The Pros and Cons of Living in the Golden State

July 13, 2023
Natalie Thorburn

California, which was named the Golden State in 1968, has the country's largest population at 39 million. It is also home to an economy that would rank amongst the world's greatest if it were an independent country. Many of those who live here love certain aspects of it. While as expected, there are also things they would change.

So, what are the greatest benefits and disadvantages of living in the Golden State? We reveal some pros and cons to consider below:

Pro: Weather

Generally, the weather in California is spectacular. This is especially the case for coastal cities in Southern California. In fact, Santa Monica may possess the Golden State's best climate. Its average high temperature in summer is 70, its average low temperature in winter is 50, and more than 300 days of its year are sunny.

Con: Weather

However, the weather can be a significant con if you spend time elsewhere in the state. For example, the further you are from the coast, the hotter the summers tend to be. On the opposite end of the spectrum, foggy San Francisco's summers are notorious for being chilly, especially in the evenings. Another weather-related consideration is the numerous wildfires and drought conditions that occur here. So, if you live in a wooded area, you should know that fires are always possible.

Pro: Recreational Offerings

Many areas of the Golden State are home to tremendous recreational opportunities. There are activities to explore, especially in major cities. San Francisco has Golden Gate Park. Los Angeles has Griffith Park. Of course, so many of the state's residents live on or near its 840 miles of coastline. Plus, you can head east and into the Sierra Nevada mountain. In the Sierra mountain, you can have fun in the snow. And during the summer, you can enjoy stunning hiking opportunities.

Con: Recreational Offerings

Unfortunately, a significant number of people are not near these recreational opportunities. This is especially the case for those living in the center of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. If you live inland, the warm heat during the summer also puts a damper on outdoor activities.

Pro: Progressive State

For many, California being a progressive state is a pro. Politically, it has voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election since 1992. It has recently been doing so at a nearly two-thirds rate. One of the results of these political leanings was the legalization of medical marijuana in California in 1996. That was followed by the recreational use of marijuana being legalized here in 2018. Veriheal explains how to get medical marijuana in California if you care to use it.

Con: Progressive State

Of course, California being a progressive state, is not something everyone likes. For example, those who disagree with California’s politics and certain laws, in general, would likely be happier elsewhere. That said, some areas of California are much more conservative than the state as a whole. In particular, Redding is an example of a more conservative state.

Pro: Higher Education Offerings

California has numerous revered universities, such as the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University. Meanwhile, students who meet the requirements can receive free tuition at several community colleges.

Con: Poor Primary and Secondary Education Offerings

Many of the country's greatest high schools are in California. Yet, its primary and secondary education offerings are generally disappointing. For example, Scholar ranks the Golden State as the nation's 11th-worst school system. In doing so, it considers school quality, student success, and student safety.

Pro: Public Transportation

You can travel throughout California on public transportation. This includes scenic options such as Amtrak's Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner. Both offer gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. Also, some local public transportation systems are impressive. San Francisco regularly ranks amongst the nation's best.

Con: Public Transportation

However, public transportation options for getting around the state do not run often. For example, one train daily operates in each direction from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. Also, many local public transportation systems offer poor quality. Los Angeles' is notoriously slow and unreliable. However, it does serve essentially everywhere in the metropolitan area.


Like any state, living in the Golden State has its advantages and disadvantages. California may be suitable if nice weather, free tuition, and plenty of recreational activities appeal to you. Yet, there may be things you don’t care for in this state, such as its strong political beliefs. If you’re on the fence about moving to California, weigh the pros and cons. Following your gut will lead you to the evolution of whether California is the state for you.


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