California is home to some of the most affluent cities in the United States. According to recent surveys, this region is also one of the most popular places for young professionals and entrepreneurs to start their businesses.
The state has more than 100 cities with populations greater than 50,000 people. At least 15 cities with populations greater than 500,000 people — including Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose — make it easy to find great places to live large along with other affluent residents.
It makes sense that California is such an ideal location for startups. The state has always been known for its innovative spirit and its willingness to take risks.
In fact, many successful companies have their roots in California. The median income for a household in California is $80,440 as of 2022.
The 10 Richest Cities in California
The richest cities in California are well-known for their high-end homes and exclusive neighborhoods. These cities have an average income that is higher than the state average, as well as a higher cost of living.
This can make it more challenging to live comfortably in these areas without an above-average income. The wealthiest cities in California include Los Altos Hills, Hillsborough, Los Altos, Orinda, and Woodside.
If you’re looking for the best places to live in the Golden State, here are the ten most affluent cities in California:
1. Hillsborough – Median Income of $250,001
Hillsborough is one of the richest cities in California with an average household income of $250,001. The city is located in the East Bay area of San Francisco Bay Area, California.
Hillsborough has a population of around 11,608 (2020) people. It was once known as the “City of Millionaires” because it was home to many wealthy people.
Hillsborough has many amenities including restaurants, shops, and businesses that cater to the needs of its residents and visitors.
Hillsborough is one of the safest places to live in California, with a crime rate that has been consistently lower than the national average for years.
The city’s top employers include several tech companies, including Cisco Systems, HP Inc., Intel, and Samsung Electronics America, as well as pharmaceutical companies like Amgen and Genentech.
2. Woodside – Median Income of $250,001
Woodside has an excellent school district and more than half of the students go on to college. Woodside is a town located in the San Francisco Peninsula of California, approximately 25 miles south of San Francisco.
Neighboring towns include Portola Valley and Menlo Park to the west, East Palo Alto to the north, and Facebook’s headquarters at the Menlo Park campus to the south.
The Woodside area is known for its affluence, particularly among Silicon Valley technology executives who have built several large homes in the area.
The median price for a single-family home is $4,680,408 as of May 2022 according to Zillow. The town has many beautiful homes, but there are also several apartment complexes and condos for rent.
3. Los Altos Hills – Median Income of $250,001
It’s also one of the most expensive places to live in California. The city has a reputation for being an affluent community, with many residents working in Silicon Valley.
The city is located in San Mateo County and has a population of about 7,000 people. It’s known for its rolling hills and scenic views.
It’s also known for its high cost of living — which includes some of the highest property taxes in California.
The city’s location makes it an ideal place for people who want to escape from the hustle-and-bustle of San Francisco or Silicon Valley.
It’s just a short drive away from both areas so you can enjoy all that they have to offer while still having a peaceful, quiet place to come home to.
Related: The 10 Wealthiest Cities in Missouri
5. Piedmont – Median Income of $250,001
Piedmont is located in the East Bay Area of the San Francisco Bay Area and is adjacent to Oakland and Berkeley.
Piedmont has been recognized as one of America’s most walkable neighborhoods and it is one of the top best places to live in California.
The city is home to many upscale restaurants and shops on Piedmont Avenue, including Chez Panisse, which has been a restaurant for 40 years.
Piedmont is known for being a safe place to live due to its low crime rate and high level of education among residents. Residents are also known for their strong sense of community.
4. Los Altos – Median Income of $235,278
Los Altos is one of the richest cities in California with a median household income of $235,278. It’s also one of the most expensive places to live in the country, with a median home price of more than $3.7 million.
That’s why it’s no surprise that many residents in Los Altos are millionaires too. It is an upscale community located in San Mateo County, just south of Palo Alto.
The city is known for its high quality of life and plethora of amenities including parks, golf courses, and shopping centers. Los Altos has historically been associated with Silicon Valley and many residents work at nearby tech companies like Google or Intel.
The city’s population is predominantly white and Asian, with a significant percentage of residents being foreign-born. It has also been named one of the best places to live by Money magazine.
Related: The 10 Richest Cities in Oklahoma
6. Orinda – Median Income of $231,230
Orinda is one of the wealthiest cities in California with a median household income of $231,230. The city has attracted residents with its natural beauty, great schools, and large homes on tree-lined streets.
It’s also one of the most educated places in the country, with 75 percent of its residents holding at least a bachelor’s degree. Orinda has a small-town feel while still providing many of the advantages of being close to San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
The town includes several parks, trails, and open spaces that offer recreational opportunities for all ages. The Orinda Community Center provides after-school programs and summer camps for children.
The center also offers adult fitness classes including yoga and Zumba.
7. Saratoga – Median Income of $201,046
Saratoga is one of the wealthiest cities in California with a median household income of $201,046. The city has a population of 31,084 (2020) and has been ranked as one of the best places to live in the United States.
Saratoga is located in Santa Clara County and is situated between Los Gatos and San Jose. The city is home to several affluent neighborhoods including Briarwood and Westridge.
Saratoga’s residents enjoy a high quality of life. The city boasts excellent public services and facilities, including parks and recreation programs, schools, libraries, fire stations, and police stations.
Saratoga has an award-winning parks department that offers recreational activities such as golfing, swimming, tennis, and community events such as the annual summer concert series at the American Music Festival venue located in downtown Saratoga.
Saratoga’s economy has been based on technology since its early days when it was home to many fruit orchards. Today it continues to be a hub for high-tech companies such as Yahoo!, Oracle Corporation, and others.
Related: The 10 Wealthiest Cities in Maryland
8. Palos Verdes Estates – Median Income of $197,826
Palos Verdes Estates is one of the wealthiest cities in California with a median household income of $197,826. It’s also one of the safest places in Los Angeles County, with violent crime rates that are less than half of the national average.
Palos Verdes Estates residents enjoy access to some of the best schools in California. Palos Verdes Estates is a popular vacation spot due to its proximity to beaches and other attractions such as the Getty Villa in Malibu.
The community also has some of the best views on the coast, which you can enjoy from many of the homes here. Residents enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking and biking trails, tennis courts, swimming pools, and golf courses.
There are also plenty of options for shopping and dining — from upscale boutiques and gourmet restaurants to more casual options like farmers’ markets and coffee shops.
9. Palos Verdes Peninsula – Median Income of $194,543
Palos Verdes Peninsula is one of the wealthiest cities in California with a median household income of $194,543. The city is home to some of the most expensive real estate in America.
The median home price in Palos Verdes Peninsula is $1.2 million and has been growing steadily over the past years.
Its location on the Pacific Ocean, just south of Los Angeles County, makes it an ideal place for people who love to be near the beach but also want to live in a safe and peaceful neighborhood.
The city’s peninsula boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Southern California. Palos Verdes Peninsula is also known for its rugged cliffs, coastal caves, and bluffs that drop straight into the sea.
And because there are no freeways through the area, it’s relatively quiet and peaceful compared to other parts of Los Angeles County.
10. San Carlos – Median Income of $189,739
San Carlos is one of the wealthiest cities in California with a median household income of $189,739. The city is home to many high-tech companies and a large segment of its population works in Silicon Valley.
The city is located between San Francisco and San Jose and is part of the Silicon Valley region. San Carlos’ unique location gives residents easy access to all that Silicon Valley has to offer while still maintaining its small-town charm.
It has easy access to major highways such as U.S. 101, Interstate 280, and California 82.