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Is California a Sustainable Place to Live?

As someone who’s been a San Diego resident for my entire life, I can certainly speak to what the quality of life has been for my family and I, as I was growing up and even as I write this article. My family has never been the richest, but we get along as best as we can. My family is currently lucky enough to have several means of income. My mom works in retail, and my grandparents are retired navy. While this doesn’t sound like the worst of fates, but my mother only makes enough to buy food, and if either of my grandparents died, the amount of people in my house (5 at current) would be unsustainable as my sister and I are full-time students. The only reason I can even afford to attend Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) is by the gracious, almost full-ride vocal scholarship that was given to me by the Music Department.  This brings to light my first issue.

California (SD) is an Expensive Place to Live:

According to a 2018 census, the average pricing for a family home in California, is $549,000, which is double the average home price for the entire nation, and in places like LA and San Francisco have median prices at over $1,000,000, with San Diego exceeding the national average well beyond at around $650,000.  People simply cannot afford to live here, which means that those of us that can afford to live here, are either wealthy, or they’re just getting by (like my family.) The only thing that keeps my family here, are the opportunities for something better. California is the cultural hub of the West Coast, featuring art, Hollywood, music, and beaches.  Not to mention, San Diego boasts one of the most temperate climates in the world, it’s no wonder this place costs an arm and a leg to live here. Not only is the real estate prime, but because it’s a tourist attraction, almost everything is expensive to buy, but is that really for the better for the citizens of San Diego and all of California? On one hand, the cost of living far exceeds national averages, and on the other hand, the economy thrives.

Homelesness in San Diego:

In San Diego, the  rate of homelesness is once again at all-time highs for the nation. Ranked in the top five cities in the nation for homelesness as of 2015, the numbers only rise, with an estimated number of almost 10,000. In a recent interview that I conducted with a homeless mother here on the streets of San Diego (Who’s name I have censored under her requests, we’ll call her Maria) Maria has been on the streets for just under a year. She spends most of her days panhandling on the side of the street, or on busy intersections. The rest of her time is spent looking for a job.

It’s rough you know? It might sound cliche when I say it like that, but that’s what it is, you know? I was renting an apartment, and I barely scraped by but then I show up to work one day, and they drop my a** like nothing. I don’t know what for… I told them I got myself to look after, you know? But nah man, it’s all competition with these people. It’s just too expensive, and too competitive to live here in SD (San Diego)… no one else is helping me… as soon as I’m in a better spot, I’m buying a bus ticket to Nevada or some s**t. I’m a lot richer there, you feel me?”


Nevada’s Real Estate Prices sit at around $250,000, less than half of the median housing prices are in California, and almost three times less than that of San Diego. The median apartment prices are also around half of San Diego’s apartments. I’m not saying that these prices are the cause of homelesness in San Diego, but it’s obvious that San Diego is a city that thrives on tourism, and the arts.., and sometimes, it really does hurt the little man. I’m also not taking any political stances or suggesting ways to fix this issue, I’m merely bringing to light what is apparent in my city of birth, and of residence.

Written By: James Young