Many people want to live in the city of Riverside, California. However, living in this city is not all sunshine and roses. We have listed 17 reasons why you shouldn’t move to Riverside, California below.
1. The Weather
While this may not be a negative for everyone looking to live there, the weather in Riverside, California is very much on the hot side. The hot season in Riverside lasts for 3 months and the average temperature during those months is over 89 degrees Fahrenheit. In August (Riverside’s hottest month), the average daily high temperature is 94 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you love experiencing four distinct seasons throughout the year, Riverside may also be disappointing for you simply because it gets hardly any snow, making it harder to distinguish between winter, spring, and fall.
It is usually hot all year round, meaning most months are barely distinguishable from the ones preceding them, at least in terms of weather. Not only that, but the summer is becoming longer and the winter becoming shorter in Riverside as the years go by. If you don’t like sweating every time you step outside, you may want to find a place to live that is a little colder!
2. Gang Activity
Gang violence and other types of gang activity have historically been a significant problem within Riverside itself and in the surrounding area. While perhaps not as prevalent as in some other Southern California cities and communities, it is still pervasive in some parts of Riverside.
Most recently, there was a large multi-agency drug bust in Riverside in which 17 people were arrested and thousands of dollars worth of drugs and weapons were confiscated. This was the result of a two-year investigation into a Riverside gang by multiple different government agencies. While this is good news for the safety of the community, the fact remains that the need for years-long gang investigations in Riverside does not paint the town in a positive light.
The number of homeless people living in Riverside County has increased by 15% over the past two years. Residents of Riverside report concerns about the growing problem, and the violence and lawlessness that accompanies it. Whereas homeless camps and such used to be largely limited to the downtown area in Riverside, they have spread to surrounding residential areas as the sheer number of homeless people has grown there.
There have also been recent problems with homeless camps in the riverbed in Riverside. Besides rampant drug abuse among the homeless populations there, fires have also been started and come dangerously close to setting ablaze various homes that border the river. However, there was a recent city ordinance made to address this, although there is still some controversy on whether or not anything is really being done to help homeless residents in the long term.
4. Drug Abuse
Riverside County has a significant drug abuse problem. Although it is not in the top quartile of counties in California in regards to drug deaths per hundred thousand persons, it is still in the 2nd highest. There were 23.1 drug-related deaths per 100,000 people in Riverside county from 2018 to 2020, a number which is higher than previously measured periods.
This means drug abuse in Riverside is likely increasing if these statistics reflect a common trend. This is a particularly worrying trend due to the increase in criminal behavior that often accompanies drug addictions.
5. Housing Prices
The typical value of a home in Riverside is about $646,347. Not only that, but the price of homes in Riverside has increased by over 22% in just the last year. These numbers are astronomical, and if you are someone who is not in the market for a massively expensive home, Riverside may not be the place for you. Not to mention, that if you buy now while the market is so inflated, you may risk having to live in Riverside longer than you may want to if you have to move for work or other opportunities because if home prices go down, you would have to sell at a loss.
The rent in Riverside is not cheap either. Your typical apartment there will set you back $2,167 a month, which is not exactly a bargain, although it is better than the rent you would typically pay anywhere in Orange County. For reference, the median rent in the U.S. as of now is $1,827 a month.
Traffic in Riverside is about what you would expect from a city its size in California: it’s horrible. It’s not quite as terrible as traffic in L.A., but it is still pretty bad.
7. The Public Transport Options are Lacking
While there is some public transportation available in Riverside, there is not a good set of robust transportation options there that some other cities boast. Many residents will tell you that if you want to get around in a timely and safe manner, you need a car of your own. There is a very limited rail line and a bus system, but neither is particularly nice it would seem.
Lacking public transportation is a pretty unfortunate position for a city the size of Riverside to be in, and it only makes some of the other issues on this list like traffic congestion and pollution that much worse.
8. There is a Significant Amount of Air Pollution in Riverside
While Riverside’s pollution may not be as serious as Salt Lake City’s during the winter or some of the even larger metropolitan areas in California like L.A. and San Francisco, it can still cause health problems for those with asthma, pets, and for children, and the elderly.
In fact, there are even names for it in the area, such as May Gray and June Gloom. There are plenty of other areas in the U.S.that you can live in that have a lot less pollution. It is certainly less endemic in a lot of other areas, even if it is mild in comparison to other cities.
9. There is a Significant Need for Renovation
In a survey of citizens of Riverside, almost 80 percent reported feeling like the city needed money to make a significant upgrade to the city’s critical infrastructure.
10. Increasing Frequency of Droughts in California
While this is not something entirely unique to just Riverside, it still is something to consider when looking at why you shouldn’t live in Riverside, California. While there is still water available for the most basic of needs during droughts, the fact remains that water usage usually becomes severely restricted when droughts occur.
Not only do you often have to give up watering your lawn, but even things as simple as taking a shower can become an expensive luxury when water prices are made higher by droughts. And it’s certainly likely that there will be many more droughts to come, and while they have been frequent in Riverside and surrounding areas up until this point, they are probably only going to become worse and occur more often so year by year.
11. Fire Risks
There is a significant risk of wildfires affecting your home in some way if you live in Riverside. Most of the area is at high fire risk for much of the year. While most of the time, this will really only be a bummer when you can’t launch fireworks on the Fourth of July, it can easily become a much more serious problem.
The Riverside Area has experienced several wildfires in years past. In July 2022, there was yet another wildfire, and it burned up over 40 acres of land. Even if your home doesn’t directly catch on fire as a result of forest fires in the area (although that has happened to many people in California), your family and pets can still be affected by the poor air quality that comes as a result of wildfires.
Even fires in other parts of the state can become your problem when the smoke and pollutants from the fire settle in the air of Riverside.
12. It Can Be Pretty Boring
Riverside, California is a relatively boring city, so if you enjoy going to clubs every night or going out at night in general, you don’t want to move to this city.
While Riverside sits next to a lot of places with a lot of great nightlife and landmarks and such, it isn’t necessarily the place to be when it comes to that sort of stuff. A lot of places need to be driven to, so unless you like spending a lot of time in traffic, you may not end up wanting to make the effort to get out of the house and drive around all the time.
13. It is Pretty Dense and the Population is Somewhat Transitory
Only 55% of residents of Riverside own their homes, compared to 45% who rent. While this is not a bad number at all for a city the size of Riverside, it is pretty low compared to some suburban communities, and much of Riverside is suburban.
An abundance of renters in an area compared to homeowners can sometimes leave areas feeling less well-established, as fewer people that live there tend to do so for longer periods of time. This can sometimes make areas feel less homey.
14. Certain Neighborhoods in Riverside are Nicer (and Safer) Than Others
While there are a lot of great suburbs in Riverside, the fact is that there are a lot of others that are run-down and unsafe. If you are going for a jog or bike ride or walk with your family in Riverside, you have to be careful not to end up in an area of town that is dangerous.
This can be a big drawback if you are the kind of person who enjoys exploring the city you live in. It is not as fun when you have to worry about turning down the wrong street and then ending up in danger. There are other cities in the U.S. that are overall more or less safe, and you can certainly just live out most of your life within the bubble of one area of Riverside if you do end up living there, but it is nice to live in a city where you feel relatively safe everywhere you go.
15. Jobs are Scarce (And They Don’t Even Pay That Well to Begin With)
Despite housing costs and the general cost of living being high in California, the availability of what most people would consider “good jobs” is sorely lacking. While unemployment is only slightly above the national average in Riverside, even when people do have jobs, less than half of them pay a living wage, meaning that people have to work multiple jobs to survive.
This can create a poor work-life balance that would make living in Riverside less enjoyable than somewhere with a lower cost of living. Not to mention that the traffic already makes commuting to work a hassle.
16. The Houses All Look the Same
While all the houses may not look completely the same in Riverside, they do look almost identical in many neighborhoods. Many of the neighborhoods in Riverside are relatively new if they are in one of the nicer areas of the city, and while this sounds nice, there is the drawback that many of them all look identical due to being constructed over a short period of time by contractors.
While they may look nice, many people enjoy the architectural flavor that unique homes can bequeath an area, and there is a certain sense of place and beauty that diverse architectural styles can bring to a community.
17. It’s Too Busy
If you enjoy a quiet sort of life, then Riverside may not be for you. Riverside is not Tokyo or New York, but it still has a ton of residents (over 300,000), and it has a lot of traffic, noise, and other things going on. The houses are packed pretty tight together, even in the suburbs. Living life at a slower pace can be hard there.