Moving Decisions: Is It Time to Leave Los Angeles, CA?

September 5, 2020

Did you know that Los Angelenos continue to exit the “Golden State” in record numbers? No longer “California Dreamin’,” they’ve grown weary of the pollution, traffic, crime, and annual wildfires.

Factors such as exorbitant real estate prices and the economic nightmare of the COVID-19 shutdown have only exacerbated an already bad situation. The pandemic has forced area residents to suffer big city inconveniences without any of the amenities.

Without the beaches, nightlife, restaurants, and concerts, LA living isn’t all that. Not sure if a move’s right for you?

Here’s what you need to know about the trend to leave Los Angeles and how to navigate a streamlined state-to-state move if you decide to make a change.

The Top Reasons People Are Leaving LA

Why are so many residents moving out of Los Angeles? While there are a wide variety of reasons people choose to relocate, they include:

  • Traffic
  • Pollution
  • Crime
  • Quality of life
  • The pandemic
  • The high cost of living
  • Real estate prices
  • Wildfires

As it turns out, life in the “City of Angels” has proven less than heavenly for many residents. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors and whether or not it’s time to find a new place to hang your halo.

LA’s Legendary Traffic

Los Angeles boasts the nation’s fifth-worst traffic. As a result, drivers spend more than 128 hours mired in gridlock traffic.

These delays come with negative economic consequences, including increased pollution rates, higher incidents of accidents, and time loss. All told, traffic contributes to $9.3 billion in losses annually or $1,800 per person.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much hope at the end of the tunnel. LA’s car ownership rates continue to increase, and the city doesn’t boast a safe, effective transportation system like NYC or DC.

To mitigate the problem, city officials have proposed a congestion pricing system. As can be imagined, the idea of tolling drivers is far from popular and could push more people towards an escape from the city.

Pollution: Breathing Uneasy in LA

The American Lung Association released its annual State of the Air report in April of this year. While their findings were far from groundbreaking, they provided more motivation to leave LA.

Southern California–more specifically Los Angeles and Long Beach–has the most polluted air in the United States. LA ranks number one for ozone and number four for particle pollution.

Both ozone and particulates are significant components of smog and the direct result of various factors, including:

  • The burning of fossil fuels
  • Manufacturing
  • Wildfires
  • Airplanes
  • Ships
  • Backyard grills

Most of the activities and events listed above aren’t unique to Los Angeles, so what gives? Unlike cities like Chicago and New York that get frequent wind and storms, LA weather proves temperate with stagnant air.

The “City of Angels” also sits in a geographic bowl prone to trapping pollution. No wonder this megapolis’s skyline often resembles chicken noodle soup without the wholesome goodness.

High levels of pollution lead to health problems such as heart disease and respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Pollution has even been implicated in increased COVID-19 death rates.

Crime Through the Roof in LA

Back in January 2020, crime rates had dropped in LA, and things were looking better. Then, COVID-19 hit, followed by a series of protests, some of which turned violent. This perfect storm of circumstances has caused crime to skyrocket in recent months.

By the first week of June, homicides had shot up 250 percent over the previous week, with a 56 percent rise in shootings. The LAPD didn’t specify whether the increase in crime is related to easing stay-at-home orders or nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

That said, studies now show that even as other forms of crime were coming down in the city due to the pandemic’s lockdown, homicides kept inching upwards. Between traffic, pollution, and crime, the enchantment of living in LA has subsided for many.

Quality of Life

Who is leaving California, and more specifically, LA? People from every demographic. That said, California’s young adults remain among the hardest hit when it comes to quality of life.

Factors such as traffic, pollution, and the high cost of living have brought with them a drop in Los Angelenos’ betterment. This fact proves especially true among those just starting out.

The city has seen point drops from year to year by residents rating their quality of life, especially among young adults. More than a quarter of the population (27 percent) worries about becoming homeless.

How the Pandemic Has Spurred Moving Out of State

What’s so great about living in LA? The beaches, nightlife, foodie scene, and incredible museums, for starters. Of course, coronavirus has brought all of these activities to a halt.

Like residents of other metropolises, many Los Angelenos have ended up trapped in small apartments, many levels off the ground due to stay-at-home orders. Simple acts like taking the elevator suddenly felt fraught with danger.

So, people have stayed shuttered inside without access to backyards, beaches, and parks. Many residents have grown burned out and tired of SoCal living devoid of its perks.

Moving to Another State to Avoid the High Cost of Living

Ask anybody who lives in LA, and they’ll tell you. Everything proves more expensive in Southland.

Utility bills come in at $146.42 for a 915-square-foot apartment. That’s more than NYC, San Diego, and San Francisco. Los Angelenos also shell out more for the internet at $62.77 versus $59.65 for New Yorkers.

We’ve already covered LA’s terrible traffic. Just know that gas prices make an already dismal situation downright tragic. The national average for gas is $2.88 per gallon versus $4.09 in LA, and it won’t get you very far when you’re idling in rush-hour congestion.

Dining out costs, on average, $10 more at a mid-range restaurant for two people and three courses. Groceries also prove more expensive. Los Angelenos pay $4.53 for a gallon of milk and $3.28 for a carton of eggs. The national average is $3.10 and $2.27.

Clothes prove more expensive, too. Jeans cost $6 more in LA, and business shoes see a $13 markup.

If that’s not enough, LA has some of the most expensive healthcare costs in the US. In the LA metro area, you’ll pay 22 percent more for healhtcare. And we haven’t even mentioned home and rental prices yet.

Relocating to Another State to Avoid Excessive Real Estate Prices

From 2000 to 2018, real estate values in LA shot up by more than 207.36 percent. That puts the median sale price of a home at $576,000. Rent also proves deliriously high.

Studio apartments go for $1,146 per month, one-bedroom units for $1,364, and two-bedroom units for $1,752. What will a three-bedroom apartment cost you in La-La Land? On average, $2,381 per month.

Hellish SoCal Wildfires

Here’s another reason so many are leaving California. Over the past few years, California has burned from late summer to early fall.

Many have been impacted in Los Angeles. Even the homes of celebrities like Gerard Butler, Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, and Neil Young have gone up in flames.

To make matters worse, wildfire season brings with it crippling air quality, rolling blackouts, and the fear of losing your household or even your life. Excessive heat, the Santa Ana winds, and lightning represent the perfect storm, with LA often suffering the aftermath.

Where Are Los Angelenos Relocating?

Now that you have a better sense of why people are getting out of La La Land in unprecedented numbers, let’s take a look at where they’re going.

Attractive destinations include:

  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Sacramento, California
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Austin, Texas

What’s so great about these destinations? For starters, these smaller cities come with dramatically less traffic, pollution, and crime. They also prove far more affordable.

The median home price is $273,000 in Phoenix, $337,000 in Sacramento, $290,535 in Las Vegas, and $318,000 in Austin. Rent also proves cheaper in Phoenix and Las Vegas by hundreds of dollars.

That said, Sacramento and Austin rental prices are approaching those of LA, so it makes more sense to buy in these cities.

Checklist for Moving Out of Los Angeles

Are you actively considering a relocation from SoCal to another state? If so, you’ll need to cross a variety of steps off your to-do list. These steps include:

  • Drawing up a budget for your move
  • Scoping out the city you’re interested in
  • Researching the job market of that city
  • Finding the neighborhoods where you’d consider living
  • Researching and purchasing a home
  • Hiring a moving company
  • Transferring your utilities
  • Moving your medical records over
  • Changing your address
  • Arranging automobile transport
  • Getting an updated driver’s license
  • Establishing a new residency
  • Registering your pet

By checking off the action items above, you’ll get better prepared for a state-to-state move. While moving ranks among the most stressful life events, finding yourself in a new city where your quality of life gets restored will make it well worth the hassle.

Car Moving: Los Angeles

When a big move comes our way, many of us spend our time focusing on packing personal belongings. While this is all well and good, don’t forget about other vital elements such as finding a reputable, reliable car hauling service to transport your vehicles.

Why let experts move your vehicle when you could drive it yourself? For some people, it’s the only option for moving multiple vehicles. For others, it frees them up to travel to their new home in a more desirable way than a road trip.

Going with car shippers also protects your vehicle from incurring wear and tear associated with hundreds (or even thousands) of unnecessary travel miles. Car transport could also save you money.

How? After you factor in gas prices, vehicle wear and tear, maintenance expenses, lodging, and food, you could find yourself holding a hefty bill. Add to this the peace of mind you’ll get by letting an expert handle this stress for you, and it’s priceless.

Are you ready to find out how affordable car transport can be? Obtain a complimentary, no-obligation quote on car shipping today.

Other Factors When It Comes to Car Shipping

What are some other compelling reasons you should consider a professional moving service? You and your family’s safety.

Did you know that 38,000 individuals die in traffic accidents on American roads each year? Or that 4.4 million receive debilitating injuries requiring medical intervention? Instead, hire a company to handle your car transport and save time, money, risk, and stress.

What about selling your current car and starting fresh with a vehicle purchase once you reach your new home? This approach tempts those who vastly overestimate the cost of shipping a car. Don’t make this mistake.

You stand to save tens of thousands of dollars by keeping your current ride and making arrangements to transport it. Find out more about whether to ship or sell your car.

Some people also feel hesitant to ship their investment-level car on an open carrier, and we couldn’t understand your hesitation more. You must understand that you’ve got many other options for your high-end vehicles.

For example, an enclosed carrier will protect your wheels from the elements and guarantee that your car, whether a classic Camaro or a luxury Lambo, arrives in mint condition. Learn more about open auto transport vs enclosed.

Leave Los Angeles and Move to a New State

If LA’s rampant crime, crazy traffic congestion, and nasty pollution have got you down, know you’ve got plenty of other options. You don’t have to watch your quality of life dwindle from year to year, even as property taxes continue to increase.

But you do need to make a plan to leave Los Angeles and then take concrete steps to move forward. Remember that there are many desirable, affordable communities in the US waiting to welcome you.

Locations like Las Vegas and Austin have weather comparable to Los Angeles. But they enjoy far less crime, pollution, and traffic. What’s more, you can get a lot more house for about $200,000 less than LA’s median home price.

Interested in learning more about how the interstate car shipping process works? Check out our top tips on how to ship your car to another state.