Moving To California - 2022 Cost of Living & Relocation Tips

If given a chance, who wouldn’t like to pack everything and move to a place as complete as California, and why? The answer to the first part of the question is ‘no one’ which makes the second part irrelevant. Popularly known as the Golden State, California is the most populous and the third largest state (covering 163,695 square miles) in the US, only after Alaska and Texas. You might want to call it a land of immense opportunities since it’s home to almost 40 million people in the country and sees a lot of people moving in every year. Do you have a car? It will prove to be a lot more convenient if you do.

CALCULATE MY MOVE

The state is famous for its easy-going and relaxed people, diversity, a huge number of options for entertainment, food, awesome nightlife, and most importantly, its open spaces, stunning coastline, deserts, mountain ranges, and beautiful beaches. We can’t even blame you if you’re constantly thinking about the Golden Gate Bridge and Yosemite National Park. But if you’re moving to California, there are a lot more factors that you’ll need to consider. We’ve covered them all here!

Weather In California

Due to the wide-ranging geography in California, it experiences different types of weather throughout the year. It all depends on what you’re looking for and what suits you. California’s climate has something for everyone. Most part of the state experiences the Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The average daily temperature in the coastal areas is 70°F which could go up to 80°F on some days.

Places at short distances from each other could see dramatically different weather patterns. The state’s spring is warmer than its winter and its autumn is colder than the summer. In most parts of California, both spring and autumn are more pleasant and less humid than the summers.

Winters

The winter season lasts for around three months starting in December and ending in the early days of March. The average daily high temperature during this period is 52°F while the average daily low temperature is around 32°F. January is the coldest month of the year in California. If you’re a fan of snow, you might want to visit the mountains. Doesn’t matter which part of the state you’re in, you’ll find a number of exciting events and celebrations going on like New Year’s Eve parties.

Summers

The summer months are warm during the daytime while the evenings are cool and pleasant. California’s summer season lasts for more than three months stretching from June to mid-September. During this period, the average daily high temperature is around 80°F while the average daily low temperature is 68°F. July is California’s hottest month in the entire year with average high and low temperatures of 86°F and 71°F, respectively. The summer months are usually considered the best to roam around and dine out with friends and family.

Spring

The best time to visit some parts of the state is spring. The spring season in California is revered as one of the most beautiful times in the whole year. It lasts for about two months starting mid-March and ending sometime around mid-May. The average daily high temperature during spring is 62°F while the average daily low temperature is 46°F. The spring months are way more pleasant than the summer months with high temperatures.

Autumn

California’s autumn season lasts for approximately two months from mid-September to November. The northern region of the state experiences cooler temperatures than the southern areas. Since this is the time when grape harvesting is done, it would be a good idea to visit the wine regions. A lot of parts which are covered in fog during the summer months, finally see the sun and experience some of the sunniest days during these two months. The average daily high temperature during this period is 65°F and the average daily low temperature is 50°F. In addition to this, the temperatures in the desert areas drop from around 100°F to even 75°F.

CALCULATE MY MOVE

Transportation In California

Although the best way to move around California is known to be by personal car, this can be a bit difficult for quite a lot of people given the price of gas is extremely high in the state. While the average gas price in the country is $4 per gallon, it’s $5.28 per gallon in California. Apart from that, the cost of purchasing car insurance is also quite high in California. However, the state has numerous options to get from one place to another, so there is absolutely no need to worry about it.

Railways

Amtrak California: Probably the first name that comes to mind when you think about public transportation, Amtrak, along with the California Department of Transportation, runs three local networks of trains in the state. Each one of these routes has a huge number of trains running every day. There are many interstate networks in place as well like California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief, etc. The three local networks are:

  • Capitol Corridor connects San Francisco’s East Bay and San Jose with Davis and Sacramento throughout the day. Amtrak’s buses connect west to San Francisco, north to Auburn in the Gold Country, and east to Truckee and Nevada.
  • Pacific Surfliner trains run from San Diego in the south via Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo. You’ll get to enjoy some stunning coastal scenery on a number of routes.
  • San Joaquin runs between Bakersfield and Fresno connecting major cities of the Central Valley with the Bay Area. The bus networks include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and Yosemite National Park.

Los Angeles Metro Rail: Owned and operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the metro rail is made up of 6 lines (blue, gold, green, purple, red, and expo lines) and 93 stations. The total distance the metro rail covers in the state is169 km.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART): This is a heavy rail public transit system serving the San Francisco Bay Area. Operated by the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, BART is the fifth-busiest heavy rail rapid transit system in the United States serving 50 stations over a distance of 211 km.

Apart from these three networks, there is the San Francisco Cable Car System, Sacramento Regional Transit District, San Diego Trolley, Sprinter, and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority among others.

Roadways

Each and every county in California has its own local bus network. Some of the local bus transit networks only provide service in a specific city or county like the San Francisco Muni and the Orange County Transportation Authority. Others like the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System serve a specific region. There are service providers such as the Greyhound Bus Service and the Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach that facilitate intercity bus travel.

Airways

There are around 150 airports in California. The two biggest names are the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Some of the other cities you might be searching for are:

  • North California: San Jose International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and Monterey International Airport
  • Central California: Fresno Yosemite International Airport, Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, Sacramento International Airport, and San Luis Obispo Regional Airport
  • South California: San Diego Lindberg Field International Airport, Burbank Bob Hope Airport, Palm Springs International Airport, and Orange County Airport

Cost Of Living In California

Here comes perhaps the most important factor to focus on as soon as it comes to moving to another place. Since California is the most populous state in the US, it should not come as a surprise that the cost of living in the state is on the higher side, particularly in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. With quite a significant gap, California scores 138.5 on the cost of living index while the national average sits at 100.

The good news is the people’s high earnings in the state. The median household income in California is $75,235 which is higher than the national average.The average utility bill for the citizens of the US is $236 per month. California wins this one with an average utility bill of $212 for a month.

Job Market In California

First and foremost, California has the highest GDP ($3.12 trillion in 2021) among all the 50 states of the US. There are a plethora of industries in the state like agriculture, trade, tourism, entertainment, technology, manufacturing, and education that contribute to the growth of California. The San Francisco Bay Area is famous for being home to giants like Facebook, Google, Apple, and countless other companies and startups. California’s unemployment rate in April 2020 was a massive 16%. Things have turned around quite well for the state as it is down to just 3.7% in 2022.

According to the California Employment Development Department, the following professions have the maximum number of job openings:

  • Food servers
  • Personal care aides
  • Retail sales
  • Cashiers
  • General labor
  • Registered nurses
  • Office clerks

CALCULATE MY MOVE

Real Estate In California

Buying A House

Buying a house for yourself could be the biggest challenge you face while moving to California. According to Zillow, the median home value in the state is $745,200 which is the second-highest in the country only behind Hawaii. These home rates have seen an unbelievable increment of 20.5% in the last year (from 2021 to 2022). The gap between the state and the national average is huge as the median home value in the US is $325,677 which is less than half of California.

Renting A House

Since the cost of buying a house is quite high in California, you might want to consider the next best option and become a renter. The median rent in the state stands at $1,566 for an apartment with an average size of 1,020 square feet.

Crime Rate

The crime rate in California is almost at the same level as that of the US. According to NeighborhoodScout, California has violent and property crime rates of 4.40 and 21.30 per 1,000 residents, respectively. The national median for violent crimes is 4 while it is 19 for property crimes.

Education In California

California boasts top-quality educational institutions, the most important ones being the University of California, Stanford, California Institute of Technology, University of Southern, Pomona College, and the University of California-Berkeley. The state attracts vast numbers of students from different parts of the country and even the world because of its education options. With a total of 10 campuses and over 300,000 students, the University of California is one of the biggest universities in the US.

Time for a fun fact. 107 Nobel Prize winners have completed their education from the University of California’s Berkeley campus. How cool is that? But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t all the other educational programs for students with different interests.

Best Cities To Live In California

San Diego

Home to 1,409,573 people, San Diego considered one of the best cities to settle down in California. Due to the presence of a large naval base, the government is a top employer in the city. In addition, there are plenty more opportunities when it comes to employment in San Diego. With numerous bars and nightclubs all over, the nightlife in the city is to die for.

High quality of life, a great job market, and excellent education options make San Diego among the best livable cities not just in California, but in the entire country. The violent and property crime rates in San Diego are 3.88 and 18.10 per 1,000 residents, respectively which means it is better than both — California and the national average.

Median Home Value: $918,467

Monthly Median Rent: $2,332

Sacramento

With a population of 500,930, the capital city of California is among the first ones to consider living in because of its affordable housing as compared to the average in the state of California and most of the other cities. The economic development in the city offers exciting work opportunities for locals as well as newcomers. Sacramento has one of the best live music scenes in the entire state. The city has violent and property crime rates of 6.79 and 29.36 per 1,000 residents, respectively.

Median Home Value: $484,269

Monthly Median Rent: $1,764

Los Angeles

Do you know where the 2028 Summer Olympics are scheduled? It’s Los Angeles. The City Angels has a population of 3,966,936. It’s a paradise for all the hikers and bikers with mountains right next to the beautiful ocean. Any fans of Hollywood? With a number of studios, Los Angeles is also the heart of the country’s film and entertainment industry. Not just entertainment, the city has a healthy job market as well, particularly in the technology sector. Los Angeles has violent and property crime rates of 7.44 and 22.51 per 1,000 residents, respectively.

Median Home Value: $934,305

Monthly Median Rent: $2,563

San Francisco

The highlights of San Francisco, without a doubt, are the Golden Gate Bridge and the cable cars. There are ample job opportunities and high-quality educational institutions in San Francisco. In spite of the unbelievably high home prices, this city is one of the most loved and sought-after cities and it attracts people from all age groups. The city has violent and property crime rates of 5.63 and 45.09 per 1,000 residents, respectively.

Median Home Value: $1,545,059

Monthly Median Rent: $3,244

Also See: 10 Best Places to Live in California | Top rated Moving Companies In California

Our Take On California

Now that you have reached this section, we hope that you have gained a better understanding of the state of California if you’re interested in moving. It’s a place like no other, with different cultures, quality of life, scenic beauty, entertainment, transportation, education options, etc. While it’s a dream for many to settle down in California, the high cost of living is a major factor that stops them. If you sat through the entire article, hopefully, you won’t be facing that problem. Wishing you a great time ahead, whether you’re moving to California or not.

CALCULATE MY MOVE

FAQs On Moving To California

What Is California Famous For?

The most populated state in the US, California is famous for its beaches, surfing, Hollywood, wine, booming economy, great job market, educational institutes, nightlife, lip-smacking food, diverse cultures, natural beauty, and a lot more. The most famous cities in California are San Francisco and Los Angeles.

What Is The Crime Rate In California?

According to NeighborhoodScout, California has violent and property crime rates of 4.40 and 21.30 per 1,000 residents, respectively. The national median for violent crimes is 4 while it is 19 for property crimes. As you can see, the difference is not much.

Why is California So Expensive To Live In?

Since California is the most populous state in the country with nearly 40 million residents, this has led to an increase in demand. Thus not just the prices of homes and rent, but the cost of living and the cost of running businesses have also gone up.

See Also: Moving from Texas to California | Moving from New York to California | Cheap Movers: Top 10 Affordable Moving Companies In The USA | Moving From Florida To California

Written by


Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.