California is the kind of state that people either love or hate. Some see the warm, sunny beaches as something they’d enjoy experiencing. Others look at the crime and homelessness, along with the high cost of living, as something they’d run from. Let’s look at a few reasons people dislike this part of the country.

Massive Cost of Living

It’s no surprise that people are unhappy with the cost of living in California. The cost of housing is already through the roof. Some experts estimate that the average house cost here is almost 2.5 times that of the national average.

Source: Flickr/Sh4rp_i

Even food and other basic amenities are far more expensive than anywhere else in the US. You might have a lot of entertainment options, but finding a place to live while affording them is a challenge.

Traffic Jams

Imagine being stuck in an ongoing traffic jam every day of the week and even on the weekends. California doesn’t need to imagine it, as everyone here knows about the hellish traffic.

Source: Flickr/Elly Blue

With so many cars on California’s roads, getting where you’re going on time is almost impossible. Most people who live in the state can waste anywhere between two and four hours of their lives each day battling traffic.

Heavy Governmental Control of Gun Ownership

California is a huge Blue/Democratic state, and because of that, they have a hardline anti-gun-ownership stance. People who live here can own firearms but the state government strictly controls the licenses for ownership.

Source: Wikimedia/Hakan Dahlstrom

For those who enjoy having access to their firearms or don’t like overarching government control of anything, this stance makes the state unattractive to live in. Some would call this an infringement of Second Amendment rights.

Fires That Would Scare Anyone

In the last few years, California has seen some of the worst wildfires in the country. Ecological and climate change has made the forested areas of California ripe for even the slightest spark to start a raging fire.

Source: Eric Coulter

They also seem to happen yearly, no matter what authorities do to try to control their start and spread. Controlling these fires is difficult because their causes are multi-faceted and not quickly dealt with.

The Risk of Massive Earthquakes

California sits on a fault line, and when the earth’s tectonic plates shift, California can get some pretty big earthquakes. While there hasn’t been a significant earth movement recently, this isn’t a sign that the chance is dropping.

Source: SSMCI

If anything, the lack of big earthquakes in the last few decades makes the occurrence of a massive one even more possible. Many people don’t want to live in a state that could just shatter via a gigantic earthquake.

Terrible Income Inequality

Many people know California as the home of many millionaires and billionaires. Hollywood is part of California, after all, and many people who live there rake in tons of money every year. But that’s not everyone who lives in California.

Source: Flickr/Alan Greig

Even in the big cities, entire neighborhoods are dominated by people experiencing homelessness, as many households struggle to make rent and pay bills. Income inequality is a significant reason many people hate this state.

Busy Lifestyle Is Not For Everyone

California has a reputation for being the hippie haven of the world, but things have changed a lot since the 70s. The state is constantly active, even in the smaller towns, where people might think it’s more laid back.

Source: Flickr/bob_qt027

This constant activity is not for everyone, and people who come to the city from more laid-back towns quickly realize they can’t keep up. Being constantly busy is a good enough reason for some people to dislike California.

Overcrowding In Major Cities

Cities like LA, San Diego, and San Francisco have a considerable problem – overcrowding. There is simply not enough housing to cater to all the people who live in these cities. The available housing is also costly.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Robin Sloan

Overcrowding leads to inefficiencies in public services and infrastructure, making living in these condensed metropolises unattractive. People who have experienced life in these cities may hate the state because of their experiences.

Air and Noise Pollution

California has a massive industrial sector pumps out tons of air pollutants daily. The result is poor air quality in many parts of the state that suffer from the output of these factories.

Source: Shutterstock/eacsuicolae

Recent legislation has addressed the state’s noise pollution problem, but those who have already experienced it have left with a negative view of the state. Both of these types of pollution can make it miserable to live here.

Healthcare Costs Are Ridiculous

While this may apply to the broader US, the problem is even more pronounced in California. Health insurance is mandatory, and the cost of coverage is related to the already ridiculous cost of living in the state.

Source: Flickr/Steve Rhodes

Without insurance, medical debt can mount up quickly, and newcomers will likely hear horror stories about debt from medical procedures that their insurance didn’t cover. It’s enough to make anyone avoid California.

Scarce Water Due to Droughts

One of the most significant problems plaguing California recently is a lack of water because of extended droughts. These droughts also contribute to the creation of the wildfires mentioned before.

Source: ProPublica

Water restriction and conservation have become important, especially in California’s major cities. There is widespread concern about access to this most vital resource, and fears that it may lead to further income inequality.

More People Than Beaches

California has some of the nicest beaches in the US, but they have a problem of being overcrowded. The Golden State’s beaches are famous worldwide, but that all depends on whether you can find a spot to put up your umbrella.

Source: Flickr/Jan

People who have heard about California’s amazing beaches have been disappointed to get there and realize precisely how overcrowded they are. It’s enough to make them warn others away from visiting one of the state’s best tourist attractions.

Massive Taxation Burden

California has a substantial individual tax burden, with sales, income, and property taxes among the country’s highest. For people who have lived in other locales, the tax burden Californians bear seems immense.

Source: Flickr/401(K) 2012

This has to do with the state’s debt, with much of the taxed income going to service loans and other public service obligations the state has. It has also recently considered implementing a wealth tax that may drive away employers.

Overwhelming Homelessness

When people mention California’s cities, they don’t talk about the overwhelming homelessness that can be seen on their streets. The state’s housing and rent costs are sky-high, making it impossible to get an apartment to live in.

Source: Flickr/Franco Folini

Even employed people are sometimes forced to sleep in their cars because there is just not enough housing for the population. This problem will only increase, as the state has a cap on the amount of houses that can be built and the amount that can be charged for rent.

No Efficient Public Transport

We mentioned California’s massive traffic problem before, and that’s because getting anywhere in the city means having your own vehicle. Public transport in California might as well be non-existent.

Source: Flickr/George

Efficiency in San Francisco is around 80 out of 100, but that city is head and shoulders above the rest in the state. Los Angeles scored a 53, and San Diego an abysmal 37 out of 100 for their public transport systems.

Criminality At An All-Time High In Some Neighborhoods

All states have high-crime neighborhoods, but the problem seems to be spreading in California. Some social scientists have put forward the idea that income inequality is to blame for the spread of criminal gangs in the state.

Source: Flickr/Paul Trumble

Violent and property crimes in these neighborhoods drive down property prices and make it unsafe to live. Unfortunately, many of the people who already live here can’t afford to move because of the cost of property elsewhere.


The same high-crime neighborhoods are being rehabilitated and improved, but in doing so, they’re making it impossible for the original inhabitants of those neighborhoods to continue to live there.

Source: Flickr/Jeff Chou

Many of these people leave the state when they realize they can no longer afford to live in their own homes. With stories like this spreading across the US, it’s unsurprising how many people dislike the state because of its gentrification.

Education System Woes

California’s universities are among the most prestigious in the country, but their high school and elementary school systems leave a lot to be desired. Aside from class boundaries limiting the availability of teachers, there are a lot more things that could be fixed.

Source: Flickr/US Department of Education

Many of the state’s schools are underfunded and overcrowded. Parents who are seeking better education for their kids have to move to much more expensive neighborhoods or enroll their kids in private schools.

Traffic Fines and Laws

Being pulled over for something is scary, but in California, it’s expensive as well. Many of the state’s traffic violation fines are among the highest in the country.

Source: Flickr/Steven Straiton

Many people see California’s approach to traffic management as being wrongheaded. It’s led to people disliking the state because even a minor infraction could lead to severe and long-lasting consequences.

Political Controversies Always Raging

California shows up a lot in political commentary columns, and for good reason. The state government is always trying new and groundbreaking things.

Source: Peg Hunter

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with what the state government is doing. Their approach to many things has drawn criticism from the opposition almost every time the governor seeks to address a problem.

Rural and Urban Inequality

Not only is there inequality in the cities, but there’s also a significant amount of inequality between the urban and rural districts of the state. Urban areas are usually dealt with first because they’re where all the action happens.

Source: Flickr/Damian Gadal

Rural regions of the state get less funding for infrastructure and management and, as a result, have lower-quality services than their urban neighbors. Many people outside of the state hate to see this inequality persist.

Potential Extreme Weather

Wildfires and water scarcity are a direct result of climate change, with the state having to deal with a decrease in its rainfall alongside higher-than-regular temperatures. The heat can become extreme in some cases.

Source: Flickr/James Marvin Phelps

Not only is the heat uncomfortable, but it can also lead to death from heatstroke. For areas that are not near the sea, the heat can become suffocating and cause exhaustion and sunstroke.

Too Good To Be True

California has the benefit of being home to a lot of entertainment media. As a result, it gets a very positive spin on what’s going on there in the media that the rest of the country consumes.

Source: Flickr/GPA Photo Archive

Many people have become suspicious of the media’s portrait of their hometown. Since a lot of the things the news mentions don’t show up in the TV shows, many people have learned not to trust California and, in some cases, hate it for lying about itself.

Killing The American Dream

Most of the small-towners who want to strike it rich or make it big in the movies go to California. They think it’s a land of opportunity, and once someone works hard enough, they will make their dreams come true.

Source: Flickr/Paulo Keller

Sadly, California is anything but the land of opportunity. With all the money in the hands of a few, it’s unlikely that working diligently will help anyone achieve their American Dream. Most people hate it because it makes them realize that their dream is likely to only ever be a dream.

The Most Hated State

California gets a bad rap with people who are non-Californians. Throughout the US, many people have stated that they dislike California, either because they’ve lived or visited there or on general principle.

Source: Flickr/Daniel Orth

Yet even people within California dislike the state. People who have lived there all their lives have seen the state change from when they were young into something hostile and unrecognizable. Can the Golden State recover its reputation? No one knows, but it does need a lot of work for people to consider liking it again.