California as a state leads the nation in population size with a population of 39 million people in 2021. It’s also the most populated state in terms of people who live within its borders. Unfortunately, California is not just a highly populated state; it’s also one of the worst when it comes to quality of life.
California is plagued with many issues, including a high poverty rate, poor air quality, and a high cost of living. The poverty rate in California is at 16.4% with California having the highest poverty level of all states in the US.
California Is The Worst State To Live In
California has an expensive cost of living, with rent and housing prices skyrocketing in recent years. This makes it difficult for people to find affordable housing, which can lead to overcrowding, homelessness, and poverty.
California Taxes Are High
California has the highest income taxes in the country, the state average income tax rates is 11.9% in its highest tax bracket. It also has the highest sales taxes out of all 50 states, with an average of 8.6%.
California’s Unemployment Rate
California has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. The California unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in July 2022, higher than the national average of 3.7 percent.
One of the reasons for the high unemployment rates are the state minimum wage. California’s current minimum wage is $15 an hour for employers with more than 25 employees and $14.00/hr for employers with less than 25 employees. On January 1, 2023, the statewide minimum wage, regardless of the size of the company is rising to $15.50 an hour.
California Has Poor Education System
California schools were once the nation’s envy, now the state’s public schools rank 44th in the nation. With low test scores, poor graduation rates, and overcrowded classrooms, California is struggling to keep its students in school.
Schools are overcrowded, teachers are underpaid, and students often lack the resources they need to learn.
California Is Struggling With Pollution
California has some of the worst air quality in the country, with smog and other airborne pollutants often present in high concentrations. According to the American Lung Association report 2017, California is a leader in air pollution among other states, with the highest ozone levels.
The state has some of the most polluted cities in the US, including Los Angeles and San Diego.
Traffic Jams In California
The population of California is growing and that means more traffic. With so many people living in the state, traffic can be a major issue for commuters trying to get from point A to point B. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, Los Angeles is one of the most congested cities in the nation, with drivers spending an average of 81 hours a year stuck in traffic.
Crime In California
California has one of the highest crime rates in the nation, with crime rising including violent crime.
Homicides in California jumped 31 percent last year, making 2020 the deadliest year since 2007. The 2,202 homicides in 2020 represent an increase of 523 over 2019. Homicides in Los Angeles rose 40 percent to 332, and they rose 35 percent to 285 in San Francisco.
This is partly due to the fact that California’s district attorneys are too lenient on criminals, with many getting off on light sentences or probation.
California’s has also recently begun to shorten prison sentences, including violent felons, largely because of budgetary issues.
This is resulting in more dangerous criminals being released onto the streets and further contributing to the rise in crime.
California Shoplifting Laws
Under Penal Code 459.5 PC, California’s shoplifting laws make it a crime to enter an open business with the intent to steal any property worth up to $950. Shoplifting is misdemeanor offense meaning it’s considered a minor offense that can result in probation, fines, restitution to the victim, or jail time not exceeding 6 months.
Also law enforcement probably won’t bother to investigate, and if they do, prosecutors will let it go.
The internet is full of videos of people walking into stores and leaving with stolen items without security of shop attendants trying to stop them.
This is often because it is dangerous for staff to confront shoplifters and the crime may not be considered serious enough for law enforcement to bother with.
California’s Governor Newsom, recently signed a new law in which shoplifting is considered a felony only if it’s related to organized crime with the intent to sell the stolen items.
This has had little to no effect on the crime rates and in some cases, shoplifting has even increased.
California is known for its wildfires, and they are becoming increasingly more frequent. These fires cause damage to property, destroy homes and threaten lives.
The state is also prone to drought, which increases the risk of wildfires due to dry vegetation. Climate change has caused temperatures in California to rise, which has contributed to an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires.
Humans are also to blame for the increase in fires due to poor land management and careless actions such as leaving campfires and cigarettes unattended.
The worst fires in California’s history occurred in 2020, with the August Complex Camp Fire burning over 1 million acres, destroying more than 8,200 structures and killing at least 31 people.
Five of the 10 largest wildfires in state history occurred in 2020, including the August Complex fire, which tops the list as the first California wildfire to burn over 1 million acres about 1% of California’s total land area.
The state has tried to take steps to reduce the amount of fires, but there’s still much that needs to be done.
California is also known for its earthquakes, which can cause significant damage to property, infrastructure and lives.
The state sits on the San Andreas Fault Line, which is responsible for producing some of the most intense seismic activity in the world.
In 2019, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Ridgecrest and was felt as far away as Mexico and Arizona. The quake destroyed homes, businesses and power lines, and left more than 1,000 people without a home.
In 2020, there was a swarm of earthquakes 13 miles from Ridgecrest with some registering magnitudes as high as 5.5.
These quakes caused minor damage to homes and businesses, but also triggered landslides, rockfalls and sinkholes.
The threat of earthquakes extends across the entire San Francisco Bay region, and a major quake is likely before 2032.
These are just some of the reasons why California is the worst state to live in. It may have a booming economy, but it faces many challenges that make it difficult for people to enjoy the benefits of living there.
Lots of celebrities have actually moved out of the state due to high taxes, crime and expensive housing markets.
Business have also left the state due to high taxes and stricter regulations. Tesla relocated from California to Texas and many other businesses have followed suit.
California may have a lot of potential, but it’s not the ideal place to live due to its many obstacles
It’s important to weigh all the pros and cons when considering where to live. California may not be the ideal place for everyone, and it’s best to be aware of its potential risks before making any commitment to living in the state. It’s up to the individual to decide whether or not it’s worth it.