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There are countless reasons to love Los Angeles. The city has great beaches, near-perfect weather, and one of the nation’s best dining scenes. It’s also home to the nation’s entertainment and fashion industries. And it has good jobs in aerospace, technology and bioscience. Although it has drawbacks — for one, the city’s high cost of living is second only to New York City’s — L.A. is still a place where you can make your dreams come true. Sounds good? We’ve compiled a list of the top things you need to know if you’re moving to Los Angeles.

  1. The cost of living is high

    Los Angeles is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the nation. According to AreaVibes, LA has a cost of living index of 148. This is established by comparing its expenses to those in other cities to determine its cost-of-living index score. If a city’s index score is higher than 100, then the cost of living is above average. If a city’s index score is lower than 100, then the cost of living is below average.

    The city’s cost of living index indicates it is 48 percent higher than the national average of 100. Housing is the biggest contributor to the high cost of living. AreaVibes lists housing expenses as 127 percent above the national average. Transportation comes in at 27 percent above the national average. Groceries are 13 percent higher.

    Numbeo estimates that it will cost a family of four $3,916 per month before rent to live in LA. A single person will need $1,070 to cover expenses. This is 22 percent less expensive than living in New York but still higher than most American cities. Expect to pay $4.70 for a regular cappuccino, $4.18 for a gallon of milk, and $63 for a pair of jeans, according to Numbeo. If you have kids, budget $1,267 per month per child for preschool.

  2. You’ll have loads of career options in different industries

    Entertainment isn’t the only industry in Los Angeles. More than 50,000 civilian employees work in the aerospace and defense industries. And the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach handle more than 40 percent of the nation’s inbound containers. LA also dominates the U.S. fashion industry. It has a strong bioscience industry and is a hub for the advanced transportation field. Looking for a job in information technology? It’s one of the area’s largest industries. So is hospitality.

    If you want to work in the entertainment industry, many of the industry’s top employers are here. Of course, you’ll find 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros Pictures and Dreamworks Animation. But Amazon Studios, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube Studios are there, too.

    Top aerospace and defense employers include Northrop, Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed. You may also be able to find work with Raytheon, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic. If you’re in the bioscience industry, you can apply to companies like Amgen, Kite Pharmaceuticals and Grifols. Or you can go to work at UCLA Medical Center or Cedars-Sinai Hospital.

    Need some other suggestions? Los Angeles County is home to 22 Fortune 500 companies. Besides The Walt Disney Co., these include Edison International and Reliance Steel & Aluminum. Fortune 500 fashion companies like Skechers U.S.A and Guess?, Inc. also call LA county home. Or you can work for Mattel, Inc., KB Home or Live Nation Entertainment.

  3. You might earn more

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, the median household income for the entire Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area is $76,399. The national median household income is $67,521 (in 2020). 

  4. Homes are pricey

    Real estate is expensive in Los Angeles. According to Realtor.com, the median listing home price in L.A. is $998,000. The median sold price is $1 million. This is even more expensive than real estate in New York City. There, the median home listing price is $878,000 with a median sold price of $859,000. However, homes in Los Angeles are a better deal per square foot. The median per square foot in L.A. is $651. In New York City, it is $936 per square foot.

    Because it is so expensive to buy a home in Los Angeles, many people choose to rent. According to Realtor.com, the average cost to rent an apartment in LA is $3,019 per month. If you are on a budget, you may be able to find a less expensive option by moving to neighboring cities. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in Anaheim costs $1,910 per month.

  5. Los Angeles has a neighborhood to match any lifestyle

    The city of Los Angeles has 107 neighborhoods. According to Realtor.com, some of the best neighborhoods in and around L.A. include Hollywood Hills West, Brentwood, and Westwood. But these aren’t the only neighborhoods worth checking out. Trendy Silver Lake sits on the shores of Silver Lake Reservoir but comes with a $1.5 million price tag. If you can afford to spend $4.3 million, Bel Air is one of the area’s safest neighborhoods. 

    If you are on a budget, Porter Ranch is worth considering. The neighborhood’s homes have a median value of $681,550. However, because it is so far north, expect long commutes to most of the other parts of the city. If you need to be more central, check out Mar Vista. Located near Venice Beach and Los Angeles Airport, it has affordable rental properties.

  6. Taxes in Los Angeles are really high

    Taxes in Los Angeles are high. For example, it has one of the highest sales tax rates of any major city at 9.5 percent. This includes a state sales tax of 7.25 percent plus local taxes. If you make purchases in neighboring cities, sales tax could range between 7.25 and 10.750 percent.

    California also has the highest income tax in the nation, ranging from 1 to 12.3 percent. Those earning more than $1 million pay an additional 1 percent mental health services tax. A person earning the equivalent of Los Angeles’ median household income would fall into the 9.3 percent tax range.

    The state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office indicates that property tax is one of the largest taxes Californians pay. In Los Angeles, property owners pay about 1.20 percent of the assessed value of their homes. This rate includes the state’s 1 percent tax plus city and county taxes. School districts and water districts can also add to the tax rate. While 1.2 percent may not sound like much, it can be. At this rate, a $1 million home would incur a $12,000 property tax bill.

  7. There’s a mode of transportation to suit your unique lifestyle and where you choose to live

    Whether you need a car depends on where you live, your commute, and how you like to spend your days off. Los Angeles has a Walk Score of 69, meaning it is “somewhat walkable.” But many of its neighborhoods are very walkable. For example, Central Hollywood has a Walk Score of 95, and Silver Lake has a respectable Walk Score of 81. Plus, the city has one of the nation’s best public transportation systems, according to Metromile. So, if you can’t walk, chances are you can ride the Metro Rail, take a bus or train, or use a bike share.

    If you need to commute a long distance to work or enjoy exploring the area on weekends, a car is a must. Public transportation is slow, and the metropolitan area covers 4,852 square miles. Owning a car is expensive in Los Angeles, though. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Los Angeles is $6.19. This is much higher than the national average price of $4.70 per gallon (at the time this article was written).

    You’ll also pay higher than average prices for car insurance. According to Bankrate, the average cost of full coverage is $2,838 per year or $237 per month. Minimum coverage is $1,061 for the year.

  8. There’s a lot to do

    There’s a lot to do in L.A. The city has more than 105 museums and holds more than 1,500 theatrical performances every year. It has more than a dozen professional and collegiate sports teams, from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Anaheim Ducks. Not to mention, it’s home to Universal Studios amusement park and Disneyland is a short drive away.

  9. It’s great for outdoor enthusiasts

    Love the outdoors? Los Angeles County has more than 75 miles of coastline and nearly a dozen beaches. But spending the day at Venice Beach or others like it isn’t the only outdoor fun you can have. Several rivers cut through the area, and Mount Baldy climbs to 10,064. You can hike, kayak, cycle and more without leaving Los Angeles County.

  10. The weather is great

    Los Angeles has a moderate climate with an average high temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Its average low is 56 degrees. Most days are sunny. In fact, the city sees an average of 292 of sunshine per year. And when it does rain, L.A. receives an average of 15 inches of annual precipitation.

Ready to move to Los Angeles?

For more information about moving to Los Angeles, check out the resources available at Moving.com such as the City Profile Report feature. Simply enter the zip code or the state and city of your potential move to get a free report with city demographics, real estate information, quality of life factors and more. Ready to move now? Start by researching the best moving companies.