Hundreds of people dream of heading to San Francisco, but not all of them understand what is in store for them in this area. Most of us presume we’re going to see the beautiful image of the city as portrayed in the shows, movies, or pictures.

Living in San Francisco, CA

But when you hear all the pros and cons of living in the San Francisco Bay Area from the San Francisco Movers, the truth can seem different.

Here are some of the pros and cons of Living in San Francisco  

Pros of Living in San Francisco

1. Job Opportunities

Right now, the economy across the whole Bay Area is on fire.  The boom in employment thanks to Silicon Valley and the other high-tech sectors in the city makes it one of the country’s most robust economies right now. You can find jobs with Netflix, YouTube, Twitter, Apple, Tesla, among others if you have the right skill set. In this area, there are plenty of possibilities for you to build a start-up as well.

There are excellent jobs in healthcare, restaurants, and indirect occupations that add to the economy even if you’re not involved in the high-tech industry. You’re not going to earn as much and will need to travel because of it, but relative to what you can expect in California or the rest of the country, you can usually come out ahead with the work here. 

2. Public Transportation

If by ditching the vehicle, you want to save some cash, then San Francisco has you covered with its public transport system. You have access to taxis, motorcycles, scooters, buses, trolleys, and light rail, allowing you to reach almost any part of the city. It is also one of the best walking communities in the United States, due to its temperate climate. If you’re not used to them, the hills can tire out your knees, but taking advantage of the weather and the community’s natural beauty makes for a great experience.

3. Cultural Diversity

One of the reasons why the thought of living in San Francisco constantly attracts people is because of its emphasis on diversity. It might be a city with transplants, but nobody even cares about that here. No matter what your race, colour, gender identification, sexual orientation, sexuality, or socio-economic status happens to be, everyone is welcome.

For anyone here, there is a neighbourhood, and most persons will blend into almost any living environment. Another fascinating fact is that San Francisco is one of the few big metro areas where Latinos are the predominant ethnicity, with 39.1% of the population originating from this background. 37.2 per cent of the population are non-Latino Caucasians.

4. Plenty of Activities

In the Bay Area, you can find two active Major League Baseball teams to help you catch a game. In the area, there are two NFL teams as well. When living in the area, you can also find the NBA, NHL, and MLS. You’ll learn that not only is it one of the best metro areas in the country connected to athletics, but San Francisco also provides many cultural opportunities.

You can chill with your family and friends at Baker Beach, visit one of the eccentric coastline dive bars, or take a tour of the Museum of Modern Art. There are also some events, such as Fleet Week and Bay to Breakers, that you can only find in San Francisco.

5. San Francisco is a Dog-friendly City

If you have a dog that’ll move to San Francisco with you, then you’re both in for a fantastic time. There are a few dog parks in every community that provide an open space for leash-free running.

These areas are also provided by many residential complexes and condos. During the day, you can often see people out with their dogs, enjoying the city’s sunny weather as it comes. You may also say that once you have your dog along with you, socialization does not really happen.

Some of the bars in the town will also let you carry your dog into the establishment if it is not a busy night for them. Many organizations allow them too, even if they aren’t a service animal. There’s just one word of caution: not every landlord allows pets, so before taking your dog along on this ride, you’ll want to check in advance.

Cons of Living in San Francisco

1. Homelessness

There aren’t more homeless people in San Francisco than in other big cities of the United States. However, among other causes, the warm weather, lack of square footage and a vast number of unsheltered homeless people have contributed to the problem running wild. The homeless problem in San Francisco is more noticeable than it is in other cities.

The Tenderloin, the poorest neighbourhood of the city, is adjacent to South Market (SoMa), its wealthy commercial hub, so it is not uncommon to see homeless people spread around high-rise office buildings and luxury apartments.

San Francisco also has a higher prevalence of chronic homelessness, meaning that rather than temporarily down and out, there are more residents who are long-term street dwellers. A frequent sight is homeless encampments on the highways and sidewalks, full of tents and sleeping people.

2. Traffic

You’re going to waste a lot of time caught in traffic if you intend on having a car in San Francisco and using it to drive across the Bay Area. San Francisco had the fifth-worst traffic problems in the world and the third-worst in the U.S. in 2017, with commuters spending an average of 79 hours in traffic, according to the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard.

3. Earthquake

The 1906 earthquake that destroyed San Francisco was estimated to be 7.9-8.25 with intense trembling. At that time, over 80% of the city was destroyed, 3,000 people were dead, and 250,000 were left homeless. It continues to be one of U.S. history’s worst and deadliest earthquakes. There is still the residual fear of the “Big One” that remains in citizens’ minds because of the position of the city along fault lines.

Theoretically, this drawback can apply to everyone living along the United States’ western coast, but in San Francisco, there are more tremors that you can sense relative to other areas. If you plan to start staying here, then you may want to make sure that an emergency kit with instant access is available.

4. Tax

In San Francisco, taxes are high, but this drawback applies to the whole state of California. At 12.3 per cent, the income tax rate is one of the highest in the nation, even though that rate applies only to gross income above $572,000. If you make more than $1 million annually, then you will have to pay a 1 per cent surtax.

Then you have the 7.25 per cent state sales tax, which in San Francisco is 8.5 per cent. If you possess too, the property taxes are going to be higher because the property rates in the area are skyrocketing. Some people have noticed that flying into the area, staying in a hotel for their five days of work, and then flying home for the weekend is cheaper for them — it’s so crazy.

5. Weather

If you’re used to a temperate coastal environment, San Francisco’s temperature does not seem to be much of a downside. In the southern part of the state, if you are used to the hotter, drier temperatures, then living in this area will feel downright freezing. It appears to be in December in the 50s, in the summer around the 80s, and thanks to its location by the water, you’re going to get lots of rain. There is plenty of fog that is still rolling through the area.

That means that if you go out, you may want to carry a jacket and an umbrella. At least you’re not going to be shovelling snow on foot as residents to the north are with the same conditions during the winter months.

Cost of Living

The following details break down the average costs of different needs in the city to help you determine the money you need to survive there as a student, a worker, or an unemployed job-seeker if you are planning a relocation to San Francisco. Hold these averages in mind. As the cost of living varies wildly from one area of town to another, and since each resident has a particular set of requirements, these estimates will need to be adjusted to decide the exact sum of money you require. 

1. Housing

The high cost of living in San Francisco begins with a strong housing market. Simply put, in SF, subsidized accommodation is impossible to come by. Actual home sales rates rose by 3.50 per cent from 2017 to 2018, hitting a median price of $952,400, according to 2018 figures from the National Association of Realtors. Yes, the median is a mere $1 million short! For its exceptionally costly houses, California is famous, but San Francisco takes the cake. 

San Diego’s median home selling price is $626,000 as a comparison, while the median is much smaller at $576,100 in Los Angeles.

2. Rent

Sadly, the soaring prices of San Francisco homes have spilt over into the rental industry. Rental prices in San Francisco are around as high as you’ll come across, according to a March 2019 report by Apartment List. The median rent for a two-bedroom San Francisco apartment is $3,108, which is an astounding $1,933 higher than the national median of $1,175. Also, smaller rentals are quite pricey. The median rent for studio apartments is an average of $2,013 and $2,474 for a one-bedroom apartment.

3. Food

San Franciscans pay more for food than people of almost every U.S. city. A gallon of milk costs about $4, on average. It costs about $3 for a loaf of plain white bread. It’s around $3 for a dozen chickens. The average cost is 6 dollars for a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The average household in San Francisco spends about $5,200 a year on groceries, or around $430 a month. This is smaller than most major metropolitan areas like San Diego but higher than L.A.   

4. Utilities

The one expenditure that San Francisco people get a break from is utilities. Bills are cheaper for city residents than the nationwide average. This is due in large part to the nice climate of the city; it gets neither hot in the summer nor cold in the winter in particular. Basic services for a 915-square-foot apartment are about $154 per month, including electricity, heating, cooling, sanitation, and waste. By using energy-efficient light bulbs and equipment, and by sparingly running their heat and air conditioning, budget-conscious residents can comfortably lower the number.

5. Student Life

For students, the Bay Area is a major attraction. Many prominent schools call the city home, as do hundreds of high-paying employers in neighbouring Silicon Valley, many of which hire from local universities.  However, it is prudent to know how much money you need to live before coming to San Francisco to attend school.

As a student, you can alleviate unreasonable San Francisco rentals by staying with roommates. Sharing an apartment with three other students would carry between $6,300 to $2,100 in your share of three-bedroom apartment rent. Your utility bill will also be one-fourth of what it costs to live alone. Food is still pricey, but as long as you rent a spot within walking distance of the campus, transportation is largely a non-issue.

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