Housing costs here are high, utilities. Yes, the cost of living in Irvine is higher than in most cities in the United States. On the other hand, the economy here is strong and, some would say, vibrant. One of the main reasons is that Irvine is home to several large employers within its city limit.
There aren't many suburbs that can boast of this fact. For example, the University of California at Irvine employs nearly 16,000 people. Blizzard Entertainment, the city's third largest employer, is also located here and Verizon Wireless. In short, there are many well-paying positions within the city limits.
Travel times are also among the best in the country for this very reason. In Irvine, however, a car is more or less a necessity. Yes, you can bike or walk, but you won't find many public transport options here. California MetroLink does not serve Irvine.
You'll find many Southern California cities bursting with lush nightlife at night. There are several pubs and bars in the city, that's true. But you wouldn't exactly call it “prosperous”, not by any stretch of the imagination. Of course, if nightlife isn't your thing, this isn't as big of a scam as it would be for others.
In fact, for some, the lack of nightlife is one of the best reasons to live in Irvine, California. It keeps the city a little quieter and quieter. Maybe in a few years a car won't be needed in Irvine because there will be more business and transit availability, as well as nightlife activities. Irvine has 278 days of sunshine a year on average and is close to Huntington, Newport and Laguna Beach.
But perfect weather isn't the only reason Irvine was named one of Money's best places to live; the area also has a low unemployment rate of 2.9% and a growing economy. The population of Irvine, California is 290,000 and is one of the three major cities in Orange County, along with Anaheim and Santa Ana.