Moving to California

2019 Moving to California Relocation Guide

Welcome to 2019 Ultimate Moving to California Relocation Guide! Before this big step, find out all important information about California.

  • Basic information about the California population, average yearly temperature and spoken languages.
  • Read about important cultural venues, the best places to live in and learn some fun facts about the state.
  • Check out the list of Pros and Cons of living in California before deciding to actually move.
  • Most importantly, find out all about California moving and living costs!

    Take a look at the list of housing, transportation and childcare costs, and learn about the living cost index in California.

  • Read all about moving costs.
  • All information regarding costs and pricing is compared with average US pricing.

  • You will also find very detailed information about the average yearly salary in California.
  • We prepared lists of moving to California tips.

For moving tips in general check out our Moving Checklist and Paperwork page.


Welcome to the state of endless sunshine, breathtaking beaches, forests, national parks. Welcome to the state of education, movie industry and celebrity culture. Welcome to the golden state, welcome to California. California is the state of diversity and the state of contrast. You will find the intacted wild forests beside the high tech major cities. This is the best state for meeting new cultures where everyone is welcome.

California is also the state of the highest economy and job opportunities, along with extraordinary education and career choices. There is simply something for everyone here and if moving to California is the next step you only need to choose the city. Every city is offering a different atmosphere and lifestyle and you just need to find the one that meets your wishes.

There is always something happening in California and you will feel like you are living in the center of the world. Technology is booming in California, the population is growing rapidly and everything is happening fast. California is also a nature lover’s paradise, and you can always find a perfectly quiet getaway and enjoy the most amazing landscapes.

Are you California dreamin'? Read our moving to California guide and find out is moving to golden state your next step.

Moving to California Pros & Cons

Considering the perfect weather, beautiful beaches, breathtaking nature, job opportunities, and the booming economy, California sounds like the perfect state to call home. There are a lot of factors that you need to consider before making a move, and you should get to know the biggest disadvantages of moving to California. Go ahead and read all about the pros and cons of moving to California, get prepared for this step, the perks of living in California are endless:

Moving to California Pros

1. Employment

Job opportunities are constantly luring new people. The employment rate is one of the main reasons for moving to California. The unemployment rate is still a little higher than the national average but the number of job opportunities is constantly growing.

2. Booming Economy

California has the largest economy in the US. It starts from the bay area, but it is spread throughout the whole state and average salaries in California are higher than the national average. The film industry, agriculture, health care industry, education, sports, and small business are constantly improving are the main industries in California.

3. Education

California has a very high percentage of educated people. California is home to some of the world's best colleges and universities. Primary and secondary schools are also top-rated, and you can find exceptional education in almost any city.

4. Breathtaking Nature

California is filled with breathtaking landscapes. You can enjoy the ocean, mountains, hills, deserts, forests or nay other landscape that crosses your mind here. California is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA, but not only because of the big famous cities, nature is also amazing here.

5. Outdoor Activities

California offer all of the outdoor activity possibilities. You can enjoy the water, mountains, rocks, and desert without traveling to different states. California is one of the best USA sates for both mountain activities like hiking and climbing, and for water activities like surfing.

6. Healthy Lifestyle

California will provide you with healthy food, fresh air, top-rated health care institutions, and numerous recreation opportunities. It is easier to live a healthy life in California than in any other US state.

7. Things to Do

Sports, outdoor activities, film, music and all sorts of art are what make California one of the most popular tourist destinations. You can never get bored in California, there is always a festival, concert or art exhibit somewhere.

8. Diversity

There are so many different nationalities in California. That level of diversity creates a welcoming feeling for anyone. California is the perfect state for meeting new cultures.

9. Sports

If you are a fan of sports, California is the perfect state for you. Most popular major sports teams are settled in California and you can enjoy live games of 19 sports at the moment.

10. Weather

It is not always sunny in California. You can choose to have 300 days of sunshine per year, but you can also choose to experience all 4 seasons. Still, the biggest part of the state will offer you endless sunshine.

Moving to California Cons

1. Housing Costs

The average home price in California is almost twice higher than the national average. The same goes for the monthly rent and utilities.

2. Living Costs

Everyday costs are higher than the national average too. You will have to spend more money on transportation too. Salaries are bigger than in most of the other states but so are the living costs.

3. Natural Disasters

There are numerous natural hazards that can reduce the quality of life in California. You must be prepared for wildfires and earthquakes.

4. Traffic

If you are planning to move to one of the major cities like LA or San Francisco, you will need to get prepared for the traffic. You can get stuck in any part of the day and not all of the cities in California have perfectly developed public transportation like San Francisco.

5. High Taxes

California has the highest taxes in the United States.

6. Crime Rates

The crime index in California is higher than the national average. There are still some extremely safe and family-friendly cities, but if you want to move to one of the major cities, you will need to choose your neighborhood wisely.

7. The Crowd

There are still some cities that you can move to avoid the high population, but most of the cities in California are experienced population growth and some of them are too crowded. California has a population density of 250 people per square mile.

California Pros and Cons
California Fun Facts

Moving to California Tips

Moving to California is a big, challenging step and the state offers so many different opportunities. Whether you are moving for work or for pleasure you will find our tips useful. Here are 10 TIPS about moving to California, 10 facts that will help you prepare for this step.

  • Don't Rely on Public Transportation - Only a few major cities in California have a great public transportation system. You will probably need a car if you are planning to live in California.
  • Make a Choice Between Northern and Southern California - Northern California vs. Southern California rivalry is real. Northern and Southern California have different cultures, and residents usually don't get along well. Make your choice now. The biggest factor should be the weather.
  • Try to Learn Some Spanish - California is a multi-lingual state, learning some Spanish will help you get to know more people and make different connections.
  • The Taxes Are High California - has both income and sales tax, and they are higher than the national average. Only property taxes are below the national average.
  • Be Aware of the Natural Hazards - Possibility of a wildfire or an earthquake is always present in California. You can get earthquake insurance, and you need to pay attention to the news.
  • Make Room for Friends - Your old friends will want to come to visit you all the time. California is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA, and you will need to have an extra bed at your house.
  • Nature is Beautiful in California - Embrace nature in California, you will easily become a nature lover and an outdoor activity enthusiast. Outdoor adventures in California are countless, and they are free.
  • Water Bill is Expensive - The drought in California is a real problem and water usage is regulated.
  • Housing is Not Affordable to Most of the Residents - Housing costs are at least 2 times higher than the national average. You can still find affordable cities in California, but if you want to live in San Francisco or LA, you will need to be prepared for extremely expensive housing costs.
  • Embrace the Culture of Road-Trippin' - Go on weekend getaways, wherever you decide to live, there will always be fantastic places around. You can enjoy almost any landscape, be a tourist, event if you are living in California.

Check out our printable Stage-by-Stage MOVING CHECKLIST.

This ultimate moving checklist will help you complete your moving without stress.

Moving Checklist

Best Places to Live in California

You know you want to live in the golden state but you don't know which city to choose? Take a look at the list of top 6 best places to live in California according to niche. Every city in California has its pros and cons and you should choose wisely, there are a lot of factors that you should consider.





San Francisco

San Francisco







California Moving Costs

There are certain costs associated with moving that most people tend to neglect. Even if you have opted for a self-moving job that does not involve hiring a professional moving company, you will have to pay extra for certain things. Here is a list of moving and packing costs you may have forgotten.

  • Packing Supplies

    If you plan to move on a budget and want to fo the packing yourself, you must know that you will need to invest in packing supplies like boxes, tape or bubble wrap.

  • Moving Insurance

    During the move something almost always brake. Getting moving insurance is always recommended. Most of the moving companies offer insurance and you can decide how much to get, considering how valuable your things are.

  • Moving Start-up Costs

    For renting new space start-up costs include things like your first and last month’s rent, a security deposit, a pet deposit or an application fee.

    If you are buying start-up costs are much bigger. They include closing costs for your new mortgage which is often measured in thousands of dollars. Average closing costs typically range from 2% to 5% of the cost of your home. These costs include things like a fee for running your credit report, a loan origination fee, attorney’s fees, the cost of a home inspection, a title search, an appraisal fee, and a survey fee, etc.

  • Boarding Your Pets

    You can expect extra costs for boarding your pets. Often enough, people tend to move their pets overnight, that way pets are not exposed to the stress.

  • Stair Fees

    Some of the moving companies will ask you to pay a stair fee.

  • Moving Large Items Fees

    It is always best to check with moving companies about extra fees and inform them about your large items, like piano or pool table, in advance. That way you will avoid surprises on a moving day.

  • Valuable Artworks or Decorative Pieces Are Often Handled by Specialised Movers

    There are professionals who are trained to handle valuable items. Packing and moving valuable items is more complex than regular moving. So you can expect to pay extra on moving those kinds of pieces.

  • Storage Space Renting

    Sometimes, you don't want to bring all of your things to your new home, but you don't want to throw them either. If you find yourself in this situation you will have to find storage space for those things. Having to store items could mean an additional monthly expense.

  • Re-buying Items Once You've Moved In

    While you shouldn't get rid of everything before a move, there are going to be some items that you're not going to want to bring to your new space.

  • Tips For Your Movers

    Your movers are doing a lot of hard work and heavy lifting, and they deserve to be compensated. Just note, that tips are always expected by your movers.

Moving to California

Here you can find a list of shipping costs. Please note that the cost of international shipping (calculated with reallymoving) is solely the cost of shipping itself. Costs are calculated for moving entire two bedroom home, in the next three monts.

Moving From Cost
Vancouver (Canada) $3,700 - $5,000
Sydney (Australia) $4,800 - $6,400
Auckland (New Zealand) $4,600 - $6,400
Beijing (China) $4,600 - $6,300
Tokyo (Japan) $4,400 - $6,000
Dubai (United Arab Emirates) $4,400 - $7,200
Mexico City (Mexico) $4,000 - $6,600
London (United Kingdom) $4,900 - $6,700
Dublin (Ireland) $4,900 - $6,600
Singapore $4,800 - $6,600

Cultural Venues in California

Culture in California is shaped with diversity resulting in one unique blend of cultures. California is filled with world-famous cultural institutions and art venues. Take a look at our list of top 6 cultural venues in California.

The Getty Center

The Getty Center

Arts Organization

  • City: Los Angeles
  • Adress: 1200 Getty Center Dr, 90049
  • Admission Fee: Free
The Huntington Library

The Huntington Library

Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

  • City: San Marino
  • Adress: 1151 Oxford Rd, 91108,
  • Admission Fee: $0 - $25
The California Museum

The California Museum

The California Museum for History

  • City: Sacramento
  • Adress: 1020 O St, 95814
  • Admission Fee: $6 - $9
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

SF Museum of Modern Art

Modern Art Museum

  • City: San Francisco
  • Adress: 151 3rd St, 94103
  • Admission Fee: $0 - $25
California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences

Science Museum and Scientific Institution

  • City: San Francisco
  • Adress: 55 Music Concourse Dr, 94118
  • Admission Fee: $28 - $38
Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Los Angeles Public Observatory

  • City: Los Angeles
  • Adress: 2800 East Observatory Rd, 90027
  • Admission Fee: $0 - $7

California Living Costs

California is home to both the richest and poorest cities in the USA. Living costs vary throughout the state but some facts stay the same. Taxes are higher than in any other stat and housing costs pricey almost everywhere. You can still find an affordable city in California, but it is one of the most expensive states to live in the USA. For more information about living costs visit numbeo or BestPlaces.

How much are utilities in Sacramento

  • 85m2 Apartment Monthly Utilities, Basic (Electricity, Water, Cooling, Heating, Garbage):


  • 1 Min. Of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans):


  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/adsl):


  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), for 20 Years Fixed-rate, Yearly:


California VS US Average

Average Living Costs in California

Cost of Living California United States
Housing 293.1 100
Transportation 146.5 100
Utilities 102.4 100
Grocery 107.2 100
Health 92.8 100
Other 103.7 100
Housing Buy per Sq Ft Monthly Rent
Sacramento $305.68 $1,478.00
Los Angeles $719.52 $2,223.00
San Diego $543.76 $2,035.72
San Jose $808.25 $2,590.78
San Francisco $1,177.14 $3,450.78
Fresno $162.47 $ $937.73
US Average $242.48 $1,294.88
Transportation One Way Ticket Monthly Pass
Sacramento $2.50 $100.00
Los Angeles $1.75 $100.00
San Diego $2.50 $72.00
San Jose $2.25 $80.00
San Francisco $2.75 $81.00
Fresno $1.25 $48.00
US Average $2.25 $70.00
Child Care Preschool Primary School
Sacramento $870.36 $14,166.67
Los Angeles $1,079.09 $21,913.46
San Diego $1,071.48 $20,233.33
San Jose $1,040.00 $18,833.33
San Francisco $2,226.57 $27,864.50
Fresno $733.33 $18,833.33
US Average $896.05 $16,125.51

Work and Salary

Average Yearly Salary in California is $77,000

Currently, most popular and best-paid jobs in California are:

  • Software Engineer - $106,210/yr
  • Operations Manager - $69,092/yr
  • Senior Software Engineer - $134,694/yr
  • Project Manager - $80,857/yr
  • Mechanical Engineer - $76,801/yr
  • Office Manager - $53,592/yr
  • Executive Assistant - $61,853/yr

All the information is provided by Glassdoor and Payscale where you can get more detailed information about the job of interest. If you don't have a specific job in mind, you can also check this list of 10 common jobs and professions in the United States with an average salary for each of them.

Job California US Average
Cashier $12.83/h $10.57/h
Receptionist $14.98/h $13.34/h
Repair Technician $17.79/h $16.24/h
Actor $13.85/h $11.06/h
Registered Nurse $38.77/h $33.87/h
Secretary $16.92/h $13.96/h
Preschool Teacher $15.48/h $12.52/h
High School Teacher $18.81/h $19.20/h
Lawyer $65.132/h $65.62/h

Top 6 Universities in California

The State of California offers the largest selection of higher education institutions in the USA. There are over 750 universities and colleges in California. There are 3 public university systems and hundreds of private universities in the country, some of them ranking as the world's best institutions of higher education. Take a look at the list of top 6 universities in Califorina, according to UniRank.

Stanford University

Stanford University

Acronuym: SU

  • City: Stanford
  • Address: 450 Serra Mall, 94305
  • Founded: 1885
University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley

Acronuym: UC Berkeley

  • City: Berkeley
  • Address: 200 California Hall, 94720
  • Founded: 1868
University of California, Los Angeles

University of California, Los Angeles

Acronuym: UCLA

  • City: Los Angeles
  • Address: 405 Hilgard Avenue, 90095
  • Founded: 1919
University of California, Irvine

University of California, Irvine

Acronuym: UCI

  • City: Irvine
  • Address: 501 Aldrich Hall, 92697
  • Founded: 1965
University of California, San Diego

University of California, San Diego

Acronuym: UCSD

  • City: San Diego
  • Address: 9500 Gilman Drive, 92093
  • Founded: 1960
University of Southern California

University of Southern California

Acronuym: USC

  • City: Los Angeles
  • Address: University Park, 90089
  • Founded: 1880

California - Important Information

State of California

California Seal

California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions. California's economy is larger than that of any other U.S. state and is the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, California would be the fifth-largest economy in the world.

  • State Capital:


  • Largest City (By Population):

    Los Angeles

  • Official State Website:

  • Official Language:


  • Spoken Languages:

    Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Armenian, Persian and other.

  • Dimensions:

    Length - 770 mi (1,240 km)

    Width - 250 mi (400 km)

California Population:

  • According to the last census (2010): 37,254,523
  • According to the latest estimate (2018): 39,557,045
California Demographics by Race
White 23,607,242 60.56%
Asian 5,503,672 14.12%
Other Race 5,329,952 13.67%
Black or African American 2,263,222 5.81%
Two or More Races 1,834,714 4.71%
Native American 292,018 0.75%
Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander 152,027 0.39%

California - Average Yearly Temperature

Temperature Annual High Annual Low Average
Sacramento 23.1°C 9.1°C 16.1°C
Los Angeles 22.1°C 13.2°C 17.65°C
San Diego 20.9°C 14.2°C 17.55°C
San Jose 22.6°C 10.2°C 16.4°C
San Francisco 17.7°C 10.4°C 14.05°C
Fresno 25°C 10.8°C 17.9°C

California - Crime rates

Very low: 0 - 20, Low: 20 - 40, Moderate: 40 - 60, High: 60 - 80, Very high: 80 - 100. By numbeo.

City Crime Index Safety Index Level of crime
Sacramento 49.86 50.14 59.38
Los Angeles 43.05 56.95 49.28
San Diego 36.25 63.75 38.06
San Jose 41.18 58.82 46.12
San Francisco 51.89 48.11 58.06
Fresno 61.16 38.84 70.37

Famous National Parks in California

Nature in California is hugely diverse, take a 5-hour ride and you can see the woods, mountains, deserts, ocean, waterfalls and more. There is a long list of national parks and outdoor attractions that you can enjoy. Great expanses of wilderness areas are providing habitats for thousands of species of flora and fauna. Take a look at our list of top 6 national parks to visit in California.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.

  • Nearest city: Mariposa
  • Nearest major city: Fresno
  • Visitors per year: 4,009,436 (in 2018)
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is famous for the Great Basin and Mojave deserts, and the environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. Death Valley is the largest national park in the United States

  • Nearest city: Lone Pine
  • Nearest major city: Bakersfield
  • Visitors per year: 1,678,660 (in 2018)
Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

The park is named for the Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia). There are parts of two deserts, the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert. Joshua Tree is a popular observing site for astronomy and stargazing.

  • Nearest city: Yucca Valleya
  • Nearest major city: Riverside
  • Visitors per year: 2,942,382 (in 2018)
Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park

The dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world. The park is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found.

  • Nearest city: Redding
  • Nearest major city: Sacramento
  • Visitors per year: 499,435 (in 2018)
Sequoia National Parks

Sequoia National Parks

The park contains the highest point in the United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet above sea level. The park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree on Earth.

  • Nearest city: Visalia
  • Nearest major city: Fresno
  • Visitors per year: 1,229,594 (in 2018)
Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park

The park is famous for the red trees (Sequoia sempervirens). They are the tallest, oldest, and the most massive tree species on Earth. The park also preserves other indigenous flora, fauna and grassland prairie.

  • Nearest city: Crescent City
  • Nearest major city: Sacramento
  • Visitors per year: 482,536 (in 2018)