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Is California Overrated? Residents Reveal Whether Cali Living Is as Bad as Some People Say

For better or worse, many Americans have opinions about California, and not all are flattering. But is California as bad as some people say it is?

Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.

Where It Started

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A curious person turned to an online forum to share their analysis of California: “It seems like people really love to visit there but really hate to live there.”

Love It or Leave It 

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Pointing to the new TV series Leaving California, which details the “multifaceted challenges of living in the Golden State,” the original poster in the forum said the unaffordable cost of living, high crime rate, and unbearable heat pushes people away from resident status. Here’s how people responded.

Don’t Listen to Naysayers 

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A Los Angeles native says they have two California escape attempts under their belt, but they stay anyway. “California certainly has its problems, and depending on your priorities, they can range from minor to major…but is it as bad as ‘people say?’ No. It’s just not.” 

In Demand 

Traditional San Francisco houses.
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One commenter says California is unaffordable because there’s no shortage of demand to live there. “A large reason it’s unaffordable is because there’s more demand for housing than supply — there’s a reason for that.”

Family Ties 

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One 4th-generation Californian loves their state with a passion and couldn’t imagine it any other way. “I could never leave. I’ve thought about it, but I don’t want the weather or bugs of those states. Could some things change, sure, but really, that could be said about any state.” 

Post Grad Problems 

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One former Californian went to a big university in the state that supposedly led to high-paying jobs and perks, but the reality was slightly different. “I have so many friends, a little over ten years out of school, who are making six figures and still can’t afford to buy a home in the San Francisco or LA area without going so far out that their commutes take up the majority of their time.” It’s safe to say they believe California living is overrated.

Stop Generalizing 

Palm trees in Los Angeles.
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“California’s fine,” one commenter says. “Generally speaking, if anyone says an entire state or region is bad to live in, they’re generalizing a small number of things they don’t personally like, often from a small subsection of the area, and imposing it on the entire region.”  

Home Sweet Home

Hollywood street sign.
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Another commenter thinks California has its quirks but is one of the “very best places to live” if you can afford to. “It’s the most populous and wealthy state in the country that also happens to be the home of tech and entertainment. It also has the best climate and amazing nature. It goes on…”

No Other Choice 

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The price tag of California living deters many Americans from making the move. As a non-Californian observes, “The houses that would cost less than $100k in Minnesota sell for $500k+…I understand the feeling of not wanting to move from a place you otherwise love, but I just don’t see how it’s sustainable.” 

Get Out of Town 

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One commenter points out that a show about “Leaving California” probably isn’t going to generate rave reviews. “Obviously, 39 million people like living here enough to stay. It’s one of the best places to live.” 

Under Consideration

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“Most of the people I’ve talked to have at least considered leaving,” one commenter said. “Even people who make six figures end up paying high income taxes, high sales taxes, and high housing costs. And that’s not even taking into account the other difficult parts of living in the state like homelessness, crime, etc.”

Politics Aside 

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Despite being a conservative in one of the bluest states there is, one Californian says they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. “There is something for everyone here: beaches, mountains, snowy weather, warmer weather, bustling big cities, small quaint little towns, deserts, farmland, forests, cool wildlife, cultural diversity,” they said. “This is my home, and I’m happy here.” 

Crunching the Numbers 

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The numbers don’t lie, according to one commenter. “California has people willing to pay millions of dollars for homes to live there. People love it.” 

Something for Everyone 

Sequoia trees.
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One commenter says while the cost of living, homelessness, and traffic are problems in certain areas, they otherwise love living in California. “Don’t forget, California is HUGE—many different climates, terrain, cities. Northern, Central, and Southern California are very different. Many people like to exaggerate things as well, and it depends on the media you consume.” 

Pros and Cons 

Route 66 through Joshua Tree.
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Another person says California has its good sides and its bad sides. “You can walk down the street next to a homeless camp filled with drugged-out rejects. And the same day, be camping in a national park looking up at the Milky Way.” 

Proof in the Pudding 

Santa Barbara areal view.
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“You have to ask yourself why is it so expensive if everybody hates living there?” one commenter ponders. “People like to live where the prices are the highest because the prices are highest where people like to live.” 

Source: Reddit

California Transplants, Close Your Eyes

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Californians are on the move, seeking lower taxes and costs of living in other states. But not all Americans are thrilled about it.

California Transplants, Close Your Eyes. 13 Americans Share Their Ruthless Opinions of Cali Newcomers

25 Most Expensive American Cities

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Living in America isn’t cheap, but the cost of living in some cities is downright outrageous. The rankings are about as blue as each state’s political makeup.

25 Most Expensive Cities in America Breaking Bank Accounts

13 Most Scenic Drives in California

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Calling all road trip lovers! These are some of the most scenic California destinations in the Golden State.

13 Most Scenic Drives in California

Los Angeles Dreams vs Reality

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Thinking about moving to Los Angeles? LA transplants reveal whether they regret moving there.

Los Angeles Dreams vs. Reality, 14 Residents Reveal Whether They Regret Moving to LA

San Francisco Regret?

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The City by the Bay makes for a pretty postcard, but not all is as it seems in San Francisco. Ten San Fran residents share whether they regret living there.

Do People Regret Living in San Francisco? 10 San Fran Residents Weigh In

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