Why are people packing up their bags and leaving California? In 2019, approximately 650,000 Californians moved to another state. Makes you wonder why would anyone want to leave the Golden State and the beauty it has to offer? As a born and bred California girl, I’ve lived here the majority of my life and think otherwise. We have stunning coastlines, year-round warm weather and amazing food culture which makes it one of the world’s most desirable laces to live. It makes sense why they call it the California Dream. But is it really? After moving to three countries, frequently traveling between California and Europe, and interacting with all types of people around the world; I’ve met a handful of individuals who say California isn’t hyped up like it was once. So I’d like to put any political differences aside and explore the following concerns as to why people are leaving California.
Housing Prices Are Astronomical
There is a housing crisis in California and the surge is a topic that is unavoidable. Without a high paying salary or two decent incomes for that matter, it’s nearly impossible to own one. Homes are extremely expensive especially in larger metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. Renting prices are outrageous. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment is easily anywhere from $1600-$2200 a month in LA and $2998+ in the Bay Area. Houses easily start at 1 million and can you believe that’s on the low end of the price spectrum. As the prices go up more people leave (or are even pushed out by gentrification). The likelihood to become a homeowner is much less than years before. Californians are moving to states like Arizona, Texas and Tennessee to purchase a home. With mortgages of $300-$800 per month for a four-bedroom house, I see the logic.
The Traffic Sucks
There’s a saying that Americans spend nearly half their life live in traffic but for Californians, it’s probably more. On the way to work, doing errands, picking up your kids, heading to the gym – you’re spending time stuck in a traffic jam or gridlock. Whether it’s 6 am or 6 pm there’s a big chance you’ll be in traffic. Thinking of a shorter route or shortcut? Even that may take you two hours longer to get to your destination.
The Cost of Living is High
Sadly, the wages don’t represent the cost of living. Or at least the cost of living is on par with a minority of people with high salaries. With average earnings, this makes it difficult to afford the basics. I have friends who have relocated to other states and are fine with the pay cut if it means their cost of living is more affordable. Gas prices are the highest in the country and a regular liter of fuel is $3.36. This makes factors such as long commute times to work, a financial burden.
What States are Californians Moving to?
Californians are moving where it’s more affordable. They are going to neighboring states like Arizona, Oregon, Nevada and Idaho. And many are leaving for Texas and Tennessee. These two states may be completely opposite from California living but they have so much to offer. Texas has no state income tax and the cost of living appears to be one of the best in the US. The same can be said for Tennessee. The climate is moderate, taxes are relatively low and real estate is affordable. If you really want to save money, then avoid expensive metro areas such as Nashville and instead go to Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga. However, any place in Tennessee is cheaper than California
Of course, not all of these complaints match the whole of California – it’s mainly the major cities. The thing is, California is a big state and I mean huge. That being said you could try moving to a less densely populated area. The further you venture out from the cities prices drop (a tad). And to conclude, it’s not just California but every state and country has its own set of problems. I respect those that decide leaving California is best for them, but I’ll always be rooting for the Golden state.