So you're thinking of moving to California! It's easy to see why. The most populated state in the United States and the third largest by area is not only full of some of the nation's biggest cities and greatest cultural sites and natural wonders, it's like a nation to itself. Whether you want city life in the middle of it all, a more relaxed seaside town, or a quiet getaway amid the backdrop of the nation's largest forests, you'll find the place ideal for you and your family somewhere in California. Are you ready to leave cold winters behind and take advantage of all California offers? The economy is booming, and the time is right for moving to California.
WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA
No matter where you live, you've heard stories about California. Few states have more stories and stereotypes about their culture and residents. There's probably a kernel of truth to all of them, but the state is far more than any of them. California isn't just one thing - it's the health-conscious residents of San Francisco, the Hollywood power brokers of Los Angeles, the tourist hub of Anaheim, the multicultural hubs of Oakland and San Diego, and the gorgeous Redwood forests of Northern California. Is moving to California right for you? The next question would have to be, which California? Here at Emoving Storage, we've put together this list of the reasons you might consider moving to California, and the ten things you should consider before you do.
BENEFITS OF MOVING TO CALIFORNIA
CALIFORNIA IS A TOP-TIER HUB OF HIGHER EDUCATION
Not only is California full of elite schools like Stanford, but their California state university is the biggest in the country and considered one of the best. The in-state tuition rates provide great value at several elite schools, an invaluable benefit if you're moving to California with kids approaching college age.
ARE YOU A FOODIE? CALIFORNIA IS YOUR WONDERLAND
California is one of the nation's biggest agricultural hubs, full of fresh produce that gets shipped across the country. You'll be able to get first pick at this fresh bounty, making it much easier and cheaper to maintain a healthy diet than in most other states. And if you're a wine afficionado, the famous vineyards of the Napa Valley are open to you.
CALIFORNIA IS A NATURE LOVER'S DREAM
If you're an outdoor enthusiast, you'll find the nation's biggest selection of national parks in California. You'll be able to hike mountains, ski, surf, swim, or camp in California's famous Redwood forests. There's no state in the United States that offers a larger and more varied natural landscape than California.
CALIFORNIA IS A CULTURAL HUB
One of the first things people think of when they think about California is Hollywood. It lives up to the hype, as the bulk of the nation's movie and television production still takes place in California. You'll see more stars in Hollywood and Los Angeles than anywhere else, but don't overlook the state's other cultural gems. These include San Francisco's experimental theater scene and Oakland's growing music culture.
10 THINGS TO CONSIDER
Although there are a lot of reasons to consider moving to California, there are reasons for caution too. Keeping these factors in mind will help you make an informed decision and make your transition to the Golden State much smoother.
NORTHERN OR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA? THERE'S A BIG DIFFERENCE
The state is known for its healthy rivalry between the two parts, and there are big differences. Southern California is where most of the major cities are located, while the North often has more in common with its Pacific Northwest neighbors Oregon and Washington. A big factor you'll want to consider is your tolerance for heat. Temperatures can easily reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer in Los Angeles, while coastal northern cities rarely get out of the 70s. And there is an intense rivalry between the two sides of California!
YOU'LL WANT TO LEARN SPANISH BEFORE MOVING TO CALIFORNIA
Being bilingual has many benefits anywhere in the United States, but in California it's close to essential. The most recent census shows that just under 43% of Californians speak a language other than English as their primary language, and most those speak Spanish. 10% of Californians do not speak English. Being able to speak basic conversational Spanish will make your day-to-day interactions a lot smoother.
YOU'LL NEED TO BE ABLE TO DRIVE
In some states like New York or New Jersey, it's possible to get around via public transportation. California is much bigger, more spread out, and filled with low-density communities with limited public transportation. Almost everyone in California drives, which means you should expect lots of traffic in your future. The exception is San Francisco, which has one of the nation's best public transportation systems (and one of its highest costs of living).
THE WEATHER CAN BE UNPREDICTABLE
While most people living in California worry about The Big One, there's no evidence that this shattering earthquake will happen soon. That doesn't mean living in California is free of risks. Smaller earthquakes happen with relative regularity, and wildfires and mudslides occur during dry and rainy seasons, respectively. Different areas of California have different risk factors, and research before moving can help you figure out the safest place to move.
DIRECT DEMOCRACY IS A FIXTURE IN CALIFORNIA
California made national headlines in 2008 with the controversial Proposition 8, since overturned. California is famous for its citizen-driven ballot initiatives, and any California resident can start a petition and gather signatures to get an issue placed on the ballot. There's even a proposal to secede in the works, although it is highly unlikely to pass. Expect to have a bigger say in your state's policies than in any other state.
CALIFORNIA IS BIG ON RENEWABLE ENERGY
Would you like to install solar panels on your home and sell energy back to the grid? California has a program for this although there are controversial fees attached as part of a battle between solar advocates and utility companies. Expect to see wind farms as a frequent fixture in the state besides solar. California battled through severe power shortages after deregulation in the last two decades, and their focus on renewable energy has eased that.
CALIFORNIA HAS A HOUSING CRISIS IN ITS CITIES
If you're set on city living when moving to California, you should know local zoning rules keep the housing supply low. Parts of the state are still struggling from the recession that began in 2008 and have a lot of mortgages under water. There is more affordable housing in Northern California away from the biggest cities. San Francisco has one of the nation's highest costs of living.
TAXES ARE HIGH IN CALIFORNIA
California income taxes are both high and progressively oriented. If you're a high earner, expect to pay a sizeable chunk of your earnings to the state in addition to federal taxes. However, property taxes in the state are below average and top earners will find no shortage of opportunities for housing in the state's best areas.
WINTER DOES EXIST IN CALIFORNIA
Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on how much you love the sun, but the state has several areas that get snow during the winter. These include the famous Yosemite, Big Bear, and Tahoe, and the state has some of the nation's most acclaimed ski resorts. There are areas in the south that have highly temperate winters where it never goes below 70 degrees, ideal for someone who loves the beach.
CALIFORNIA IS NOT THE PLACE FOR PEACE AND QUIET
There's a reason California isn't on anyone's list of ideal retirement destinations. New York may be the city that never sleeps, but California is the state that never sleeps. The cities have the nation's most active nightlife; the beaches are always jumping with tourists and locals; and the multicultural restaurant scene attracts foodies by the thousand. California is a massive melting pot that serves as the nation's center of youth culture. If you're thinking about moving to California, be ready to embrace that vibe and love the chaotic, mile-a-minute culture.
California, like any state in the United States, has its pluses and minuses. The state has a high cost of living, but it couples that with a high standard of living. It's unparalleled in natural beauty, cultural diversity, and technological advancement. Many of the people moving to California are highly ambitious professionals looking for a job - or to start a new company - in the tech industry. If that's what you're aiming for, you couldn't find a better place to settle down.
Someone looking for an exciting city that moves fast and is always onto the next thing will find their home in Los Angeles or Oakland while someone who wants a more relaxing lifestyle will find a temperate getaway amid nature in Northern California. It's important to know California before moving to California - someone who comes in blind could easily find themselves overwhelmed by the massive state. Someone armed with information will find countless adventures in one of our nation's most varied and majestic states.