Sunday, December 06, 2020

California dreamin' no more

I'm a native Californian from the Los Angeles area. Quite arguably much of California has become a dystopia (e.g. many parts of LA and SF). Many parts of the state are more like a developing nation than a developed nation. A third world nation. Tremendous poverty, tent cities, drug addicts, mental issues, etc.

The dystopia that California has become is also known as the progressive dream. California is considered a role model for progressives. It's a foretaste of what the US could be if the US was like California according to progressives. As such, I think this post can serve as a warning about progressivism.

In any case, here are my pros and cons about my (once) beloved state. In no particular order:


  1. Great climate and weather. Primarily a Mediterranean climate along the coast. I think California gets more sunshine per year than Florida aka the Sunshine State.
  2. Natural beauty (e.g. beaches, mountains, forests, deserts, waterfalls). PCH is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. This includes Big Sur. Yosemite with Half Dome is a must-see national park. The redwoods and sequoias in Sequoia National Park are grand (e.g. the General Sherman). Lake Tahoe is beautiful. Joshua Tree is amazing for amateur astronomers and stargazing. Death Valley if you dare. California is blessed with tremendous natural beauty.
  3. Beaches and mountains. The beaches are fabulous, though the water is cold year-round (unlike, say, Florida or Hawaii). Many famous beaches (e.g. Malibu, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Pismo). It's true you can go to the beach then drive to ski the slopes in the same day. See ski resorts like Big Bear, Snow Summit, Mountain High, Mammoth, etc.
  4. Diverse economy. Agriculture, construction, manufacturing of all kinds, aerospace, entertainment, computers and technology, professional services, etc. Although most of these are gradually leaving California or at best not growing much. Even Hollywood is suffering from theaters closing down and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu evolving the business.
  5. Rich agriculture in Central California. The Central Valley can feed something like a quarter of the entire nation.
  6. Ethnically diverse peoples with interesting cultures. White, Black, Latino, Asian, Indigenous.
  7. Historic landmarks. Route 66, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Hearst Castle, etc. Perhaps historic towns like Solvang, Bodie (an old ghost town), and Palm Springs (more for retirement) might fit in here too.
  8. A history of innovation. Silicon Valley, Hollywood, etc. Consider the history of aerospace and the defense industry. Companies like SpaceX and Tesla, though I think Elon Musk is leaving California.
  9. Cool cultures, from lowbrow to highbrow. From skaters and surfers and famous music groups and festivals (e.g. Coachella, Outside Lands, Bottlerock) to higher culture like the Getty and world-class wine country in Napa and Sonoma. Many museums, observatories, and the like (e.g. Griffith Observatory, the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center is only one of four space shuttles on display in a museum today).
  10. Tons of things to do. I've already mentioned several, but also Disneyland, Universal Studios, Six Flags, the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, visit a live taping of a tv show, take a boat to Catalina island, go whale watching, watch college and professional sports (e.g. the Rose Bowl, Lakers, Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Rams, Chargers, 49ers, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Giants, Oakland As, Ducks, Kings, Galaxy), etc.
  11. Laidback and free-spirited attitude.
  12. Top national colleges (e.g. UC system, Stanford, Caltech).
  13. Great food (e.g. Mexican, various Asian in the SGV). I've heard several famous chefs say modern LA is one of the best cities in the entire US for foodies.

  1. Homelessness. There are approximately 70,000 homeless people in LA alone. That we know about. Sure, cities like SF and LA have always had a homeless problem, but this has increased approximately 50% in the last 10 years. Homelessness used to be isolated in certain pockets of LA, but now homelessness has spread even to the nicer parts of LA (e.g. Santa Monica, Venice Beach). Hollywood (except for like two streets) was always a dump, but it's even worse now. There are literal tent cities all over LA. Tent cities under nearly every freeway underpass. It is no longer uncommon to see drug needles, feces, and urine on the streets of LA. This poses a danger to other people including families with children. I've heard of kids finding open needles out in the streets not far from their homes. Homelessness also comes with other major concerns. Such as substance abuse (e.g. recreational drugs, alcohol). Such as mental health issues (e.g. psychosis, schizophrenia). Such as public health concerns (e.g. feces and urine and even blood on the streets, the tranmission of infectious disease that used to be limited to developing nations but are now in California). Such as random or wild and threatening behavior (e.g. I've had homeless people walk up to me as well as friends and family and screaming threats and obscenities for no apparent reason and without provocation, I've heard of homeless people threatening people with weapons like knives and glass bottles for no apparent reason and without provocation). I have nothing against the homeless. In fact, I feel sympathy for many homeless people, but that's precisely why I want to see less homeless people, not more. They need help. However, the city of LA does nothing about it. In fact, LAPD have been told they are simply not allowed to take homeless people to rehab or detox facilities or otherwise aid the homeless and clean up our streets.
  2. Taxes. State income tax can be as high as 13.3%. This is on top of federal income tax. In fact, our state government is debating whether to increase it from 13.3% to 16.8%! Sales tax is 10.5% in some areas. There are many other taxes like a gas tax and other "green" or related taxes too. In reply, California says it has historically had low property taxes, thanks to Prop. 13. But how many Californians know our state government is debating removing Prop. 13? They want or maybe need to find ways to get more revenue for the state. So property taxes won't be a saving grace any longer if this occurs! Not to mention our state government is also considering a "wealth tax" which will tax people on "non-liquid assets". Worse, our state government wants to allow this "wealth tax" to follow people for as long as 10 years after they leave California!
  3. Housing. Housing prices have become ridiculous. For instance, the median cost of a house in California is around $600,000, while the median cost of a house in Texas is around $250,000. And my understanding is you tend to get a bigger house in Texas too. Consider the "median multiple". The median multiple is a measure used to indicate the affordability of housing. It is the ratio of the median house price and the median household income (gross). A median multiple at 3 or less is affordable. 3-4 is moderately unaffordable. 4-5 is seriously unaffordable. 5 and over is severely unaffordable. If I'm not mistaken, what this means is that if City A's median multiple is 3 and City B's median multiple is 9, then you are paying 3x as much for a house in City B than in City A, given the same income. Here's a list of the median multiple for cities around the world. I focused primarily on cities in English-speaking nations.

    20.8 Hong Kong
    11.9 Vancouver, Canada
    11.0 Sydney, Australia
    9.5 Melbourne, Australia
    9.0 Los Angeles, California, USA
    8.6 Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    8.6 Auckland, New Zealand
    8.5 San Jose, California, USA
    8.4 San Francisco, California, USA
    8.2 London, England, UK
    8.0 Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
    7.3 San Diego, California, USA
    7.0 Boulder, Colorado, USA
    5.5 Seattle, Washington, USA
    5.4 Riverside-San Bernardino, California, USA
    5.4 Reno, Nevada, USA
    5.4 New York, New York, USA
    5.4 Miami, Florida, USA
    5.3 Denver, Colorado, USA
    5.3 Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    5.2 Sacramento, California, USA
    5.2 Fresno, California, USA
    5.1 Liverpool, England, UK
    5.1 Portland, Oregon, USA
    5.0 Eugene, Oregon, USA
    5.0 Cardiff, Wales, UK
    4.9 Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
    4.8 Montreal, Canada
    4.8 Singapore
    4.7 Tokyo, Japan
    4.7 Dublin, Ireland
    4.6 Calgary, Canada
    4.6 Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
    4.5 Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    4.4 Orlando, Florida, USA
    4.4 Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
    4.4 Charleston, South Carolina, USA
    4.3 College Station, Texas, USA
    4.1 Washington, DC, USA
    4.1 Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
    4.1 Phoenix, Arizona, USA
    4.1 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
    4.1 Edmonton, Canada
    4.1 Austin, Texas, USA
    4.0 Daytona, Florida, USA
    4.0 Jacksonville, Florida, USA
    4.0 Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
    4.0 Glasgow, Scotland, UK
    4.0 Belfast, N. Ireland, UK
    3.9 New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
    3.9 Nashville, Tennessee, USA
    3.9 Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
    3.9 Boise, Idaho, USA
    3.9 Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
    3.8 Chicago, Illinois, USA
    3.7 Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas, USA
    3.7 Anchorage, Alaska, USA
    3.6 Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
    3.6 Quebec City, Canada
    3.6 New Haven, Connecticut, USA
    3.6 Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
    3.5 Houston, Texas, USA
    3.3 Waco, Texas, USA
    3.3 Memphis, Tennessee, USA
    3.3 Albany, New York, USA
    3.1 Columbus, Ohio
    3.1 Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    3.0 Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
    2.9 Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    2.8 St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    2.8 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
    2.8 Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
    2.8 Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    2.7 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
    2.7 Cleveland, Ohio, USA
    2.6 Wichita, Kansas, USA
    2.5 Rochester, New York, USA
    2.4 Syracuse, New York, USA
    2.4 Akron, Ohio, USA
    2.2 Davenport, Iowa, USA
    2.1 Peoria, Illinois, USA

  4. Cost of living. For example, for all intents and purposes, public utility companies like Southern California Edison are basically a monopoly. Southern Californians must get their electricity from Edison. There's little other choice. This may also be why electricity in LA is around 18-35 cents per kilowatt hour, whereas it's about 5-10 cents per kilowatt hour in Dallas. Likewise gas is $3-$4 per gallon in California, whereas it's around $2-$3 per gallon in Texas. Groceries are quite high in California too. Just compare the prices of common items like milk, eggs, bread, ground beef, chicken, fish, and so on in Los Angeles and another city like Dallas.
  5. Crime. There's been a significant increase in homicide, rape, and other violent crimes. Among its other problems, catch-and-release makes it possible for police to re-classify certain crimes. Such as re-classifying violent crimes to non-violent crimes. In fact, a few years ago, there was a scandal where the LAPD admitted they had "mis-classified" violent crimes as minor offenses. This makes it possible to make the crime rate look lower than it is. Yet, even still, the crime rate is high.
  6. Regulations. State government regulations are out of control. Regulations crush small businesses. It's very hard to get approval for the smallest things by the government. Just look at how many government agencies a small business has to get approval from just to set up a business. My understanding is in most states this would be handled by one agency, but in California it's handled by multiple agencies, all of whom must grant their approval. Just look at real estate development. Regulations about development. It can take years for a real estate developer to go through the process and the longer it takes then it raises the costs to the real estate developer which is a disincentive against building cheaper homes. If it takes a real estate developer 10 years to get through the process, then that raises costs. So a real estate developer can't afford to build a house profitably without making the house at least around $500,000-$600,000. This is part of the reason why homes are so expensive in California. Also look at California's Environmental Quality Act. This allows small businesses to be sued by people who don't even need to give their name. There's a "diversity" bill in California which makes it mandatory for businesses to staff their boardrooms with diverse individuals. This would be fine if the diversity emerged organically due to the business' own needs or concerns, but the larger problem is why should the state government be allowed to dictate who should and should not be on a private company's board, even if it's against the will of the company's shareholders?
  7. Education. Public education in California is badly managed and declining in quality. Especially primary and secondary (K-12) education. We still have great colleges, especially in the STEM majors, but that's offset by the brainwashing of our youth by progressive professors in many other departments. What kind of valuable knowledge is imparted to students? Not to mention the skyrocketing tuition, though this is a problem with higher education in general, not only California. Yet our state political leaders almost always vote in what the California Teachers Association wants. And the California Teachers Association are generally against giving parents alternative choices in education. Many parents feel the need to send their kids to private schools, but that's only possible for the rich or at least well-to-do, but difficult for many in the middle and lower classes. High taxes don't seem to be helping improve our public education. At some point, the middle class will become fed-up with the increasing taxes with little to show for it.
  8. Immigration. Interestingly, legal immigration to California has slowed down. That's likely in part because legal immigrants realize California is too expensive to live in. And I won't mention our state government's attitude toward illegal immigrants, along with policies like catch-and-release. People might want to Google "Kate Steinle".
  9. Environmentalism. The attitude from our political, social, and cultural leaders that California is going to save the planet. This has reached absurd levels in California including the state government. Yet, ironically, if Californians chase industries out of California, then (for instance) companies with factories will move their factories from California to, say, China or Mexico, where these companies don't have to follow as many regulations, where their factories are powered by coal rather than natural gas like in California. Ironically this worsens the environment! But our state government is too busy virtue-signaling and/or genuflecting at the altar of the green religion to realize their policies may lead to some bad unintended consequences for planet Earth if their own assumptions are true.
  10. Disappearing middle class. Californians in the middle class are being squeezed out. Our state government doesn't care about saving middle class jobs as much as it cares about satisfying the elites who are mostly political progressives (e.g. diverting rivers to save the environment but leaving communities and industries with less water supply and more expensive water supply). By and large, our politicians are economically ignorant. Californian politicians think they can just increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour and unionize workers so they get great benefits, etc., and all this will fix everything. No, this will more likely make jobs disappear. More and more, the only people who are still able to afford to live in California are the elites who are rich (e.g. Silicon Valley techies, Hollywood execs, many professors at top universities, many political leaders), public sector employees who get good retirement pensions compared to most Californians, and people who were able to come in when California was still affordable (c. 1980s). For example, Joel Kotkin has discussed this in his series on Californian feudalism. By the way, Kotkin is not a conservative. He's an older generation pro-working class and pro-business Democrat.
  11. 700,000. Approximately 700,000 people left California in 2019 alone. That's more than the entire population of Wyoming or Vermont. That's about equal to the entire population of Washington, DC. That's just shy of the entire population of Alaska or North Dakota. This marked the 7th straight year that more people left California than moved to California. The top 3 reasons given for moving out of California are property costs are too high, taxes are too high, and politics. Granted, this trend isn't necessarily a con, but it may be worth watching.
  12. Investments. California is by far the biggest state in terms of its economy, but it's only #7 in terms of investments, i.e., people investing in the state. The majority of investors are people with surplus money too. And the biggest group of investors are (or were, pre-pandemic) the mainland Chinese. For example, roughly 75% of all new real estate purchases in affluent Orange County cities like Irvine are (or were) purchased by mainland Chinese.
  13. Businesses. Several notable businesses have already left or are planning to leave California. This means taking away millions of dollars of annual revenue and scores of employees with them. This may hurt California's economy and economic prospects. Ben Shapiro moved The Daily Wire to Nashville, though he moved his family to South Florida. Joe Rogan took the JRE to Austin. Elon Musk looks like he'll move Tesla to Texas. Other companies that have already left or are leaving California: Toyota, Charles Schwab, Jamba Juice, Lyft, Uber, Panasonic, Abbott Laboratories, Core-Mark, Pandora.
  14. Pensions. There's a coming public pension crisis in California. California has hundreds of billions of dollars if not $1 trillion dollars in pension debt. Ultimately California's politicians and public employees will face a crisis once enough pensions aren't able to be paid. But until that happens, our politicians will continue to think it's fine to keep raising taxes and increasing regulations.
  15. One-party state. California is in effect a one-party state. A one party state with the Democrats deciding what's best for everyone in the state. The California state legislature has been (vastly) majority Democrat since the mid-1990s. Currently there are 61 Democrats and 18 Republicans in the House and 29 Democrats and 11 Republicans in the Senate. The governors of California have all been Democrats since Pete Wilson in the 1990s. Technically Arnold Schwarzenegger was a Republican, but he's really more moderate at best. He didn't stand for core conservative values. He leaned left on a lot of significant issues. Besides, even as governor, Arnold wasn't able to get much done largely due to the Democratic legislature. So for 20-25 years - nearly a quarter of a century! - California has been governed by Democrats. And it's the same for most major cities in California with Democrats governing these cities for years and years. And it doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon! Perhaps some would argue there's nothing wrong with one party states, but I'll leave this aside for now. The more pertinent question is what have Democrats done for California in the decades they've been running the state? I mean, it'd be one thing if Democrats did good for the state, but have they?
  16. Double standards. The blatant double standards and hypocrisy of California's political leaders and other progressives in the state. Why should average Californians be forbidden to attend dinners over the holidays with their friends and families even if they take every precaution? Or religious Californians forbidden to gather to worship in churches or synagogues? Or small businesses such as restaurants be forced by the state to close their doors during the pandemic? Yet Governor Gavin Newsom and his friends can dine at the posh French Laundry restaurant. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is fine to get her hair done at a SF hair salon. And Antifa and BLM are allowed to hold mass protests on the streets that the mainstream media reports is supposedly "peaceful", they're respecting social distancing mandates, and so on. Of course, anyone with eyes can see they're not peaceful nor respecting social distancing and large gathering mandates. It's clearly a double standard. And our state's political leaders not only allow it but proudly support it.
  17. Progressive ideology. I think this is the root problem. As already alluded, California is increasingly governed by progressive ideology. This isn't a state secret; it's out in the open. It's all about accomplishing the social justice agenda, to right perceived wrongs in society, rather than to do what's best for Californians.


  1. I was in Irvine for about two years. Now I'm (back) in Texas. My mortgage + home insurance + property taxes is...a little less than what I was paying for a 2 bedroom apartment in Irvine, CA. And it wasn't even one of the really expensive places. (Granted, the down payment was a doozy...). There would have been a lot of good pros for staying, like so many jobs in such a small area.

    I also really like it that amongst the 50 US states, the one that tried to legalize discrimination based on race was...California.

    1. Thanks, TFC! Very interesting! For about the same cost, or a little less, you get to own your place! I've been to Irvine many times. The Irvine Spectrum is nice, fun to spend a day at, but expensive. A lot of good companies in and around Irvine. I hate driving on the 405 and 5 though. Lol. I've been to a few places in Texas too (i.e. Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio), but of course I don't know any of these places nearly as well as I know most places in California. Still I'm seriously considering moving to Texas someday. Probably somewhere in the DFW area if I do. Apart from the lower cost of living (including property), how do you like Texas overall? Hopefully lots of good (Reformed) churches? :)

    2. As long as you can survive the humidity and heat in the summer, you'll be fine (of course we're talking about what feels like most of the year here...). Also, Dallas area is at the bottom edge of Tornado Valley (did not know this until I moved, what fun). Houston is where you don't want to be if a hurricane heads to Texas. Or if it rains a little too much. It doesn't help a lot of it is in a flood plane. Austin is mini-California, complete with a mayor who told people to stay at home from Mexico and attempts to defund the police. Still a nice place, went to college there while missing out on most of the things available because I chose engineering (twice!) and not something like business or communications. And when people point out that there's no state income tax that the state does have tax revenue, so it's coming from somewhere (hint: property and sales).

      As far as churches, I can't speak to the quantity. The one I went to in Austin didn't have reformed in the name or say reformed, but it sounded like it. Haven't gone to one in DFW yet because I moved here a couple months. A friend recommended one that I'll start watching online.

    3. Thanks, TFC! This is helpful information. Now you've got me thinking about a pros/cons list for Texas. However, I don't know Texas very well, I've only visited a few times, so maybe this is wrong-headed. Please feel free to correct me, of course.

      * Friendly people. Lots of yes sir, yes ma'am, please, and thank yous. Most Texans holding the door open for people, coming around to introduce themselves to new neighbors, stopping their cars to come help another car on the roadside, etc. I'm not used to most of this as a Californian! I guess it's just a friendly culture that likes to lend a helping hand.
      * "Freedom" on multiple levels. I guess this is vague. But for example I felt at ease speaking my mind to Texans in general, even if they didn't agree with me, rather than being more guarded depending on the context in case I might accidentally say something "wrong".
      * A greater respect for the 2nd amendment.
      * No state income tax. This is huge. Saves thousands of dollars per year.
      * Sales taxes seem high, but I say this is a (slight) pro because they're still lower than California.
      * Affordable housing.
      * Good public schools.
      * It seems like there's a lot of employment in various sectors.
      * Texas is a right to work state.
      * Beautiful parks and lakes from what I've seen in DFW.
      * Zoning in DFW. By contrast, Houston seems to have virtually no zoning. But the zoning laws in DFW make DFW look much more organized, cleaner, and so forth.

      * Public transportation or transit (e.g. DART). Not sure if this is more pro or con. I'll say it's a wash. A car is still needed, just like California, but I suppose DART is better than SF's BART.
      * Food. I think both California (LA) and Texas (DFW) have good food, depending on what a person likes. I used to not like Tex Mex in comparison to the Mexican and other Latin American foods in California, but I think that's because I didn't go to the right places (e.g. Mia's Tex Mex). However, I absolutely love all sorts of BBQs and I haven't even gone to the famous BBQs (e.g. Pecan Lodge, Lockhart Smokehouse, the Slow Bone).

      * Dangerous creatures. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, black widows, brown recluse spiders, termites, fire ants, alligators. To be fair, California has rattlesnakes, black widows, mountain lions, coyotes, bears. Maybe this should be more neutral than con.
      * Weather. It's hard to beat California for weather. Fall seems the best of the seasons in Texas or at least DFW. Winter is cold (which I don't mind and often even like) but it could have freezing rain (which sounds scary). Spring seems mercurial with thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes; this sounds scary too, but I guess it's not necesssarily worse than earthquakes, fires, and mudslides in California. Summer seems hot and muggy, but I guess that's what the A/C is for!
      * Pollen. I hear it's bad.
      * Property taxes are high. I hear you can get a homestead exemption and perhaps other exemptions. I don't know if it's possible to contest your property taxes each year. I guess I need to look more into this.
      * Toll roads. I don't know how much people in DFW tend to pay for tolls per month, but I guess just get a job nearby where you live.
      * The gas and electricity bills seem very high. California charges a lot for gas and electrity, but our weather is mild, so we don't necessarily need to use the heater or A/C very much if we don't want. By contrast, it seems like Texas (DFW) would require the use of the heater in the winter months and A/C in the summer months. So at least like half the year.

    4. Your Texas list is pretty accurate overall. Fire ants and pollen for sure.

      I lived in San Antonio for several years, and I really liked it there. I've had occasions to visit California due to business several times, and I once took my entire family there from San Diego up through Frisco for our own "National Lampoon's Roadtrip". It was a hoot.

      Mostly my work took my into the Bay area, Modesto, and Silicon Valley. From a distance and from a non-native your California list looks spot on. Our pastor in SA was from LA and was a former staff member of J-Mac's at GCC so we would often talk about his life and experiences growing up in California, and of course he continues to return for family visits.

      One thing that didn't make your list of "pros" but should have is In-N-Out Burger. Just sayin'...

    5. Cool, thanks, CD! Good to know I'm not completely off. :) I have some family and friends in both DFW and San Antonio so these would probably be the two places I'd most want to live in in Texas. Good to know there are good churches. I guess I probably shouldn't be too concerned about finding a good church in Texas since most places (including DFW and San Antonio) probably have good churches. If anything, California is probably less likely to have good churches than Texas! :)

      Ah! Good call about In-N-Out! I forgot to include that. Although these days I think I tend to prefer The Habit for a fast food burger place in California. In-N-Out is still great though (but I'm obligated to say that as a Californian - just kidding!). Did you like In-N-Out better than Whataburger? I hear it's borderline sacrilege for a Texan to consider anything else! Lol. :)

      I used to live in the Bay Area and I've been to Silicon Valley many times too. It's an expensive place to live. But it's a place that sure could use more Christians. I'm afraid I can't say I much liked Modesto though.

    6. Oh yeah, In-N-Out is hands down better than Whataburger. Plus Whataburger sold a majority stake to a Chicago-based investment firm so they're dead to me as an adopted son of Texas.

      Our youngest was actually born while we lived in SA and even though we relo'd when he was like 2 years old he still fiercely self-identifies as a native Texan. It must be something in the water there!

    7. I didn't know that about Whataburger, but if they're dead to you, then they're dead to me too! And your youngest sounds like he's got a good head on his shoulders. You can take the kid out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the kid! :)

  2. Sydney is incredibly expensive.
    It's a big dark joke among all young people that we won't ever be able to afford a house ever.
    It's just hard when all our family and friends are in Sydney. To get away from the expense is to get away from your entire social life as you know it. You can't just hop one city over for work like it is in the US I believe.

    1. Wow. Sorry to hear this. Can anything be done to fix this?

  3. Hawk, if you want to discuss California, you can email me at [firstname] dot [lastname] using the gmail dot com domain. I may have some extra insights for you.

  4. Thanks for this. This is helpful as I'm planning on moving to California because my girlfriend lives there (Moreno Valley) and it's not likely she'll move to South Florida (Miami, Florida Keys area) with me since she has 5 kids in California and would be harder to move here than for me to go to California. I've told her some of my worries about to California (job-findig and renting). But I suppose that God will provide and her and I can be as wise as possible about this whole thing. I'm 25 btw.

    1. To be fair, Moreno Valley is located in the Inland Empire (Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario) and the Inland Empire is more affordable than Los Angeles, Orange County, or San Diego. So you'll get cheaper real estate (relative to other parts of California), but it's not typically what people think of when they think of California. You're about an hour east of Los Angeles and about 45 minutes to an hour away from Orange County. Cost of living is a little cheaper than LA or OC, but it's still California, so...

  5. It sounds horrible over there. BTW, where did your housing cost list come from? You characterised cost of housing in LA as relatively expensive and while I don’t doubt that relative assessment, I was surprised at how relatively (to me) cheap the housing prices you gave were. I’m in Sydney and it’s a great place, but the cost of housing really is over the top. I’ll probably have to move within 18 months (3 young girls getting bigger) and I expect I’ll have to pay AUD$1.5m - 1.75m for my next place

    1. Thanks, AMC! Sorry I probably should've cited my sources. I think I got most of the list by Googling "median multiple" for x city. Also, if I recall, I found a lot of the information on an older version of Demographia, but I notice there's a newer version here.

      Oh yeah, you're right the cost of housing is relative. I have a friends and acquaintances from places like London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong who have told me that Los Angeles is actually pretty affordable to them. Not only the cost of housing or real estate, but they tell me the general cost of living is quite affordable for them. So I guess if you're coming from an expensive city like Sydney or London, then Los Angeles won't seem that bad. Of course, for Americans, California is considered expensive in cost of housing and cost of living.

    2. By the way, I've heard horror stories about real estate in Sydney (and other places like Vancouver). Apparently a lot of rich mainland Chinese are buying tons of property for themselves or their kids and this is somehow contributing to rising real estate prices in those cities. I've seen it to an extent in Los Angeles too. I think when I grew up in LA, the Chinese used to be predominantly from Taiwan and Hong Kong which share democratic ideals with Americans, and also tended to be second or later generation so they're American. However, now there seem to be an increasing number of first generation Chinese immigrants who are from mainland China. This in turn has an impact on local communities such as culture (e.g. Asian cuisine).

    3. That reminds me, I took a stab at Mandarin (gave up, floundered on the pronunciation) while in California, and my teacher was from China. At one point he talked about how he didn't understand what the deal was with Taiwan. Didn't get why people didn't want to worry about being hauled away or killed at any time of the day. Oof. Granted, I'm sure he had been given a sugar-coated version of events.

    4. Oof indeed! I know a Chinese student who came to study abroad and actually became engrossed in a book about Tiananmen square that one of my family members had left out on a table in the living room. It wasn't anything special, mainly just photos with captions about Tiananmen square. However, this Chinese student had apparently never heard what Westerners said about Tiananmen square. He was really surprised about various events, kept asking if this or that was true, and so on. He told other Chinese student friends of his about it and they also came over and read the book, started researching more about Tiananmen square, etc. Each of the students seemed super surprised if not shocked by everything that was said about Tiananmen square in the West. I don't know whatever happened to them though.