16 Reasons Why Most of America Doesn’t Like California


In the United States, most people have a love/hate relationship with the Golden State. Increasingly, it’s mostly hate.

Is it the traffic? Maybe so. Or, perhaps the state’s politics isolates the state from the rest of the country more than anything else. And let’s not forget the cost of living.

Here are 16 reasons why much of America just can’t seem to warm up to California.

Insane Traffic

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If there’s one thing Californians and visitors alike can agree on, it’s the notorious traffic jams. And this is especially true if you live in…well, just about anywhere in California.

WalletHub ranked California as one of the worst states for traffic. Other states like Hawaii, Washington, Delaware, and West Virginia (yes, believe it or not!) were among the top five states with the most congested streets and highways.

Whether you’re navigating Los Angeles’s gridlock or inching along the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, California’s congested highways can test the patience of even the most zen drivers.

High Cost of Living

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California’s stunning cities and landscapes come with a hefty price tag. From sky-high rents to eye-watering property prices, the cost of living in the Golden State can leave many feeling like they need a second mortgage just to afford avocado toast.

San Francisco consistently ranks as one of the most expensive cities, along with Manhattan, Honolulu, Brooklyn, and Washington, D.C. The median home price in San Francisco is above $1.6 million. Most families must earn well over $100,000 a year just to make ends meet in S.F.

Silicon Valley Snobbery


In Silicon Valley’s tech-centric enclave, it sometimes feels like everyone’s a millionaire—except you. The culture of conspicuous consumption and tech elitism can leave outsiders feeling like they’re perpetually on the outside looking in.

Take Google, for example. In 2018, the median salary in San Jose, CA, was nearly $250,000. And remember, that was six years ago!



With its Mediterranean climate and vast stretches of wilderness, California is no stranger to wildfires. For many across the country, the annual spectacle of raging infernos and billowing smoke serves as a sobering reminder of the state’s environmental challenges.

“Last year, California wildfires sent an estimated 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to California Air Resources Board estimates. That’s equivalent to the emissions of about 1.9 million cars in a year,” wrote CalMatters.

“In 2020, California’s wildfires were its second-largest source of greenhouse gases, after transportation, according to a study published last year. The researchers from UCLA and the University of Chicago concluded that the 2020 wildfires increased overall emissions by about 30%.”

Hollywood Hype


California’s close association with Hollywood and the entertainment industry is a major turn-off for some. The glitz and glamour of Tinseltown can feel superficial and out of touch with reality, leaving many wondering if there’s more to life than celebrity sightings and red-carpet events.

If you live in a state other than California, there most certainly is!

Earthquake Anxiety

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Living in California means learning to live with the constant threat of earthquakes. For those accustomed to more stable ground, the idea of the earth suddenly shifting beneath their feet can be a source of perpetual unease.

Every year, California usually gets multiple earthquakes (greater than 5.5 in magnitude) capable of moderate damage to structures.

Hipster Overload


From craft breweries to artisanal coffee shops, California’s hipster scene is alive and well. While some embrace the trendiness with open arms, others roll their eyes at the proliferation of man buns and kale smoothies.

Bad Politics

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As one of the bluest states in the country, California’s progressive politics can be a sticking point for those on the other side of the aisle. This is especially true for California’s budget, which runs an estimated $58 billion deficit when inequality remains high.

The state’s liberal leanings often put it at odds with the rest of the country, leading to ideological isolation.

Water Woes

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California’s arid climate means water is a precious commodity – and one that’s often in short supply. Droughts and water restrictions can leave residents feeling parched and frustrated, especially when they see lush lawns and swimming pools in other parts of the country.

Or in the Palm Springs area, which appears to be immune from water restrictions.

Tech Bro Culture


In the tech hubs of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the term “tech bro” is more than just a stereotype – it’s a way of life. The male-dominated industry can feel exclusionary and insular, leaving many feeling like they’re on the outside of the boys’ club.

Traffic Laws


California’s traffic laws can be a source of confusion for visitors and newcomers alike. From carpool lanes to rolling stops, navigating the state’s roadways often feels like a game of traffic law roulette.

Celebrity Obsession


In California, celebrity sightings are practically a daily occurrence, and it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. But for many across the country, California’s obsession with fame and fortune can feel shallow and vapid.

Maybe Californians really do live in a land of make-believe.

Smugness Factor

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With its year-round sunshine and laid-back vibes, California can sometimes seem a little smug. The state’s perceived arrogance, whether it’s the endless bragging about the weather or the insistence that California knows best, can rub some the wrong way.

Income Inequality

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Despite its reputation as a bastion of progressivism, California struggles with some of the country’s highest levels of income inequality. The stark divide between the haves and the have-nots can disillusion many with the California dream.

After Covid-19, inequality has expanded significantly.

“More than 4 million Californians have contracted the disease, and over 64,000 have died from it. And beyond the cost of illness and death, the pandemic and the state’s actions to contain it have devastated California’s economy. Low‐​income and minority Californians in particular have felt the brunt of both the virus and the economic impact,” wrote Cato.

Tech Invasion

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As the epicenter of the tech industry, California has seen a massive influx of tech workers in recent years. While some welcome the economic boost, others lament the gentrification and cultural homogenization that often accompanies the tech invasion.

Tech salaries also help raise home values. This is great for existing homeowners but not for those migrating to the state or lower-income people.

In-N-Out Burger Lines


Last but not least, no discussion of California would be complete without mentioning the perennially long lines at In-N-Out Burger. While the fast-food chain’s burgers may be delicious, waiting 30 minutes for a double-double animal style can test even the most devoted fan’s patience.

If you don’t get to In-N-Out Burger hungry, chances are you will be by the time you get to the counter.