My husband and I have raised five children in California. After this weekend, not one will live in this, the golden state. I always wondered about how they could all achieve the American dream when average housing prices far outweigh average salaries. Now I know, most couldn’t or didn’t want to keep trying.
They all love their home state. Who wouldn’t love the climate and ecological diversity. We could be at the ocean and the mountains the same day. Now they’ll be in four different states: Kansas, Arkansas, Georgia and Florida. Most of these offer more economic stability and promise.
There are two main reasons California is driving away it’s residents.
The median price of housing in Southern California was $290,000 at the end of 2010. That is much better than a few years ago but still more than the new home states of our children.
That median price includes a lot of foreclosures which eventually will be gone from the inventory. Renting isn’t a bargain either although more affordable. The average price of a two bedroom apartment is $1,200.
The local unemployment rate is still over 10% but there are jobs. If you want to work, it’s doable. But without a skill or education that’s in demand that job will most likely pay $10-12 an hour. California doesn’t have nearly enough manufacturing jobs.
Most employers will keep the hours just under full time so they don’t have the cost of benefits. My stepson worked on a local military base for years without benefits because the job was classified as “temporary”. Even our federal government plays the game.
There are more jobs outside the state that pay a living wage for people without college degrees or specialized skills. Paying for the privilege of living in this great state with a lower standard of living is not worth it anymore.
Parents do their best to raise their kids to be independent and good people. It’s just sad they have to go 1,500 miles away to do it.