Soaring Costs in California May Lead to a ‘Devastating’ Future for the Golden State

By: Georgia | Published: Jul 03, 2024

California’s sky-high living costs are sending young peo-ple packing for more affordable pastures. 

As they leave, the state’s age demographics shift dramatically, leaving a worrying future in the balance.

LA's Vanishing Youngsters

Los Angeles reveals a stark reality: a 20% drop in residents under 10 years old over the past decade. 

Street sign for Los Angeles with a no-turn-on-red traffic sign, against a backdrop of high-rise buildings

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Meanwhile, the elderly population is booming, with those aged 70 up by 40%.


Birth Rates Hit Historic Lows

The Golden State is seeing record lows in birth rates, the lowest in over a century.

A newborn baby held in the hands of a person wearing a blue uniform in a hospital setting

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With one of the nation’s lowest fertility rates, the demographic shift could have far-reaching consequences.

Outsiders Stay Out

In 2022, a mere 11% of people moving to California were from other states, the lowest nationwide. 

Aerial view of a sunny residential street in California, lined with palm trees and single-family homes overlooking the ocean

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Is California losing its allure?

Retirement Imbalance

With baby boomers aging, the balance tips as retirees are projected to outnumber children by 2030. 

Two young children, a boy and a girl, standing on a rocky coastline looking out at the sea

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Will there be enough workers to support the growing elderly population?

Expert Alarm

USC’s Dowell Myers highlights the dire scenario: “California’s high cost of living…is pushing young people away.” 

Vivid image of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, with cars traveling on it and a clear view of the city skyline in the distance

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The result? A potentially “devastating future.”


Homeownership Hurdles

Owning a home in California? 

View of a quaint single-story house with a white picket fence and a no parking sign, on a sunny day

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You’d need a salary of $224,000 as housing prices soar, making it a distant dream for many.


Building Barriers

Strict regulations have escalated construction costs. 

A construction worker in a yellow hard hat and safety vest working on the wooden frame of a new building under a clear blue sky

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This now means fewer new homes and even higher prices.


Mansion Tax Controversy

Los Angeles’s new “mansion tax,” designed to fund affordable housing, has instead sparked debate.

Modern house with large glass windows and an open patio area, offering a panoramic view of Los Angeles sprawling in the background

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Critics argue that it deters developers from building new homes, further inflating house prices.


Zoning Laws in the Spotlight

Governor Gavin Newsom’s SB 9, signed in 2021 to encourage more home building by allowing up to four units on single-family lots, faced a setback when a district court overturned it in 2022. 

Close-up image of Gavin Newsom smiling, dressed in a blue suit, outdoors during daylight

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The court sided with cities that contended the law didn’t ensure the units were affordable.


Zoning Wars

Cities are challenging the state over zoning laws, demanding affordable housing mandates. 

Sunset casting golden hues over a residential neighborhood in Los Angeles, with palm trees and distant city views

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The ongoing legal tussle could shape California’s housing landscape.


The Future of Housing

As the legal and demographic battles wage on, what will California look like for future generations? 

Aerial view capturing the dense housing and busy streets of Los Angeles during twilight

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Will the dream of affordable housing remain just that—a dream?