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8 Surprisingly Affordable Places to Live in California

Affordable Places to Live in California
California, the Golden State, has 8 of the top 50 most populated cities in the U.S. Naturally, the cost of living here is very high.
Rahul Thadani
Last Updated: Jan 30, 2018
Traditionally, California has been one of the most expensive places in the United States. This is no different now. With the decline in the economy last year, and constantly rising cost of living, finding a good, affordable place to live in California has become even more difficult. California also happens to be one of the states with a high percentage of unemployment. Hence, getting by in this state is not an easy task.
Several factors come into play while picking a place to live: the size of ones family, the number of children, climatic conditions, recreational factors, medical institutions, school and colleges nearby, tax rates, prices of homes, crime rate, and many other socio-economic variables. If you are keen to live in California, here are some affordable options for you, that fulfill most of these conditions and other expectations.
Affordable Places to Live in California - Bakersfield
Bakersfield Airport
This is the 11th fastest growing city in California, located around 100 miles to the north of Los Angeles. The city's population is around 350,000, and it relies mainly on agriculture, manufacturing, petroleum extraction, and refining industries. Living in Bakersfield is very affordable. The per capita income of the city is around $17,500. The scenic beauty is one of its major advantages, but the downsides are the rising pollution levels and scorching temperature in the summer months. This city has been regularly featured on lists of the most uneducated metropolitan areas of the United States.
Affordable Places to Live in California - Eureka
Victorian Homes, Eureka
Located in the Humboldt County, a population of around 35,000 makes Eureka a great small town for someone looking for affordable homes. Eureka is your typical port city, and this makes it a hub for trading, Government services, and other docking facilities. Hence, finding a good job in the area is not a problem by any means. California's oldest zoo, Sequoia Park Zoo, is also situated here. You will find a lot of old Victorian style homes here. It serves as an escape from the blindingly hot climate of other Californian cities. The per capita income for the city is around $20,000, and the timber and fishing industry are prevalent here.
California City
This is a very small city. This is reflected in the size of its population, which is just 15,000. It is located in the Mojave Desert, around 65 miles from Death Valley National Park. The major sources of employment are the California City Prison, Mojave Airport, proving grounds for car manufacturers like Honda and Hyundai, and a plane salvaging industry. The per capita income is $19,500, but the best part is the unbelievably low rates for house rentals and purchase, making it one of the cheapest and best places to live inside California.
Affordable Places to Live in California - Hesperia, Mojave Desert
Hesperia, Mojave Desert
This is another city in the Mojave Desert, located in the San Bernardino County. The population here is around 80,000. It is your typical lake city, since it is adjacent to Silverwood Lake and the Mojave River. Cost of homes here is pretty low, making it one of the most affordable places in California. The level of industrialization and commerce is pretty high. There are a number of great schools as well, so it is a perfect place for families with kids. The per capita income is $16,000, and there are plenty of restaurant businesses and manufacturing industries here, that contribute to employment, with the Hesperia Unified School District being the biggest employer.
Imperial Beach
Affordable Places to Live in California - Imperial Beach
Imperial Beach Pier
Located in the San Diego County, Imperial Beach is a residential beach city, around 5 miles from Tijuana, Mexico, and 15 miles away from San Diego city. The population is around the 35,000 mark, and its cooler climate makes it an ideal location for someone who does not want to live too far away from a big city. The exceptionally low crime rate also makes it very safe for families to live in, and a regular influx of surfers and tourists makes it thrive in the hospitality sector. Jobs are in high supply here, but one should be prepared to live in the midst of many mixed races.
Affordable Places to Live in California - Lancaster
Poppy Reserve - Antelope Valley, Lancaster
Lancaster is the 4th largest city in the Los Angeles County, around 2 hours drive from LA. The population is near the 500,000 mark, so living here is a lot more expensive than the places mentioned above. Crime rate has also risen in the recent past, but the development of the city has been rapid and impressive. The view of the impressive mountain ranges around the city simply add to its charm. Many businesses have flourished in this city as a result of less red tape and encouragement from the local Government, and the per capita income is also near the $25,000 mark. More than 70% of the people from this city own homes. Hence, this is a city that is doing well, and is quite affordable, when you compare it with much bigger cities.
Affordable Places to Live in California - Redding
Sundial Bridge - Turtle Bay, Redding
Redding is a comparatively bigger city, and it is second only to Sacramento in this regard. It is located in the Shasta County, having a population count close to 90,000 people. Homes are slightly more expensive here, but the scenic beauty of the mountains is something not found everywhere else. Summers are hot and dry, but winters very cool and foggy. The weather conditions are ideal for most people. The per capita income for the city is $18,500, and there are tons of business centers and operations for good employment in the city.
Affordable Places to Live in California - Auburn
Superior Court Historic Courthouse, Auburn
Another affordable and comfortable little city to live in, Auburn has a population around 15,000. It is located in the Placer County, and has the honor of being named the Endurance Capital of the World, since the Auburn State Recreation Area is a state park where the best endurance events are held. The per capita income here is $36,000. Infrastructure and social structure in this city are well managed, and Auburn is also connected with the California Gold Rush history.
Finding affordable spaces in a place like California usually means that you have to compromise on certain issues. Smaller towns, fewer people, fewer recreational facilities, higher crime and unemployment rate, or lower quality of infrastructure, are not everyone's cup of tea. However, you may have to compromise in some way or the other. Most of the smaller cities are located around the bigger ones, and hence, development rates are going to be high. At the end of the day, you want your home and your family to be comfortable. So, you must weigh the pros and cons very carefully.