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These 10 CA Counties Are 'The Best' To Live In: New Rankings

Source: patch.com


Finding the perfect place to live and raise a family in California can be difficult, with so many factors to consider like work, schools, outdoor activities, nightlife, and yes, the ever-fluctuating real estate market.


Neighborhood ranking site Niche released its 2023 list of the best counties to live in across the Golden State. Factors include public schools, housing, crime, the county’s diversity, available jobs, and commuting. Users on Niche’s website can also write their own reviews of a place they have lived. Those factors created the rankings below.

The Bay Area dominates the list in the“Best Places to Live” category, taking into account nightlife, diversity and being "good for families," according to Niche.com, while only two Southern California Counties made the grade in the top 10. Though many residents own their own homes in the counties listed below, housing affordability does not rise above the grade of a C- in any of the ten counties in the Golden State.


Here are the Niche rankings of the 10 best California counties to call home, and the score they got in certain factors. You can click on the link for each county to learn more about the Niche ranking:


According to Niche, Sacramento County has many parks, is not terribly congested and good for commuters. The predominant population tends to be liberal, and the bars, restaurants, coffee shops and schools are all highly rated.

  • Overall Grade: A-

  • Public Schools: A

  • Nightlife: A

  • Good for families: A

  • Diversity: A+

  • Housing: D+

  • Jobs: C+


San Diego County is ideal for families and young professionals, with highly rated schools. According to Niche, many residents lean liberal, own their own homes, and there is much to do for outings, day or night.

  • Overall Grade: A-

  • Public Schools: A-

  • Nightlife: A

  • Good for families: A-

  • Diversity: A

  • Housing: D-

  • Jobs: C+


Residents of Placer County enjoy owning their own homes and have access to many restaurants, coffee shops and parks. Many conservative families and young professionals make homes here and the schools are highly rated.

  • Overall Grade: A-

  • Public Schools: A

  • Nightlife: A-

  • Good for families: A

  • Diversity: B+

  • Housing: C-

  • Jobs: B+


7. Santa Cruz County Right on the central coast, Santa Cruz County is among the best for families. With high-rated public schools, a widely diverse population, and many coffee shops, restaurants, bars and parks it is a favorite for young, liberal professionals, according to Niche.com.

  • Overall Grade: A-

  • Public Schools: A

  • Nightlife: A

  • Good for families: A-

  • Diversity: A

  • Housing: D

  • Jobs: C+


6. Contra Costa County Over 1.1 million people call Contra Costa County home, according to Niche.com. Many residents own their own homes and have access to excellent dining options and outdoor activities. The population tends to be both liberal and diverse, with high-rated schools.

  • Overall Grade: A

  • Public Schools: A

  • Nightlife: A

  • Good for families: A

  • Diversity: A+

  • Housing: D+

  • Jobs: B-


5. Orange County Orange County is home to 3.1 million residents, and sits in the middle of the best counties to live in, according to Niche. It offers a multitude of outdoor activities and even more places to dine out. There are moderate political opinions across the county with a diverse population, and the schools are highly ranked.

  • Overall Grade: A

  • Public Schools: A+

  • Nightlife: A+

  • Good for families: A+

  • Diversity: A

  • Housing: D+

  • Jobs: C+


4: Marin County Marin County is among the more sparsely populated California counties, where many residents own their own homes. It is ideal for retirees, according to Niche.com, and residents tend to be liberal. For families, the schools are highly rated and there are a plethora of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and parks.

  • Overall Grade: A

  • Public Schools: A+

  • Nightlife: A

  • Good for families: A+

  • Diversity: B+

  • Housing: C-

  • Jobs: B


San Mateo County is home to over 750,000 residents, many young professionals and families. Residents tend to be more liberay, according to Niche.com. The area is highly rated for public schools, nightlife, dining out and enjoying the outdoors.

  • Overall Grade: A+

  • Public Schools: A

  • Nightlife: A

  • Good for families: A+

  • Diversity: A

  • Housing: C-

  • Jobs: B+


2: Santa Clara County Just under 2 million people live in Santa Clara County, where the population is diverse and tends to be liberal, according to Niche.com. There are quite a few bars, restaurants, coffee shops and parks here. Many young professionals call this county home, and the public schools are among the best in the Golden State.

  • Overall Grade: A+

  • Public Schools: A+

  • Nightlife: A

  • Good for families: A+

  • Diversity: A

  • Housing: C-

  • Jobs: B+


1: Alameda County Alameda County is densely populated with just over 1.6 million residents calling this county home. With great nightlife and excellent parks, restaurants and coffee shops there is much to do here, according to Niche.com. The residents tend to lean liberal, and the population is among the most diverse in the state.

  • Overall Grade: A+

  • Public Schools: A+

  • Nightlife: A+

  • Good for families: A+

  • Diversity: A+

  • Housing: C-

  • Jobs: B


What do you love most about the county you call home? Let us know in the comments.


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Source: patch.com

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