2019 Senior Living Report

Senior Living in California

Best and worst places for senior living in California.

Caring.com Best States

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California

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Overall

Health Care

Senior Living & Housing

Community Involvement

Transportation

Quality Of Life

Affordability

Coastal views, a year-round climate and seemingly endless options for entertainment have led more than 5 million senior citizens to choose to spend their retirement years in California. The state is home to theme parks such as Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland, which offer plenty of fun when family comes to visit. In cities such as San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose and Los Angeles, public transit systems offer reduced fares for senior citizens. For those who prefer to walk, there are plenty of retirement-friendly neighborhoods with high walkability scores in cities across California. The state also boasts several top hospitals, including the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, which can provide urgent treatment in the event of medical emergencies. 

To help seniors discover the most senior-friendly cities around the country, Caring.com conducted a new study, “The Best Places for Seniors.” This survey analyzes and ranks 300 cities and 50 states on the quality of senior living in that area. The cities were graded using 70 metrics across six categories: senior housing, engagement, affordability, quality of life, health care and transportation.

Quick Facts in California

Area

163,695 sq mi

GDP

$2,798 billion

Median Income

$35,046

College Educated

41%

Population

395,366,530

Age Diversity

84%

National Rankings in California

In order to find the states that are most friendly to seniors and offer the highest quality of life, Caring.com’s 2019 Senior Living Report graded every state in the U.S. across six different categories, using 70 individual metrics. Below you can see how California compared to the rest of the nation.

Overall Overall

Overall

Health Care Health Care

Health Care

Senior Living & Housing Senior Living & Housing

Senior Living & Housing

Community Involvement Community Involvement

Community Involvement

Transportation Transportation

Transportation

Quality Of Life Quality Of Life

Quality Of Life

Affordability Affordability

Affordability

Overall Overall

Overall

Health Care Health Care

Health Care

Senior Living & Housing Senior Living & Housing

Senior Living & Housing

Community Involvement Community Involvement

Community Involvement

Transportation Transportation

Transportation

Quality Of Life Quality Of Life

Quality Of Life

Affordability Affordability

Affordability

24th /50

in Overall Rankings

Primary Care Physicians For Every 100,000 People
78 for every 100,000 people
U.S. Average: 77
Around the National Average
Patient satisfaction
69% of patients are satisfied
U.S. Average: 72%
Around the National Average
Housing costs
$1,601 per month
U.S. Average: $1,089
Around the National Average
Crime rate
285.81 crimes per 10,000 people
U.S. Average: 281.85
Around the National Average
Drinking water quality
3% of people are exposed to violations
U.S. Average: 7%
Around the National Average
Regional air quality
63.68 unhealthy air quality days per year
U.S. Average: 9.16
Around the National Average
Traffic congestion
31.11 hours per person per year
U.S. Average: 15.65
Around the National Average
Crash rate
7.39 fatal crashes per 100,000 people per year
U.S. Average: 11.59
Around the National Average
45th /50

in Health Care Rankings

Primary Care Physicians For Every 100,000 People
78 for every 100,000 people
U.S. Average: 77
Around the National Average
Dentists For Every 100,000 People
80 for every 100,000 people
U.S. Average: 63
Around the National Average
Mental Health Professionals For Every 100,000 People
289 for every 100,000 people
U.S. Average: 217
Around the National Average
Other Providers For Every 100,000 People
48 for every 100,000 people
U.S. Average: 82
Around the National Average
Health care professional shortage areas
0.8 index (from 0 to 25)
U.S. Average: 3.76
Around the National Average
Preventable hospitalization rate
37.84 preventable hospitalizations per 1,000 patients
U.S. Average: 48.2
Around the National Average
Patient satisfaction
69% of patients are satisfied
U.S. Average: 72%
Around the National Average

State expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act

47th /50

in Senior Living & Housing Rankings

Age diversity
0.84
U.S. Average: 0.85
Around the National Average
Zero-step entrances
47% of units
U.S. Average: 43%
Around the National Average
Availability of multi-family housing
35% of units are multi-family
U.S. Average: 27%
Around the National Average
Housing costs
$1,601 per month
U.S. Average: $1,089
Around the National Average
Housing cost burden
27% of income spent on housing
U.S. Average: 19%
Around the National Average
Availability of subsidized housing
108.16 units per 10,000 people
U.S. Average: 151.21
Around the National Average

State and local TOD programs

State utility disconnection policies

State energy efficiency scorecard

State manufactured housing protections

49th /50

in Community Involvement Rankings

Opportunity for civic involvement
4.35 organizations per 10,000 people
U.S. Average: 8.42
Around the National Average
Voting rate
47% of people voted
U.S. Average: 57%
Around the National Average
Social involvement index
0.91 index (from 0 to 2)
U.S. Average: 0.99
Around the National Average

Early, absentee, or mail-in state voting laws

Local human rights commissions

3rd /50

in Transportation Rankings

Frequency of local transit service
20.62 buses and trains per hour
U.S. Average: 10.24
Around the National Average
ADA-accessible stations and vehicles
95% of stations and vehicles are accessible
U.S. Average: 86%
Around the National Average
Walk trips
0.9 trips per household per day
U.S. Average: 0.75
Around the National Average
Traffic congestion
31.11 hours per person per year
U.S. Average: 15.65
Around the National Average
Household transportation costs
$12,853 per year
U.S. Average: $13,263
Around the National Average
Speed limits
30.78 miles per hour
U.S. Average: 29.79
Around the National Average
Crash rate
7.39 fatal crashes per 100,000 people per year
U.S. Average: 11.59
Around the National Average

State and local Complete Streets policies

State human services transportation coordination

State volunteer driver policies

2nd /50

in Quality Of Life Rankings

Access to grocery stores and farmers’ markets
2.92 stores and markets within a half-mile
U.S. Average: 1.44
Around the National Average
Access to parks
1.22 parks within a half-mile
U.S. Average: 0.57
Around the National Average
Access to libraries
0.15 libraries within a half-mile
U.S. Average: 0.1
Around the National Average
Access to jobs by transit
7508.33 jobs accessible within a 45-minute transit commute
U.S. Average: 3065.02
Around the National Average
Access to jobs by auto
129922 jobs accessible within a 45-minute automobile commute
U.S. Average: 38665.28
Around the National Average
Diversity of destinations
0.73 diversity of jobs within a mile (from 0 to 1)
U.S. Average: 0.52
Around the National Average
Activity density
11143.6 jobs and people per sq. mi.
U.S. Average: 4831.51
Around the National Average
Crime rate
285.81 crimes per 10,000 people
U.S. Average: 281.85
Around the National Average
Vacancy rate
6% of units are vacant
U.S. Average: 11%
Around the National Average
Broadband cost and speed
34% of residents have high-speed, low-cost service
U.S. Average: 30%
Around the National Average
Cultural, arts, and entertainment institutions
0.17 institutions per 10,000 people
U.S. Average: 0.18
Around the National Average
Smoking prevalence
15% of people smoke regularly
U.S. Average: 21%
Around the National Average
Obesity prevalence
24% of people are obese
U.S. Average: 29%
Around the National Average
Access to exercise opportunities
94% of people have access
U.S. Average: 79%
Around the National Average
Drinking water quality
3% of people are exposed to violations
U.S. Average: 7%
Around the National Average
Regional air quality
63.68 unhealthy air quality days per year
U.S. Average: 9.16
Around the National Average
Near-roadway pollution
18% of people are exposed
U.S. Average: 6%
Around the National Average
Local industrial pollution
0.08 index from 0 to 311,000
U.S. Average: 0.32
Around the National Average

State and local plans to create age-friendly communities

State barriers to community broadband

Local LGBT anti-discrimination laws

State and Local Smoke-Free Laws

Local multi-hazard mitigation plans

Local government creditworthiness

State and local inclusive design laws

35th /50

in Affordability Rankings

Income inequality
0.47 inequality (from 0 to 1)
U.S. Average: 0.45
Around the National Average
Jobs per worker
0.73 jobs per person
U.S. Average: 0.74
Around the National Average

State minimum wage increase

State and local housing trust funds

State foreclosure prevention and protection

Senior Living Options in California

$3,496
Average Cost of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (85 communities)

$2,768 U.S. Average

Around the National Average
$6,804
Average Cost of Nursing Homes (1257 communities)

$6,432 U.S. Average

Around the National Average
$3,613
Average Cost of Assisted Living (3608 communities)

$4,000 U.S. Average

Around the National Average
$858
Average Cost of Adult Day Care (705 communities)

$385 U.S. Average

Around the National Average
$3,300
Average Cost of Independent Living (529 communities)

$2,684 U.S. Average

Around the National Average
$4,940
Average Cost of Memory Care (650 communities)

$4,890 U.S. Average

Around the National Average

Key Findings in California

Overall

Health Care

Senior Living & Housing

Community Involvement

Transportation

Quality Of Life

Affordability

Overall

Caring.com’s team of researchers spent countless hours researching 70 different factors that are key indicators for older adults overall health, happiness, and quality of life. After completing our research, we put each metric on a scale and graded each state in the nation. Read more about the metrics we used to grade your state by clicking on each category.

Health Care

For the Health Care category, our team of researchers looked at seven main metrics. These metrics cover a variety of data points related to health care, such as how many primary care physicians, dentists, mental health professionals and other physicians there are in the state per 100,000 people. Other metrics we looked at include the rate of patient satisfaction and preventable hospitalization.

Senior Living & Housing

To get an accurate picture of how affordable and available suitable housing is for seniors in every state, our team of researchers considered six key metrics. To get an accurate picture of housing prices for seniors, the comparative cost of housing in the state was adjusted to take into account the average income in the state. Additionally, we factored in the availability of subsidized housing, multi-family homes and homes with no-step entrances.

Community Involvement

The Community Involvement category was used to gauge the level of opportunity seniors have for engagement and involvement in their communities. There were three main metrics we used in this category that covered how involved seniors are in their government (voting), how often they volunteer and the programs/clubs that facilitate social opportunities.

Transportation

Our Transportation category is used to examine how senior-friendly the transportation system in each state is. We researched a variety of metrics to make this determination, including data points such as crash rates, household transportation costs and the frequency and availability of local transit services.

Quality Of Life

With 18 individual metrics, our Quality of Life category is the broadest topic we covered. In it, we measure how much access seniors have to activities and services that enrich their lives, such as libraries, parks, grocery stores and farmers markets. Other wellness indicators are also examined, including obesity prevalence, water quality, air quality and amount of pollution.

Affordability

The final group of metrics we researched focuses on the income opportunities and earning potential for older adults in the state. Overall, we looked at three metrics that covered topics such as the rate of income inequality in the area, and how many jobs per worker are available.

Best Cities

  1. 1San Francisco, CA
  2. 17Irvine, CA
  3. 20Santa Monica, CA
  4. 33Lake Forest, CA
  5. 50Woodland Hills, CA
  6. 51Oakland, CA
  7. 52Burlingame, CA
  8. 63Costa Mesa, CA
  9. 64Sunnyvale, CA
  10. 65San Bruno, CA
  1. 3San Francisco, CA
  2. 40Northridge, CA
  3. 42Fremont, CA
  4. 45San Leandro, CA
  5. 47Hayward, CA
  6. 49Woodland Hills, CA
  7. 50West Hills, CA
  8. 56Irvine, CA
  9. 59Oakland, CA
  10. 68Roseville, CA
  1. 25Northridge, CA
  2. 60San Francisco, CA
  3. 69Loma Linda, CA
  4. 88Oakland, CA
  5. 106Hemet, CA
  6. 129Lake Forest, CA
  7. 132Burlingame, CA
  8. 149Riverside, CA
  9. 156Santa Monica, CA
  10. 161Sacramento, CA
  1. 111Roseville, CA
  2. 181Santa Rosa, CA
  3. 190La Mesa, CA
  4. 191San Diego, CA
  5. 192Oceanside, CA
  6. 193Chula Vista, CA
  7. 194Carlsbad, CA
  8. 195Escondido, CA
  9. 196San Marcos, CA
  10. 197Vista, CA
  1. 7San Francisco, CA
  2. 10Simi Valley, CA
  3. 11Fresno, CA
  4. 15Clovis, CA
  5. 19Alamo, CA
  6. 21Camarillo, CA
  7. 22Bakersfield, CA
  8. 30Carlsbad, CA
  9. 34San Mateo, CA
  10. 35San Bruno, CA
  1. 1San Francisco, CA
  2. 2Santa Monica, CA
  3. 3Woodland Hills, CA
  4. 4Glendale, CA
  5. 5Torrance, CA
  6. 6Irvine, CA
  7. 8Los Angeles, CA
  8. 9Lake Forest, CA
  9. 10Pasadena, CA
  10. 11Huntington Beach, CA
  1. 26Sunnyvale, CA
  2. 28San Jose, CA
  3. 30Alamo, CA
  4. 40Walnut Creek, CA
  5. 43Laguna Hills, CA
  6. 44Fremont, CA
  7. 46Fullerton, CA
  8. 47Roseville, CA
  9. 52Mission Viejo, CA
  10. 53La Habra, CA
Key Findings

BACK

Best Cities

  1. 1San Francisco, CA
  2. 17Irvine, CA
  3. 20Santa Monica, CA
  4. 33Lake Forest, CA
  5. 50Woodland Hills, CA
  6. 51Oakland, CA
  7. 52Burlingame, CA
  8. 63Costa Mesa, CA
  9. 64Sunnyvale, CA
  10. 65San Bruno, CA
  1. 3San Francisco, CA
  2. 40Northridge, CA
  3. 42Fremont, CA
  4. 45San Leandro, CA
  5. 47Hayward, CA
  6. 49Woodland Hills, CA
  7. 50West Hills, CA
  8. 56Irvine, CA
  9. 59Oakland, CA
  10. 68Roseville, CA
  1. 25Northridge, CA
  2. 60San Francisco, CA
  3. 69Loma Linda, CA
  4. 88Oakland, CA
  5. 106Hemet, CA
  6. 129Lake Forest, CA
  7. 132Burlingame, CA
  8. 149Riverside, CA
  9. 156Santa Monica, CA
  10. 161Sacramento, CA
  1. 111Roseville, CA
  2. 181Santa Rosa, CA
  3. 190La Mesa, CA
  4. 191San Diego, CA
  5. 192Oceanside, CA
  6. 193Chula Vista, CA
  7. 194Carlsbad, CA
  8. 195Escondido, CA
  9. 196San Marcos, CA
  10. 197Vista, CA
  1. 7San Francisco, CA
  2. 10Simi Valley, CA
  3. 11Fresno, CA
  4. 15Clovis, CA
  5. 19Alamo, CA
  6. 21Camarillo, CA
  7. 22Bakersfield, CA
  8. 30Carlsbad, CA
  9. 34San Mateo, CA
  10. 35San Bruno, CA
  1. 1San Francisco, CA
  2. 2Santa Monica, CA
  3. 3Woodland Hills, CA
  4. 4Glendale, CA
  5. 5Torrance, CA
  6. 6Irvine, CA
  7. 8Los Angeles, CA
  8. 9Lake Forest, CA
  9. 10Pasadena, CA
  10. 11Huntington Beach, CA
  1. 26Sunnyvale, CA
  2. 28San Jose, CA
  3. 30Alamo, CA
  4. 40Walnut Creek, CA
  5. 43Laguna Hills, CA
  6. 44Fremont, CA
  7. 46Fullerton, CA
  8. 47Roseville, CA
  9. 52Mission Viejo, CA
  10. 53La Habra, CA
Why did we choose these metrics?

To learn more about our process, read about why each facet of our methodology is important, and what role it plays in determining the overall opportunity that seniors have to enjoy a healthy and happy lifestyle. While we did include the obvious factors, such as affordability and health care available, we expanded the usefulness of our report by taking a deep dive into more nuanced indicators, such as the availability of museums and parks, the quality of the transportation system, and the amount of air and water pollution.

Select a category on the right to learn more.

  1. Health Care
  2. Senior Living & Housing
  3. Community Involvement
  4. Transportation
  5. Quality Of Life
  6. Affordability
Health Care

The quality and availability of health care are of primary importance to many demographics, but it’s especially vital for older adults. When it comes to the overall quality of living in an area, health care places a huge role in determining how happy and healthy seniors are. This is the first and most important category we researched for each state.

View the full methodology

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Senior Living & Housing

One of the major barriers seniors face to enjoying their retirement is budget concerns, namely insufficient savings and monthly income. Affordable and accessible housing is one of the biggest budget concerns for seniors, so states and areas that have an abundance of well-priced, senior-friendly homes provide a greater opportunity for a higher quality of life.

View the full methodology

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Community Involvement

It’s important for seniors well-being and health to remain active and involved in their community, but they can’t do so without quality government and non-profit programs that are well run and targeted to the population of seniors with less opportunities. Overall, we created this group of metrics to gauge older adults’ opportunities for social and civic engagement.

View the full methodology

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Transportation

Since many seniors are unable to drive – either due to the cost of vehicles or because of disabilities/medical concerns. Since many are not able to afford private transportation (such as taxi’s or ridesharing services), the availability of public transportation to get to and from activities, employment, errands and doctor visits is a key indicator in overall quality of life.

View the full methodology

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Quality Of Life

As our broadest category, Quality of Life measures numerous factors that contribute to the access and opportunity seniors have for an active, vibrant life. Not only is it important for older adults to have access to enriching activities such as museums and libraries, it’s also vital for them to live in an environment free from an overabundance of things like air and water pollution.

View the full methodology

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Affordability

While some older adults have the luxury of being completely retired and not having to earn any more money after they reach the age of 65, many other seniors turn to part-time jobs to make ends meet. Therefore, it was important for us to factor in the earning potential for seniors in the state.

View the full methodology

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