Any rational person would agree that living on the West Coast is better than living on the East Coast. Anybody who tells you otherwise probably has never experienced West Coast living long enough to understand the difference.
I’m rational. I’ve lived on both coasts for over 10 years each and I don’t believe there’s really much of a debate. Who doesn’t want to live in more moderate temperatures where the sun is always shining? Unless you like super cold winters and uncomfortably muggy summers, the East Coast isn’t for you.
When your family and friends are on the East Coast, it’s hard to leave I understand. We’re afraid of change. I know I am. But, this is not a post to bash the East Coast. This is a post to understand what truly makes the East Coast and other uncomfortable climate zones special.
A friend of mine is thinking about relocating from San Francisco, the best city in America, to New York City or Washington DC for a little work. I think she’s a little nuts leaving our California sunshine behind and I’m trying to understand why, and maybe even why not.
East Coast Living Positives
1) Richer history. Since the Europeans first invaded the East Coast of America, there is a much richer heritage as evidenced by more developed infrastructure and building architecture. Museums are more prevalent, and attractions are more interesting. Therefore, the East Coast has a much older and richer history.
2) Closer to Europe. It’s easy to get a direct flight to Europe that’s also cheaper and quicker. Who doesn’t love to visit the bright lights of Paris, and the bustle of London every once in a while? The Europeans really know how to live well.
3) Time Zone Dominance. American TV and major broadcasts still revolves around eastern standard time. The stock market market opening at 9:30am, the French Open finals at 9am, and World Cup matches at 7am are all examples of major events serving the eastern time zone.
4) Food. Certain foods such as hot pastrami sandwiches, pizza, and cheese-steaks always seem tastier on the east coast for some reason. Perhaps there’s no real difference, other than the fact that when you eat a hot pastrami sandwich at Katz’s deli in NYC, it’s just more authentic given the history.
5) Fewer Earthquakes. Earthquake danger is overrated in California given the infrequency of large shakes. That said, the danger still exists. I’d much rather have a big earthquake every 30 years than tornadoes and hurricanes every year. Sorry, I lied! Stand strong Virginia and East Coasters, stop making fun of us Californians!
6) There’s Only Upside. Imagine if you were born and raised in Hawaii. What a drag to leave! Once you live on the east coast, anywhere else you go will be so much better!
East Coast Negatives
1) The weather is horrible. Too hot and muggy during the summer, too cold and dreary during the winter. If there’s going to be snow, at least have some snowboardable mountains. There are frequently blizzards that shut down cities and towns for days. Only the Fall is beautiful.
2) Damaging storms, more accidents. Without fail, there always seems to be a blizzard or a violent hurricane every year which wreaks havoc on property and financial well-being. Homeowner’s insurance and maintenance costs are much, much higher than prices on the West Coast as a result. You get compare great homeowners insurance rates with PolicyGenius for free.
3) Terrible for allergies. Anybody who is highly sensitive to any allergen should consider leaving the East Coast. I suffered from tremendous allergies while living in the East Coast for 10 years, and as soon as I moved to San Francisco, my allergy attacks all but went away. Perhaps there’s something in the trees or the pollution.
4) More stressed out people. When the weather is terrible half the year, people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Stress levels are higher, people are more overweight, and even suicide rates are higher. Given all these problems, life insurance rates are also higher.
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5) People seem to be more in a hurry. Unlike the west coast, people on the East Coast never seem to stop and smell the roses. East Coasters are always in a hurry to get somewhere. As a result, stress levels are higher and people are more combative. There’s much more of an easy going vibe on the West Coast.
East Coast Living Is Much Tougher
I really am trying to see the positives of living on the East Coast with my six examples. However, I have to admit I’m struggling to find more reasons.
The weather is atrocious for half the year on the East Coast. It would take quite a premium to leave California, Washington, Oregon, or Hawaii for the East Coast.
In fact, there are signs that more people are migrating to California from the South and Midwest after the pandemic. Starting in the summer of 2021, 99% of COVID-19 deaths are from people who are unvaccinated. And vaccination rates in the Souther and Midwestern states are some of the lowest.
But this post is about East Coast living, not about the South and Midwest. The East Coast is fine for half of the year. I lived on the East Coast from 1991 – 2001. 10 years was enough. Once I moved to California in 2001, I knew I could never go back!
Won’t you help share some of your reasons as to why the East Coast is so wonderful?
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East Coast Living is a Financial Samurai original post. For six months of the year, the east coast is a great place. But for the other six months, the weather is either too hot and humid or too cold. It’s better if we can live a great life for as many months of the year as possible!
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I am a native californian that must interject. I grew up way up north, nearly Oregon, in Eureka. Which used to be a beautiful near utopia. Had a really lovely, wholesome upbringing I wish I knew would never exist again…. Till extreme liberal policies wrecked the area, and the rest of the state. It’s still gorgeous, but it’s well known for those of us west coast natives that are not liars and full of ourselves….Now it’s a crime ridden (most dangerous in the state even) drug riddled, sleasy, cesspool of depravity. Kids and women out here have the highest ‘ACEs’ in the state. That’s trauma and mental health issues. Native women especially are at risk. And the ‘woke’ crowd who pretends to care about them with their fake virtue signaling, doesn’t do anything to address it. Even the elderly people here are druggies and hustlers, the officials all corrupt and involved in the drug ‘culture’, that is our ‘culture’….it’s all so depressing and disgusting, you cannot even begin to describe it. The ‘lucky’ ones are the rich who can afford to try and avoid it, and live in bubbles. There is no longer a middle class. Indeed, any otherwise nice places, like when you try and enjoy the outdoors, are utterly ruined by the surge of gang bangers and thugs (part of the ‘genius’ of legalising drugs which brought huge numbers of cartels and such to the area) who get drunk, high, and otherwise make it unlivable for anyone normal and decent. With their pitbulls, gangster rap blaring, and antics. Also, human feces is increasingly in the water supply…. Human trafficking is at all time highs. People ‘disappear’ in great numbers. Prostitution, murder, rape, child molestation (we have some of the highest numbers of sex offenders) I also lived for a long time in the UK, which is a whole other story. I lived in WA state as well. In the 90s, WA state was awesome! Not anymore. People out west are totally intolerant also. If you do not agree with everything ‘woke’ they attack you and ostracise you. They are delusional, and TOO laid back. I second the person that mentioned something about how we all dress like homeless people as well. Being casual does not mean we should have zero class….step it up west coasters! Most of the men here are forever in flat caps and hoodies and usually covered with tattoos. Or they are ‘country’ which means they might have a scruffy beard. If you are a woman, the dating scene is a dumpster fire. You can choose between criminals with neck tattoos, players and hustlers, porn saturated losers that only want hookups (I wish an instant end of hookup culture and anyone who partakes and treats people like pieces of meat. To hell with that and people who try and ‘get laid’. Grow up and get some morals), MRAS and incels, druggies, hippies, creepy men that are way older than you with grey beards and beer bellies, or rich, arrogant types that think we care about what stupid car they drive. I don’t. Then for daring to want a normal guy, you get called ‘stuck up’ which really means ‘how dare you have any standards and not sleep with me when I think you are hot’….rapey much? Stuck up here means- not a druggie, or having values….Normal guys over here have completely disappeared. I used to know nice guys back in the 90s….I am now ready to head out east, having had more than enough. I realise no where is perfect, and these annoying ‘woke’ politics are spoiling the country as a whole, but still, elsewhere, unless you are in like NYC, are not anywhere near as bad as the west coast. I don’t plan on living in NYC or related. Only visiting. Other normal places out east and midwest are far cheaper and safer as well as full of more normal people. The weather on the west has also become intolerable. We reached 120 where I am now, and yeah, NO a/c. How dare that even be legally allowed! We are sick all the time from the heat. Not to mention the fires. I had to get air purifiers and stay in for months on end last year. Gas is astronomical, and the great distances mean you are doing that a lot. We are already being threatened with more fires and possible evacuations. And that is all up and down the entire western area, not just cali. I have had to watch the sad destruction of this once amazing place. We talk about people from cali going elsewhere and ruining them, (perhaps some of my kin have done this, and shame on them trying to bring their liberal bs elsewhere) but no one stops to think about all the people who invaded our state and ruined it in the first place. Don’t get me started on the bs prison reform, letting all the felons out of prison, and ‘decriminalising’ bad crimes, defunding the police and then wondering why a surge in crime lol, and all of that total bs. Is it a coincidence that people with values now are considered ‘bigots’ or ‘uptight’….?? I think not. It’s called manipulation and brainwashing. And this is regardless of whether you are ‘conservative’ or not, religious or not. Honestly, humanity is doomed at the rate we are going…. On the east coast, as far as I can tell, the worst concern is the tick problem. The rest of it is nothing concerning. Weather or otherwise.
Lucy, it sounds like *you’re* the problem. It also sounds like you tend to take your drama with you wherever you go.
It must be awful to have to live with yourself.
lol… now you’re the one that sound riddiculous.
While Lucy did go on a rant, not all of her points are off–the fires, for one, are extremely disconcerting. And “too laid back” is definitely a thing, let me tell you.
Let’s not get started with the homeless population problem. It’s rampant in Cali, and as an east coaster going over there, I was actually amazed at how bad “tent cities” are out that way. NYC ain’t got nothing on Cali’s homeless population.
Lucy, I concur 100%. Lived in California for most of my 55 years then moved to Washington. Have family in Oregon and what you speak is 100% truth. The response from Roxanne is untrue. Clearly she is the type of people you are referring to in your post and I agree with you! Thanks for speaking up. I could have written it myself!!
Financial Samurai says
Wouldn’t living in California be better as a retiree? Lower taxes, more government support, great lifestyle and weather.
Why spend 55 years paying taxes and not reap the benefits in retirement?
Washington has zero income tax and property prices are so much lower that the higher property tax rates don’t matter. You also don’t pay sales tax on groceries and other essentials. The main downside is the weather.
Haha there’s a 100% chance this was written by a honky. Make sure you check under your bed for liberals before you fall asleep.
Christopher P Cole says
I’m 62 years old. I grew up in NJ, lived a couple years each in Florida, Milwaukee, then settled on the West Coast. Lastly I’ve lived 7 years in Portland Oregon and 34 years in Olympia Washington most recently. This has been an amazingly informative blog to read through. The author of the original post seems determined to argue for San Francisco to be the only place worth living. Here we are ten years later and people are leaving SF in droves because they can’t afford it. I’m curious if they feel the same way now? There are the common themes in this discussion of weather, culture (and history), cost of living, food and ease (or difficulty) of getting around in everyone’s decision. I’m just newly retired. I’ve spent those 34 years here going running, snowshoeing, mushroom hunting, fishing, hiking and skiing (Colorado, Washington and Idaho). I now have to pull back on those activities now because my body is telling me to at my age. I find my self craving more of culture and a connection with people. In the last 3 days we (Washington and Oregon) have been forced to stay housebound with windows closed tight (with an air purifier running) because the smoke from regional fires has produced literally the worst air quality on the planet according to the news reports. Scary. One wildcard that was discussed very little in this blog (although wildfires were brought up repeatedly) is climate change. In the ten years since this blog originated the wildfires have gotten exponentially worse. These fires are erasing entire towns, housing developments, iconic resort campgrounds and forcing ALL residents on the West Coast into their homes just to escape the smoke. So I see climate change soon dictating that larger groups of populations will need to relocate. Since I first moved to Olympia in 1986 the traffic has gotten dramatically worse. You have to carefully time what day or time of day you leave for Seattle or 45 minutes becomes 2.5 hours. There is a condition called “The Seattle Freeze” and many articles have been written about it. It’s attributed somewhat to the gray winters, and the conservative Scandinavian and Asian cultures. I agree what others have said about the challenge in making close relationships here and passive aggression being a factor. Friendly, but not genuine. I miss the directness and honesty of East Coasters. Since I’m originally from the East Coast I’m considering moving to Delaware because of the proximity to Philly and NYC and the lower property taxes. If anyone could chime in on their experience with Delaware I would appreciate it. Thank you for all the observations and comments. I was relieved to know I’m not the only person challenged by deciding where to live next, especially in a climate changing world.
John M. says
I know this is an old thread, but still interesting. First off, I think it’s pretty ridiculous to market this as an obvious thing that the East Coast is worse than the West Coast. Weather is not the only thing to consider and I think it’s pretty silly that people think weather makes a place awful. If that were true… why aren’t millions of people from the East fleeing to the West every day? Lol. I really do think it comes down to personal preference. Here’s some categories I personally think each coast wins at…
Weather: Let’s start with the obvious. West Coast, no question. East Coast weather blows, except in the fall.
Cities: East Coast, no question. LA is a smoldering garbage dump; SF and Seattle are cool and San Diego is beautiful. However, nothing compares remotely to New York, Boston, Philly, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, if you count Montreal and Toronto you name it. Everything is so much more accessible and it gives so much more opportunity.
Easiness of transport/commute: East Coast. No question again. You don’t need to completely rely on your car for everything.
Culture: East Coast. West Coast culture is going on hikes and eating avocados. East Coast has incredible history with museums, music venues, tourist attractions unmatched by anything in the West Coast.
Nature: Generally the West Coast is more physically beautiful; its beaches and mountains are breathtaking. That being said, East Coast beaches are much nicer because you can actually swim in them and there are adorable summer colonies that the West does not have. East Coast is also unbelievably beautiful in the fall and spring.
People: East Coast, but it’s a preference. Imo, there is a more varied stock of people; everyone in the West Coast seems to be the same kind of person. East Coast culture fosters individuality and makes everyone more interesting. East Coast also has noticeable accents, which I think is really cool and adds to the culture that the West Coast does not have. However, people on the West Coast are more friendly on the surface
Education: EAST. COAST. The schools are so, so, so much better here. Public schools on the west coast, especially in California, are absolute crap. You cannot give your kids the education they can get in public schools out East, in places like DMV, Tri-State Area, and Boston. Universities are good in California, but there’s still so much more opportunity in the East Coast.
Cost of Living: Comparable. Both are awful. West Coast has incredibly high rents and added cost of NEEDING a car with expensive insurance, while East Coast has higher property taxes and homeowners insurance.
Generally easiness of day to day life: West Coast. Commutes are probably more stressful but not having to worry about the weather or relying on public transport does relieve a considerable amount of stress. East Coast day to life is definitely more busy, though not as much in the southeast as the northeast.
So in summation, it’s ridiculous to say life on the East Coast is “really that bad”. I am from here and love it here, I would not have wanted to be from anywhere else and plan on raising my kids here. That being said, I’m still young, I wouldn’t mind spending a few years in the California sun if I get the chance!
Agreed. Philly has its problems, but I am never sad when I return from other places within the US. It’s actually a gem of a city being right in the middle of the NE Corridor, but yet affordable. I live within city limits and my neighborhood has deer and foxes and a lot of greenery. The shore and Pocono mountains are close by and NYC is only 90 miles away, so my activities aren’t limited to just Philly. The weather isn’t great, but you get used to it, and you begin to really appreciate beautiful spring and fall days. But….I must admit the real reason I stay here is because of the people. I am by no means progressive or liberal, but this is a very forgiving place towards those who are “different” which is the true meaning of liberal. Forgiving, genuine. I think people in other parts of the country have forgotten this and are mostly followers.
Scott Dobos says
East Coast is great! Beautiful Ocean, less crowded than some other west coast areas. Generally more affordable, depending on what you’re comparing it to! You have to love the winter if you live in Maine where I’m writing from. Without a love for the snow, you will find yourself struggling for activities when it’s freezing out! We have a short, yet incredible Summer season. On a bad year, call it 8 weeks in total, and on a good year it might stretch to 12+!
There are certainly different times of the year to visit depending on what you most enjoy!
I’ve been to 42 states and 3 countries. I’ve enjoyed most places I have visited. I’ve lived in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Indiana, Oregon, and Washington. As for weather, climate, and other natural factors, each place has is amazing wonders. I can find things to gripe about for the climate for each. I was able to fit in no matter where I went… but not here in Longbeach, Wa. I really just don’t belong and these people really make you aware of that. In a very passive aggressive indirect way. I grew up in all black ghetto as a black kid and felt more welcomed than these people make me feel. And, I came all the way from Virginia Beach (yes the humidity sucks) to this place to help manage an after school program here. They couldn’t find anyone that would work. You think they have shown me any appreciation? No. I am not a republican or anything like that, but these people act like I am some kind of freak. I really just don’t like these people and will be moving soon. No singles bars. Being single here has been the most depressing experience of my life. But, I do love the kids. Peace out 98631. Portland has some great spots, as do Seattle and most other cities. And, most cities have their issues. I won’t gripe on the living expenses here because you generally make more money here in the West. It’s just the people in this Peninsula. Maybe I am just spoiled from living in Chesapeake, Va. It’s getting too populated, but the locals are the most amazing people and the women are the most beautiful (inward and out) of any people I have seen. With San Diego and parts of Poland being close second.
If you’re a transplant and don’t come from a great deal of money, IMO life on either coast is pretty much the same: you’ll likely be overworked, short on time, stressed about money, and socially isolated.
Nice people from average backgrounds have a tendency to try this life, and move back home, because it’s so hard; this tends to leave people who are really ambitious (too selfish to care) and/or really desperate (nothing to go back to). Neither group is great at building community, and the constant churn of people coming and going adds to the overall disconnect.
I’m stuck on the high CoL coastal hamster wheel, trying to figure out an escape route. The challenge of low CoL areas is the lack of jobs; even if you have a good network and can work remote, will you be able to find the next job when you need one? Dunno.
I am an east coast native, PA-Philly and Poconos, NY city and upstate ,VA outside of DC… that moved to the west coast Portland OR.
First the people on west coast …. dress like homeless people. No one dresses up. A clean flannel, or old top and pants found at the nice restaurants.
Let me tell the rent on east coast is CHEAP! compared to Portland, OR! (Aside from NYC). You can’t get anything decent out here for under $1700 up a month!! And a small house, very small and not great goes for $350K and up! I would kill for housing or rent fair and cheap!! Housing is insane on the west coast.
People are more chill out west, and the nature is spectacular. That is it!
Weather, is gray 9 moths out of the year. I miss the east coast weather. Grass is green out here only in the actual lawn grass. I will move back east. I want a home that is decent, not a tiny box, for under 325K! The two houses across the street for me that are new but smaller than my father’s house, sold for 525K and there is nothing great about them. Oh yes there are beautiful houses out here, with hardwoods and 4 bedroom but be prepared to shell out 700K up. It is that bad out here.
If you find a home out here for $260,000 it is ready to be bulldozed and needs a whole rehall. Two shacks sold for that much and they were abandoned, and run down with wood rot, and had to be torn down … but thats how much the land cost. And the neighborhood was not great. Too expensive. I do want to own, so I am moving back east, to Fl, or VA to get a home under 300K.
The trees are incredible out here, because of the year round rain, but not worth renting forever. :( And I miss people dressing up even slightly to go out .
“You can’t get anything decent out here for under $1700 up a month”!!
I just finished looking at Portland rents. You can commonly get an updated one bedroom for 1-1.2k. outside of city’s dead center.