These Are The 10 Most Successful Cities In California

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Rankings - 2 years ago
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What is success? Is it the amount of money you have in your bank account, at any given point? Is it that feeling you get after delivering a killer presentation, or even a pretty decent bar joke?

Or is it something bigger–something wholly unnamable, undefinable, immeasurable, and totally subjective?

Probably so.

But here at Zippia, we like things that we can neatly measure and then expound upon. So yes, with the Power of Math, we have determined the unarguable, totally objective 10 most successful cities in California. And here they are:

  1. Palos Verdes Estates
  2. Orinda
  3. Mill Valley
  4. Woodside
  5. La Canada Flintridge
  6. Los Altos
  7. Rolling Hills Estates
  8. Manhattan Beach
  9. Hillsborough
  10. Saratoga

If you are trying to argue already with our unarguable list, keep reading. There’s a method to this madness.

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For more CA reading, check out:

How We Determined The Most Successful Cities In California

The first thing that comes to most capitalist minds in terms of success is–money. After all, rich people must be successful, right?

Meh. Maybe. But we think there’s a bit more that goes into it than that. So we looked at this set of criteria from the 2010-2014 American Community Survey:




1. Palos Verdes Estates

Palos Verdes Estates, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 13,568Median Income: $171,328
Poverty Level: 3.4%
Unemployment Rate: 2.1%

2. Orinda

Orinda, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 18,390Median Income: $166,866
Poverty Level: 1.4%
Unemployment Rate: 4.9%

3. Mill Valley

Mill Valley, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,178Median Income: $132,192
Poverty Level: 2.7%
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%

4. Woodside

Woodside, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,427Median Income: $206,528
Poverty Level: 4.0%
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%

5. La Canada Flintridge

La Ca, California

Source: Flickr

Population: 20,477Median Income: $151,786
Poverty Level: 2.0%
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%

6. Los Altos

Los Altos, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 29,762Median Income: $157,500
Poverty Level: 2.8%
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%

7. Rolling Hills Estates

Rolling Hills Estates, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,184Median Income: $136,477
Poverty Level: 4.1%
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%

8. Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 35,534Median Income: $142,071
Poverty Level: 3.6%
Unemployment Rate: 5.1%

9. Hillsborough


Population 2014: 11,148 Median Income: $250,001
Poverty Level: 3.5%
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%

10. Saratoga

Saratoga, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 30,627Median Income: $167,917
Poverty Level: 3.2%
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%

Measuring Success

If you’re still looking at this post thinking, “Surely, such superficial methods can’t possibly measure a city, or rather, the individuals that make up that city’s success!” well, you’re probably right.

But we like to measure things, and when it comes to success, we feel pretty successful in our approach. Congrats to Palos Verdes Estates and our winners. And for those who didn’t make the cut, well, better luck next year.

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Detailed List Of The Most Successful Cities In California

Rank City Median Income Poverty Rate Unemployment Rate
1 Palos Verdes Estates $171,328 3.4% 2.1%
2 Orinda $166,866 1.4% 4.9%
3 Mill Valley $132,192 2.7% 4.1%
4 Woodside $206,528 4.0% 3.4%
5 La Ca $151,786 2.0% 5.7%
6 Los Altos $157,500 2.8% 5.5%
7 Rolling Hills Estates $136,477 4.1% 3.7%
8 Manhattan Beach $142,071 3.6% 5.1%
9 Hillsborough $250,001 3.5% 5.8%
10 Saratoga $167,917 3.2% 6.3%
11 Los Altos Hills $224,271 5.4% 4.8%
12 Corte Madera $113,279 3.8% 4.5%
13 La Habra Heights $111,250 3.9% 3.4%
14 Rancho Palos Verdes $120,697 4.3% 4.7%
15 Rancho Santa Margarita $104,952 2.8% 5.0%
16 Dublin $114,699 3.5% 5.3%
17 Danville $140,616 3.6% 6.4%
18 San Ramon $129,062 3.6% 6.0%
19 Los Gatos $122,860 4.6% 5.6%
20 Atherton $250,001 4.7% 6.7%
21 Foster City $114,651 3.5% 6.6%
22 Piedmont $212,222 7.3% 4.6%
23 Palo Alto $126,771 5.4% 5.7%
24 Pleasanton $123,608 3.8% 7.1%
25 Hermosa Beach $105,029 5.4% 4.8%
26 Tiburon $130,661 3.9% 7.2%
27 Lafayette $138,073 6.3% 5.9%
28 San Carlos $125,747 4.3% 7.5%
29 Cupertino $134,872 4.2% 7.9%
30 Yorba Linda $115,994 2.8% 8.0%
31 Hercules $100,267 6.2% 5.7%
32 Half Moon Bay $103,239 1.8% 7.7%
33 Menlo Park $115,650 7.1% 5.9%
34 Redondo Beach $103,064 5.3% 6.9%
35 Aliso Viejo $102,325 4.7% 7.4%
36 Moraga $132,651 4.7% 8.1%
37 Scotts Valley $102,927 4.9% 7.3%
38 Millbrae $91,846 4.8% 6.8%
39 Belmont $106,287 5.6% 7.2%
40 Villa Park $150,864 1.6% 8.9%
41 Pacifica $96,875 5.5% 6.6%
42 Livermore $99,683 5.8% 6.7%
43 San Marino $119,300 8.5% 5.6%
44 Loomis $82,813 3.1% 7.1%
45 Burlingame $90,890 6.9% 5.0%
46 Poway $96,315 5.8% 6.8%
47 Cerritos $91,487 3.9% 7.5%
48 Coronado $90,876 6.8% 5.7%
49 Lake Forest $92,781 6.8% 6.4%
50 Campbell $91,269 7.0% 6.1%
51 Folsom $100,163 4.3% 8.1%
52 Fremont $103,591 6.0% 7.6%
53 Sierra Madre $90,780 7.7% 5.1%
54 Calabasas $117,176 8.2% 6.9%
55 Clayton $131,136 3.5% 9.3%
56 Cypress $83,819 6.6% 5.7%
57 Mission Viejo $98,157 5.2% 7.7%
58 Westlake Village $115,550 4.9% 8.6%
59 Walnut $100,934 6.5% 7.5%
60 Agoura Hills $107,268 5.0% 8.3%
61 El Segundo $84,004 7.2% 6.3%
62 Mountain View $100,028 7.6% 7.2%
63 Moorpark $99,353 6.5% 7.6%
64 Laguna Beach $97,881 7.6% 7.1%
65 Camarillo $87,120 5.0% 7.7%
66 Newport Beach $107,991 8.8% 7.2%
67 Redwood City $81,955 7.3% 6.6%
68 Newark $86,521 6.7% 7.4%
69 San Mateo $90,087 7.3% 7.4%
70 Walnut Creek $80,399 6.5% 7.1%
71 Sausalito $111,702 5.7% 9.0%
72 Diamond Bar $90,901 6.3% 8.0%
73 Laguna Niguel $98,957 6.7% 8.1%
74 Fairfax $93,354 10.1% 5.1%
75 Benicia $89,094 5.8% 8.1%
76 Laguna Hills $91,460 5.5% 8.5%
77 Sunnyvale $103,257 8.1% 7.8%
78 Simi Valley $89,595 6.0% 8.2%
79 San Bruno $81,420 5.7% 7.8%
80 San Anselmo $100,681 7.8% 8.0%
81 Windsor $81,442 4.3% 8.7%
82 San Clemente $91,749 8.8% 7.5%
83 Martinez $85,736 6.1% 8.5%
84 Milpitas $99,072 6.8% 8.7%
85 Santa Clara $93,840 9.1% 7.6%
86 Arcadia $80,147 9.2% 6.3%
87 Brentwood $88,697 6.0% 8.8%
88 Larkspur $82,568 4.5% 9.1%
89 South San Francisco $78,101 6.3% 7.9%
90 South Pasadena $80,479 8.5% 7.3%
91 La Mirada $81,178 6.4% 8.4%
92 Torrance $78,286 6.5% 8.1%
93 Fountain Valley $82,532 7.1% 8.3%
94 Goleta $75,766 9.3% 6.0%
95 Los Alamitos $82,258 7.4% 8.2%
96 Solana Beach $90,579 7.0% 9.1%
97 Encinitas $92,564 9.8% 7.7%
98 Sonoma $66,951 5.7% 7.7%
99 Eastvale $109,783 4.6% 11.5%
100 Novato $76,609 8.7% 7.4%

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