4.5 out of 10


33.9132321084442 -118.350226427462
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Medical Facilities
  • Parking
  • Cost of Living
  • Gym & Fitness
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Eating Out
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Schools
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Beach Lovers


2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5

"You Can Probably Do Better"

Overall, Hawthorne is a dense poor neighborhood. More than 80,000 people live in this 6 square mile “city”. That, of course, means lots and lots of apartments and that feeling of being stacked one on top of another.

Since I was little, I have always had a negative impression of Hawthorne. I don’t remember anything specific, but I do know that by the time I was an adult I would immediately think that Hawthorne was not a good place to live when I heard it brought up. In the last couple of years however, things seem to have quieted down a bit in Hawthorne. There have only been 4 murders here in the each of the last two years (though before that murders were regularly in the double digits for a good decade). Hawthorne still has an above average crime rate and would hardly be called a “safe” neighborhood, but thinks are trending up in that regard.

This is a renter city—three quarters of the residents rent and don’t own. There are a lot of young people here, biding their time and looking for their breaks so that they can move somewhere else. There are also a fair number of poor families here, undereducated and poorly paid (the unemployment rate is also higher than average here (14% as opposed to the statewide 10%). The schools in the area are pretty terrible—unable to keep up with high population and the multitude of problems presented in trying to educate Hawthorne’s diverse community. (Another disturbing fact for those trying to raise families in the area is that some 90 registered sex offenders live here—roughly 1 for every 1,000 residents. Of course, many are no doubt not pedophiles, but even if only half are, it is enough to keep you up at night.)

There are lots of fast food places and unremarkable businesses, but no one comes to Hawthorne for the nightlife. In fact, the main attraction of Hawthorne for those that have some options, is its location. It is close to El Segundo but with lower rents. It is close to the beach and LAX. The 405 is right on the western end of the neighborhood so the commute is relatively easy if you don’t mind the freeway traffic.

Put simply, if you are single and work in El Segundo or the airport, this might be an okay place to live for a while. But if you are a young family or can afford better, Hawthorne is probably not the place for you.
  • Close to the Beach/LAX
  • Affordable Apartments
  • Close to Freeway
  • Crime
  • Crowded
  • No Character
Recommended for
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5

"That's Right, Del Aire with a "D""

Not to be confused with the super-rich Bel Aire about 25 miles north, Del Aire is a middle class neighborhood to the east of El Segundo. The smallish neighborhood with a population of 9,000 is, for the most part, a pleasant alternative to the crime-ridden neighborhoods just to its east. Unlike neighborhoods like Westmont, Inglewood and West Athens that rank among LA’s worst neighborhoods in terms of crime, Del Aire is safer than average having only had four murders in four years.

And when you look further into these murders you find that all four were located around a housing project on the neighborhood’s eastern border with Hawthorne (by the 405 Freeway). Generally however, the neighborhood is relatively quiet.

The flat wide streets of Del Aire are characterized by having smaller, Baby Boom era Ranch Houses with well trimmed though often faded lawns (perhaps because of water conservation?) and a smattering of palm trees spaced every 25 yards or so. These are nicely preserved homes, often having lawns decorated with shorter palms or idiosyncratic shrubbery.

Though this is a family neighborhood, seemingly perfectly suited to raising kids in an old-fashioned sort of way, the schools are bit of a mixed bag. The central high school is Hawthorne High, which is, unfortunately a pretty terrible school. Hawthorne has an API score of 2 (of a possible 10). Only 6% of the students passed the STAR test in math, and only about a quarter passed in the English portion. Hawthorne consistently misses about half of the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND standards. Put simply, this is not a school you want to send your teen.

There are however, several smaller public alternatives to Hawthorne that fair much better on both subjective and objective standards. Hawthorne Math and Science Academy (a magnet school perhaps?) has only 500 students (as compared to Hawthorne’s 3,000), has a 9 API, never misses any NCLB standards, and has almost half its students passing the Math and English portions of the STAR test. (SAT scores are not significantly better but no one is perfect.) Other smaller private and public alternatives in the area like Hawthorne Academy and Environmental Charter give parents some options that make this a workable neighborhood in terms of education. (Though nearby Lawndale High is even worse than Hawthorne.)

Though not really the place to live if you want a super happening nightlife within walking distance, Del Aire is a low cost alternative to pricier sea side neighborhoods that doesn’t sacrifice safety for lower home values. Put simply, it’s a nice older neighborhood with a pretty good upside for younger families looking to set down roots.
  • Safe
  • Affordable
  • Close to the Beach/Airport
  • Mixed Bag of Schools
  • Freeway Noise/Traffic
  • No Nightlife
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Beach Lovers

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