A Look at the Cost of Living in Los Angeles
When people think of Los Angeles, its often synonymous with a high cost of living.
Notably, in 2019, Los Angeles was voted by the Economic Intelligence Unit to be the tenth most expensive city to live in. Five years before the city was tied with New York City for 39th. California’s growth is producing higher wages and new industries, but those opportunities come with a hefty price tag.
Certainly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Angelenos are feeling unprecedented levels of financial stress.
How much more expensive is it?
Basic expenses like housing, food, taxes, and healthcare consistently average much higher than the rest of the country. A salary of $50,000 or more is recommended to maintain a comfortable standard of living.
Almost every budget must factor in high transportation costs. LA is a car-centric city, which means gas prices soar and insurance can cost well over $100. Drivers are burning through gallons of gas much more quickly by sitting in hours of traffic a day. Hopefully, Mayor Garcetti's 28 by 2028 Initiative will open up more opportunities for Angelenos to implement public transit in their daily routines.
In general, Californians voted that their top financial stress is the cost of living overall.
Even before COVID-19, Californians are leaving
Californians are fleeing their home state at an alarming rate. In 2018, 38,000 more people left California than moved here. 28,190 people left San Francisco between April and June 2019.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that middle- and lower-classes are fleeing more rapidly due to the alarming housing crisis. Those with incomes under $100,000 are in the most trouble. According to the Blacktower Financial Management Group, California is the third-worst state to retire in, which causes people to move to places like Arizona and Florida.
As everyday life becomes more expensive, large and small businesses move elsewhere, taking their employees and money with them. Surprisingly, California is losing far more jobs to China than any other state.
It's important to note that this was long before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With COVID-19, Angelenos are struggling
With the unemployment rate in Los Angeles rising to 17.5% due to the coronavirus, thousands of Los Angeles residents are struggling to get by. This means fewer jobs, opportunities, and dampened economic activity. As Angelenos struggled with the cost of living even before COVID-19, these next months will be arduous.
To be sure, California is facing recession-levels of difficulty.
Additionally, while many commercial landlords are working closely with their tenants, many residential tenants risk eviction due to high rental costs. This could worsen the already-developed homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.
Despite California's economic state of affairs, new taxes on Angelenos are still being considered. For example, Proposition 15 would tax small businesses and everyday consumers.
Therefore, we encourage you to get involved with our coalition against Proposition 15 and higher taxes. Click here to donate to and learn more about the Industry Defense Fund that supports our advocacy efforts to combat Prop. 15, California's dangerous Split Roll tax initiative.