The U.S. News & World Report has named California the worst state for “quality of life,” largely due to the high cost of living.
U.S. News ranks the 50 U.S. states each year on eight major social and economic categories to determine an overall competitive ranking. California received an overall score of 32 in 2018, based on sub-category rankings for a Health Care (11); Education (26); Economy (4); Opportunity (46); Infrastructure (38); Crime and Corrections (28); Fiscal Stability (43); and Quality of Life (50).
U.S. News found California’s high cost of living to be its biggest detriment, despite its having the largest economy in the nation. San Jose and San Francisco both ranked in the 20 top places to live in U.S., but two communities were also in the most expensive for housing.
California’s 2016 median household income of $67,739 was ranked ninth nationally. The 18 percent higher income average compared to the national average of $57,617 might seem attractive, but California also had four of North America’s top 10 high cost of living cities..
California’s income reporting is being pushed up by the state’s large concentrations of Hollywood media celebrities, Silicon Valley technologists, and Orange County real estate developers, whoconsistently make huge amounts of money.
But the state’s largest industries are more middle-clas,s including professional and business services; educational and health services; financial activities; leisure and hospitality; retail trade; manufacturing; construction; information processing; and farming.
U.S. News found that California’s infrastructure and housing availability have not kept up with an immigrant population surge over the last two decades. Three in 10 Californians were born outside the U.S. — the highest in the nation — with about half of the immigrants moving up from Latin America and about 39 percent coming from Asia.
Breitbart News reported in December that Southern California’s resident population experienced a “net domestic outmigration” of 64,953 for the last 12-month period. About 85 percent of California’s outmigration was concentrated in the middle 20 percent income bracket and the next lower quintile bracket.
U.S. News found, on the plus side, that California continues to have many of the nation’s top universities, including Stanford; California Institute of Technology; University of California campuses at Berkeley and Los Angeles; and the University of Southern California.
The state also has unmatched natural beauty, including 840 miles of coastline, and scenic wonders such Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, and the Wine Country.
U.S. News highlighted that although California politically leans Democrat, with millennials and Latinos as the largest number of newly registered voters, religion is important to Californians, with about a third of adult residents attending weekly services.
U.S News found that California business leaders are subject to very high costs to comply with a “capricious” state and local government regulatory system. The financial burden is seen as an increasing job killer for “smaller firms that are the least able to bear the costs.”