And only 3.71% are out of work. Homes average more than $2,000,001 each.

Los Altos Hills, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,517
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $250,001
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
Poverty Rate: 3.9%
More on Los Altos Hills: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Los Altos Hills is the second best 'burb we looked at near San Jose for 2020.

It ranks 2nd for incomes in the area and only 0.69% of residents lack insurance, good for 1st best.

Monte Sereno, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,492
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $250,001
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 1.2%
More on Monte Sereno: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Monte Sereno, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the San Jose 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 Monte Sereno.

San Carlos, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 30,080
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $169,640
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 2.9%
More on San Carlos: Real Estate | Data | Photos

San Carlos ranks as the 4th best suburb of San Jose for 2020.

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

Atherton, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,185
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $250,001
Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
Poverty Rate: 3.4%
More on Atherton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Atherton.

Atherton gets kudos for having the 5th most expensive homes in the San Jose area, where houses sell for an average of $2,000,001. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Portola Valley, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,594
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $210,625
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
Poverty Rate: 2.5%
More on Portola Valley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Portola 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 5.16% which is 27th best in the area.

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

Woodside, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,541
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $247,250
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Poverty Rate: 4.4%
More on Woodside: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Woodside.

Woodside 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 25.7 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Palo Alto, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 67,019
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Median Income: $157,120
Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
Poverty Rate: 5.9%
More on Palo Alto: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Palo Alto 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 2.45% of people lack insurance, good for 12th in the area.

Review Of Palo Alto by HomeSnacks User

I live in Palo Alto, and I never doubted that we ranked high on snobbery. After all, not only do we have a community theater company and a community orchestra, but we have a community opera company as well.||I don't know where Palo Alto stands with this metric or how much it is weighted, but I take objection to your inclusion of private school density as a criterion.

Firstly, the number of private schools in a city relative to that city's population is not necessarily the best measure of how many eligible students in a city attend private school, as private schools may vary in size and often do not restrict enrollment to the residents of their host city.

Secondly, while private school enrollment is an understandable measure to be associated with snobbery, given that in most parts of the country elites seek out private schools for the usually superior quality of education they provide, Palo Alto may be an exception that proves the rule.

In Palo Alto, the quality of our public schools rivals that of many nearby private schools. Therefore, many Palo Alto parents proudly send their children to public school, deeming private school unnecessarily expensive for its relative value. Does this fact make us more or less s****y-

Pleasanton, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 80,847
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Income: $148,852
Unemployment Rate: 3.0%
Poverty Rate: 4.0%
More on Pleasanton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is 'Everything Better In Pleasanton?'


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.

Saratoga, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 30,886
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Income: $176,641
Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Poverty Rate: 4.7%
More on Saratoga: Real Estate | Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten for 2020 is Saratoga.

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 San Jose for 2020

Figuring out the best suburbs around San Jose 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 San Jose.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 3,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 30 suburbs to evaluate around San Jose.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 30 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 San Jose." We're lookin' at you, Los Altos. 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 San Jose '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 San Jose, 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 San Jose Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Los Altos, CA 30,588 $215,339
2 Los Altos Hills, CA 8,517 $250,001
3 Monte Sereno, CA 3,492 $250,001
4 San Carlos, CA 30,080 $169,640
5 Atherton, CA 7,185 $250,001
6 Portola Valley, CA 4,594 $210,625
7 Woodside, CA 5,541 $247,250
8 Palo Alto, CA 67,019 $157,120
9 Pleasanton, CA 80,847 $148,852
10 Saratoga, CA 30,886 $176,641
11 Cupertino, CA 60,614 $163,954
12 Menlo Park, CA 33,869 $147,824
13 Dublin, CA 59,172 $144,564
14 Scotts Valley, CA 11,900 $106,086
15 Campbell, CA 42,470 $119,366
16 Mountain View, CA 80,993 $128,252
17 Los Gatos, CA 30,922 $140,395
18 Sunnyvale, CA 152,323 $131,791
19 Santa Clara, CA 126,209 $116,257
20 Fremont, CA 233,083 $127,374
21 Livermore, CA 89,027 $116,942
22 Milpitas, CA 77,457 $125,161
23 Newark, CA 46,276 $108,181
24 Capitola, CA 10,135 $80,090
25 Morgan Hill, CA 43,876 $119,753
26 Santa Cruz, CA 64,273 $70,102
27 East Palo Alto, CA 29,633 $64,794
28 Hayward, CA 158,241 $80,093
29 Gilroy, CA 55,525 $94,548
30 Watsonville, CA 53,616 $54,001

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.