What makes you feel like you made a lot of money? When you land an extra few shifts at work, when you get a couple hundred dollar bonus, or even a streak of good tips?
Chances are if you are a Millenial reading this article, you probably are not living a very lavish lifestyle. Even if you are making an amazing salary, you likely have student loans that mask your increased income.
So what happens if you finally make it out of this debt rut? What happens if you make it big and suddenly have a lot of disposable income? Will you become a Whole Foods shopper? Get a new car? Move to a better place?
We can’t help with many of your money-spending habits, but if you’ve somehow made a good chunk of money and want to move where all the other rich-folk are, we’ve got your back.
Where is one state that houses a lot of wealthy Americans? California is an easy first guess and you are right– California is one of the most expensive places to live.
California as a hot commodity is a no-brainer. It is a state that many others seem to be envious of. It has beaches, mountains, and everything in between. Most of the state appears like a postcard– who wouldn’t want to live there?
But where in California do the rich call home? Which cities are the richest in a state already overflowing with wealthy people?
We crunched the numbers to answer those questions so that you can know where the top of America’s wealthy live.
At the end of the day, here’s the set of the 10 richest places in California for 2019:
- Los Altos Hills (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Los Altos (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Danville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Woodside (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Orinda (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Palos Verdes Estates (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Clayton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- San Ramon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Pleasanton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Mill Valley (Photos | Homes For Sale)
We analyzed 427 cities in California to determine where the 1% live. By looking at several “rich” factors, like poverty level, household income, and unemployment rates, the richest city in California was a clear winner: Los Altos Hills.
But if riding horses in your free time isn’t your forte, that’s perfectly fine. Turns out, the top 10 richest cities in California are so favorable that many of them won a 10/10 on our SnackAbility scale.
No matter where you live in California, you will probably be surrounded by some of America’s wealthiest individuals. And for a good reason– it is one of the top American destinations.
Interested to see how your favorite California cities stack up? Read on to learn more about our methodology and detailed views of our top 10 richest cities in California.
Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out some more reading about California:
The 10 Richest Cities In California For 2019
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.
The Town of Danville is located in the San Ramon Valley in Contra Costa County, California. It is one of the incorporated municipalities in California that uses “town” in its name instead of “city”. The population was 42,039 in 2010.
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.
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.
Clayton (formerly Clayton’s and Claytonville, colloquially referred to as Blayton) is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. The population was 10,897 as of the 2010 census.
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.
Pleasanton is a city in Alameda County, California, incorporated in 1894. It is a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area located about 25 miles (40 km) east of Oakland, and 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Livermore. The population was 70,285 at the 2010 census. In 2005 and 2007, Pleasanton was ranked the wealthiest middle-sized city in the United States by the Census Bureau. Pleasanton is home to the headquarters of Workday, Ellie Mae, Roche Molecular Diagnostics, Blackhawk Network Holdings, and Veeva Systems. Other major employers include Kaiser Permanente, Safeway, Oracle, Nordstrom and Macy’s. Although Oakland is the Alameda County seat, a few county offices and a courthouse are located in Pleasanton. The Alameda County Fairgrounds are located in Pleasanton, where the county fair is held during the last week of June and the first week of July. Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park is located on the west side of town.
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.
How We Determined The Richest Places In California For 2019
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 2013-2017 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 Hills, crowned the “Richest City In California For 2019”.
You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 427 places.
There You Have It – The Wealthiest Places In California For 2019
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: Calipatria
For more California reading, check out:
- 10 Safest Places In California
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In California
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In California