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Moving to California is a concept as American as apple pie. Here is a guide to make it more than just a dream. Advice for Moving to California Before moving to California, you should know one thing: there are a lot of people living here. At last count, more than 39 million. This isn’t to […]
Moving to California is a concept as American as apple pie. Here is a guide to make it more than just a dream.
Before moving to California, you should know one thing: there are a lot of people living here. At last count, more than 39 million. This isn’t to say that you’ll have to learn to fight for elbow room just to get around. In fact, there are many places in the state where you can lead a life with plenty of breathing (and elbow) room. And if you’re coming from a sizable metropolitan area elsewhere in the nation, you might not even notice much of a change.
If you’re moving to California and headed for one of the state’s bigger metro areas like San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego or Los Angeles, you’ll do well to arrange your schedule around the high probability of freeway traffic.
You’re not always guaranteed to run into gridlock, but the occasional traffic jam can even be found on Sunday nights. Here are a few insider tips to help make your move to California go smoothly:
Of the 366 officially defined metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) in the country, California alone holds 26, with four ranking in the top 20.
The majority of cities and towns in California are within one of the six major metropolitan areas in the state.
|Metropolitan Area||Approx. Population|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana||12.8 million|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont||4.3 million|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara||1.8 million|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario||4.2 million|
|San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos||3 million|
The median household income in California is approximately $61,000, which is above the national average of around $53,000.
Taken in this context, moving to the Golden State might seem like a smart financial move, however the high cost of living in California is one of the major factors to take into consideration before making that decision.
Home prices in California have begun to rise significantly over the course of the past few years after recovering from the recession. Today, the median price of a home in California is $479,000, but that figure isn’t representative of all areas of the state, some of which are even higher and others which are ripe for investing.
One of the first things you’re likely to encounter during your move to California is freeway traffic. California’s “car culture” and ever-growing population are the two main reasons for its seemingly overflowing roads and freeways.
Planning your move during non-holiday weekends is your best bet to encounter the least amount of traffic. If you’re moving to California during the week, plan on doing freeway driving between the hours of 9AM and 3PM when traffic is at its lightest.
If you’re unable to plan your move to precise hours such as these, consider adding an hour or two to your travel time to accommodate for regular to unusually heavy levels of freeway congestion, especially when in and around major cities.
Even though you may be throwing yourself into the lion’s den of traffic congestion by moving to California, the good news is that there are plenty of public transportation options for you to take advantage of once you settle in. Here are a few helpful public transportation links.
To say that California’s not a small state is a massive understatement.
If you were to hit the road on its southern tip just north of the Mexican border and head up in the direction of Oregon without stopping, it would take you about 15 hours to complete your trip.
That’s roughly 800 miles of road that can take you through deserts, forests, flatlands and mountainous terrain. Because of this variation in geography, it’s hard to know what kind of weather to expect when you’re moving to CA without nailing down a specific target area.
If you’re moving to California and have your sights set on a coastal life, you can expect warm summers and mild winters with average yearly temperatures ranging from the low 40s to the low 80s. Living further inland, things get a bit hotter in summer, and if your elevation is high enough, a bit snowier. As always, when you’re moving to California it’s critical that you plan your move with some foreknowledge of the weather at your destination so you can be adequately prepared for either blistering heat or slick conditions.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the weather in California by city:
Some of the more densely populated areas of California are known for occasionally heavy levels of smog as a result of overcrowded freeways. Statistics on daily air quality can be found by visiting the state-operated AIRNow website, which publishes a frequently updated Air Quality Index (AQI) that allows California residents to learn what their local air quality is on any given day.
Visit the following government websites for helpful information when moving to California. The vast resources on hand cover everything from vehicle and voter registration to state tax laws.
If you’re moving to California with kids, one of the first things you’ll want to look at is the quality of schools in the area. You may even decide to plan your move around the best possible educational opportunities for your kids.
California’s open enrollment policy allows for you to send your child to any school (including charter schools) within your home district, provided there’s enough room.
Here is a ranking of the top five best schools in California broken out by elementary, junior high and high school levels:
California also houses many of the top universities in the nation. Well-known private institutions such as Standford University and University of Southern California are ranked among the best in the United States. Public universities including University of California, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Irvine among the California State University branches are also prestigious institutions that can provide students with a more affordable education. Check out our scholarship search for more scholarship opportunities that help make higher education affordable.
Although California isn’t quite as steeped in history as some of the states that lie on the east coast, there’s still plenty of history to be found here—and it’s usually right beneath your feet.
Here are just a few of the state’s most interesting historical sites.
If history isn’t your thing and your interests lie in the here and now, there’s also plenty of that to be found by moving to CA.
A thriving cultural megalopolis with numerous huge metro areas, California has an abundance of riches when it comes to art and culture of Hispanic and Western American influence.
Not just limited to what you’ll find hanging on museum walls, that cultural influence can be seen, heard and even tasted.