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Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/G.S. Lemafa

1 in 10 Angelenos plan on leaving L.A. County in the next year

A new USC survey finds that Angelenos are more dissatisfied with their quality of life than people elsewhere in the country.

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

Someone must’ve made a Faustian bargain for a little less traffic in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, and all it took was a little bit of megadrought, perpetual fire season, eye-poppingly unaffordable housing and worsening income inequality. Yay?

More and more people plan on moving away from Los Angeles. In fact, 10% of Angelenos now plan to leave L.A. County within in the next year, according to a newly-released survey from USC. And sure, people leave L.A. all the time, but this late-2020 figure represents a 40% increase over 2019, when 7% intended to escape the county, and amid a broader trend of population decline in California.

Those figures come from the USC Dornsife-Union Bank LABarometer livability survey, which polled about 1,800 county residents between November 9, 2020 and January 7, 2021.

The survey also found that while Californians and the country at large have generally become more satisfied with their quality of life, that’s not the case for Angelenos. On a scale from one to seven (hey, we didn’t make the oddly-number scale), with seven being the highest level of satisfaction, county residents’ feelings have dipped slightly from a 4.4 in 2019 to a 4.3 in 2020. That’s not a huge drop, but at the same time the state and country on average both increased from 4.6 to 4.7.

The survey results don’t tie the move-outs and satisfaction gap to any specific cause (we mentioned the devastating infernos and $700K fixer-uppers, right?), and if anything it found some otherwise positive trends for L.A. County: Consumer confidence rose sharply in L.A. since the middle of last year, while it’s slightly declined elsewhere. In addition, fewer Angelenos have been concerned about crime, vandalism and drug use in their neighborhoods compared to 2019. Residents have, however, increasingly become worried about loitering, specifically that “too many people hanging around streets” is a worsening issue (reading between the lines here, in a year where this city largely ground to a halt, this surely must be referring to homelessness).

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