Los Altos, Mill Valley, Los Altos Hills: These cities aren’t just some of the best places to live in California. They are also home to some of the richest people in the Golden State.
Los Altos in particular houses the richest residents in the state thanks, in part, to a median household income of $187,656 and a ridiculously low poverty rate of 3.3%.
If you’re thinking of moving to one of these towns, you’ll probably need to start saving. The richest places in California share common characteristics such as having a genius level populous, sky high home prices, and a Pleasantville level of married couples.
How did we come up with these mega wealthy cities? We analyzed Census data from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey for the 427 places in California with more than 5,000 people.
At the end of the day, here’s the set of the 10 richest places in California for 2018:
- Los Altos (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Mill Valley (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Los Altos Hills (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Tiburon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Woodside (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Orinda (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- San Ramon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Piedmont (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Palos Verdes Estates (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Dublin (Photos | Homes For Sale)
For more on how we calculated the top ten, read on or skip to the end for the full list of the richest cities in California.
How We Determined The Richest Places In California For 2018
The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the richest places is to simply identify personal incomes. After all, rich people have really high salaries.
However, we don’t believe that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the ‘richest places’. So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2012-2016 American Community Survey:
- Poverty Level
- Median Household Income
- Unemployment Rate
Median household income is the most digestible way to understand how rich a place really is. The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for more people to become rich. If more people are employed, the richer the future looks.
After we collected the data for all 427 places with more than 5,000 people in California, we ranked each place from 1 to 427 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the richest.
We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a ‘Rich Score’ with the place having the lowest overall Rich Score, Los Altos, crowned the ‘Richest Place In California For 2018’.
You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 427 places.
1. Los Altos
Population: 30,238Median Income: $187,656
Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
Poverty Rate: 3.3%
More on Los Altos: Homes For Sale | Data
Los Altos /ls æltos/ ( listen) is a city in Santa Clara County, California, in northern Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 28,976 according to the 2010 census.
2. Mill Valley
Population: 14,318Median Income: $149,336
Unemployment Rate: 2.6%
Poverty Rate: 3.5%
More on Mill Valley: Homes For Sale | Data
Mill Valley is a city in Marin County, California, United States, located about 14 miles (23 km) north of San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge. The population was 13,903 at the 2010 census.
3. Los Altos Hills
Population: 9,170Median Income: $149,510
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 3.6%
More on Tiburon: Homes For Sale | Data
Tiburon is an incorporated town in Marin County, California. It is located on the Tiburon Peninsula, which reaches south into the San Francisco Bay. The smaller city of Belvedere (formerly a separate island) occupies the south-west part of the peninsula and is contiguous with Tiburon. Tiburon is bordered by Corte Madera to the north and Mill Valley to the west, but is otherwise mostly surrounded by the Bay. Besides Belvedere and Tiburon, much of the peninsula is unincorporated, including portions of the north side and the communities of Strawberry and Paradise Cay.
Population: 18,936Median Income: $178,704
Unemployment Rate: 4.6%
Poverty Rate: 2.6%
More on Orinda: Homes For Sale | Data
Orinda is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. The population was 17,643 at the 2010 census, and was estimated in 2012 to have increased to 18,342. Orinda was ranked the second most friendly town in America by Forbes. The city is located just east of the city of Berkeley and is home to many affluent suburban professionals who commute to downtown Oakland, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek. Its location provides for a more rustic landscape, and Orinda’s many parks and trails make it a destination for many Bay Area hikers and naturalists.
7. San Ramon
Population: 74,366Median Income: $134,188
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 3.9%
More on San Ramon: Homes For Sale | Data
San Ramon is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, located 34 miles east of San Francisco, and within the San Ramon Valley. San Ramon’s population was estimated as 76,134 in mid-2015 by the US Census Bureau, making it the 4th largest city in Contra Costa County, behind Richmond, Concord and Antioch.
Population: 11,201Median Income: $202,083
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Poverty Rate: 5.0%
More on Piedmont: Homes For Sale | Data
Piedmont is a small, mostly-residential, semi-suburban city located in Alameda County, California, United States. Piedmont is completely surrounded by the city of Oakland. Its residential population was 10,667 at the 2010 census. The name comes after the region of Piedmont in Italy, and literally means foothill. Piedmont was incorporated in 1907, and was developed significantly in the 1920s and 1930s. The Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) includes three elementary schools, one middle school, and two high schools.
9. Palos Verdes Estates
Population: 13,582Median Income: $200,766
Unemployment Rate: 2.0%
Poverty Rate: 5.5%
More on Palos Verdes Estates: Homes For Sale | Data
Palos Verdes Estates is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, situated on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The city was master-planned by the noted American landscape architect and planner Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. The city is located along the Southern California coastline of the Pacific Ocean.
Population: 54,523Median Income: $128,403
Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Poverty Rate: 4.3%
More on Dublin: Homes For Sale | Data
Dublin (formerly, Amador and Dougherty’s Station) is a suburban city of the East (San Francisco) Bay and Tri-Valley regions of Alameda County, California, United States. Located along the north side of Interstate 580 at the intersection with Interstate 680, roughly 35 miles (56 km) east of downtown San Francisco, 23 miles (37 km) east of downtown Oakland, and 31 miles (50 km) north of downtown San Jose, it was named after the city of Dublin in Ireland. Dublin is the second fastest-growing city in the state of California, behind only Santa Clarita. The population was 46,063 (2010 census), and the 2013 estimate at 49,890. Dublin is home to the headquarters of Sybase, Inc (now part of SAP SE), CallidusCloud, Ross Stores, Tria Beauty, Medley Health, Challenge Dairy and Arlen Ness.
There You Have It – The Wealthiest Places In California For 2018
Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the richest places in California, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in California.
When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very top of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.
If you’re curious enough, here are the poorest cities in California, according to data:
2nd Poorest: Adelanto
3rd Poorest: Clearlake
For more California reading , check out:
Detailed List Of The Richest Cities In California
|Los Altos Hills||3|
|Palos Verdes Estates||9|
|Rancho Palos Verdes||14|
|Rolling Hills Estates||17|
|Rancho Santa Margarita||19|
|La Habra Heights||20|
|Half Moon Bay||22|