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All You Need to Know About Moving to California

There comes a time when you need to say goodbye to the old chapter and turn the page to start the new one. Whether you are relocating for family reasons or received another job opportunity, moving to a new state is an exciting time.

Hollywood sign behind a green palm tree leaf
What you need to consider before moving to The Golden State

But it comes with its fair share of challenges, difficulties, and factors that you need to take into consideration. If you have a family, you need to consider which schools or universities would be most suited for your children. Or which traffic route or public transport is best to make use of.

Relocating to California is something to get excited! Nonetheless, there are still a few important factors to consider. Let’s look at what you need to take into consideration.

Contents:

Is the grass always greener on the other side?

While you are keen to start afresh, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Here are some pros and cons to help you better decide which you are able to live with and which – maybe not so much. However, this should not deter you from relocating to The Golden State; it’s just good to be aware of these things!

ProsCons
The weather is always goodCrowded streets
A variety of local and foreign foodsPotentially higher cost of living
Tons of different types of peopleLots of traffic and traveling
Great educational opportunitiesDifficulty finding parking
Plenty of tourist attractionsFar away from the neighbors
Beautiful beachesEarthquake risks
Excellent healthcare systemMissing your family back home

Getting to know California

The latest 2018 census revealed that there are 39.5 million residents in California of which 50.3% are female and 49.7% are male. See the race statistics for 2018 below or click here to view other interesting census statistics.

RacePercentage Population
White72.1%
African American 6.5%
American Indian 1.6%
Asian 15.3%
Hispanic and Latino 39.3%

There are so many great cities and towns in California so how do you make a choice?

  1. Sacramento: This is the state capital of California and there are many interesting locations to visit including art galleries, museums, and theater performance parks. One of the leading art galleries is the Groundswell Gallery displaying contemporary art and modern design pieces.
  2. Napa: When it comes to vineyards, Napa is world-renowned. Great lodging and exquisite cuisine vineyards are only a few of the delights you can experience in Napa. WALT Wines is one of such vineyards which will guide you through the winemaking history and offers tasting tours.
  3. San Francisco: With its Victoria architecture, golden coastline and hub of tourist activity, San Francisco is one of the cities that you must see. Golden Gate Park is home to an array of luscious gardens and museums making for a wonderful day out and an opportunity to take a walk-through history. In Chinatown, you will explore the oldest North American Chinatown in the world offering decadent foods and unique culture.
  4. Los Angeles: With thriving business centers, arts districts and an array of clubs in the Sunset Strip, Los Angeles has a lot to offer. Universal Studios Theme Park has fun rides based on the popular blockbuster films for you and your family to enjoy. Or you can always enjoy the vistas from the Griffith Park Observatory.
  5. San Diego: White sandy beaches and surfing are not all you will find in San Diego. If you want to take your family on a fun day out, then visit SeaWorld where you can see awesome sea creatures like dolphins, sea lions, and orcas up close. The San Diego Zoo is also a fun destination for the family with all kinds of exotic animals.
The Golden Gate Bridge during sunset
The Golden Gate Bridge is only one of the many vistas in San Francisco

But, if all the excitement is too much, you can also take a walk-through history in one of the many local museums.

Fun facts about California

Before moving to a new state, you should know some of the cool facts surrounding that state’s culture, history, and lifestyle. Here are a few to get you started but, if you are interested, there are more!

The grizzly flag
The Bear Flag of California originates from the early 1800s where a group of settlers proclaimed California an independent republic. It was only after the war on Mexico in 1911 that the flag was made the official state flag.

Queen Califia
California has its name origins from Spanish settlers who claimed that the island was ruled by Amazon women thus naming the island after an Amazon warrior queen: Queen Califia.

Eureka!
Eureka’, meaning ‘I have found it is the state motto and originates from the discovery of gold during the California Goldrush.

Rich in agriculture
For a state that is known for its business exploits, it can be quite unexpected that California is the top agricultural and dairy-producing state in the USA.

The laundry crisis
The high service costs of laundry cleaning in California lead the miners during the Goldrush to ship their shirts to Honolulu for cleaning.

The oldest, tallest and largest trees in the world
California holds the record for the oldest, tallest and largest trees with a General Sherman, Redwood and Bristlecone Pine holding the records respectively.

Children beneath large Sequoia trees in a California forest
The luscious forests in California have many adventures to offer

But the fun facts do not have to end here! Some interesting state laws that will make you chuckle!

  • Californians are not allowed to set a mousetrap unless they have a hunting license.
  • Eating oranges in the bathtub is illegal.
  • It is not permitted to lick a toad in Los Angeles.
  • Walking a camel down Palm Canyon Drive between 4 PM and 6 PM is illegal.
  • Flying a kite above ten-feet in the air is not allowed in Walnut.

All about the scenery

One of the things that people love about California is the weather. While the temperatures can vary, the weather is warm and pleasant. But if you enjoy the occasional snowfall you can still visit the Northern part of the state and find some snow in the mountains.

During October 2019, the temperatures remained cool in the 70s in Los Angeles. But the weather will depend on the particular city you wish to move to and its best to check it out for yourself.

So many places to see
If you are going to be staying in California then you are going to love the places that you can visit: from lush green forests to white sandy beaches and impressive waterfalls, California has something for everyone.

Vineyard with a bunch of purple grapes in the foreground
Relax in one of the exquisite Napa Valley vineyards
  • Oxnard Dunes: Tranquility meets beauty at the Oxnard Dunes. While Oxnard is a small city, its beaches are among the most beautiful that the state has to offer.
  • Bishop Hiking: If you are a lover of the outdoors then Bishop is the town for you. Hike an impressive 14,200 feet to the top of White Mountain Peak and enjoy the vista below.
  • Humboldt Redwoods State Park: There are a variety of Redwood parks in California, especially since Redwoods are native to the California area. Often growing over 290 feet, you can enjoy a walk through these lush forests.
  • California One Highway: This highway is one of the most celebrated roads in the world and offers fantastic views of vineyards and the coast of California. If you are one for road trips, then this is one for the books.
  • Napa Valley: If you are looking for a getaway to enjoy some award-winning food and spa treatments then Napa Valley is the place for you. Sip on the local wine from the vineyards and take in the stunning landscape.

Beauty is not without fault
Despite the obvious beauty that California is host to, the state is not without fault. California is near the top of the list for natural disasters including earthquakes, landslides, floods, and power outages.

To find out more about the potential risks each city is exposed to, make use of the MyHazards website created by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

The cost of moving to California

The cost of relocating depends on what state you are moving from and how many possessions you have. Here are a few approximate relocation costs:

  • New York to California = $3,900
  • Washington to California = $3,500
  • Chicago to California = $3,000
  • Detroit to California = $4,300
  • Boston to California = $7,000

Renting versus buying
Buying is not always the best option when moving to a new state: you are not familiar with the surroundings so it is better to rent first and make sure you are happy with the city/suburb you have chosen.

Buying an average home in Los Angeles will cost anywhere from $605,000 with a deposit of approximately $120,000. A deposit of this amount is not always possible; especially when relocating.

Beautiful white beachfront home in California
Stunning homes up for grabs on the gold coast

The cost of living
Use of the Economic Policy Institute’s family budget calculator to help choose a city to relocate to. It will give you an approximate annual expenditure by taking taxes, housing, child care, and other factors into account.

As an example, a family of two adults and two children living in Los Angeles will need to budget for an average living cost of $92,295 annually with a monthly cost of $7,691.

Taking care of your family

Educational Opportunities
It is only natural to want the very best education for your child. This is why we have compiled a list of some of the most respected and trusted schools in California to kick start your search.

Top ranking elementary, middle and high schools in California:

School NameSchool TypeCity in California
K.L Carver Elementary SchoolElementary SchoolSan Marino
Manchester GateElementary SchoolFresno
North Star AcademyMiddle SchoolRedwood City
Science Academy STEM MagnetMiddle SchoolLos Angeles
Oxford AcademyHigh SchoolCypress
Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College AcademyHigh SchoolGilroy

Top ranking universities in California:

University NameCity in California
Stanford UniversityStanford
University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles
University of CaliforniaBerkeley
California Institute of TechnologyPasadena
Three students talking to each other on the stairs
Plenty of excellent educational opportunities for your children in California

Healthcare and Medical Institutions
In recent years the medical care system in California has changed for the better with the passing of the Affordable Care Act. Some notable improvements include:

  • Everyone is required to have medical insurance by law and can face tax penalties if not abided by.
  • California residents can enroll for health insurance and obtain subsidies to reduce their monthly premiums.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions will not disqualify an individual from health insurance.

If you or a family member needs medical attention, then you can rest assured that you will be in the capable hands at one of these medical institutes:

  1. UCLA Medical Centre, Los Angeles
  2. UCSF Medical Centre, San Francisco
  3. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles
  4. Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital, Stanford
  5. Keck Medical Center of USC, Los Angeles

Crime and safety
You do not want to relocate to an unsafe city or suburb so it is best to explore the city’s crime stats beforehand.

In 2017, statistics recorded that 59% of crimes were related to aggravated assaults, 32% in robberies, 8% in rapes and a low 1% in homicides making California quite a safe state to live in.

The Public Policy Institute of California can provide more information on the crime trends over the years.

Getting to work

In September 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics measured unemployed at four percent in California. Los Angeles has a current labor force of 5.1 million and 4.9 million of these individuals are employed leaving 200,000 (3.9%) unemployed.

Find out about the employment statistics in your relocating city on the Employment Development Department website.

The economy in California has been ranked the largest in the USA as of 2018 and is ranked the world’s fifth-largest economy Germany with a GDP of $3 trillion and a GDP growth of three percent from 2017.

As of 2018 employment statistics, the following industries have been ranked the best for job opportunities in California:

  • Architecture and Engineering
  • Computer and Mathematics
  • Business and Financial Operations
  • Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media
  • Education, Training, and Library

But, if you are concerned, you can always get one of the top recruitment agencies to help you find the perfect job in a variety of industries.

  1. AMI Network (Healthcare)
  2. Brad Metzger Restaurant Solutions (Hospitality)
  3. Bristol Associates (Casino, Hotel, Healthcare)
  4. Culinary Staffing Service (Catering, Restaurant, Entertainment)
  5. D3 Legal Search (Legal)

Making your way around town

Accident statistics for 2018 revealed that motor vehicle accidents claimed 48 lives per 100,000 which is lower than the national average of 65 lives per 100,000.

Highways are the most congested areas in California, especially during holiday weekends. When you move it is best to plan your traveling between 9 AM and 3 PM as these times are the least congested.

With traffic been so hectic in California making use of public transportation is often the better option.

Public Transport TypeCost
Bus$1.75 per one-way trip or $100 per monthly pass.
Metro Rail$1.75 per one-way trip or $100 per monthly pass.
Ferry$7.20 per adult, $3.60 per child on average.
Light Rail System$1.75 per one-way trip or $100 per monthly pass.
TaxiBase fee of $3.50 and $2.75 per mile.
Uber$0.96 per mile for Uber X and $1.61 per mile with a $1 initial fee for Uber XL.
Lyft$1.07 per mile with no initial fee.
Biking$54 per day, $248 per week.
People waiting to board the train in the subway
With access to affordable, fast and easy public transport you will not need to drive!

If you prefer commuting in your vehicle, then getting your license is the first step. Visit the local DMV, complete the DL44 form, supply proof of identity and pay the $33 fee. Once you have completed the written and behind-the-wheel test you will receive your license.

To register to vote in California you can visit the DMV, post office, public library or the county elections office and complete a document or you can register online.

Is moving to California worth it?

The Golden State has a lot to offer from secure employment, low crime rates, beautiful beaches, great weather and a wide variety of cultural and historical sites to explore. A bit of bad traffic and struggling to find parking is a small price to pay for the lifestyle this state has to offer.

However, moving is a very personal matter and you need to strongly consider your reasons for relocation. It does not matter how pretty the picture is, you need to make the best decision for you and your family.

If you have the savings and can make the move then California will welcome you with open arms. Perhaps it is time to turn to that new chapter after all.

If you’re looking for long distance movers, piano movers, or hot tub movers to help you relocate to California, Simply submit the form and get quotes from reputable movers. If you need art movers, pool table movers or even office movers, please, do not hesitate to reach out.