I’ve been lucky enough to live in several places in my lifetime. Nine years in Manhattan, almost that long in North Carolina, a year or so in London, a school year in Connecticut, and 14 months in Utah. I say “lucky enough” because the opportunity to live in other places made me certain about one thing:
I love Northern California and I am never leaving it ever again. Like, ever.
Don’t get me wrong; I loved most of the other places I lived. I think everyone should live in New York City for a little while if they can afford it, North Carolina’s beaches are, in my opinion, the best in the continental U.S., London is, well, London, and Utah (though I didn’t get to see much since I was locked up in reform school) is perfect for people who love the outdoors. And proselytizing. I’m sure Connecticut has some lovely attributes as well; I just never discovered them.
As much as I loved those places though, there’s one place I always came “home” to -- a place none of those places could ever be: Northern California.
There are a million reasons I love my home. I live in San Francisco and everything that makes me happy is anywhere from three minutes to three hours away: the ocean, the mountains, lakes, rivers, sunshine, fog, snow, sand. Plus we have amazing food, fantastic produce, and incredible wine. Oh, and we’re liberal. Basically: I live in paradise.
For me. Paradise FOR ME.
Clearly it’s not paradise for everyone, since a Gallup poll taken in 2013 says California residents have an “average” desire to move to another state. I mean, probably those are all Southern California residents, but since for some bizarre reason we’re all part of the same state, I can’t be positive (even though, obviously, I’m totally positive).
Still, California fared better than a lot of other states. The poll specifically asked: "Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?"
The yes results were a little, well, depressing. These are just a few of the states where residents said they would flee if they could: Illinois (50%), Connecticut (49%), Maryland (47%), Nevada (43%), Rhode Island (42%), New Jersey (41%), and New York (41%).
Why did these people want to move? A myriad reasons, of course, but in Illinois people complained about the “depressing weather and location.” In New York it was the “cost of living” (shocking). People in South Carolina and Mississippi said they were going to have to move for work reasons.
The top reasons in general people wanted to move were: work, family/friends, weather/location, quality of life/change, school-related, cost of living, and taxes.
Those are also probably reasons people want to stay. (I have contemplated moving to Tahoe, for example, but can’t imagine leaving SF because of work and my family.)
For the record, not everyone is unhappy. Some people want to stay put. When asked if they would move if they could, these states had much lower percentages: Montana (23%), Hawaii (23%), Maine (23%), Oregon (24%), New Hampshire (24%), Texas (24%), and Colorado (25%).
What is it about Montana that everyone loves so much and is that where I should buy my fictional second home? (It's also top-ranked for health and well-being.) And how can anything be better than Northern California?
Seriously though, I know I'm so lucky to love where I live. And I feel pretty horrible for people who wake up every day in a state or city that doesn't leave a sh*t-eating grin on their face. So tell me:
Do you love where you live? Would you move if you could? What keeps you where you are?