Ventura County at dusk
Ventura County at dusk

I love exploring city statistics, comparing them with the city I live in, and making comparisons to cities I contemplate moving to. One site I always go back to is BestPlaces.net. I can quickly use their city compare link and glance through their copious amounts of data. (The one draw back to using this site is much of their data is a few years old. I’m hoping that when the 2010 census is published, they will update their statistics.) Another feature I find helpful is personal quotes and opinions about cities that people leave on their site. This helps narrow down the positives and negatives of an unknown city.

I use this site when considering my options for moving. For instance, I’m currently thinking of moving to a neighboring county, Ventura. It’s only a 30 minute drive away from where I live in Los Angeles County. But their population is 1/10 the size. According to Google, Los Angeles County is busting at the seams at almost 10,000,000 people – Whoa! Ventura County’s population, just to the north west, is under a cool million.  Ventura County is almost half the size, but even factoring this in, the population density is 1/6th of that of LA County (according to Wikipedia). What a difference! Less density means:

  • Less traffic! A huge problem with LA county.
  • Better, smoother roads due to fewer cars. I’m really tired of the pot holes chewing up my car.
  • Less people! I love our city’s diversity, but I feel a little like a sardine lately. Too many people in such a small area.
  • Better bicycle infrastructure. Ventura county is more bike-friendly with bike lanes painted on most of their roads.
  • Less graffiti. Because we have so many people, there’s more chance of hoodlums messing up the city. Lately, many of them have been having a heyday with spray paint!

When comparing counties, I’m also looking for a little break in the cost of living. According to BestPlaces.net, I will be saving money on most of my expenses. Below is a graph directly from their website:

City Cost of Living Comparison
City Cost of Living Comparison

I’m not claiming Ventura County is cheap in any sense of the word. But it is cheaper than where I live.

Another factor to consider is their employment, or unemployment rate, and future expected growth. Los Angeles, and California in general, is pushing an unemployment rate of 13%. Ventura, however, is slightly lower than that. Since I will also have to search for a new teaching job, or something temporary for a while, this may bring me more prospects. You’ll also notice from this data below that most people in Ventura make more money than those in LA county, promising at least!

Cost of Living
Cost of Living

Because this data is slightly outdated, I know that the sales tax has increased about 1%, but it has all over California. Ventura County’s sales tax is still 1% or more less than LA’s. Again, another reason for me to think seriously about moving.

On a side note, Ultimate Money Blog is doing something similar, but comparing all 50 states. I find this data fascinating. If any one is thinking of moving out of state, this might be a good window into what other states have to offer. If you use her descriptions along with BestPlaces.net city comparisons, you might find a city and state you would prefer to live in.

What city do you live in? Have you recently moved to a new city? What data did you use? Are you contemplating moving?

11 Comments

  1. @Susan Tiner-That’s a good point. That’s why I like reading the comments people post on BestPlaces.net. It gives me a little bit of a feel of the area.

  2. Hi Little House,

    My husband is job searching and we look at lots of info about various geographic areas. We love http://www.realtor.com to search available homes in our price range. We also use http://www.city-data.com for demographic info. You’re lucky that you live close to Ventura so you can go there, drive around, and talk to people in the area. Another great idea, if you are so inclined, to help with housing affordability is to buy a “fixer upper.” You have to look hard, get a good inspection (so you know what you’re in for), then you can do some of the work yourself &/or hire it out. If the numbers work and you’re motivated, it is an awesome way to get a viable property and build your net worth! All the best, Barb
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..Are you Already Rich? (Part 1) =-.

    • @Barbara – Thanks so much for this information. I didn’t know about the city-data.com link. As for buying a fixer-upper, that is one option. We’re not quite ready yet, we don’t have our down payment secured. And I’m all for that 30/30/3 rule!

  3. I’m testing my comment system again. It’s working, but giving a 404 error, I know why, but can’t figure out how to fix it! So Sorry for the inconvenience!

  4. Ventura is a great place! I use to drive up there to play golf with some friends. I especially love the area on the east side of the highway towards the foothills. You really feel like you have escaped the big city! Is it there or Oxnard that has the strawberry festival?
    .-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..Dealing With Debt Collection – =-.

    • @LeanLifeCoach – I think it’s Oxnard that hosts the Strawberry Festival. We’re open to investigating that area too. Really looking into the whole Ventura County area. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. We live in San Diego County (the most perfect weather in North America), but as with most of Southern California it’s expensive and a very large city.

    I’ve blogged about possibly living elsewhere when we retire. The hard part will be with children and grandchildren in California; how far away do we want to get.
    .-= Bucksome´s last blog ..Is a Phased Retirement for You? =-.

    • @Bucksome – I agree with you on the weather, and the expense! I know many people who’d like to retire elsewhere, some place less expensive, but are worried about leaving their children and grandchildren behind. You might want to think about Arizona, if you can stand the heat. It’s only a 5-6 hour drive from San Diego. My husband’s family lives in the Phoenix area, it’s very nice in the winter and fall, but too hot in the late spring and summer it melts rubber trim off cars!

  6. Wow Ventura county looks amazingly beautiful!!
    I wish I lived in California… less rain more sunshine!
    I say go for the move!
    I think it’s nice to live in a place that’s smallish– Vancouver used to be like that, now it’s starting to bustle at the seams too.
    .-= youngandthrifty´s last blog ..What’s your Latte Factor? =-.

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