Is California a Good Place to Live? – Pros and Cons of Living in California


Living in California is expensive. However, with several options for recreation, good food, and cultural diversity, California is a good place to live.

This article will discuss the pros and cons of living in California. I hope you find it helpful in navigating the new place.

Life in California, The Golden State

California is a wonder! California has an urban lifestyle filled with many cultural activities, great food, outdoor events, music, creativity, and innovation.

It’s the 3rd largest state in the United States, the largest state on the West Coast, and it ranks as one of the best places to live in the United States.

California is called the golden state because of the tawny gold color of its hills during the fall and summer. The hills are not the only golden sights in California – the sun is too!

According to the World Population Review, California has a population of 39,995,077, ranking as one of the most diverse populations in the world.

California was formerly called the grizzly bear state since it was home to some cozy bears (hence, the flag). However, this soon changed when many settlers found their way to California and began hunting the bears. Little wonder the state’s motto is “Eureka”, meaning “I’ve found it!”

California holds many good treasures, many of which the residents enjoy. These treasures include fortune cookies, the abundance of national parks, avocados, warm climate, to mention a few.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Living in California

Pros of Living in CaliforniaCons of Living in California
Urban LifestyleBad Air Quality
Truckload of Cultural ActivitiesSummer Gets Really Hot
Many Outdoor Adventure SpotsTraffic Jam
California is an Innovation HubLikelihood of Wildfires
Diverse PopulationHeavy Tax Burden

Pros of Living in California

What do you enjoy living in California? Here’s what:

The Urban Lifestyle

Out of the 50 states of the United States, California is the most urban, having over 90% of its population living in urban areas. If you like urban living, you’ll love it in California. However, you’ll have to understand the Cali living.

Truckload of Cultural Activities

California residents enjoy some of the best cultural events. Some of the include

  • The Rose Parade
  • The LA County Fair
  • Animanga
  • Nights of the Jack
  • Doo Dah Parade
  • LumiNight Lantern Festival
  • The Great Dickens Christmas Fair
  • Reflections Elegante Gallery Exhibition

Many Outdoor Adventure Spots

California alone is home to 28 national parks, not counting the hiking trails, beaches, and restaurants. If you love adventure, here are some activities to try out

  • Going on 2 hours sailing cruise on Lake Tahoe
  • Full-day Wine Tour from San Francisco
  • Touring the Yosemite National Park
  • Electric Bike Tours along the Drive of Coastal Monterey
  • Hot air balloon rides in Temecula
  • Whale watching excursion in Dana Point
  • Going snorkeling in La Jolla

California has Great Food

The state’s Central Valley is an agricultural center. Agricultural produce is high quality and very affordable. This is the secret behind the array of meals available to residents in California. California also has very strong immigrant communities, hence, the diverse food scene.

California is an Innovation Hub

California’s economy is solely driven by innovation. With great technology, talent, risk capital, and entrepreneurial prowess, California has the necessary capacity to spur major economic growth.

California also embraces education and creativity. Hence, California is for you if you’re adept at any skill. With innovation comes many opportunities. You can jump on any of them!

Fair Weather

California coastal areas have the most consistent weather conditions.  If you want to experience the pleasantness of California’s weather, you’ll have to come in April, May, or October.

California is an Export Hub

You may not know this, but California’s top export is almonds. Since the state is an agricultural zone, almonds are easily grown in the Central Valley — being the state’s almond capital.

Diverse Population

According to the World Population Review, the most recent American Community Survey (ACS), the racial composition of California is as follows

  • Whites – 56.05%
  • Asians – 14.83%
  • Other races – 14.29%
  • Two or more races – 7.93%
  • Black or African American – 5.72%
  • Native American – 0.79%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander – 0.38%

Cons of Living in California

Bad Air Quality

According to the American Lung Association, California ranks as the worst polluted city. The direct cause can be traced to vehicular emissions, household energy consumption, wildfires, and fossil fuels.

In 2020, California experienced the worst wildfires that caused higher air pollution, thus, heightening the risk of breathing problems. If you must live in California, you can consider one of California’s cleanest cities — Lee Vining, Blythe, Twentynine Palms, Carmel Valley, Tahoe City, Grass Valley, Salinas, or Martinez.

Summer Gets Really Hot

July and August are the most endangered months in California. The heat is outrageous. The hottest California has been is 134 degrees, and that was at Death Valley in 1913. Summer still gets very hot today, but it doesn’t make California a less pleasing summer spot.

Traffic Jam

With greater population comes greater traffic congestion. Over the past years, California has experienced a rise in its population. Today, more and more people are seeking to start a bee life in California. Living in California will mean having to deal with it.

Likelihood of Wildfires

The sunny summer weather comes with wildfires. Reports show that there have been over 8,000 wildfires in California since 2000. You can decide to live in an area that experiences fewer wildfires.

Riverside, California experiences the most wildfires while Los Angeles experiences the least. Other counties fall in between.

Recommended Article- Pros and Cons of studying in Los Angeles

Tax is Burdensome

California practices a progressive tax system. This means the higher your pay, the higher your tax. The statewide tax rate is 7.25%; however, taxes depend on your resident status. There are 3 resident statuses — resident, part-year resident, and non-resident.

As a resident, the Californian government charges income from all sources, both in and out of California. A part-year resident is taxed on all income received while being resident in California, including income received from California while being a non-resident.

A non-resident is taxed on all income from California sources. Check out this article to know what cadre you fall under.

Recommended Article- Los Angeles vs San Diego: Where Should You Live?


California is a beautiful state, but beyond being a good place to live, everyone wishes it could be more affordable. Nonetheless, if you must live in California, the pros should offer some comfort for how much you’ll be spending there. Nonetheless, feel free to weigh all your options. Hope you found this helpful? Happy moving!

Frequently Asked Questions About Living in California

Where are the best states to live in California State?

The top 10 cities to live in California in their order of priority include

  • San Jose
  • San Francisco
  • San Diego
  • Sacramento
  • Santa Barbara
  • Los Angeles
  • Santa Rosa
  • Fresno
  • Vallejo and Fairfield
  • Salinas
  • Modesto
  • Bakersfield
  • Visalia
  • Stockton

What job thrives in California?

Healthcare and social assistance are two fast-growing jobs there, with a population of 13.8% of residents working there.

What is the cost of living in California?

California’s cost of living is among the highest in the United States — especially in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Living in California is 41% higher than the national average. Home value is also skyrocketing by the day.

However, you can still live in a cheaper Californian city. While San Francisco is the most expensive Californian city to live in ( 38% higher than the state average and 94% higher than the rest of the United States), Bakersfield is much more affordable (24% lower than the state average and 7% higher than the national average).

What is the cheapest place to live in California?

While there are cheap places to live in California, the living conditions there may not be as exquisite as that of other expensive areas. Nonetheless, these are some places you may want to move to

  • Oxnard
  • Clovis
  • Chico
  • Eureka
  • Temecula
  • Vacaville
  • Redlands

Is Arizona a cheap place to live?

Senior List ranks Arizona as the second cheapest place to live in. Many retirees are also quickly moving to Arizona to enjoy the reshot genie lives. The arm climate, low cost of living, and beautiful scenery are all qualities that make Arizona desirable.