San Diego locals get the beach year-round, access to excellent ice cream shops and they are close to Lego Land and Sea World. But, what reasons are there for you not to move there?
This is a given considering it is a very popular city and county in California. When I was in high school, the minimum wage was $12.50, and that was in 2018-2020. It is going to feel like your paycheck goes immediately towards utilities, rent, gas (for cars), and groceries, leaving little room for fun.
2. Homeless Population
The State of California has a high homeless population, and in the heart of San Diego, homeless people are everywhere. A count in 2020 found that over 7,600 San Diego County residents were homeless, meaning that they were on the streets, living in cars, shelters, and tents. It is not uncommon to see random groups of tents set up that have people living there who are homeless. (Source)
(Tip: If you want to help, try making care packages with a toothbrush, food, socks, deodorant, and other helpful items to give to them. You can keep them in your car and hand them out at stoplights. Giving them money does not always work. Those who struggle with drugs will be heavily tempted to go back and buy more. There are some better alternatives to helping that doesn’t include giving them cash, so try those options if possible.)
3. School Districts
There are some schools that have great facilities like a pool, football field, and a nice theatre, but they are rare. However, school districts are close-minded and there are some teachers that should be fired but are tenured, so the education system is suffering. Plus, there are teachers who leave the public schools the private schools so that they can be paid better and have students who act appropriately.
It is also common for police to bring dogs into high school to sniff for drugs, which tells you something about the drugs in San Diego high schools.
4. Political Affiliation
The mayor of San Diego is Todd Gloria, who is part of the democratic party. This doesn’t bother people that are part of the same party, but those of different political affiliations might find it problematic.
If you don’t lean left in political standing, then you should know the county’s general political view. But, the state of California is democratic, so it is no surprise that their counties and cities often are as well.
5. Crime Rates
So far in 2022, from January till March the total crimes ranging from theft to murder, there have been 2,865 crimes committed. Most crimes are motor vehicle theft, general theft (both under and over $400), and violent crime. For more detailed information, San Diego County has many of its police reports posted.
There are so many tourists in Southern California, including San Diego. When I moved into the area, it was during the summer so when we went to church on Sunday, everyone thought we were visiting. We tried to make friends, but it was hard because most people would be gone by the next Sunday, as they were tourists rather than residents.
Basically, there are a lot of tourists and the beaches are packed in the summer and don’t get me started on how packed beaches are on the Fourth of July because if you are not there in the morning then you will not get onto the beach. They block the roads to the beach to prevent too much traffic.
(Pro Tip: Oceanside has its city’s birthday on July 3rd, so they do their fireworks one day ahead. People from neighboring cities come for those fireworks, then everyone goes to the other cities for the Fourth of July fireworks the next day.)
7. Packed Beaches
Surfing is a year-round sport, especially in San Diego County. If you look at a map of the world, you will see that San Diego County is very close to the equator, so they have tropical weather year-round. It is very similar to Hawaii weather-wise, but the water is cold. The water along California’s coast comes down from Antarctica, so it is cold.
The summer is the best time to enjoy the water, but by then it is so packed and locals tend to avoid it if possible. Though, if you are a local you can get a local’s parking pass for the beach, which is cheaper than paying for parking each day you go during the year.
Traffic has to always be accounted for when driving anywhere. Many people live in San Diego County but work in the heart of San Diego the city, so it is common to commute 30-60 minutes. But, that number jumps with traffic. You could be 10 minutes away from home, but it ends up taking you 30 minutes to get home. I don’t think anyone knows if the traffic causes the accidents or if the accidents cause traffic.
9. No Seasons
There is a price to pay for stationary weather, and that is you never get seasons. After living there for so long, moving and visiting other cities and states is crazy. Seeing trees change color in the fall and seeing the growth of flowers in the spring is crazy and extremely cool.
After living in San Diego county for long enough, you can become numb to the beauty because there are no changes to notice. Personally, I think that the change in seasons can make you more grateful and more appreciative of the earth compared to living in a beautiful place that never changes.
10. Not Always Sunny
You might think that because it is San Diego that it is sunny and bright all the time. That is not the case! The sun is often covered by clouds. So, though the high is 75 degrees Fahrenheit, it feels colder because the sun is not shining and the wind is blowing.
Also, if you move from the desert to this area, every day can feel cold to you until you get used to the weather. The sun shines in July and August the most, and the rest of the year is pretty gloomy. Locals call June “June Gloom” because even though it’s summer, it doesn’t feel like it because of the clouds.
11. High State Tax
State Tax in California is 7.25%, need I say more? Almost 10% of your paycheck gets cut, so you definitely have to account for that before moving there. Go to excel, create a calculator that has your monthly income, and subtract the estimated numbers. Subtract utilities, rent, gas for your car, taxes (state and federal), insurance, groceries, phone bill, and more.
See what you will be left with each month and determine if Southern California is meant for you. If it doesn’t work logistically, then you simply shouldn’t move to San Diego, California.
12. No Space
It is hard to park in San Diego County. Beach parking? Not available during the summer unless it is the early morning is late evening. Parking near stores? That’s really hard to get as well. Parking for apartment living is going to be extremely tight, and it can be hard to have visitors because they have trouble finding parking.
Also, the houses are so close together. You will share a fence with multiple houses, behind and on the sides of you. Your windows look into the side of their house or into a window. And, backyards are typically small. The closer you are to the shore, the more expensive the property and the tighter the fit will be.
13. Poor Public Transportation Options
There are buses, but only a few. There are also trains, but they can be sketchy because train stations can have homeless people using benches and shade. Plus, a train won’t take you exactly where you need to go, so if you use the train, you will have to use the bus as well. There are electric scooters, but those can be expensive to rent for an hour.
If you don’t want to drive or you don’t have a car, then a bike might be a good option. But, biking next to cars can be intimidating and is not the safest option because of how many cars are on the road.
14. Earthquakes and Wildfires
California is known to be dry despite being next to the ocean. This is a huge cause for wildfires that spread rapidly and take a lot of time to put out. Those who have lived in the area where a wildfire has occurred will know how the sky turns red and ashy, pretty scary.
California is also known to experience earthquakes. This can be scary, and some fear that an earthquake will happen underwater, which if you don’t know is the cause of a tsunami. So, some scary natural disasters have the possibility of occurring in Southern California, and some do occur.
Earthquakes can be harmless, but you never know. There are many fault lines in California, and they can either cause a small earthquake or a large one that causes a lot of destruction. There haven’t been huge earthquakes there for a long time, but they are always a possibility.
It can get pretty humid in the Southern California/San Diego County area. The humidity can make the heat feel hotter and can make the cold feel colder. You also can feel like you sweat a lot, but it comes from the humidity. Some people don’t mind it, others hate it. So, this might not be a deal-breaker, but it is something to be aware of.
16. No A/C
You read that right, there is no air conditioning in San Diego. You will have them in stores and public buildings or offices, but most homes do not have A/C. If you do have A/C, then it is expensive to run. But, the weather is pretty good year-round, so you don’t need it.
It just becomes uncomfortable during July and August when the temperatures get high, and typically there are 1-2 weeks that are very high temperatures. Then, the weather goes back down and declines during the fall, then you get colder temperatures in winter and spring.
This often comes as a shock for those moving to San Diego, but you will adjust well after some weeks or months. One life hack is to be friends with someone who has A/C and hang out at their place during those really hot days.
17. Rodents and Palm Trees
Palm trees are so pretty and have a tropical feeling, right? Well, did you know they are a hassle to have? They have to be trimmed by people who specialize in it because they wear large share-pole-looking things on their shoes so they can climb up the tree. It doesn’t have to be done often, but it is an unexpected and strange expense to have when you move somewhere.
Also, palm trees do not provide any shade. Palm trees may be pretty, but they aren’t functional and can be a hassle to maintain.
Palm trees drop large seeds and they end up everywhere. They also get taken by rodents and squirrels. Recently, my parents were having car problems and they didn’t know why. My dad had already gone to the shop and they told him nothing was wrong, he was about to go again but before going he popped the hood and inspected the engine. He looked in tight spaces and found those seeds.
What had happened was squirrels had buried them in the tight spots of the car’s engine to save them. He ended up picking all of them out and the car worked great.
Other rodents also like to bury themselves in cars at night, leave food, and they will eat the electrical components of the engine. They also like taking over the corners of your backyard, and rats are pretty common. So, if you don’t like dealing with rodents, don’t move to San Diego, California.
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