California Is a Tough Place to Make a Living

California Is a Tough Place to Make a Living
David Wilmore/L.A. Weekly Flickr pool

It's hard out here for a worker. You know that.

Even those of you who earn L.A. County's median per capita income of $27,749 — and many don't — have a hard time making rent and finding affordable transportation.

Incomes across California are generally higher than those in other parts of the nation. It's just that the cost of living, along with taxes, can make it hard to keep your head above water.

The people at personal finance site MoneyRates.com looked at wages, taxes, cost of living, unemployment and workplace safety to come up with its recent list of "Best States to Make a Living."

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Guess who ended up near the bottom of this list? Yeah, us.

MoneyRates explained how we could have higher average incomes and still rank low when it comes to the best places to make a living:

Despite having one of the highest average wages in the nation, California could not overcome several negative attributes. That average wage is more than negated by high taxes and cost of living. On top of that, the unemployment rate and the frequency of workplace safety incidents are both higher in California than national average.

The Golden State ranked sixth worst, at No. 45.

The site says that while California's "average income" is $53,890, the state tax on that average income is a comparatively painful $2,523, and the unemployment rate is a relatively high 6.3 percent.

The average number of safety incidents per 100 workers, four, is also on the high side, according to MoneyRates.

The U.S. Census, by the way, says the median household income in California is $61,094. And we assume MoneyRates is using some kind of household income figures here.

California Is a Tough Place to Make a Living
MoneyRates.com
California Is a Tough Place to Make a Living
MoneyRates.com

In any case, the top state to make a living is Texas, the site says:

Although average wages in Texas was only slightly above the national average, workers in Texas get good value from those wages. The cost of living in the state is below average, and there is no state income tax. 

The "average income" in Texas is $45,330, according to the site. California has a higher average or median household income than any of MoneyRates' top 10 "Best States to Make a Living."

Take that to the bank. Or don't.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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