You’ve seen these lists before: Best places to live in California, Most Beautiful Downtowns, etc., etc. But all of them focus on major cities and towns in the Golden State and no one pays attention to the little guy.
Well, that’s all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in California based on numbers–not opinions or hearsay.
We’ll dive right into our methodology in the next section; but first, we thought you might just want to know which places in California ranked the based–you know, based on science.
Before we get to the top 20, here’s a look at the 10 Best Small Towns To Live in California for 2018:
- Ladera (Homes For Sale)
- Shell Ridge (Homes For Sale)
- Loyola (Homes For Sale)
- West Menlo Park (Homes For Sale)
- Mission Canyon (Homes For Sale)
- Acalanes Ridge (Homes For Sale)
- Emerald Lake Hills (Homes For Sale)
- Highlands-Baywood Park (Homes For Sale)
- Monte Sereno (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Cambrian Park (Homes For Sale)
If you live in one of these small towns like Ladera, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.
But for the rest of you–keep reading and we’ll get to just why these small towns made our list.
For more reading on the Golden State check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In California
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In California
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In California
How We Determined The Coolest Towns In California
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent data from the Census’s 2012-2016 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (Higher is better)
- Lowest Unemployment Rates
- Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
- Adjusted Median Income (Higher is better)
- Highly Educated Adults (Higher is better)
- Insurance Rates (Higher is better)
- Commute Times (Lower is better)
We looked at places with populations lower than 5,000 people and greater than 1,000, of which, there were a lot – 378 to be exact.
We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 378, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in California. Top of that list — Ladera.
Keep reading to find out more about our top 20 best small towns in California.
2. Shell Ridge
4. West Menlo Park
5. Mission Canyon
6. Acalanes Ridge
7. Emerald Lake Hills
8. Highlands-Baywood Park
9. Monte Sereno
10. Cambrian Park
11. San Pasqual
12. Los Ranchos
16. Reliez Valley
17. Hidden Hills
18. Sleepy Hollow
19. Granite Hills
20. Sea Ranch
Science Can Tackle Any Issue, Even Small Ones
We said it once and we’ll say it again — this list: it’s just science. We did the research, we crunched the numbers, and it turns out, these 20 small towns in California are the best, in which to live.
And who can argue with that?
If you’re curious, here are the worst small towns in California:
- North Shore
- Rancho Tehama Reserve
For more California reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In California
- These Are The 10 Fastest Growing Cities In California
- 10 Safest Places In California
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In California
- 10 Worst Places To Live In California
Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In California
|4||West Menlo Park||3,830|
|7||Emerald Lake Hills||4,716|
|22||San Miguel Cdp (Contra Costa County)||3,214|
|23||Del Rey Oaks||1,683|
|29||Santa Rosa Valley||3,601|
|46||Del Monte Forest||4,819|
|47||San Antonio Heights||3,099|
|49||Black Point-Green Point||1,592|
|52||Channel Islands Beach||2,954|
|68||Lake Of The Pines||3,936|
|71||Green Valley Cdp (Solano County)||1,224|
|72||Squirrel Mountain Valley||1,077|
|73||East Richmond Heights||3,364|
|75||La Selva Beach||2,633|
|83||North El Monte||4,058|
|84||Rancho Santa Fe||2,763|
|85||Carmel Valley Village||4,282|
|93||Lake San Marcos||4,529|
|97||San Juan Bautista||2,327|
|100||Butte Creek Canyon||1,089|