For decades, Southern California has been portrayed as the “Golden State.” Some would consider it to be one of the most desirable places in the U.S. to live because of its weather, varied geography and the large number of colleges in the area. With 325-plus days of mild weather, beaches up and down the coast, and hundreds of colleges reeling in thousands of out of state students, this area is very attractive to outsiders. People always think the grass is greener on the other side, but I believe that people considering a move to Southern California should think twice.
So what makes Southern California not so “golden” as people make it out to be? I’m going to use Los Angeles as our representative for Southern California. Here are some statistics comparing average costs in Los Angeles with the average city in the United States. Let’s start with cost of living. The cost of living is among the top three most expensive places to live in the U.S. (along with San Francisco and New York). The costs of gasoline, apartment rentals and home purchasing are far higher in Southern California than the rest of the country. Here is a chart, showing some comparisons:
- Gasoline/gal: $3.56
- Rent/Apt: (1 bdr in city = $991.11) (1bdr outside city = $747.79),(3 bdr in city = $1,702.98),(3 bdr outside city = $1,280.67)
- Buy/Apt: (In city = $1,907.46, outside city =1,235.80)
- Gasoline/gal: $4.00
- Rent/Apt: (1 bdr in city = $1,511.65)(1 bdr outside city = $1076.17),(3 bdr in city = $2,620.00),(3bdr outside city = $1,810.71)
- Buy/Apt: (In city = $4,663.13, outside city = $2,186.11)
As you can see, the cost of living in Los Angeles is horrid, and as of 2014, is still rising. In Los Angeles it’s merely impossible to live on a minimum wage salary, whereas minimum wage in another state can be quite comfortable. As a longtime resident of Southern California, I believe the perks of living in California shouldn’t cost as much they do. I’ve been to other states up north, down south, in the Midwest, and in “no man’s land,” and nothing California has put on the table has convinced me enough to waste my hard earned money on a house or apartment I can get for half the price in another state, just because the beach is in driving distance or the weather’s always nice.
But like all things in life, it comes down to preference; I have mine and you should have yours, but you might want to think twice about moving to Southern California. I would do some research and see if what SoCal has to offer is really worth the money. For some people it is, and some it is not.