Moving to Los Angeles: Everything You Need to Know

Moving to Los Angeles: Everything You Need to Know

Each year, Los Angeles welcomes 50 million visitors — and not all of them are just on sunny vacation. On both the 2010 and 2020 censuses, Los Angeles city and county grew their populations, showing Southern California is a popular place that lots of people are interested in calling home.

There are so many reasons to consider moving to Los Angeles: The area’s many colleges and universities, its booming industries, the fantastic weather, or to pursue a dream of working in the entertainment industry, which has its unofficial world headquarters in LA.

But when moving to California, there’s much to consider. Read on for the ultimate guide to moving to Los Angeles.

9 Things to Know About Moving to Los Angeles

Thinking about moving to Los Angeles? Here are nine things to know about the City of Angels and Los Angeles County.

Population

Los Angeles is a big city. Huge, even.

It’s more populous than dozens of entire U.S. states. It’s home to more people than hundreds of entire countries around the world.

As of the 2020 census, nearly 4 million people called LA home, making this the second-largest city (and second-most populous city) in the U.S., behind only New York City. Angelenos live in a sprawling urban megalopolis that spans 467 square miles — about 10 times the size of San Francisco, and 50% larger than all of NYC’s five boroughs combined.

The good news is that even with its population of 3,898,747, the sheer size of the city means population density is lower in LA than much of the East Coast and many other major cities, including New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago.

But LA doesn’t always mean just the city proper. Another 6 million people call Los Angeles County home, either in one of its 87 cities or in unincorporated parts of the county. The combined population of the entire Los Angeles metro area is 10,014,069, making it the most populous county in the U.S. by an almost 2-1 margin.

Cost of living

There’s no sugarcoating it: LA is one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., living expenses here are on the rise — the consumer price index in LA has risen by about 5% in 2021.

GOBankingRates crunched the numbers and found that to live comfortably in Los Angeles, you’d need to earn a minimum of $136,208 as a renter, or $150,392 as a homeowner (assuming you spend 50% on necessities, 30% on discretionary spending, and 20% on savings). That’s well above the city’s median household income of $62,142

Median household income

Median household income

But according to Census figures, the median household income in Los Angeles is just $62,142. The median household income for Los Angeles county as a whole is slightly higher, at $68,044. Both are fairly comparable to the national median household income of $62,843.

Cost of living comparison

Here’s how LA’s cost of living compares to other cities across the country.

Housing Food and Groceries Transportation Healthcare
City % higher or lower than national average % higher or lower than national average % higher or lower than national average % higher or lower than national average
Los Angeles 73.3% higher 4.1% higher 65.3% higher 10.6% lower
San Francisco 496.2% higher 16.6% higher 58.2% higher 14.9% higher
New York City 194.3% higher 16.6% higher 81.1% higher 27.6% higher
Chicago 0.9% lower 2.8% lower 38.5% higher 12% lower
Phoenix, AZ 3.5% higher 2.7% lower 17.9% higher 7.5% lower
Orlando, FL 6.1% higher 0.7% higher 10.1% higher 3.4% higher
Houston, TX 19.8% lower 1.9% lower 19% higher 4.9% lower
Oklahoma City 43.8% lower 5.3% lower 4.5% lower 6.2% higher

*Percentages shown as higher or lower than the national average cost as of September 2021.

Compare Los Angeles’s cost of living to your current home city’s using this online calculator.

Should you rent or buy a home in Los Angeles?

46% of housing in LA County is owner-occupied, showing there are more people in Los Angeles who rent the homes they live in than own them.

The decision of whether to rent or buy really comes down to each family’s personal situation, and will be influenced by factors like income, the area where you’d like to live, the housing market at the time of your move, and more.

Though home prices in LA County tend to be very high, there are some incentives to encourage homeownership in the area. California’s landmark property tax law sets taxes at just 1% of purchase prices, with a stipulation that they can never increase more than 2% in a year — a rate less than the national average for yearly inflation. This means that the longer a Californian stays in their home, the lower their property taxes will be relative to inflation.

Los Angeles has also taken steps to make it easy for homeowners to turn their property into extra income streams. In March 2021, the city announced plans to provide pre-approved designs for rentable accessory dwellings, which speeds up the permitting process for Angelenos who want to build one.

Average rental prices in Los Angeles

These are city-wide averages for rental units, but keep in mind that actual rental prices can vary depending on the part of the city where you want to live.

Studio apartment $1,500
One-bedroom apartment $2,150
Two-bedroom apartment $2,900
Three-bedroom apartment $4,350

Prices accurate as of September of 2021. Source: Zumper.com

Rent increases are tempered somewhat by Los Angeles County’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance that limits the amount landlords can annually increase rents and ties increases to the consumer price index. 

Average home prices in Los Angeles

Average home prices in Los Angeles

Homes in Los Angeles are more expensive than in much of the country.

Between 2015 and 2019, the average home price was $583,200 in Los Angeles County and $636,900 within LA city limits. The national average for that time period was $217,500.

The pandemic-fueled run on housing has affected Los Angeles. This year, the national average sold price for a home reached $375,000, while in Los Angeles, it climbed to a record $750,000.

Homelessness in Los Angeles

It’s impossible for a guide to Los Angeles to gloss over the city’s issue with homelessness.

One out of every 14 people experiencing homelessness in the United States can be found in LA, with 41,290 people experiencing it in the city during a 2020 count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. That’s equal to about 1% of the city’s population and a rate of homelessness around six times higher than national averages.

Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis could be getting worse, with the Los Angeles Mission noting, “There are more people becoming homeless for the first time now than any time in Los Angeles’ history.”

Economy and major industries

The greater Los Angeles area boasts a GDP of just over $960 billion, making it the second-largest economy in the U.S. (behind only New York City), and one of the largest economies in the entire world.

  • Total employees: 9 million in Los Angeles County
  • Average pay:$63,231
  • Average hourly wage: $30.61 (13% higher than the national average)

LA’s largest industries are:

  • Entertainment, unsurprisingly. The city is home to Paramount Studios, Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Studio, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, and Warner Brothers, as well as a number of smaller studios and production companies.
  • Education.
  • Healthcare.
  • Tourism.
  • Retail.
  • Construction.
  • Manufacturing.

la county employment

Unemployment rates across the U.S. are still somewhat volatile amid the ongoing pandemic, but in LA particularly, the job market has been slow to recover. In August of 2021, the unemployment rate in Los Angeles reached 10.1%, slightly lower than the 10.4% seen earlier in the year. That’s almost double the national unemployment rate of 5.2% in August. Job opportunities can be hard to come by for LA residents, and it’s anyone’s guess about when that may change.

Diversity

The city of Los Angeles is one of the most proudly diverse in the U.S., attracting people of every color, creed, and national background.

According to Census data, Los Angelenos are:

  • 28.5% non-Hispanic white
  • 48.5% Hispanic or Latino
  • 11.6% Asian
  • 8.9% Black

los angeles race breakdown

Los Angeles is home to one of the largest immigrant populations in the U.S. with 36.9% of Los Angeles foreign-born. A 2020 study by the USC Dornsife Center for the Study of Immigration Integration found that of the 728,048 people who had immigrated in the past decade, 61% were either naturalized or lawful permanent residents. The study added that among the 900,000 undocumented residents in total in Los Angeles, most had been there at least 10 years.

LA is also home to a large LGBTQ+ population. 4.6% of Los Angeles and Orange County residents surveyed by Gallup identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. More than 40% of residents in West Hollywood, home of the city’s annual Pride celebration, identify as LGBTQ+.

Los Angeles is also open to many religions. LA County is home to 3.5 million Catholics, more than any other county in the U.S. It also boasts the third-largest Jewish population in the world, behind only New York City and Jerusalem.

Crime

Neighborhood Violent Crime (per 100K) Rate Property Crime (per 100K) Rate
Los Angeles County 545 1 in every 183 people 2,131 1 in every 47 people
City of Los Angeles 743 1 in every 135 people 2,458 1 in every 41 people

Crime statistics show Los Angeles to be safer than just 13% of U.S. cities, with 29,582 violent crimes and 97,817 property crimes annually. But new or prospective residents needn’t worry excessively about their safety in Los Angeles. Like many places, crime is fairly localized in LA, with certain areas presenting high risks and many parts of the region reasonably safe, particularly when it comes to the risk of being a victim of violent crime.

According to violent and property crime rates, the five most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles are:

Neighborhood Violent Crime (per 100K) Rate Property Crime (per 100K) Rate
Chinatown 2,964 1 in every 34 people 2,987 1 in every 33 people
Civic Center-Little Tokyo 2,924 1 in every 34 people 9,745 1 in every 10 people
South Park 2,701 1 in every 37 people 10,371 1 in every 10 people
Lincoln Heights 2,672 1 in every 37 people 7,876 1 in every 13 people
Leiment Park 2,194 1 in every 46 people 5,022 1 in every 20 people

Meanwhile, these same metrics show the five safest neighborhoods in Los Angeles as:

Neighborhood Violent Crime (per 100K) Rate Property Crime (per 100K) Rate
Tujunga 200 1 in every 500 people 999 1 in every 100 people
Bel Air 130 1 in every 769 people 1,160 1 in every 86 people
Westwood 129 1 in every 775 people 1,296 1 in every 77 people
Porter Ranch 125 1 in every 800 people 1,462 1 in every 68 people
Mar Vista 208 1 in every 481 people 1,542 1 in every 65 people

Weather

Los Angeles is famous for its weather, for good reason. Fans of warm weather and sunshine will love Southern California.

However, there are some downsides to the weather. Los Angeles can experience extreme and sometimes dangerous heat, and due to high summer temperatures, utility costs can be high to keep homes cool and comfortable. Climate change has caused more extreme temperature days in recent years than ever, and the county registered its current record-high temperature in September of 2020: 121 degrees.

The lack of rain also means near-constant drought conditions. Los Angeles spends $1 billion annually to import 85% of its water supply.

Another weather hazard in LA is pollution. 86 days each year are labeled “Hazardous for Sensitive Groups” or worse in Los Angeles County. It’s worth adding, though, that while LA’s issues with Co2 emissions are long-known, the air quality index has improved dramatically in recent decades, with clean air mandates in California potentially paving the way for more improvements in the near future.

And finally, there’s wildfire season. This is another problem that’s become more extreme in recent years due to climate change. Not only do nearby wildfires affect LA’s air quality, but some wildfires come close enough to actually threaten the city and its residents, causing evacuations, property damage or loss, and even death.

Getting around

Los Angeles may be famous for its weather, but it’s equally famous for its traffic — especially during a brutal daily rush hour. Los Angeles is known for being far more car-centric than many major cities, and the county is home to an estimated 6.5 million personally owned vehicles. The rise in popularity of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft has only exacerbated LA’s existing traffic problem.

Los Angeles has a complex and busy highway system, with 515 miles of freeways alone.

los angeles freeway system map

 

While Los Angeles’s public transportation system is not as robust as in many other major cities, the city has made great strides in moving away from the car-centric culture of its past and offering alternative ways to get around. The LA Metro rail system sees 166,000 daily riders, while the city’s buses see 661,000 daily.

Many parts of Los Angeles are very walkable. A 2017 analysis gave six neighborhoods walk scores of 90 or higher. However, much of LA can be difficult to traverse on foot, and the city had the highest number of pedestrian deaths from traffic accidents in 2016.

  • Average commute times: About 32 minutes (but can vary greatly by neighborhood; see more below)
  • Most walkable neighborhood: Downtown, 95 walk score
  • Traffic accidents:54,000 in 2019
  • Average traffic fatalities: 217 annually, according to LAist

Politics

LA county is solidly Democratic, with President Joe Biden receiving 71% of the vote in 2020. No Republican presidential candidate has won the county since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection. Overall, here’s the political breakdown of the city and county:

Registered Voters % Democratic % Republican % Third-Party % Unaffiliated
Los Angeles County 5,637,015 52.7% 17% 5.5% 24.8%
City of Los Angeles 2,174,718 57.2% 12.6% 5.4% 24.7%

Politically, LA is unique for its County Board of Supervisors, which consists of just five people tasked with representing a population of 10 million. Open spots on the board are highly contested. Politicians have left the U.S. House of Representatives or California State Legislature to run for the board.

The local city council, by comparison, is much more representative, with 15 members — about one for every 265,000 residents — and Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has veto power over the council.

Things to do

LA offers an incredible variety of things to do, including many world-famous activities and locales. From the beaches of Malibu to the shopping in Beverly Hills to the Santa Monica Boardwalk, farmer’s markets, hiking trails, nightlife, and so much more, there’s truly something for everyone in LA.

For families: LA is home to many famous family attractions, including Disneyland Resort, Santa Monica Pier, Universal Studios, the Hollywood sign and Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Griffith Observatory, many family-friendly museums, science centers, parks, and more.

Outdoors: For a major city, LA offers many outdoors activities, from hiking in the Hollywood Hills and other foothills surrounding the city to surfing, sailing, and swimming in the Pacific Ocean. LA is just a short drive from many world-famous outdoor destinations, from Big Sur to Joshua Tree National Park.

Art and culture: Los Angeles is home to more museums, art galleries, music venues, comedy clubs, and nightclubs than any one person could visit in a lifetime. There are a number of world-class museums and venues in the city, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Getty, and the Broad.

los angeles stadiums

Sports: Los Angeles is home to 9 major pro sports teams, including the Dodgers, Chargers, Rams, Sparks, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Galaxy, and Los Angeles FC.

Food: Los Angeles is a foodie’s paradise. The city is home to Michelin-starred fine dining, world-class street food, and everything in between.

Raising a family in Los Angeles

With its high cost of living, pollution, and crime, Los Angeles may seem, on the surface, like it’s not the best city for raising a family. But trends in the city’s population and demographics show that younger people with children are moving to Los Angeles in greater and greater numbers.

Median Age Household Size Married Population
Los Angeles 36.5 2.99 42%
U.S. 38 2.53 52%

Certain neighborhoods are more family-friendly than others, as we’ll explore in more detail below.

Schools in Los Angeles

A major consideration for families moving to Los Angeles is the local school system.

Public schools in the Los Angeles area rank in the top 30% for California, with the Golden State’s schools ranking 38th-best in the United States as of 2019.

In terms of academic performance and testing, the five best schools in the Los Angeles area are:

Rank School Location Math Reading
1 Millikan Science Technical Engineering And Math (STEM) Magnet Magnet School Sherman Oaks ≥99% 98%
2 Whitney (Gretchen) High School Cerritos 98% ≥99%
3 Academy Of The Canyons Valencia 90-94% ≥95%
4 California Academy Of Mathematics And Science Magnet School Carson ≥95% 90-94%
5 Carver Elementary School San Marino 92% 92%

Los Angeles is also home to 58 colleges and universities. Not including community colleges, it’s a mix of non-profit, for-profit, and religious schools serving 340,878 students, with some of America’s top universities among them. These include:

  • University of Southern California
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • California Institute of Technology
  • The Claremont colleges
  • Pepperdine University
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • California Institute of the Arts

Los Angeles’s 8 Regions Within City Limits: A Quick Guide

Los Angeles’s 8 Regions Within City Limits: A Quick Guide

While Los Angeles often refers to the broader region, as we’ll explore in the next section, there are a wide variety of places people can live within Los Angeles city limits. More than 100 individual neighborhoods can be found in the following eight broad regions of the city.

Beach/Airport Area

Beach/Airport Area

Southwest of downtown, traversing the 110 and 105 freeways, an assortment of beachfront communities can be found in the vicinity of Los Angeles International Airport. It’s not unusual for people enjoying a bonfire at Dockweiler Beach to see commercial airlines taking off or making their final approach for landing.

This area can be expensive, but is well-known for being fun, diverse, and family-friendly.

Neighborhoods in this region: 

  • Del Rey
  • Mar Vista
  • Marina Peninsula
  • Playa Del Rey
  • Playa Vista
  • Venice
  • Westchester/LAX

Crescenta Valley

Crescenta Valley

Located near the San Gabriel Mountains, Crescenta Valley includes a mix of Los Angeles city neighborhoods, unincorporated parts of LA County, and separate cities Glendale and La Canada Flintridge.

The neighborhood dates to the early 1900s, with Shadow Hills establishing itself as Hansen Heights in 1907 and Sunland and Tujunga dating to the 1920s. The area is a mix of middle-class homes, by LA standards, in the $700,000 and $800,000, though average home values in La Tuna Canyon and Shadow Hills top $1.1 million, per Zillow.

Neighborhoods in this region: 

  • La Tuna Canyon
  • Lakeview Terrace
  • Shadow Hills
  • Sunland
  • Tujunga

Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles

Urban planning in the middle of the 20th century followed a car-centric philosophy of deemphasizing housing in central cities and concentrating on jobs. Downtown Los Angeles followed this philosophy, with just 85,000 residents and more than half a million jobs.

Despite the emphasis on commerce downtown, it still contains some of the city’s best-known tourist attractions, such as Hollywood, Dodger Stadium (which is in Elysian Park), and the Griffith Observatory. At just 5.84 square miles, downtown also remains one of the more densely-populated parts of Los Angeles, with approximately 14,500 residents per square mile as opposed to 8,092.3 citywide.

Neighborhoods in this region:

  • Arlington Heights
  • Boyle Heights
  • Brookside
  • Byzantine-Latino Quarter
  • Cahuega Pass
  • Carthay
  • Chinatown/Historic LA
  • Central City East
  • Country Club Park
  • Downtown LA
  • East Hollywood
  • Echo Park
  • Elysian Park
  • Fremont Place
  • Griffith Park
  • Hancock Park
  • Harvard Heights
  • Historic Filipinotown
  • Historic West Adams
  • Hollywood
  • Koreatown
  • La Brea Hancock
  • Larchmont Village
  • Los Feliz
  • Maplewood-St. Andrews
  • Melrose
  • Mid-City
  • Mid-City West
  • Miracle Mile
  • Olympic Park
  • Picfair Village
  • Pico Park
  • Pico Union
  • Rampart Village
  • Redondo Sycamore
  • Andrews Square
  • Silver Lake
  • South Carthay
  • Sycamore Square
  • Western Heights
  • Western Wilton
  • Westlake
  • Wilshire Center
  • Wilshire Park
  • Wilshire Vista
  • Wilshire Vista Heights
  • Wilshire Square
  • Windsor Village

Harbor Area

Harbor Area

A mix of industrial, defense, and other uses exist in the most southern portion within Los Angeles city limits.

Major employers include the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, the Phillips 66 refinery in Wilmington — which ranks as “the third largest field in the contiguous United States” — and the Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island. Harbor Area is less popular for housing, with approximately 220,000 residents, though the adjacent Harbor Region has roughly three times as many residents.

Neighborhoods in this region:

  • Harbor City
  • Harbor Gateway
  • San Pedro
  • Terminal Island
  • Wilmington

Northeast Los Angeles

Northeast Los Angeles

While still heavily Latino and working-class — a 2017 city report noted that Northeast Los Angeles was 64% Hispanic or Latino, with median household income of $54,672 — the area has gentrified somewhat over the past 20 years. Areas such as Highland Park witnessing decreased crime but increased rent, according to the New York Times.

Neighborhoods in this region:

  • Atwater Village
  • Boyle Heights
  • Cypress Park
  • Eagle Rock
  • El Sereno
  • Elysian Valley
  • Glassell Park
  • Hermon
  • Highland Park
  • Lincoln Heights
  • Montecito Heights
  • Monterey Hills
  • Washington
  • Sycamore Grove
  • University Hills

The San Fernando Valley

The San Fernando Valley

The 260-acre San Fernando Valley, which is larger than many cities, includes the cities of Burbank and San Fernando, some unincorporated land, and numerous Los Angeles neighborhoods on the north side of the city.

Among San Fernando Valley’s claims to fame, the area spawned the “Valley Girl” lingo that became popular in the early 1980s following the release of the movie with that name.

Neighborhoods in this region: 

  • Arleta
  • Canoga Park
  • Chatsworth
  • Encino
  • Granada Hills
  • Lake Balboa
  • Mission Hills
  • North Hills
  • North Hollywood
  • Northridge
  • Pacoima
  • Panorama City
  • Porter Ranch
  • Reseda
  • Sherman Oaks
  • Studio City
  • Sun Valley
  • Sylmar
  • Tarzana
  • Toluca Lake
  • Toluca Terrace
  • Toluca Woods
  • Valley Glen
  • Valley Village
  • Van Nuys
  • West Hills
  • West Toluca Lake
  • Winnetka
  • Woodland Hills

South Los Angeles

South Los Angeles

South Los Angeles has fought hard over the past 30 years to distance itself from stereotypes propagated by a variety of popular films. A KCET history of the neighborhood noted how the city voted unanimously in 2003 to change the name of the area from South Central to South Los Angeles.

While the popular image of the area might be the Watts riots of 1965 or the 1992 riots that were more centered in Koreatown in Downtown Los Angeles, South Los Angeles has a broad history. University of Southern California operates in University Park as a respected higher education institution, its students able to walk freely through the neighborhood. Meanwhile, neighborhoods such as Leimert Park have been “considered the center of the African American arts community in Los Angeles,” according to the African American Registry.

Neighborhoods in this region:

  • Arlington Park
  • Baldwin Hills
  • Berkeley Square
  • Crenshaw
  • Crenshaw Manor
  • Historic West Adams
  • Hyde Park
  • Jefferson Park
  • Kinney Heights
  • Leimert Park
  • South Los Angeles
  • Southeast Los Angeles
  • University Park
  • Watts
  • West Adams
  • West Adams Terrace

Westside

Westside

Some of the most upscale neighborhoods within Los Angeles city limits can be found in its western portion. Even with prices down 16.2% in September 2021, according to Redfin, homes sold at a median price of $1.4 million that month.

Like other well-to-do parts of the city, residents moving to Los Angeles might be drawn to the rich array of architecture on the west side from mid-century modern to Spanish colonial revivals. The neighborhood of Westwood also boasts the city’s best-known college aside from USC, University of California, Los Angeles, with students at the two schools enjoying a heated rivalry.

Neighborhoods in this region:

  • Bel Air
  • Beverly Crest
  • Beverly Glen
  • Brentwood
  • Century City
  • Cheviot Hills
  • Crestview
  • Pacific Palisades
  • Palms
  • Rancho Park
  • South Robertson
  • Topanga State Park
  • West Los Angeles
  • Westside Village
  • Westwood

Los Angeles’s Most Affordable Neighborhoods

Los Angeles’s Most Affordable Neighborhoods

  • Lakeview Terrace
  • Crenshaw
  • Sunland
  • Mission Hills
  • Arleta

Los Angeles’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods

Los Angeles’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods

  • Downtown
  • MacArthur Park/Westlake
  • Central Hollywood
  • Koreatown
  • Fairfax/Beverly Grove

Los Angeles’s Most Family-Friendly Neighborhoods (and suburbs)

Los Angeles’s Most Family-Friendly Neighborhoods (and suburbs)

  • Eagle Rock
  • Pasadena
  • Glendale
  • Burbank
  • Culver City
  • Los Feliz
  • Santa Monica

Beyond City Limits: LA County’s Next 10 Biggest Cities

When people think of LA, they might not be thinking of the city, but the Greater Los Angeles Metro Area. Los Angeles County overall is home to 10 million people and 88 incorporated municipalities, which is more than Delaware, Hawaii, Nevada, and Rhode Island. There are valleys, coast line, mountains, and desert, as well as several major cities aside from Los Angeles.

Long Beach

Long Beach

Population: 466,742

Distance from LA city center: 24.2 miles

Commute time to LA city center: 1 hour

Average home price: $752,110

Average apartment rent: ​​$2,333

Santa Clarita

Santa Clarita

Population: 228,673

Distance from LA city center: 39 miles

Commute time to LA city center: 1 hour

Average home price: $714,541

Average apartment rent: $2,306

Glendale

Glendale

Population: 196,543

Distance from LA city center: 8.7 miles

Commute time to LA city center: 27 minutes

Average home price: $1,071,117

Average apartment rent: $2,618

Lancaster

Lancaster

Population: 173,516

Distance from LA city center: 69.3 miles

Commute time to LA city center: 1 hour, 52 minutes

Average home price: $407,861

Average apartment rent: $1,669

Palmdale

Palmdale

Population: 169,450

Distance from LA city center: 53.4 miles

Commute time to LA city center: 1 hour, 21 minutes

Average home price: $439,385

Average apartment rent: $1,538

Pomona

pomona

Population: 151,713

Distance from LA city center: 30.2 miles

Commute time to LA city center: 1 hour, 12 minutes

Average home price: $569,067

Average apartment rent: $1,788

Torrance

Torrance

Population: 147,067

Distance from LA city center: 18.3 miles

Commute time to LA city center: 47 minutes

Average home price: $1,046,305

Average apartment rent: $2,090

Pasadena

Pasadena

Population: 138,699

Distance from LA city center: 10.9 miles

Commute time to LA city center: 25 minutes

Average home price: $1,056,696

Average apartment rent: $2,589

El Monte

El Monte

Population: 109,450

Distance from LA city center: 17.4 miles

Commute time to LA city center: 42 minutes

Average home price: $620,049

Average apartment rent: $1,461

Downey

downey

Population: 114,355

Distance from LA city center: 13.5 miles

Commute time to LA city center: 46 minutes

Average home price: $712,293

Average apartment rent: $1,866

Moving to Los Angeles: A Step-By-Step Guide

Ready to take the plunge and move to Los Angeles? Here’s what to do next.

Step 1: Visit the city and explore

The greater Los Angeles metro area is huge. There are more than a hundred neighborhoods within the Los Angeles city limits, and hundreds, if not thousands, more in the other cities that make up the metro area and unincorporated Los Angeles County. The only way to know which part of the city is right for you is to pound the pavement.

Try to spend as much time in Los Angeles as you can, exploring as many areas as possible. Of course, if any stood out to you based on their history or description in this guide, start with those.

Step 2: Set your budget

Because Los Angeles can be such an expensive city to live in, it’s important to be realistic about what you can afford — before you start looking for a home. Your budget will also help determine whether you’ll rent or own, and what neighborhoods, suburbs, or nearby cities might be the best fit for you.

When setting your budget, don’t forget to account for moving costs. If you’re moving to Los Angeles from somewhere far away, the cost of packing, shipping your belongings, renting a truck, or hiring movers can add up significantly.

Step 3: Find a home

Once you’ve set a budget and decided on one (or, preferably, a few) neighborhood, it’s time to look for a new home in LA.

If you plan to rent your home, you can start your search online using resources like Apartments.com, Zumper, Apartment List, Padmapper, and Hotpads.

If you plan to buy, now is the time to work with a local real estate agent to start seeing listings and arranging showings.

Step 4: Pack and move

Moving is no one’s favorite job. It’s stressful and hard work — which is why you need our Ultimate Moving Guide to plan out your move, week-by-week, and stay organized with a comprehensive moving checklist.

Step 5: Get settled in

Once you’ve arrived in Los Angeles, it’s time to settle in and enjoy your new home!

But don’t forget to tie up any loose ends that remain from your move. If you moved from out of state, California allows new residents just 10 days to transfer their driver’s license, and 20 days to register an out-of-state vehicle.

New California residents can register to vote online.

Welcome to LA, and congratulations on moving to a new city!

Use Neighbor to Find Storage in Los Angeles

Moving to Los Angeles is no easy feat and getting all of your belongings into your first home or apartment there is part of the challenge. The good news: Neighbor can help.

Neighbor helps people connect with other members of their new communities to find places to safely store their belongings. Neighbor is affordable, safe, and brings communities together in Los Angeles and elsewhere throughout the United States. Find storage in Los Angeles today.