Best States To Move To From California
If you’re kicking around the idea of moving from California, you’re not alone.
Over the last decade, the state has seen millions of citizens leaving its golden beaches for states like Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Washington.
But why are people leaving and what cities are they settling in?
The answer comes from a combination of major economic, political and social factors currently at play. Before you make a definite choice, you should consider the following points about the state you are interested in.
Californians Moving to Arizona
Nearly 60,000 Californians packed their bags for Arizona in 2018 alone, Capitol Media Services reports.
As with most of the states in this article, Arizona is sought out by Californians because of its palatable cost of living. States bordering California have enticingly low healthcare, property and utility costs.
Relying U.S. Census data, North American Moving Services (NAMS) found that inbound population movement accounted for nearly two-thirds of all movement within the state in 2017. This means that Arizona had the highest amount of inbound movement of any state in 2017.
In fact, Arizona’s population is expected to steadily increase well into 2020.
So, what are the exact factors motivating this exodus of residents, you may ask?
Keep reading for the full details.
Benefits of moving from California to Arizona
Arizona is a vast land rich with history. If you are fortunate enough to call this state your new home, you’re going to want to familiarize yourself with as much as possible.
Be sure to do ample research about your new city. This can help give you a better idea of what to anticipate prior to your out of state move.
The more you know, the easier your adjustment will be on moving day. We’ve been relocating individuals, families and businesses from California to Arizona since 1928. Here are some of the factors we think you should consider when entertaining the idea of moving from California to Arizona.
Arizona Living Expenses
The cost of living in Arizona’s largest city, Phoenix, is around 40% lower than in Los Angeles. Additionally, Phoenix boasts one of the lowest national averages concerning cost of living (excluding housing and transportation).
Housing – Because Phoenix is a major city in Arizona, we’ll use the city’s rates when evaluating cost of living. The median home price within the capital was right around $230,000 while the median monthly rent was $936. Overall the housing expenses in Phoenix are 5% lower than the national average, according to smartasset.com.
Utilities – Utilities are also cheaper in Arizona than in California although they are still the sixth highest in the nation. You can expect to still pay a premium for water, as the average Phoenix energy bill was $128.40 which is roughly $17 higher than the national average.
Food – If you’re worried about your diet breaking a budget, think again. Phoenix has food priced at 3% below the national average. You can generally grab a gallon of milk for $1.89, a carton of eggs for $1.76 and a loaf of bread for $3.24 at most supermarkets. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Phoenix residents spent on average 11% of their annual income on food – 1.6% lower than the national average. Generally, $4,000 was spent for food at home, while eating out cost Phoenix residents $3,000 annually.
Arizona Business, Tax and Regulations
- Income tax for Phoenix residents can vary between 2.59% and 4.54% depending on income levels. However, the average Arizona property tax rate is reported to be below the national average at 0.77%
- The state of Arizona has a base sales tax of 5.6%, but this number jumps up when you account for the additional rates added on from counties and cities. The average Arizona state sales tax is 11th highest in the nation at 8.33%
- Arizona is a right to work state where the governor and legislature have eliminated unnecessary and redundant regulations on business. The last decade has seen Arizona lower or remove tax licenses, tax returns and tax audits at the local and state levels. This makes starting, maintaining and expanding business easier.
- Arid mornings, sunny days and cool nights are the name of the game in Arizona, but you can expect to encounter two distinct regions of weather there.
- The lower desert region (Phoenix, Tucson, etc.) experiences hot, dry weather, at an average of 93 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months and cools down to about 64 degrees Fahrenheit around winter. Cities farther North at higher elevations, like Flagstaff enjoy milder summers (averaging around 80 degrees F) and colder winters (averaging 32 degrees F or below).
- The two climate regions in Arizona also differ drastically with rainfall and even snow! Phoenix enjoys roughly 299 days of sun and 33 days of precipitation while Flagstaff sees the sun 266 days out of the year and precipitation another 83.
Arizona Geographical Features
- Arizona is called the Grand Canyon State for a reason. Along with the 1,902 square miles dedicated to the Grand Canyon National Park, the state has other captivating landmarks like the Painted Desert.
- While some may dismiss the state as a large expanse of desert, it features diverse topography with a range of flora and vegetation. Along with miles of shoreline from man-made lakes, Arizona has the world’s largest stand of evergreen ponderosa pine trees in the world.
- Arizona is a hiker’s haven. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, the Colorado River, Sonoran Desert trails and Camelback Mountain range provide you with differing levels of challenge and gratification.
Entertainment and Cuisine in Arizona
- Just because Arizona has a history of rough and rugged living, doesn’t mean you can’t set aside time for the finer things in life. The state has more spas per capita than any other state in the nation. Unwind in Scottsdale, affectionately known as the United States’ Luxury Relaxation Capital.
- Arizona’s nightlife is a unique collision of pulsing energy and dance with a twist of laidback minimalist vibes depending on the night of the week. If you’re looking for a taste of Arizona culture, Bar Smith and the Blue Martini Lounge are ideal places in Phoenix. If you’re outside of this main city, you can always stop in for some libations at the Maya Day and Night Club in Scottsdale.
- Arizona boasts a blend of contemporary culinary talent evolving from traditional Native American, Mexican and Pioneer dishes. You have your choice from hundreds of authentic food destinations across the state including: El Guero Canelo, Fry Bread House Rustler’s Rooste. Treat yourself to mecca of flavor with popular state dishes like the Sonoran hotdog, Navajo taco, pozole and chimichanga.
- Foodies will be delighted to know that Arizona is home to the Scottsdale Culinary Festival – the longest festival of its kind in the nation.
Transit and Travel in Arizona – Trains, Buses and Carpools
- Light Rail – This 28-mile line of electric railway links Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe offering riders transport for $2 and all day passes for $4! You have your choice of 38 stations with destinations like the Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, Chase Field and Talking Stick Resort Arena and the Mill Avenue in Tempe. The lines are available from 18-22 hours all days of the week.
- Valley Metro – Residents in and around Phoenix can easily navigate the city thanks to the nearly non-stop services offered by the public bus lines by Valley Metro. Most neighborhood circulators offer citizens free transport, however you’ll need to buy a pass (there are daily, weekly and monthly options) if you anticipate using the local bus routes.
- California is known for some of the most horrendous traffic in the nation. In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose were ranked first, second and fourth for having the most congested traffic out of all U.S. cities. Phoenix, Arizona’s largest city based on population, is 45th for worst traffic while Tucson takes the cake for the worst U.S. city for traffic at 32nd.
Moving from California to Arizona
Recently, Phoenix and Tucson were two popular Arizona cities welcoming fresh faces.
Phoenix became the second-fastest growing city within the United States in 2017 with net migration holding around 80% in the city, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority.
Moving to Arizona from California can open up tremendous opportunities for you to experience new cultures, jobs and lifestyles. Just keep an open mind and embrace the change of scenery. Oh! And don’t be surprised to see water misters on homes and restaurants – people are just trying to beat the humidity and heat.
Californians Moving to Nevada
Neighboring California, Nevada is a state that has risen to critical acclaim largely thanks to escapades in Las Vegas, mysterious UFO sightings and Area 51. With those things considered, the state offers the pinnacle in sprawling skies, breathtaking landmarks and formidable mountains.
With enough scenic, economic and cultural motivators, it’s easy to understand why people are leaving California in the dust and moving to Nevada.
Benefits of Moving from California to Nevada
The Silver State has seen an influx of individuals moving from California to Nevada over the last 5 or so years. This population shift has been so substantial that it is even beginning to affect the political climate within the state of Nevada.
But politics aside, there are other motivators driving people to pack up and move.
Another major reason is moving to Nevada to avoid California taxes. They may be higher than the national average, but it is about 37% cheaper to relocate to Nevada than live in Los Angeles.
Keep reading to learn about more reasons behind Californians moving to Nevada.
Nevada Living Expenses
Housing – In 2018, a single-family home in the Las Vegas metro area cost about $295,000, while the same would run someone in San Francisco or Los Angeles $952,400 and $576,100 respectively. The current median house price in Las Vegas is hovering right around $375,000.
Utilities – If you’re looking to save some money on utilities by moving from California to Nevada, then you’re in luck. On average, utilities for a 900-square foot home in the Silver State cost about $150. This accounts for gas, water, electricity and garbage. If you want monthly internet, you can expect to pay roughly another $69 dollars.
Food – According to numbeo.com, Las Vegans allocate about $286 a month for food. This figure is nearly $40 beneath the national average. But there’s a silver lining: even in the middle of the desert, Las Vegas’ groceries are on par with national averages, if not just above.
Business, Tax and Regulations in Nevada
- If you’re planning a move to Nevada from California, then you can rejoice at the fact of no personal income taxes! But how does the state do this? Nevada leverages funds accrued from gaming and sales tax in accordance to the state’s unrestrictive business regulations.
- The Nevada property tax rate is among the lowest in the nation, at about 0.77% of the assessed land value. This rate is between 1.1% and 1.6% in California.
- Las Vegas and other cities in the southern desert area can expect scorching summer temperatures easily around 90 degrees F combined with dry air and considerable winds. Winters in this region are mildly warm, with average temps dipping down to around 40 degrees F.
- The farther north you travel, the more diverse the weather is. It is not uncommon for central or northern mountain areas, such as Lake Tahoe, to enjoy cool mornings and mild days in the summer, while the winter brings freezing temperatures and snow.
- Las Vegas enjoys a whopping average of 310 sunny days a year. If you’re relocating to from California to Reno you can expect an average of 252 days of sunshine.
Geographical Features in Nevada
- Nevada has every other state in the lower 48 beat when it comes to mountain ranges. The state oversees 300+ ranges including the Red Rock Canyon, Eastern Sierra Nevada, the Valley of Fire, Lake Tahoe, Lake Mead and countless others.
- Speaking of Lake Mead, if you’re living in Nevada consider visiting The Hoover Dam responsible for holding one of the largest manmade lakes in the world! It’s just one of dozens of historical sites in Nevada.
- Nevada might be in the Southwest but you can still go skiing! Winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy a day on the slopes of Mt. Charleston in Clark County. The unregistered town sits at the highest elevation points along the Spring Mountains.
Entertainment and Cuisine
- Do you believe in aliens? Well if you do, and are living in Nevada, your chances of seeing one just went way up. The Silver State is home to Highway 375, endearingly called the “Extraterrestrial Highway” for its history of recorded activity. This stretch of road, suspiciously located near Areas 51, bears the second highest percentage of UFO sightings per capita in the nation.
- Do we even have to remind you? A move from California to Nevada means Sin City is in your backyard. Be sure to stop and check out big-name entertainers, nightlife on the strip or the numerous opportunities for luxury dining.
- Flavor enthusiasts can rejoice in Nevada. Take your pick from a smorgasbord of luxury restaurants and wineries with establishments ranging from Gordon Ramsey and Guy Fieri to wineries like Pahrump Valley and Nevada Sunset.
Transit and Travel in Nevada – Trains, Buses and Carpools
- Moving from California to Nevada will save you money on a lot of things – including gas. Nevada ranks 17th in the nation for gas taxes at 33.78 cents per gallon. Californians pay 55.53 per gallon.
- Las Vegas isn’t exactly known for its public transport, but the city does flaunt a monorail which services the Strip with rides as cheap as $1 for residents. Overall the state has a few public transit authorities that operate nearly every day of the year.
- Traffic-wise, cities in Nevada aren’t as congested as those in California. Las Vegas ranks 28 nationally, while Reno clocks isn’t even listed in the top 80.
Moving to Nevada from California
If you’re among from California to Nevada, nearly every city will save you money. Considering current property rates in both states, we’d recommending considering Reno or Carson City.
Reno is the most populous city in the state, which makes it great for individuals looking to always be on the go with their job and leisure. Carson city was the first city to be incorporated in Nevada and offers small town feels with quaint neighborhoods, small businesses and friendly residents.
Moving to Nevada shouldn’t be too major of an adjustment. Temperatures and climate between the two states are more similar than different. Once you settle in, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a practically endless amount of new experiences.
The Nevada property tax and other living costs will definitely be easier on your wallet, so you’ll have some extra cash to burn on leisure!
Californians Moving to Washington
Seattle might be experiencing its own exodus of citizens, but the State of Washington is still drawing in residents from across the nation.
Some of the primary areas welcoming new residents include Spokane, Bellingham and Tacoma.
Despite high costs of living in Seattle, these semi-urban areas can comfortably accommodate individuals and families alike.
Benefits of Moving to Washington State
Washington is a vibrant state, where roughly 60% of the population lives within the Seattle metro area. This concentration of people has molded the metropolitan area into a diverse display of culture, work, leisure and education.
As a whole, the state’s economy is still healthy. In fact, the Department of Labor reported that Washington State’s total of nonfarm jobs amounted to 3,510,100 in August 2019 – a number that has been steadily increasing since 2009.
Jobs aside, people are moving from California to Washington for a slew of reasons. We’ve gone ahead and gathered some of the most common explanations below.
Washington State Living Expenses
While Washington is not the cheapest place to live in the United States, it will certainly stretch your dollar more than in California.
The city is below the national average for healthcare and utilities, but above when it comes to median home costs and housing.
Depending on who you choose to handle your energy and sanitation services you could even get money shaved off these bills each month!
Housing – Property in Tacoma is far more affordable than that of Seattle and most homes, condos or apartments in California. The median rent is about $1,100 per month, while the median home price is $338,000. The average listed price of homes is hovering right around $220,000.
Utilities – Water, gas, energy and heat runs the average Tacoma resident roughly $140 and $190 per month.
Food – Washington has a unique blend of tastes you won’t want to miss out on. Washington State already pays above the national average for many grocer items. So, if you’re moving to Washington from California, anticipate having to budget roughly the same amount, if not slightly less, for spending for produce and food. Couples can grab budget-friendly means during a night out for between $15 and $45 per person.
Business, Tax and Regulations
- With a ton of opportunities for job employment, Washington is host to a veritable “who’s who” of tech companies and other major corporations such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Boeing.
- There is no personal income tax.
- Washington consistently ranks among the top five environmentally friendly states. Inquire with your city about energy saving programs and incentives that could save you some cash down the road.
- Seattle might be the rainy city, but the State of Washington has several distinct climate zones thanks to its topography, proximity to the Puget Sound and Cascade Mountains. Temperatures range from the mid-50s in late Fall to low 30s in the winter. Spring heats up around the low 60s, while summers in July and August hang around comfortable mid-70s.
- Eastern Washington and the San Juan Islands are dryer than most of the state, while the western portion receives the majority of precipitation, especially the Olympic peninsula which has its own rainforest.
- With most of the state experiencing rain in the Fall, Winter and Spring, Seattle, Washington enjoys around 152 sunny days annually.
Washington State Geographical Features
- Washington State is a paradise for anyone who enjoys recreation on the water. The state boasts roughly 2,500 miles of marine shoreline that provides multiple ports to a blossoming global shipping industry and endless opportunities for civic recreation.
- It goes without saying that you don’t have to sacrifice the great outdoors when choosing Washington, home to three national parks: Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and North Cascades National Park. You can also explore the Columbia Plateau landscape which ranges from elevations of 160 – 4,000 ft above sea level across Badger and Tekoa mountains to the Channeled Scablands and the Pasco Basin.
- Leave hot tub moving behind and substitute it for one of Washington’s many natural hot springs. Resorts like Sol Duc Hot Springs, Olympic Hot Springs and Carson Hot Springs are speckled across the state for you to enjoy.
Entertainment and Cuisine in Washington State
- Washington has the second largest number of permitted breweries and wine production right behind California.
- If you love coffee, then you’ll love Washington. Seattle is a prominent world stage for coffee roasting and supply chain management. Not to mention the state has an abundance of high-quality coffee shops, able to please the pickiest of palates.
- Washington State produced some of the greatest musical acts, ranging from ODESZA, Pearl Jam and Kenny G to Nirvana, Macklemore and Sir Mix-a-Lot. Today, residents enjoy a wide array of music played in intimate local venues and spacious stadiums. Sounds include: punk, post-rock, grunge, hip-hop and electronic.
Transit and Travel in Washington – Trains, Buses and Carpools
- Seattle ranks 5th on Tom Tom’s worst U.S. cities for traffic. But, that’s still lower than California. Make sure if you’re taking a vehicle to Washington State, you familiarize yourself with new traffic laws and directions.
- Washington State has comprehensive public transit systems that rival even the busiest cities in the world. 2,800 vanpools make it the largest program in the nation.
- The state has 32 public transportation benefit areas, 5 city transit agencies, 3 county public transportation authorities, 1 metropolitan county transit agency, 1 unincorporated transportation benefit area and 1 regional transit authority including rail, ferry and bus lines.
Moving from California to Washington
If you’re moving to Washington from California you won’t have to worry to much about getting around. About 80% of the state’s population is within transit boundaries, meaning most cities are viable transit options for you.
Although many suburban communities within Washington are experiencing an influx in their populations, Bellingham, Spokane and Tacoma continue to outshine others.
Each are unique in their own way, but they share a common theme having property for sale in Washington that is reasonably priced, especially when weighed against similar specs in California.
Checklist for how to Move to Another State
No matter what state you want to move to, being prepared is a huge leg up. Don’t let moving day surprise you!
Try using some, if not all, of these tips to keep yourself organized when moving to another state from California:
- Research your New City and Home – What good is moving to a city if you have no idea what to expect once you get there? Check out weather, schools, nightlife, jobs and other points you’re personally curious about.
- Are the School Districts Up to Par? – There’s bound to be plenty of options to choose from. Set some time aside to find an institution that works with your schedule.
- Monthly Budgeting – This will help keep you from overspending and give you an overall idea of how much you can save. Make sure you take into account subscriptions, utilities, parking, gas, food, entertainment and taxes.
- Put a Down Payment on your Dream Home – Similar to our first point, you don’t want to finish your state to state move only to be disappointed in your new dwelling. Research open market listings and find a place that you can call home.
- Check with Movers in the Area – Finding long distance moving companies to simplify your move is one of the smartest decisions you can make. Make sure the company you side with employs long distance moving experts and has a proven track record of moving to another state.
- Organize What You Can and Pack – If you’re looking to save some money with moving companies in California, packing some items on your own is the way to go! Consider organizing easy to move materials like electronics, clothes and documents.
- Coordinating Your Utilities – Don’t get caught paying for utilities you aren’t using! Make sure you contact your local utilities provider and update them on your state to state moving situation.
- New Mail Address – Same as the above point, you don’t want to miss out on important correspondence or bills when moving to another state.
- Share the Good News – This is a big deal! Let your friends and family know how they can stay in touch with you once you get settled in.
- Register as a Permanent Resident – Part of moving out of state means joining a new community. Be sure to check your domicile status. You may want to file to become registered your new jurisdiction
- New IDs, New State – Californians moving out of state will need to update their personal identification. Check with the local Secretary of State office to learn about applications.
- Your Furry Friend Needs a License too – Just like when you have to apply for new forms of identification, so too does your furry companion. Each state has different laws about pet ownership, but a general rule of thumb is validating that your pet is current with shots and registered under your name. This is a fairly quick and cheap process, normally not more than $50, that can also improve your chances of reuniting with your pet in the event they get lost.
- Recycling and Trash – Neighborhoods have different schedules. You’ll want to contact the city where you live to learn about sanitation schedules. Some areas will collect trash and recycling at the same time, while other cities stagger pickups.
Best Places to Move to From California
People are leaving California for all sorts of reasons. Whether it’s the costly taxes, astronomical cost of living, pollution, homeless crisis – what have you – the Golden State is hemorrhaging citizens.
The southwest of America’s Sunbelt States are a growing alternative. The arid and open climates of Nevada and Arizona are reminiscent for many Californians.
To the North lies Washington State – an outdoor oasis of foliage and forest, where minimalist living collides with the hustle and bustle of Seattle’s big city life.
If you’re thinking about moving to another state from California, taking time to prepare is your safest bet at smooth long distance moving.
Remember to always do your research about the new area you are relocating to. Oh! And remember to pick a long distance moving company that will have your back during your state to state move.