The 10 Best Irvine Suburbs To Live For 2021

We analyzed over 73 places around Irvine to identify the most in demand places to live.

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Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best Irvine suburbs.

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 Irvine 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 Irvine? Yorba Linda ranks as the best suburb of Irvine for 2021 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Yorba Linda, you're probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We'll tell you what makes each of these 10 Irvine '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.

Feel free to check out some more reading about California:

The 10 Best Irvine Suburbs To Live For 2021

Yorba Linda, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 67,725
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Income: $129,995
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Poverty Rate: 4.5%
More on Yorba Linda: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Yorba Linda is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Irvine area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Yorba Linda."

Everyone here is rich; families average $129,995 a year, which is the 2nd highest in the Irvine region. And only 3.58% are out of work. Homes average more than $858,300 each.

Newport Beach, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 85,694
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Income: $127,223
Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
Poverty Rate: 7.1%
More on Newport Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Newport Beach is the second best 'burb we looked at near Irvine for 2021.

It ranks 4th for incomes in the area and only 2.85% of residents lack insurance, good for 5th best.

Aliso Viejo, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 50,663
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $112,689
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Poverty Rate: 4.7%
More on Aliso Viejo: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Aliso Viejo, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the Irvine 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 Aliso Viejo.

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 48,503
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $121,017
Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
Poverty Rate: 3.6%
More on Rancho Santa Margarita: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rancho Santa Margarita ranks as the 4th best suburb of Irvine for 2021.

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

La Palma, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,604
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 5)
Median Income: $107,724
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Poverty Rate: 4.6%
More on La Palma: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is La Palma.

La Palma gets kudos for having the 22nd most expensive homes in the Irvine area, where houses sell for an average of $659,100. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Villa Park, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,861
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $165,000
Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
Poverty Rate: 6.5%
More on Villa Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Villa Park 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 2.53% which is best in the area.

According to online reports, Villa Park is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Irvine area, meaning you need to get in soon.

Mission Viejo, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 95,516
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $118,477
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Poverty Rate: 5.3%
More on Mission Viejo: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Mission Viejo.

Mission Viejo 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 8.1 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

San Clemente, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 64,878
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $110,434
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Poverty Rate: 5.3%
More on San Clemente: Real Estate | Data | Photos

San Clemente 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 4.01% of people lack insurance, good for 11th in the area.

Laguna Niguel, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 65,808
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Median Income: $108,537
Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Poverty Rate: 7.2%
More on Laguna Niguel: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is 'Everything Better In Laguna Niguel?'


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.

Dana Point, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 33,769
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Median Income: $99,409
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 5.2%
More on Dana Point: Real Estate | Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten for 2021 is Dana Point.

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 Irvine for 2021

Figuring out the best suburbs around Irvine 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 2015-2019 to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Irvine.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 3,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 73 suburbs to evaluate around Irvine.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 73 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 Irvine." We're lookin' at you, Yorba Linda. 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 Irvine 'Burbs of 2021

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 Irvine, 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 Irvine Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Yorba Linda, CA 67,725 $129,995
2 Newport Beach, CA 85,694 $127,223
3 Aliso Viejo, CA 50,663 $112,689
4 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 48,503 $121,017
5 La Palma, CA 15,604 $107,724
6 Villa Park, CA 5,861 $165,000
7 Mission Viejo, CA 95,516 $118,477
8 San Clemente, CA 64,878 $110,434
9 Laguna Niguel, CA 65,808 $108,537
10 Dana Point, CA 33,769 $99,409
11 El Cerrito, CA 25,398 $108,298
12 Laguna Beach, CA 23,036 $129,983
13 Eastvale, CA 62,046 $119,213
14 Huntington Beach, CA 200,259 $95,046
15 Cypress, CA 48,893 $93,137
16 Cerritos, CA 50,143 $106,190
17 Walnut, CA 29,903 $108,669
18 Lake Forest, CA 83,974 $109,492
19 Fountain Valley, CA 56,026 $93,075
20 Canyon Lake, CA 11,170 $100,682
21 La Habra Heights, CA 6,574 $115,762
22 Lakewood, CA 80,292 $93,432
23 Laguna Hills, CA 31,617 $100,985
24 Diamond Bar, CA 56,211 $99,083
25 Chino Hills, CA 80,701 $106,347
26 Placentia, CA 51,818 $95,757
27 Brea, CA 42,678 $94,492
28 San Dimas, CA 34,048 $86,410
29 La Mirada, CA 48,764 $95,685
30 Tustin, CA 79,863 $84,697
31 Seal Beach, CA 24,204 $68,852
32 Los Alamitos, CA 11,534 $88,729
33 Norco, CA 26,670 $102,817
34 San Juan Capistrano, CA 35,922 $91,600
35 Whittier, CA 86,090 $77,270
36 Laguna Woods, CA 16,053 $44,020
37 Costa Mesa, CA 113,159 $84,138
38 Orange, CA 139,887 $91,793
39 West Covina, CA 106,589 $82,938
40 Buena Park, CA 82,489 $78,932
41 Fullerton, CA 139,611 $79,978
42 Downey, CA 112,322 $75,878
43 Covina, CA 48,095 $70,780
44 Garden Grove, CA 173,258 $69,278
45 Artesia, CA 16,758 $67,647
46 Corona, CA 166,972 $83,752
47 Westminster, CA 91,137 $62,625
48 Carson, CA 92,079 $82,305
49 Midway, CA 3,221 $59,625
50 Signal Hill, CA 11,512 $75,508
51 Santa Fe Springs, CA 17,810 $68,685
52 Pico Rivera, CA 63,001 $67,636
53 Norwalk, CA 105,304 $70,667
54 La Habra, CA 60,594 $79,325
55 Chino, CA 89,631 $81,711
56 Anaheim, CA 349,964 $71,763
57 Long Beach, CA 466,776 $63,017
58 Bellflower, CA 77,195 $60,011
59 Stanton, CA 38,377 $57,598
60 Santa Ana, CA 332,794 $66,145
61 La Puente, CA 40,020 $64,592
62 Paramount, CA 54,513 $55,670
63 Riverside, CA 326,414 $69,045
64 Hawaiian Gardens, CA 14,337 $49,483
65 Wildomar, CA 36,445 $74,991
66 Lake Elsinore, CA 65,817 $71,476
67 Ontario, CA 176,760 $65,046
68 Lynwood, CA 70,635 $52,213
69 Montclair, CA 39,155 $62,024
70 Bell Gardens, CA 42,421 $42,223
71 Pomona, CA 152,209 $60,598
72 Lakeland, CA 107,922 $47,511
73 Jurupa Valley, CA 105,653 $70,642

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.