Having grown up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and lived there for 23 years, I can say firsthand as to why this city is not a good place to settle down and begin a life. Although, Los Angeles and LA county are of very diverse places – some close to the hills, some in the valley and some along the coast – the reasons I am about to mention are in one way or another consistent no matter where you are seeking to live in the area.
For this article I am using research from the internet, family, friends and personal experiences to provide an idea of why you shouldn’t move to Los Angeles.
1. Cost of Living
The cost of living has shot through the roof in LA county. According to rentcafe.com, the average cost of rent for a reasonable sized 800 sq. ft. apartment in LA is $2400 per month. Other apartment prices differ but typically most apartments have an asking price for $1500 and above.
Those that rent for less are also not very desirable to live in and if you find a decent looking apartment in a decent neighborhood, the asking price will almost assuredly be above $2000.
Going into the suburbs of LA, you will find similar asking prices. Along the coast in the South Bay, the average rent is still above $2000 for a decent apartment and you will rarely find an apartment cheaper than $1500. In the valley area, the rent hovers in the range of $1500- $2000. Also keep in mind that a lot of these places are densely populated so this means you are spending more money for less space.
For renting a house, it’s far more expensive. In an article published in the LA Weekly back in 2014, it was determined that you would need to have nearly an income of $100000 to rent a house in Los Angeles. Think of that number 7 years later as cost of living has gotten more expensive since then.
2. Skyrocketing Inflation
Inflation is increasing and it will only continue increasing. There is no middle ground anymore in Los Angeles. You will need a healthy source of income to live comfortably while you pay your $2000 rent. Prices for consumer goods are increasing as well a gas prices.
Last year, food prices increased 3.9 percent. Food away from home increased 4.1 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to the orange county register, rent in both LA and Orange counties went up 5.7% in the year of 2019, which was the highest percentage in 14 years in LA county.
Gas prices have always been higher than most places in LA County. Recently, ABC7 reported that gas prices in Los Angeles have risen to an average of $4 per gallon of unleaded fuel.
Because of the increasing inflation and prices of consumer goods, many families and individuals have to work long hours just to afford a decent life. I have met many people without a college degree that work two or three jobs to be able to afford rent and feed their families. Some work both day and night shifts just to pay rent. Even with a 50k annual income, you cannot live comfortably, as this will only be enough for the necessities of life.
I have one friend who is currently a college student. Right now he has no choice but to work two jobs both in the day and evening just to pay his rent. Minimum wage is also increasing in the state, soon to be raised to $15 in January, 2022. It remains to be seen whether or not this will increase inflation more in Los Angeles.
3. The Homeless
Among the once shining stars along the Hollywood walk of fame are dozens of homeless people who inhabit these faded streets. This is unfortunately not an uncommon thing to see in Los Angeles. Many times in bus stops, under freeways, on the sides of roads, in alleys you will find dozens of homeless people, sometimes even hundreds.
This may be uncomfortable for many people, especially those who are not used to seeing people in this condition. On top of this, with so many people living on the street, this often becomes a hazard to traffic as homeless people will walk out into traffic at any given moment. Some may also be struggling with mental health issues which can create a scary encounter so never walk alone, especially at night.
Because businesses are reluctant to service them with the use of their restrooms, the homeless will often use the bathroom in the street. This creates a stench in many parts of the city.
4. Crime and Gang Violence
Just like any city in the nation, Los Angeles has its share of crime and gang violence. When I was a boy growing up in San Gabriel a suburb of Los Angeles, I often would see people affiliated with gangs. One time we saw someone who was covered in blood walking through our driveway. He had survived a gang beating. My cell phone was stolen too once from someone who I thought was my friend. I found out later that that young boy was associated with gangs. This kind of thing is a common sight throughout Los Angeles. It still exists although statistics will show that crime rates have decreased.
A lot of it may still depend on what part of Los Angeles you choose to live in. Keeping your family and children away from the wrong crowd however may present a bigger challenge.
To begin, marijuana for recreational use is now legal in California. It is not uncommon to find a cannabis dispensary in your neighborhood. It is also easy to have it delivered to you just as you would an Amazon package. Many people smoke it in parks and also public places. Of course it depends on your personality, and this may be ok with you. However, for starts, Marijuana in Los Angeles is a thing.
Marijuana use happens to be a problem among LA county teens. In 2018, around 1,344 teens sought out treatment for marijuana use according to evolvetreatment.com. When I was growing up, we were taught during a lecture for the D.A.R.E program that Marijuana is addictive and its abuse can lead to use of deadlier substances. I had many friends in high school who were also addicted to marijuana to the point that it controlled their moods and ability to function in their schoolwork.
Today, the use of marijuana is accepted. As for other drugs, methamphetamine and opioids are also commonly abused in LA. It is common to see people on drugs in the street and even in some neighborhoods, depending where you are in the city.
Whether you are on the highway or on the streets, LA is dominated by traffic. Just as any city, traffic paints a solid picture of day to day life in Los Angeles. Many people commute to work by the freeway system and can spend as many as 2-3 hours getting to their destination each day.
The freeway system has for long been unable to sustain the growing population in Los Angeles. The metro rail system that is supposed connect all points of the city just doesn’t ultimately get you close enough to where you want to go sometimes. Commuting by bus can also be very time consuming and unpredictable.
Lastly, sports venues, LAX, shopping centers and business districts create huge traffic problems depending on the time of day or the event that is taking place. With so much traffic, the likelihood of being in an accident is increased.
8. No Seasons
If you are the kind of person who likes having Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer you won’t get that in Los Angeles. You will only have cool summer, warm summer and blistering hot summer. Winter is about as long as a couple of weeks in Los Angeles as the coldest temperature typically will drop into the high forties and it is also possible to have 70 degree weather in the middle of January.
9. No Precipitation
If you are someone who likes rain or snow, than LA is not the place for you. Los Angeles on average has about 14.93 inches of rainfall each year, but in recent years LA has seen many droughts in which very little rainfall has been had in the city and its surrounding suburbs. These droughts have led to many water regulations placed by the city.
Generally, rain is most common in February, March and April and even then it is few and far between. As for snow, the temperature is rarely cold enough to sustain snow. At most, you may get a thin sheet of ice on your windshield on a 48 degree morning in January. To simply put it, Los Angeles is not the place for winter goers.
Wildfires have become a regular occurrence in the city of Los Angeles. The peak of the fire season is July- November, but nearly every month of the year can produce a wildfire in Los Angeles. Many parts of LA are so dry that fires even start up in the brush on the sides of freeways from time to time, something I have seen on occasion.
Just last year the worst fire season in the history of LA was recorded according to the California Department of Forestry Protection. This essentially makes it a risk to live anywhere close to the hills where there is a lot of dry brush and fire hazards. Fires also spread very quickly in the area, and so if there is a fire, chances are that many more will follow.
Because the San Andreas fault line is directly under most of the city of Los Angeles, it is no secret that LA has become accustomed to earthquakes. Typically, every year it is common to feel earthquakes of a 4.0 magnitude. Scientists and officials by playing the law of averages, have been saying for years that a big one is bound to happen eventually.
According to earthquake authorities on earthquakeauthority.com have determined that there is a 75% chance of a 7.0 magnitude hitting southern California every 30 years.
12. Unreliable School System
If you are expecting Los Angeles school systems to encourage traditional values, it is very unlikely you will find it. Many teachers teach philosophies based on their political beliefs. Students are sometimes even discouraged from sharing their opinions in class.
In many of my experiences while in schools, teachers often could not maintain a classroom because students were misbehaving. The biggest problem is that there is very little moral guidance in public schools. Even in a secular way, there are not many moral guidelines given to students on how to be successful both socially and financially in their lives. Many students tend to leave school unprepared for the real world and on top of this, many students do not know how to discover their full potential.
13. Expensive College Tuition
Despite recent legislation to make community college free, some of the top schools in the region such as UCLA and USC are virtually impossible for most people to afford.
To begin, estimated total costs to attend school for 4 years at UCLA is $154,590 and $87,323 at USC. These are the costs for in-state students. For more affordable Cal State schools, the cost is still in above $20k. After aid, it would be generally a little under $10k.
Overall, costs are already so high for the education because the cost of living and practically everything else is very expensive. This makes it harder for a college student to study without working a full time job. This also affects academic performance and the likelihood that the student will be successful in college.
13. Problems Finding Unity
Los Angeles is a melting pot, but it is easy for people to stick with the community that matches their ethnic background. Typically you will hear terms like African- American neighborhood or Asian community. This is because those places are where people of those ethnic backgrounds live and work.
This has the potential to create racial tension and ethnic division as in many parts of Los Angeles you will rarely find neighborhoods that are of multiple ethnic backgrounds. Usually, sports and other cultural events has the power to unite the people of Los Angeles. Diversity is one of LA’s strengths, but still there is progress needed to be made to not feel like an outsider in some places.
A lot of people feel the need for speed in LA. Sometimes, this is because of the traffic system and being late to work. It can also be because of rush hour and the desire to get home as quick as possible. Whatever the reason, speeding is common and so are car accidents.
Another dangerous factor is that Los Angeles has many small and narrow streets and alleys. Many people do not mind traffic signs or speed limits, but will race through tight streets, increasing the likelihood of accidents and pedestrian fatalities.
15. Road Rage
Along with speeding, road rage is a common sight in LA communities. Many people have been followed by angry drivers, I myself included. Sometimes even the smallest mistakes could anger another driver to the point of wanting a fight to the death – ok maybe not that extreme. So, be careful how you drive in Los Angeles and do not cut someone off.
16. Graffiti and Vandalism
I am not talking about the popular street- art graffiti that artists paint on city walls and streets. I am talking about the vandalism graffiti that disfigures the city. Even art of times past such as murals painted to beautify Los Angeles have been blanketed with gang- related graffiti. It is not a pretty thing to look at. Everything from city walls to bus stops, bathrooms, windows, tables, parks and benches are frequently tattooed in graffiti, not as an form of art, but as a form of vandalism.
17. Patience is Vital
Above all, patience is the key to living in Los Angeles. Patience with traffic, patience with others, patience with finances and patience with yourself. It takes patience to go through every day life once you have the money to actually afford living here. So, if you do not have patience, don’t bother choosing LA.
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