Irvine 3rd best US city for families; San Bernardino 8th worst, survey says – Daily News

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”Survey says” looks at various rankings and scorecards of geographic locations, noting that these grades are best seen as a mix of art and data.

Buzz: Irvine was ranked as the nation’s third-best big city in which to raise a family while San Bernardino was ranked eighth-worst and the lowest-ranked of 29 California cities.

Source: WalletHub analyzed 48 economic and demographic factors to create relative scores for 182 cities in five key criteria — family fun, health and safety, education and child care, affordability and socio-economics.


Rankings like these are part science and part art, but if you take a bigger picture view, you see California did well in this study.

My trusty spreadsheet tells me the average overall ranking for 29 Golden State cities in this scorecard was 75th place — 20 spots higher than the No. 95 average for the other 153 cities in the rest of the nation. It broke down like this …

Family fun: California’s average rank was 51 spots higher — (No. 49 vs. 100). There are lots of things to do in this state.

Health and safety: California 54 spots higher — (No. 46 vs. 100). Less crime, good health facilities.

Education and child care: California 28 spots higher — (No. 68 vs. 96). Better than most.

Affordability: California 48 spots lower — (No. 132 vs. 84). Nobody should be surprised.

Socio-economics: California 32 spots higher — (No. 64 vs. 97). A surprising conclusion.

The question every family has to ask: “Is California worth the price?”


California did have 11 cities in the bottom half of the rankings — Anaheim, Riverside, Oxnard, Fontana, Fresno, Ontario, Moreno Valley, Santa Ana, Oakland, Stockton — plus San Bernardino.

Bottom Line

Only Overland Park, a Kansas City suburb, and the Bay Area’s Fremont scored higher than Irvine. Then came the Dallas suburb of Plano and Columbia, Md., between Baltimore and Washington, DC.

At the bottom of the scorecard was Detroit then Cleveland, Memphis, Hialeah, Fla., and Newark, N.J.

You might conclude that families do best outside big cities — or at least the math looks better in the suburbs.


“Irvine has the fewest violent crimes (per 1,000 residents), 0.64, which is 30.7 times fewer than in Detroit, the city with the most at 19.65,” WalletHub noted.

Post Script

Here’s how cities in the four counties covered by the Southern California News Group fared …

No. 3 Irvine: No. 17 for fun; No. 1 for safety; No. 3 for care; No. 57 for affordability; and No. 9 for socioeconomics.

No. 12 Huntington Beach: No. 64 for fun; No. 10 for safety; No. 4 for care; No. 96 for affordability; and No. 12 for socioeconomics.

No. 31 Santa Clarita: No. 85 for fun; No. 4 for safety; No. 16 for care; No. 114 for affordability; and No. 76 for socioeconomics.

No. 32 Rancho Cucamonga: No. 68 for fun; No. 48 for safety; No. 32 for care; No. 102 for affordability; and No. 10 for socioeconomics.

No. 53 Garden Grove: No. 38 for fun; No. 15 for safety; No. 15 for care; No. 173 for affordability; and No. 38 for socioeconomics.

No. 66 Glendale: No. 45 for fun; No. 11 for safety; No. 18 for care; No. 171 for affordability; and No. 73 for socioeconomics.

No. 83 Los Angeles: No. 1 for fun; No. 41 for safety; No. 63 for care; No. 176 for affordability; and No. 120 for socioeconomics.

No. 88 Long Beach: No. 16 for fun; No. 20 for safety; No. 17 for care; No. 178 for affordability; and No. 124 for socioeconomics.

No. 92 Anaheim: No. 34 for fun; No. 14 for safety; No. 73 for care; No. 174 for affordability; and No. 54 for socioeconomics.

No. 110 Riverside: No. 71 for fun; No. 55 for safety; No. 125 for care; No. 156 for affordability; and No. 47 for socioeconomics.

No. 116 Fontana: No. 32 for fun; No. 67 for safety; No. 158 for care; No. 165 for affordability; and No. 34 for socioeconomics.

No. 128 Ontario: No. 46 for fun; No. 72 for safety; No. 128 for care; No. 170 for affordability; and No. 68 for socioeconomics.

No. 131 Moreno Valley: No. 40 for fun; No. 53 for safety; No. 176 for care; No. 166 for affordability; and No. 74 for socioeconomics.

No. 133 Santa Ana: No. 91 for fun; No. 18 for safety; No. 69 for care; No. 180 for affordability; and No. 49 for socioeconomics.

No. 175 San Bernardino: No. 15 for fun; No. 157 for safety; No. 174 for care; No. 177 for affordability; and No. 154 for socioeconomics.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at

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