CALIFORNIA, USA — A new study released by Top Agency, a California-based market analyst group, released a comprehensive list of the best and worst states to live in in the US. The study is based on eight data-driven metrics weighted on their importance: affordability, crime and safety, economy, education, health care, infrastructure, opportunity and quality of life.
The study found that California ranked near the bottom of nearly every metric and overall was found to be the 48th best state to live in.
Affordability and opportunity are the highest weighted metrics on the list. So Californians won’t be surprised that our state ranks 49th behind Hawaii for most affordable states. Home ownership, rent prices, groceries and utilities have all seen a sharp increase in California over the years.
While the list is made up of quantifiable data, UCSD Economist Joshua Graff Zivin says the study overlooks important and intangible aspects of California life.
"Grocery costs, sales, tax, utilities, cost, transportation costs, income tax, house values, all of that. That's great. But that all has to be juxtaposed against wages," said Zivin. "If you look across states within occupations, wages are higher here for the same job than they are in other places."
Other metrics listed in the study, such as healthcare and education overlook the quality of those amenities and just point to the number of schools and hospitals in the state.
"We have what many consider to be the marquee public university system in the world, both in the UC system and the Cal State system," said Zivin.
But California really shines in the quality-of-life metric. Weather, number of lakes and beaches, restaurants and parks puts California close to the top.
So regardless of what the rankings say, Zivin believes that California is more of a draw, then a study puts on paper.
"The bundle of amenities I get for this cost of living is something I still value and I'm willing to pay for," Zivin explained. "Yes, it means I will have less paycheck at the end of the day, but I will have more of the things I like."
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