California vs. Oregon: 11 Things to Know BEFORE Moving

Is it Better to Live in California or Oregon?

When deciding between living in California or Oregon, you may be torn between the allure of California's diverse outdoor activities and Oregon's more laid-back lifestyle. While California boasts a range of outdoor adventures and moderate weather, Oregon offers a more affordable cost of living and access to nature. Consider which aspects of each state's lifestyle appeal to you most before deciding which state to call home.

California Lifestyle vs. Oregon Lifestyle

When comparing life in California and Oregon, consider the variety of activities available, the climates you can experience, and the abundance of outdoor attractions waiting for you to explore. 

Whether you prefer the bustling city life of California (and its coastal settings in places like Newport Beach) or the laid-back outdoor opportunities in Oregon, each state offers a unique lifestyle catering to different preferences. From sunny beaches in California to lush forests in Oregon, both states present a range of options for you to enjoy based on your lifestyle choices.

Things to Do

In California and Oregon, immerse yourself in the many activities that showcase the unique lifestyles of each state.

California offers outdoor activities such as surfing in the Pacific Ocean and hiking in national parks. Urban attractions in Hollywood and Los Angeles and tech culture in Silicon Valley are also prominent.

On the other hand, Oregon provides a laid-back lifestyle with options for hiking in the Columbia River Gorge and exploring the Oregon Coast. Outdoor adventures like skiing on Mount Hood and wine tasting in the Willamette Valley are popular in Oregon.

Both states offer cultural experiences, including music festivals, art galleries, and vibrant food scenes in cities such as San Francisco and Portland.

Outdoor Attractions

Santa Monica Beach in California

California and Oregon offer contrasting outdoor lifestyles, each showcasing unique attractions and experiences for nature enthusiasts.

California’s best beaches, abundant national parks, and expansive deserts cater to various interests such as surfing, hiking, and skiing. The state focuses on larger, iconic destinations like Yosemite and Death Valley, drawing crowds of tourists.

In contrast, Oregon offers convenient access to mountains, forests, rivers, and coastlines, emphasizing activities like hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing. Oregon's outdoor scene promotes natural beauty and accessibility, offering a more laid-back and relaxed experience with fewer crowds compared to California.

Whether you prefer the bustling outdoor hubs in California or the serene natural wonders in Oregon, both states cater to outdoor enthusiasts looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.


Despite being neighboring states, the climates of California and Oregon are distinctly different in both weather patterns and seasonal variations. California offers a diverse climate with microclimates ranging from moderate in the north to warm in the south. It’s got skiable mountains, surfable coasts, and even deserts in Riverside County and beyond. Conversely, Oregon boasts a moderate climate with four distinct seasons, where summers tend to remain within or below the 80s, and winters seldom drop below 30℉.

Southern Oregon experiences less cloudy and rainy weather than Portland, providing a drier and sunnier climate. While California's size requires long drives to encounter various weather patterns and natural landscapes, Oregon's smaller size allows for easy access to natural wonders and climates within short distances, making it convenient for outdoor enthusiasts.


California Economy vs. Oregon Economy

When comparing the economies of California and Oregon, you'll find a range of economic statistics that highlight each state's financial landscape. California’s economy is bolstered by major industries like technology, entertainment, agriculture, and tourism.

On the other hand, Oregon's economy includes key sectors such as technology, agriculture, forestry, and manufacturing, supporting job growth and economic stability.

Economic Stats For Each State

With the largest economy in the U.S., California boasts a GDP of over $3 trillion, eclipsing Oregon's smaller economy valued at around $230 billion.

Both states have witnessed recent economic growth, but California's economy is more robust and diversified. When considering these economic factors, California's vast economy offers more opportunities and a higher average salary than Oregon's comparatively smaller economy.

Best Employers and Major Industries in California

Among the many industries in California's economy, several prominent employers stand out, contributing significantly to the state's economic vitality. California’s major industries encompass technology, agriculture, and entertainment, which is a huge sector throughout Los Angeles County.

Top employers in California include tech giants like Apple and Google, entertainment hubs such as Disneyland in Anaheim, and leading companies in the financial sector like Wells Fargo. The state is home to major tech players like Meta and Netflix, attracting talent from around the globe.

Besides technology and entertainment, California's economy supports many job opportunities in healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and biotechnology, making it a thriving hub for various industries.

Best Employers and Major Industries in Oregon

Oregon's economy thrives on various industries, with top employers like Nike, Columbia Sportswear, and Precision Castparts Corp leading the way. Technology plays a significant role in Oregon's economy, with companies like Intel driving innovation and creating job opportunities.

Healthcare is another major industry in the state, with employers such as Legacy Health and Samaritan Health Services providing essential services and employment. Oregon's focus on sustainability and green industries further contributes to its economic landscape, promoting environmental responsibility while fostering growth.


When comparing taxes in California versus Oregon, you'll notice significant differences in income tax rates, sales tax policies, and property tax rates.

Taxes play a huge role in the cost of living in California, where income tax rates range from 1% to 12.3%. The state also has a statewide sales tax of 7.25%, impacting your overall tax burden. California ranks among the states with the highest income taxes. When you pay income tax in California, it's essential to consider the average effective property tax rate of 0.71%. 

On the other hand, Oregon's income tax rates range from 4.75% to 9.9%. Unlike California, Oregon doesn't impose a state sales tax, saving residents from the 7.25% statewide sales tax burden. Property taxes in Oregon have a slightly higher statewide average effective rate of 0.82%.

Real Estate

When comparing the cost of housing in California and Oregon, you'll notice significant differences in affordability. California tends to have higher housing costs overall, especially in popular metropolitan areas. On the other hand, Oregon offers more budget-friendly options for those looking to save on real estate expenses.

Cost of Housing in California

Neighborhood of Homes in a California Suburb

Amidst the soaring real estate prices in major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, the cost of housing in California remains a significant financial consideration for prospective residents. Average housing costs in San Francisco can reach around $1.4 million, while homes for sale in Los Angeles average around $1.2 million. Sacramento, one of California’s most affordable cities, offers a more accessible option with an average price of $490,000.

Cost of Housing in Oregon

In Oregon, housing is more budget-friendly compared to California. Portland has an average home cost of approximately $540,000. Homes in Salem average around $430,000, and Eugene residents can expect to pay an average of $470,000. Overall, housing costs in Oregon are generally lower than in California, making it a more affordable choice for real estate.

Best Places to Live in California

When considering the best places to live in California, cities like Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, and Orange County come to mind. These areas offer a mix of urban conveniences and a range of amenities to suit different lifestyles and preferences.

Whether you prefer the vibrant city life of Los Angeles, the suburban charm of San Fernando Valley, or the coastal beauty of Orange County, California has an array of options to consider.

Los Angeles

With its vibrant cultural scene and Mediterranean climate, Los Angeles stands out as one of California's best places to live. Los Angeles County offers a bustling metropolis with many popular areas, including communities like Beverly Hills and Silver Lake. On the other hand, laid-back coastal settings like Santa Monica and the picturesque Malibu community draw residents away from the busy city life. 

However, the city is known for its high housing costs, with median home prices ranging from $900,000 to $1.2 million. While public transit options are available, commute times can still be lengthy due to the city's sprawling nature.

Despite this, Los Angeles continues to attract residents with its cultural offerings and sunny weather, making it a desirable place to call home in California.

San Fernando Valley

Is Glendale in the San Fernando Valley in California? Either Way, its a Good Place to Live

The transition from exploring Los Angeles to discovering the allure of the top communities in the San Fernando Valley highlights a shift towards a suburban lifestyle. The San Fernando Valley offers a range of housing choices, from single-family homes to apartments, at a median price of around $700,000.

Living in the Van Nuys neighborhood or the scenic Lake Balboa area provides residents with a Mediterranean climate featuring hot summers and mild winters, ideal for outdoor activities and soaking up the sunshine. Access to shopping centers, dining options, and recreational facilities makes it desirable. Additionally, the Valley's connectivity through major freeways and public transportation ensures convenient commutes within Los Angeles.

Orange County

Orange County is a prime spot to live, thanks to its beautiful beaches, vibrant lifestyle, and communities like Laguna Beach. Located in Southern California, Orange County offers a high quality of life and a strong job market in industries like life sciences, healthcare, and information technology.

Cities like Irvine, Newport Beach, and Mission Viejo contribute to its appeal. However, the median home price in Orange County exceeds $1 million, making it one of California's more expensive real estate markets. Despite the costs, residents enjoy a pleasant climate, outdoor activities, many dining options, and a range of entertainment choices, solidifying its reputation as a desirable place to live.

Best Places to Live in Oregon

When considering the best places to live in Oregon, you should explore cities like Portland and Eugene. These locations offer a mix of vibrant culture, outdoor activities, and community engagement, making them desirable options for a variety of lifestyles.

Whether you're drawn to city life or prefer a more laid-back atmosphere, these cities in Oregon have something unique to offer.


Portland is a Good Place to Live in Oregon

Nestled in the heart of Oregon, Portland stands out as a top choice for those seeking a vibrant place to call home. Living in Oregon, you'll find that Portland offers a thriving arts and music scene, making it a haven for creative souls.

Portland’s public transportation system, TriMet, is efficient, with buses, light rail, and streetcars, making it easy to get around without a car. If you're into sustainability, you'll appreciate Portland's commitment to eco-conscious living, which is evident in its green spaces and LEED-certified buildings.

When looking for an apartment in downtown Portland, you'll discover a mix of modern living spaces and historic charm, all within reach of the city's bustling cultural hotspots.


You'll often hear Eugene, Oregon, hailed as one of the best places to live in the state. Home to the University of Oregon, the city exudes youthful energy with a strong emphasis on education, culture, and sustainability initiatives.

Eugene's moderate climate, with mild summers and cool, wet winters, attracts outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

With its vibrant arts scene and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities like parks, rivers, and nearby mountains, Eugene provides a perfect blend of urban amenities and natural beauty for its residents.

Choosing California or Oregon as Your New Home

Overall, it comes down to personal preference and lifestyle when comparing California and Oregon. There’s a greater range of things to do in California, but they come at a higher cost. Oregon, on the other hand, provides a more laid-back experience with lower housing costs. Both states have unique charm and benefits, so it depends on what you value most in a place to call home.

Want to live in California? Call The Brad Korb Real Estate Group with LA Homes at (818) 953-5300 to find your dream home.

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