7 Shocking Truths Why People Won’t Move to California

California often stands as an enticing destination for those seeking sunny weather, beautiful beaches, a diverse culture, and a vibrant economy. However, not everyone is eager to embrace the Golden State, and some are even departing permanently. Uncover seven compelling reasons behind this trend, shedding light on the drawbacks of residing in California.

1. The High Cost of Living

A primary deterrent for potential residents is California’s exorbitant cost of living. In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that California’s prices for goods and services exceeded the national average by 15.5%. Housing, the most significant expense, is notoriously expensive and in short supply. In March 2021, the median home value in California was $635,500, significantly higher than the U.S. median of $266,104. Additionally, the state boasts the nation’s highest state income tax rate, ranging from 1% to 13.3%, alongside substantial sales and gas taxes.

2. Overpopulation and Congestion

Another deterrent is the high population density, resulting in congestion. With an estimated 39.5 million residents in 2020, California is the most populous state in the U.S. This density contributes to issues like traffic jams, pollution, noise, and fierce competition for resources. The state’s infrastructure, ranked 49th in the U.S. in 2021 by U.S. News & World Report, is plagued by poor commute times, road quality, and public transit.

3. Vulnerability to Natural Disasters

The heightened risk of natural disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires, floods, droughts, and landslides, is a significant factor. California, located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, experiences frequent seismic activity. The state’s susceptibility to wildfires reached a devastating peak in 2020, with over 4.2 million acres burned. Additionally, water shortages and droughts impact agriculture, wildlife, and human health.

4. Political Polarization and Instability

California’s political polarization is a turn-off for potential residents. Despite its liberal reputation, the state grapples with significant political divisions, especially between urban and rural areas. This divide sparks conflicts over taxes, immigration, health care, gun control, and environmental regulation, with some proposing secession or splitting the state.

5. Social Inequality

Social inequality and injustice in California, despite its wealth and diversity, present another significant hurdle. The state grapples with high poverty rates and income gaps, with a supplemental poverty rate of 17.2%, the highest in the nation when factoring in the cost of living. Educational, health, and opportunity disparities persist among different racial and ethnic groups and between the affluent and less privileged.

6. Environmental Degradation

California’s environmental challenges, including air and water pollution, land degradation, habitat loss, and climate change, deter potential residents. The state hosts some of the most polluted cities in the U.S., and environmental degradation threatens its natural beauty and biodiversity.

7. Cultural Complexity

The rich cultural diversity that defines California can be a double-edged sword. While it makes the state dynamic, some individuals may struggle to adapt and integrate, facing discrimination or feeling overwhelmed. For those seeking a more homogeneous and stable environment, California’s cultural complexity may prove challenging.


In conclusion, California’s allure does not resonate with everyone due to its economic, social, political, environmental, and cultural complexities. While these aspects pose challenges and disadvantages, they can also be perceived as opportunities and advantages by those who appreciate the state’s unique attributes. Ultimately, the decision to move to or away from California hinges on individual preferences, goals, and circumstances.

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