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The Pros and Cons of Living in L.A.: What You Should Know

Los Angeles California

by Matt Lyons Posted on April 25, 2024

What’s it like living in L.A.? Well, you could go from spotting celebrities in West Hollywood to relaxing on the beach in Santa Monica to getting some work done at a local coffee shop — all in the same day. And that’s just scratching the surface. L.A. is one of the nation’s most populated metropolitan areas, and it’s easy to see why; it’s no surprise that so many people contemplate moving to the City of Angels. But before you make that daydream come true for you, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of living in Los Angeles.

Planning a move to Los Angeles? Start by getting a quote from PODS.

Fun Facts You Should Know About Los Angeles

  • The iconic “Hollywood” sign in Los Angeles used to look a bit different back in the day, as it was originally referred to as “HOLLYWOODLAND.”
  • L.A. is considered a melting pot, as the city prides itself on having ethnic diversity. Hispanics and Asians make up a considerable amount of the population. And with almost 20 percent of the population in L.A. under the age of 18, it’s quite popular for families to relocate to the City of Angels and call it home.
  • While many are familiar with L.A.’s diversity, some would be surprised to know that Los Angeles has one of the most diverse Buddhist sects in the entire world — it’s currently home to 184 Buddhists centers, with the first being built in 1905.
  • The Pacific Wheel in Santa Monica is one of the Pier’s most prized gems, and it’s the only solar-powered Ferris wheel in the world.
  • Most of the famous palm trees in L.A. didn’t actually originate there! The most prominent type is from Mexico, and it was imported to L.A. in the early 1930s.
  • 2028 will mark the third time that Los Angeles has hosted the Summer Olympics.
  • The Los Angeles metro population has been steadily increasing ever since the pandemic, and the current population of approximately 12,598,000 is a 0.51 percent increase from 2023.

Pros and Cons of Los Angeles — FAQs

Q: Is living in L.A. worth it?

A: Most residents of L.A. would say it’s most definitely worth it! With its warm and sunny climate throughout most of the year, Los Angeles provides a fantastic job market, lots of entertainment, rich culture, beautiful beaches, and so much more. 

Q: Does L.A. have a good quality of life?

A: If aspects like a healthy lifestyle, plenty of entertainment, fabulous year-round weather, and job opportunities are important to your quality of life, then, yes, L.A. definitely offers a good quality of life. 

Q: What is the L.A. lifestyle?

A: The lifestyle in L.A. places great emphasis on the outdoors, fitness, and healthy eating. 

Q: Is Los Angeles a good place to live?

A: Yes! The TV, movie, and music industries draw many people to Los Angeles each year. But with other entertainment options, great culture, shopping, and so much more, you’ll have plenty of other “pros” to get excited about when it comes to weighing the pros and cons of L.A. 

Q: Why do people love Los Angeles?

A: Yes! The TV, movie, and music industries draw many people to Los Angeles each year. But with other entertainment options, great culture, shopping, and so much more, you’ll have plenty of other “pros” to get excited about when it comes to weighing the pros and cons of L.A. 

Q: Is it better to live in New York or Los Angeles?  

A: You might find dozens of opinions on why one city rates above the other because it boils down to personal preference. But weighing the pros and cons of living in L.A. compared to NYC mainly comes down to lifestyle: Do you like to drive along the ocean in a convertible with the top down? Are you happy on a sun-drenched beach during the winter months? Then you may want to pick Los Angeles. 

Living in Los Angeles — Pros and Cons

Is living in Los Angeles worth it? From the fabulous year-round weather to the thriving entertainment scene, diverse neighborhoods, job opportunities, and more, most L.A. residents would likely say yes. But before you make the big move, it’s important to familiarize yourself with both the pros and cons of living in L.A.

A smiling couple walk hand and hand through the streets of Los Angeles. Behind them are red lit Chinese lanterns that are out of focus.

Pro: Entertainment Galore

Characterizing the entertainment and nightlife scene in Los Angeles as incredible is an understatement, as the city is truly at the center of all the excitement you could ask for! When looking for somewhere fun to explore during the day, local art museums such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Broad are fabulous spots for both classic and contemporary art.

Looking for a fun night out? Whether you’re wanting to dance the night away or shut it down at a local club, L.A. has you covered. Some of the hottest nightclubs in Los Angeles include No Vacancy, Hyde Sunset, and Elevate Nightclub

Con: Unmanageable Cost of Living for Many

According to BestPlaces, the cost of living in Los Angeles ranks a whopping 161.7, which is more than 60 percent higher than the national average. The factors considered in the index include things like housing, transportation, and taxes. 

But while the cost of living in Los Angeles is much higher than the national average, it’s only slightly higher than the average across California. And you might think that it’s expensive to live in L.A., but other major cities in the Golden State are even pricier — like San Francisco, where the cost of living is nearly 150 percent higher than the national average.

Pro: Close Proximity to Other Major California Cities 

When considering the pros and cons of L.A., you have to consider that you pretty much have everything right at your fingertips as a resident, but you can also easily travel to a number of other cities close by in the Greater Los Angeles region. Explore the beaches of Santa Monica, shop at Beverly Hills, or sightsee in West Hollywood. The best part? You can commute to all of these spots in under an hour — provided the notorious L.A. traffic is agreeable. 

A bird’s-eye view of a neighborhood in Los Angeles. The buildings have flat roofs that are different colors. In the background is the skyline of Los Angeles.
Housing costs in L.A. are among the highest in the nation — and out of reach for average families — but nearby suburbs offer more reasonable options.

Con: Expensive Housing

One of the biggest disadvantages of living in Los Angeles is dealing with the skyrocketing home prices and lack of affordability overall. The city is in need of both denser and more affordable homes, since most of the single-family homes and other types you come across are simply out of reach for most families (the average home price is about $974,100). Other areas near L.A., such as Anaheim, provide much more realistic housing costs for families that need an alternative to the cost of living in Los Angeles.

It will take time for Los Angeles to see a true change in the housing market. However, there have been some steps in the right direction. The L.A. City Council recently approved a measure allowing higher-density housing, which will hopefully spur builders to add more low-cost options. 

Pro: Diverse Job Market With Lots of Opportunities 

Besides a wide range of job opportunities in arts and entertainment fields like acting and script-writing, Los Angeles has a diverse economy in industries such as technology and tourism. The city is home to many Fortune 500 company headquarters (including The Walt Disney Company, Activision Blizzard Inc., Farmers Insurance Exchange, and Skechers U.S.A., Inc.), along with plenty of small and medium-sized businesses.

Four lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic in Los Angeles. There are green signs indicating the distance to separate exits.
Angelenos definitely need a car to get around L.A., but the city’s notorious traffic gets particularly bad during morning and evening rush hours. 

Con: Traffic Backups 

Finding a job in Los Angeles might not be a headache, but actually commuting to work is likely to be a hassle. Traffic is one of the most talked about disadvantages among the pros and cons of living in Los Angeles. As you likely know, congestion gets particularly bad around rush hour in the morning and evening. 

And because of L.A.’s sprawling landscape, you’ll most likely need a car to get around. However, the city offers many public transportation options — including Metro Rail, which serves more than 100 stations across L.A. County with two subways and four light rails. Metro Bus, another option, serves 120 routes with more than 1,500 buses.

Pro: Nearly Perfect Weather 

With blue skies, sunshine, and temps averaging in the low 40s to high 80s year round, Los Angeles weather makes it the perfect place to enjoy fun outdoor activities. Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are nearby, including Santa Monica and Malibu — where you might just spot a celebrity or two

Con: Natural Disasters

Although you get to enjoy beautiful weather, it’s important to be aware of the potential for natural disasters — always a topic when considering the pros and cons of Los Angeles. The area is notorious for earthquakes, of course. Wildfires are another major risk for people living in L.A., and, unfortunately, they’ve become more common in recent years, fueled by high temperatures and strong winds. Wildfires not only have devastating effects on communities locally but also on the environment long-term. 

A sunny day in Los Angeles, California. The black street signs at the intersection of “Via Rodeo” and “N. Rodeo Drive” are in the forefront, with high-end stores in the background.
The iconic Rodeo Drive upscale shopping district is synonymous with Beverly Hills, a pinnacle of luxury living. 

Pro: Numerous Shopping Options 

Shopaholics never run out of steam when making their way through L.A.’s most iconic high-end shops and chic boutiques. Hotspots include The Grove, Rodeo Drive, and the Arts District

If you’re looking for (relatively speaking) affordable places to get the most bang for your buck, shopping directly in downtown L.A. at spots like the Fashion District and Jewelry District is the way to go. 

Con: Poor Air Quality

Because of L.A.’s geographic location, traffic congestion, and a variety of other factors, the air pollution in the city is a problem. Air pollution causes a number of environmental problems over time, from climate change to acid rain. And the poor air quality can also create negative effects on our health, such as breathing problems and lung diseases. 

Pro: Easy Access to LAX

LAX is one of the biggest airports in the U.S., and you’ll have easy access to it as a resident of Los Angeles. Maybe you have to travel frequently for work or just enjoy frequent getaways. Either way, you can get where you need to go with the help of LAX.

Con: High Crime Rate

Like most big cities, Los Angeles has its share of crime — an unfortunate fact of life in today’s world. In fact, for all the pros and cons of living in L.A., this is one of the big cons. Your chance of being a victim of either property or violent crime is 1 in 28. However, this rate is similar to other U.S. metro areas, including New York City (1 in 26) and Chicago (1 in 27)

So, perks and pleasures of living in Los Angeles aside, you always need to be aware of your surroundings and know which areas are statistically the safest.

Pro: Rich Cultural Diversity 

Known for its cultural mosaic of vibrant diversity, Los Angeles is home to people from 140 different countries who speak 224 languages. In neighborhoods including Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Chinatown, residents can experience all kinds of cuisines and traditions from different countries. 

Con: Rain is Rare 

Los Angeles is home to a warm and sunny climate overall, with hot and long summers and mild winters. There is hardly any rainfall throughout the year (averaging around 12 inches yearly since 1944), which can cause droughts, limited access to water, and damage to the local environment, including plant and animal life. That means you’ll have to get used to very dry conditions and take measures to conserve water, like investing in drought-resistant plants.

A young family (mom, dad, and toddler) sit on a blue and white striped blanket in a park in Los Angeles. The young girl is feeding her dad a snack.
Local parks are among the hidden gems of Los Angeles, with plenty of greenspace for picnics, long walks, or just enjoying a balmy L.A. day.

Pro: Green Spaces

Green space in L.A. may seem a little lackluster at first, especially compared to other major cities throughout the U.S., such as New York City and San Francisco (remember that talk about the dry climate?). However, some of the best hidden gems in Los Angeles are its various local parks, with beautiful greenery to enjoy a picnic, walk around, or simply relax!

Some of the best parks local to Los Angeles include:

Con: Highest Taxes in the Country

Along with expensive housing and other high costs of living, the taxes in California are among the highest in the country. Los Angeles County has a combined sales tax rate of 10.25 percent. California has a base sales tax rate of 6 percent, and a top income tax rate of 12.3 percent. The good news? The state’s progressive approach toward income tax means that the rates are not as high for lower earners.

Plan Your Move to Los Angeles With PODS

Although there are certain aspects of living in Los Angeles that are not as favorable as others, the city offers an exciting environment that’s definitely attractive to many newcomers and California natives alike. If you’ve weighed the pros and cons of living in L.A. and decided it's the right place for you, check out PODS City Services to make the move happen. With a portable moving container delivered straight to you, you can pack all of your things on your own time. And when you’re ready, just let PODS know it’s time to hit the road for your new L.A. home! 

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