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The 15 Most Liberal Cities in California in 2022

We looked through all the data to find the most liberal cities in California in 2022 for those looking to relocate to a place where the community shares their values.

The Golden State is generally considered as a Democratic stronghold, with more Democratic votes than Republicans in each of the last 8 presidential elections going back to 1992.

But, there are some areas of strong conservatism across the state that you may want to avoid if you are more left leaning.

However, liberalism is not only based on one’s political affiliation. There are other philosophical beliefs such as inclusiveness, environmentalism, and social justice that drive true liberalism. That also means that places that vote a particular way can still be liberal and progressive in their overall beliefs.

Therefore, for this list of the most liberal cities in California, we considered several factors that make a city more liberal, including:

  • Support of arts and culture
  • Local government’s social services
  • Environmental awareness
  • Emphasis on higher education
  • Strong LGBTQ community
  • Diversity among residents

Of course, we also included each city’s voting history as a major part of our study. We also broke our evaluation down into 3 main categories:

  1. Most Liberal Cities in California – Large Cities Over 100,000 Residents
  2. Most Liberal Cities in California – Mid-Size Cities 10,000-100,000 Residents
  3. Most Liberal Town in California – Small Cities Under 10,000 Residents

So, let’s see what are the most liberal places to live in California so that you can start to understand where you may want to move to next.

1. Inglewood

Location: Check on Google Maps

Inglewood tops our list as the most liberal city in California. It gets this distinction by having the highest percentage of registered Democratic voters than any other city in the state – big or small.

74% of Inglewood’s 109,000 residents are Democrats. There are also thousands of  Green Party and Peace and Freedom Party voters as well.

Inglewood also has a strong arts and culture commission with spaces for public art, performance art, and after school programs.

2. Berkeley

Location: Check on Google Maps

Most-Liberal-Cities-in-California-Berkeley

Berkeley is famous for being one of the biggest liberal epicenters of California (as well as the world). As the home to UC Berkeley, this city is always rife with young and progressive minds that live alongside professors and freethinkers.

Berkeley’s college town atmosphere also adds to its liberal vibe. It often tops other studies as the most liberal city in California when people are polled through self-identifying surveys.

3. Richmond

Location: Check on Google Maps

Richmond, California is a suburb of San Francisco that is just 20 minutes across the bay. 68% of this city of 103,000 residents are registered as a Democrat.

Meanwhile, its close proximity to San Francisco, which is well-known as one of the most progressive cities in the world, make Richmond one of the most liberal cities in California.   

4. Oakland

Location: Check on Google Maps

Most-Liberal-Cities-in-California-Oakland

Oakland is another city in the Bay Area. But, don’t mistake it as just part of San Francisco as it has developed its own progressive culture that stands on its own.

Oakland is also the largest city on this list of the most liberal places to live in California, with almost 400,000 residents that have embraced the city’s liberal identity. 

5. Salinas

Location: Check on Google Maps

Salinas is a city of about 150,000 residents that sits in Monterey County about 1 hour south of San Jose. It is the most populous city in Monterey County and over 60% of its citizens are registered as Democrats.

5 Most Liberal Cities in California – Mid-Size Cities 10,000-100,000 Residents

1. Compton

Location: Check on Google Maps

Compton just makes it in this category of liberal cities in California under 100,000 residents with a population of 96,000 people. It also has the 2nd highest percent of registered Democrats of any city with 73%, trailing just behind Inglewood.

2. Coachella

Location: Check on Google Maps

Coachella is now world famous for its annual music and arts festival, but the city has also carved out a progressive identity of its own.

This desert city is about 2 hours from Los Angeles and is one of California’s fastest growing cities. It also features a population with 72% registered Democrats.

3. Laguna Beach

Location: Check on Google Maps

Most-Liberal-Cities-in-California-Laguna-Beach

On paper, Laguna Beach may not seem very liberal. It is pretty split between Democratic and Republican voters and is also known for having many wealthy, conservative residents.

But, it also features one of the richest arts scenes in the state. There are numerous galleries, museums, and theaters all across Laguna Beach.

For example, there are world famous institutions like the The Laguna Art Museum and the Laguna Playhouse, which helps solidify it as one of the most liberal places to live in California.

4. Soledad

Location: Check on Google Maps

This city of roughly 25,000 residents is located in central California near the coast in Monterey County. It is best known for its numerous vineyards and is also close to the stunning Pinnacles National Park, which makes it a good choice for nature lovers who are also seeking a progressive city in California.

5. Greenfield

Location: Check on Google Maps

Greenfield, California is a small city of 15,000 residents that is just 10 minutes from Soledad. The city has recently experienced an influx of immigrants from Mexico, which may also explain its more liberal lean.

5 Most Liberal Towns in California – Small Cities Under 10,000 Residents

1. Gonzales

Location: Check on Google Maps

Gonzales is a small community with about 8,000 people that is roughly 40 minutes from Monterey. It is the most liberal town in California with almost 67% of its registered voters identifying as Democrats.

2. Orange Cove

Location: Check on Google Maps

Orange Cove is located about 40 minutes from Fresno. Almost all of its residents are Hispanic and many of them are farmers as well.

The city is only 1.9 square miles in size and has a population of 9,000 residents.

3. Huron

Location: Check on Google Maps

Huron is a small town with roughly 6,000 residents that sits in the heart of Fresno County in central California. It is about 2 hours from San Jose and Los Angeles and features a population that has over 65% registered Democrats, making it one of the best cities in California for Democrats.

4. Fairfax

Location: Check on Google Maps

Fairfax is a town of 7,400 people that is about 30 minutes north of San Francisco. Almost 70% of its residents are registered with a liberal party.

5. Irwindale

Location: Check on Google Maps

Irwindale, which is just 20 minutes from Los Angeles, just makes it onto our list of the most liberal places to live in California with 62% of its population identified as Democrats.

It is also the smallest place on this list with just 1,500 residents.

Summary – Most Liberal Cities in California

These are the 15 most liberal big, medium, and small sized cities in California. We hope that this list has given you a good overview of where the progressive hotspots are in the Golden State so that you can find a community that aligns with your views.

Generally, the most liberal cities to live in California are found around the coastline, especially in the Bay Area, Monterey County, and the Los Angeles and San Diego area.

There are also many liberal communities in the small towns across Fresno County.

If you want to learn more about California, check out our list of the best places in live in the Golden State in 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most liberal city in California?

Based on the data and social factors, the most liberal city in California is Inglewood. Berkeley also gets an honorable mention.

What is the most liberal city in Orange County, CA?

The most liberal places to live in Orange County are:

  • Santa Ana – 53.4% registered Democrats
  • Stanton – 41.2% registered Democrats
  • Buena Park – 39.4% registered Democrats