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A+ Santa Cruz Amenities Lots of amenities close to this location
F Santa Cruz Cost of Living Cost of living is 31% higher than California
Santa Cruz
18181% more expensive than the US average
13838% more expensive than the US average
United States
100National cost of living index
Santa Cruz cost of living
F Santa Cruz Crime Total crime is 113% higher than California
Total crime
6,284128% higher than the US average
Chance of being a victim
1 in 16128% higher than the US average
Year-over-year crime
-1%Year over year crime is down
Santa Cruz crime
C- Santa Cruz Employment Household income is 2% lower than California
Median household income
$62,47113% higher than the US average
Income per capita
$31,6396% higher than the US average
Unemployment rate
5%11% higher than the US average
Santa Cruz employment
D- Santa Cruz Housing Home value is 73% higher than California
Median home value
$707,600283% higher than the US average
Median rent price
$1,57666% higher than the US average
Home ownership
44%31% lower than the US average
Santa Cruz real estate or Santa Cruz rentals
B Santa Cruz Schools HS graduation rate is 15% higher than California
High school grad. rates
92%11% higher than the US average
School test scores
56%15% higher than the US average
Student teacher ratio
22:137% higher than the US average
Santa Cruz K-12 schools or Santa Cruz colleges

Living in Santa Cruz, CA

Located in the state of California, Santa Cruz is a medium-sized city with a population of 63,310 people. In Santa Cruz, there are 4,969 people per square mile, which is well above the national population density average. According to the most recent Census, 78% of Santa Cruz residents are White, 9% Asian and 1% Black. The median age of all Santa Cruz residents is 29, which is well below the national average. This is a good indication that this city could be ideal for young singles. 70% of the people in Santa Cruz (over the age of 15) are married and 61% have kids under the age of eighteen. Knowing that, it’s safe to say that this area could be a great place for other families to lay down roots.

Are you trying to ascertain if living in Santa Cruz is the right fit for your lifestyle? To ensure a positive experience before moving to any new city in California, you will probably want to make sure that you check all of the most important boxes. Using the livability score which includes data from categories like amenities, crime, education, employment, housing, you can easily compare the best places to live in Santa Cruz and also determine if there are any nearby cities that might be a better match for your lifestyle. You can also compare Santa Cruz to California and the national average.

Santa Cruz, CA receives 61 out of 100 for its livability score; this results in a ranking of #910 in California and #21,953 in the USA. Based on the grades for each individual category, Santa Cruz has received high marks for amenities (A+), weather (B) and education (B). Santa Cruz does not fare well for the following: crime (F), cost of living (F) and housing (D-). It might be a smart idea to take a closer look at each category to find out why.

Based on the proximity of local amenities like grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, parks, librairies, etc., Santa Cruz has received a higher than average score for its local amenities. If you’re planning on relocating and making this area your permanent home, it’s nice to know that there is an ample amount of amenities and things to do within walking distance or a short drive. Some of the interesting things to do and attractions include: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Mystery Spot, and Santa Cruz Wharf.

Being close to public transportation, grocery stores, parks and other conveniences are all important when weighing your options for a new home in Santa Cruz. Before you determine if any of these amenities are available in the area, you will also want to know if the real estate prices in Santa Cruz are affordable. The median home price for Santa Cruz homes is $707,600, which is 72.9% higher than the California average. If we take a closer look at the affordability of homes in Santa Cruz, we’ll see that the home price to income ratio is 11.3, which is 76.6% higher than the California average. Knowing if your home will appreciate on a long term or even a short term basis should be factored into your decision making. An increase in your home’s value can be a good way to generate tax-free equity that can create long term financial security. In the past year, appreciation rates for homes in the Santa Cruz area were 8% and 5 year appreciation rates were 9.1%.

Check Your Commute Time

Monthly costs include: fuel, maintenance, tires, insurance, license fees, taxes, depreciation, and financing.
See more Santa Cruz, CA transportation information

Compare Santa Cruz, CA Livability To Other Cities

Best Cities Near Santa Cruz, CA

PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Los Altos, CA8627.430,238
Los Gatos, CA8418.530,491
Cupertino, CA8423.860,297
Los Altos Hills, CA8427.78,376
PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Palo Alto, CA8432.866,649
Monte Sereno, CA8418.63,514
Saratoga, CA8420.330,830
Atherton, CA8334.67,127

How Do You Rate The Livability In Santa Cruz?

1. Select a livability score between 1-100
2. Select any tags that apply to this area View results

Santa Cruz Reviews

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Cops target tourist for tinted windows

Watch out for the local police! We were pulled over turning out of the Santa Cruz Ranch RV Resort for tinted windows by a cop in training... ruined our weekend. Then my husband was arrested due to a computer error and in jail the entire day! We currently are sewing the sheriff. Have fun.
  • 0 -2
Horrible place to live

Let's begin with crime rate. Our street has had 12 break ins within 3 years of which 6 were home break ins. We live in a million dollar home surrounded by doctors, lawyers and business owners but yet experience crime as if we lived in the worst neighborhood in Detroit. Now, the downtown is full of homeless people that are super aggressive and forget taking your family to the public library. The library has been taken over by homeless drug addicts and drug dealers that block the entrance, use the bathrooms to bathe and watch porn on the computers. You cannot avoid the heroin use, aggressive pan handlers and the overall crime anywhere you go in Santa Cruz. Let's talk food. Santa Cruz has the worst food selection in the entire nation. The restaurants are horrible. No ethnic food and the current high end restaurants serve frozen tasteless food. The schools are also horrible. If you have kids then do not bring them to Santa Cruz. My kids ask why there are so many needles in the parks and at the beach. That should put fear into any parent. Overall this place is like a third world country where the police do not help and are corrupt, the drugs are plentiful, the food will make you sick and the residents are victims. Horrible, horrible, horrible place to live.
  • 8 -1
Parking in SCruz

I come to the farmers market on Wednesday I buy for restaurants I can't get parking near the markets- I'm buying more than the usual person and I'm working I need a place near the market I have to go to my van back and forth from a distance I'm so frustrated I hate the tickets and parking restrictions for someone buying large quantities I'm not your usual customerI find parking in Santa Cruz very difficult I hate Santa Cruz!!!!!!!!Today someone called the police on that guy Curtis with his peace van I love his free show! He's great and one person reported him while most of us loved him!Why does one person have a right to close him down in the middle of the day?Police state here in SCruz I'm just trying to buy a lot and do my job too SCruz sucks! I hate the parking department so much!!!!!!!I don't enjoy downtown I just come to buy from local farmers for workAnd the city doesn't provide parking close enough
  • 2 -1
Beach in the Front, Forest in the Back, but Get Ready to Pay the Price

Santa Cruz is a great beach town that's surrounded by forests and wonderful hiking areas in the back, and great beaches in the front. If you enjoy the outdoors, then you will love Santa Cruz for sure; there's always something to do to get outdoors in the sunshine.

However, with that said, there are a few things about the town that one needs to keep in mind before moving here:

1) Housing is RIDICULOUSLY expensive and hard to find. If you are hoping to find a 1 bedroom place, don't get your hopes up on getting something under $1500. And while Santa Cruz claims to be a dog-friendly town, there are very few dog-friendly housing for rent that doesn't require you to pay an arm and a leg for safety deposit or for rent every month.

2) While the beaches are great, some of them can be really dirty and can be littered with all sorts of junk (trash, needles, used condoms, etc). Not all beaches are like this obviously but some are particularly bad.

3) Downtown is great and has a lot of wonderful restaurants for individuals to try out, as well as a few theaters and bars for one to partake in on a Friday or Saturday night. However, there are also a lot of homeless/transient indivduals who walk around the streets of Santa Cruz and are not ashamed in bugging (or, occasionally, downright harassing) you for some money. And, more often than not, downtown does not feel completely safe after around 8pm at night.

While there are a lot of "bad things" about Santa Cruz, overall it could be a lot worse. This is a great place for those of us who want to be by the ocean for a few years before moving on, but realistically speaking with the housing price rising it probably isn't worth it unless you can afford to buy a house here for you and your family.
  • 4 -1
The Great Outdoors In Santa Cruz, CA

I recently moved from North Carolina to Santa Cruz, CA about two months ago. I'm still adjusting to the time difference, but overall I love the city. The weather is perhaps the best reason for moving here. It is sunny almost every day, and if it rains, you can usually be back outside in the afternoon. There are a lot of agricultural sights that visitors must see when they visit. The nature reserves and Agricultural History Project are only two of the places I have visited. They detail the history of the city in an atmosphere that almost any age would understand. When you come to Santa Cruz, you should definitely check out the beaches! They have golden sand and the water is a far cry from the ocean I left on the east coast.

Not only are there plenty of beaches to have fun on, but if there are several parks for your children to play in. I have never seen so many people walking their dogs so freely in a park as I do here. There are leash laws so if you have a dog, you have to keep them on a leash. However, the parks allow people to walk on the sidewalk with their pets and I enjoy this because I have a dog that likes being outside. One of the downfalls of Santa Cruz is that there are not as many shopping centers as I am accustomed to. You may have to leave the city if you want a larger shopping experience, but there are a few unique finds here.
  • 2 -2
Reason for reporting
Source: The Santa Cruz, CA data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).
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