Having matured in the outskirts of Los Angeles and resided there for a span of 23 years, I can personally attest to why this metropolis is not a favorable place to establish roots and embark upon a new life. Despite the wide-ranging array of locales within Los Angeles and LA County, including areas close to elevated terrain, nestled in valleys, or embracing coastal vistas, the underlying reasons I am about to outline exhibit a consistent nature, regardless of one’s specific residential aspirations in this region.
In crafting this article, I have drawn upon a synthesis of internet research, familial insights, anecdotes from acquaintances, and my own experiential recollections, all converging to paint a comprehensive picture of why relocating to Los Angeles may not be an advisable course of action.
The cost of existence has skyrocketed in LA county. As per rentcafe.com, the mean rental expense for a reasonably sized 800 sq. ft. apartment in LA is $2400 per month. Other dwelling prices vary, but typically most apartments have a listed price of $1500 and higher.
Residing in dwellings with lower rental fees is also not highly preferable, and if you chance upon a satisfactory-looking apartment in a respected neighborhood, the asking price will almost undoubtedly exceed $2000.
Exploring the outskirts of LA uncovers similar listed prices. Along the coastline in the South Bay, the mean rent still surpasses $2000 for a decent apartment, and it’s uncommon to discover one that is less expensive than $1500. In the valley area, rent fluctuates between $1500 and $2000. Furthermore, keep in mind that many of these locations are densely populated, leading to a greater expenditure for a reduced space.
Renting a house is considerably more costly. An article published in the LA Weekly in 2014 concluded that an income of nearly $100000 would be required to rent a house in Los Angeles. Ponder that figure seven years later as the cost of existence has risen further.
Rapidly Increasing Inflation
The cost of living in Los Angeles is witnessing an upward surge, with inflation rising and showing no signs of slowing down. Maintaining a comfortable lifestyle in the city now requires a substantial income to cover the escalating $2000 rent expenses. Additionally, the prices of consumer goods, including gasoline, are on the rise. In the previous year, food prices experienced a 3.9 percent increase, while food consumed outside the home saw a rise of 4.1 percent, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rent in both LA and Orange counties also surged by 5.7 percent in 2019, marking the highest percentage increase in 14 years in LA county, according to the Orange County Register.
Gasoline prices in LA County have consistently remained higher than in most other areas. A recent report by ABC7 highlighted that gas prices in Los Angeles have surged to an average of $4 per gallon for unleaded fuel.
As a result of the escalating inflation and rising costs of consumer goods, numerous families and individuals are compelled to work extensive hours in order to afford a modest standard of living. I have encountered numerous individuals lacking a college degree who work multiple jobs to cover their rent and provide for their families. Some even juggle day and night shifts solely to meet their rental obligations. However, even with an annual income of $50,000, living comfortably remains out of reach, as this amount merely covers basic necessities.
I have a college student friend who presently finds himself with no alternative but to juggle two jobs, both during the day and evening, solely to cover his rent. Additionally, the minimum wage in the state is set to rise to $15 in January 2022. The implications of this increase on inflation in Los Angeles are yet to be determined.
People without Homes
Among the formerly illustrious celebrities adorning the faded thoroughfares, numerous destitute individuals now occupy these faded thoroughfares. Regrettably, this has become not a commonplace sight in Los Angeles. Frequently, at bus stops, beneath highways, along roadways, and within alleyways, one will encounter scores of homeless individuals, sometimes even in the hundreds.
This situation can prove disconcerting for many, particularly those unaccustomed to witnessing individuals in such circumstances. Moreover, with a substantial homeless population, it often poses a traffic hazard as these individuals may unpredictably venture into the flow of vehicles. Additionally, some may grapple with mental health challenges, leading to potentially alarming encounters. Consequently, it is advisable to avoid walking alone, particularly during nighttime.
Given that establishments exhibit reluctance in granting access to their restroom facilities, the homeless population often resorts to utilizing the streets for their sanitary needs. Consequently, this has engendered unpleasant odors in various parts of the city.
High Crime Rate and Gang War
Similar to any urban center in the country, Los Angeles experiences its fair share of criminal activity and gang-related violence. During my childhood in San Gabriel, a suburb of Los Angeles, I frequently encountered individuals affiliated with gangs. On one occasion, we witnessed a person drenched in blood traversing our driveway, having endured a gang assault. Furthermore, I fell victim to theft when my supposed friend, who I later discovered had ties to gangs, stole my mobile phone. Such occurrences are commonplace throughout Los Angeles, despite statistical indications of declining crime rates.
The issue of negative influences and the need to protect loved ones in Los Angeles varies greatly depending on the specific neighborhood one chooses to live in. Certain neighborhoods may have higher rates of crime, gang activity, or drug-related issues, making it more challenging to ensure the safety and well-being of loved ones. Navigating through these environments and safeguarding loved ones from negative influences can be a significant and ongoing challenge, requiring proactive measures, community support, and a strong sense of awareness and vigilance.
Drugs and Drug Addicts
To commence, the legalization of recreational cannabis in California has become a reality. Encountering a cannabis dispensary in your vicinity is a frequent occurrence. Moreover, obtaining it via delivery services is as convenient as receiving an Amazon package. Numerous individuals indulge in smoking it within parks and public spaces. Naturally, the acceptability of this practice relies on personal preferences, and it may align with your inclinations. Nonetheless, the presence of cannabis in Los Angeles is a prevailing phenomenon.
Marijuana utilization presents a concern among adolescents residing in LA County. In 2018, approximately 1,344 teenagers actively sought treatment for marijuana dependency, as reported by evolvetreatment.com. During my upbringing, the instruction program imparted knowledge that cannabis is both addictive and can potentially pave the way for the usage of more lethal substances. Many of my high school friends were ensnared by marijuana addiction, which severely impacted their emotional states and hindered their academic performance.
In present times, marijuana consumption has gained acceptance. However, the misuse of other substances, such as methamphetamine and opiate drugs, remains a prevalent issue in LA. Observing individuals under the influence of drugs in public spaces and specific neighborhoods within the city is not an uncommon occurrence.
Traffic Congestion and Bustling Roads
Navigating through the bustling streets of Los Angeles, whether on the expressways or local roads, is a constant battle against congestion. Like in any major city, traffic congestion serves as a vivid reflection of everyday existence in LA. Countless individuals endure long commutes, spending a significant chunk of their day, often two to three hours, traveling on the freeway network just to reach their workplaces. The city’s sprawling nature and high population contribute to the persistent traffic challenges, necessitating careful planning and patience to navigate the congested roadways and maintain a semblance of efficiency in one’s daily routine.
The freeway infrastructure has long struggled to accommodate the burgeoning population in Los Angeles. Despite the presence of the metro rail system intended to interconnect all corners of the city, it often falls short of providing convenient access to desired destinations. Commuting by bus can also prove arduous and subject to unpredictable delays.
Furthermore, sports arenas, LAX, shopping centers, and business hubs contribute to significant traffic issues, particularly during peak hours or when events are underway. Given the extensive congestion, the probability of being involved in an accident is heightened.
Seasonsless – Hot and Scorching Summer, Least Winter
If you are someone who enjoys experiencing Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer, you won’t find that variety in Los Angeles. Instead, you will encounter mild summer, hot summer, and scorching summer. Winter in Los Angeles lasts only a short duration, usually a couple of weeks, with the coldest temperature typically reaching the upper forties. It is even feasible to have 70-degree weather in the midst of first month of the year.
While Los Angeles offers plenty of sunshine and warm weather, the absence of dramatic seasonal shifts can leave some individuals longing for the traditional cycle of nature’s changes. It’s worth considering whether the trade-off of year-round warmth is worth sacrificing the diverse and transformative beauty that comes with experiencing distinct seasons.
Lack of Rain, More Drought
If you are an individual who appreciates precipitation in the form of rain or snow, then Los Angeles may not be the ideal location for you. On average, Los Angeles receives approximately 14.93 inches of rainfall per year, but in recent years, the city has experienced prolonged periods of drought with minimal rainfall in the city and its neighboring outskirts. These droughts have necessitated the implementation of various water regulations by the city.
Typically, the months of February, March, and April see the highest occurrence of rainfall, albeit infrequent. As for snow, the temperature rarely drops low enough to support snowfall. At most, you may encounter a thin layer of ice on your car windshield during a 48-degree morning in January. In simple terms, Los Angeles is not an ideal destination for those seeking a winter wonderland.
Wildfires, a Frequent Phenomenon
Wildfires have become a frequent phenomenon in the LA metropolis. The peak period for it spans from July to November, but the occurrence can be in almost every month of the year. In several dry areas of LA, fires even ignite in the vegetation alongside highways occasionally, which I have personally witnessed.
The California Department of Forestry Protection reveals just last year marked the most severe fire season ever recorded in the history of Los Angeles. As a result, residing in proximity to areas of hills, where dry vegetation and fire hazards are abundant, poses a significant risk. Fires also propagate rapidly in the region, increasing the likelihood of multiple subsequent fire incidents.
Earthquakes – Seismic Fault Just Beneath
Due to the presence of the San Andreas seismic fault running directly beneath a significant portion of Los Angeles, it is widely known that the city has grown accustomed to seismic activity. It is a regular occurrence to experience earthquakes with a magnitude around 4.0 on an annual basis. Based on statistical probabilities, experts and authorities have long asserted that a major earthquake is inevitable.
According to assessments conducted by earthquake experts at earthquakeauthority.com, Southern California faces a substantial risk of experiencing a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 or higher. The estimated probability of such an event occurring within a 30-year timeframe is approximately 75%. This statistic underscores the significant seismic activity and the potential for devastating earthquakes in the region.
Unreliable Schooling and Educational System
If you anticipate that the Los Angeles school systems will promote conventional moral principles, it is highly improbable that you will encounter such an environment. Numerous educators impart teachings influenced by their political ideologies. There are instances where students are even dissuaded from expressing their viewpoints in the classroom.
Based on my personal experiences within educational institutions, instructors often struggle to maintain order due to student misconduct. The lack of substantial moral instructions in public schools poses a significant challenge. Even from a secular perspective, students receive minimal guidance on how to achieve social and economical success in their lives. Consequently, many students depart from school ill-prepared for the realities of the world, and a considerable number struggle to explore and unleash their maximum capabilities.
College Tuition Fees Extremely High
Despite recent laws to make junior college free, it remains extremely challenging for most people to financially manage attending top schools in the region such as UCLA and USC.
To start, the approximated overall expenses for a 4-year enrollment at UCLA are $154,590, and at USC, it is $87,323 for resident students. Even the comparatively less expensive California State universities still have costs above $20k. With financial support, the expenses generally fall a little below $10k.
Overall, the costs are already highly expensive for higher education due to the highly costly living expenses and practically everything else. This makes it more difficult for university students to pursue their education without engaging in full-time employment. This also impacts educational achievement and the probability of achieving success in college.
Problems Finding Unity
Los Angeles is a diverse city, but individuals often gravitate towards communities that align with their ethnic heritage. It is common to come across terms like African-American neighborhood or Asian community, indicating areas where individuals of those specific ethnic backgrounds reside and engage in daily activities.
This situation has the potential to generate racial strife and ethnic segregation, as it is rare to find neighborhoods in Los Angeles that encompass multiple ethnicities. However, events like sports and cultural gatherings possess the ability to bring the people of Los Angeles together. While diversity is considered one of LA’s strengths, there is still work to be done to ensure that individuals do not feel like outsiders in certain areas.
Speeding of Vehicles During Rush Hours
Many individuals have a strong urge for velocity in Los Angeles. At times, this arises from the congestion on the road and the urgency to reach work punctually. It can also stem from the rush hour gridlock and the yearning to return home swiftly. Irrespective of the cause, excessive speed is prevalent, and so are automobile collisions.
Another perilous aspect is that Los Angeles comprises numerous diminutive and narrow thoroughfares and passageways. Numerous individuals pay little attention to traffic signs or speed restrictions, instead, they engage in races through confined streets, amplifying the probability of accidents and pedestrian fatalities.
Road Rage, a Common Phenonmenon
In addition to excessive speeding, aggressive driving is a prevalent occurrence in the communities of Los Angeles. Numerous individuals, including myself, have encountered situations where enraged drivers have pursued us. Even the slightest errors on the road can enrage another driver to the extent of desiring confrontation – although perhaps not to the point of a life-or-death battle. Hence, it is crucial to exercise caution while driving in Los Angeles and refrain from abruptly cutting off other vehicles.
The aggressive driving culture in Los Angeles extends beyond confrontations on the road. It often manifests in the form of honking, shouting, and even physical altercations. This aggressive behavior can create a tense atmosphere and add unnecessary stress to daily commutes. It is essential for drivers to maintain composure, follow traffic rules, and practice defensive driving techniques to mitigate the risks associated with aggressive driving. Additionally, fostering a culture of empathy and respect on the road can go a long way in reducing the instances of road rage and promoting safer driving habits in the city.
Graffiti and Vandalism Reveals Sense of Neglect and Decay
I am not referring to the renowned street-art graffiti created by artists on city walls and streets. Instead, I am addressing the malicious graffiti that defaces the city. Even historical artworks like murals, intended to enhance the beauty of Los Angeles, have been marred by gang-affiliated graffiti. It is an unsightly sight to behold. From city walls to bus stops, restrooms, windows, tables, parks, and benches, various surfaces are often adorned with graffiti, not as an artistic expression, but as an act of vandalism.
The proliferation of such malicious graffiti not only tarnishes the visual appeal of the city but also has broader implications. It fosters a sense of neglect and decay, negatively impacting the overall perception of neighborhoods and public spaces. This type of graffiti can contribute to a sense of insecurity and disorder, creating an environment that is less welcoming and inviting for both residents and visitors alike. Efforts to combat this form of vandalism and restore the beauty of Los Angeles require community involvement, public awareness, and proactive measures to deter and swiftly remove such defacement.
Patience is Vital with Traffic, Finance
Most importantly, endurance is the essential quality for residing in Los Angeles. Endurance with traffic, endurance with fellow individuals, endurance with economical matters, and endurance with oneself. It necessitates perseverance to navigate through the everyday routine once you possess the financial means to sustain your life here. Hence, if you lack endurance, it is best to abstain from selecting LA.
In addition to the need for endurance, the lack of distinct seasons and minimal precipitation further contribute to the challenges of living in Los Angeles. The absence of varied weather patterns and limited rainfall can diminish the overall experience for those who appreciate seasonal changes or enjoy precipitation in the form of rain or snow. Moreover, the prevalence of wildfires, exacerbated by dry conditions, adds to the environmental concerns in the region. These factors should be taken into consideration when evaluating the suitability of Los Angeles as a place to call home.
Verdict – My Opinion
Los Angeles presents a myriad of challenges and drawbacks that can deter individuals seeking to build a new life. The city’s high cost of living, coupled with escalating inflation, poses significant financial burdens for residents. Additionally, the prevalent issue of homelessness remains a pressing concern, impacting both the quality of life and the overall social fabric of the city. The presence of crime and gang violence, along with drug-related problems, further contribute to an atmosphere of insecurity and unease.
Moreover, Los Angeles is notorious for its traffic congestion, which can lead to long commutes and increased stress levels for its inhabitants. The lack of distinct seasons, while appealing to some, can leave others yearning for a more diverse climate. The constant threat of wildfires and earthquakes adds another layer of uncertainty and potential danger to daily life. The city’s unreliable school system, coupled with the high cost of college tuition, presents challenges for families and individuals seeking quality education and higher learning opportunities.