U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > General U.S.
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Old 10-26-2017, 01:22 PM
12 posts, read 23,904 times
Reputation: 48


Hi All,

I know these types of threads are a dime a dozen. I've been doing my research and have been in a bunch of different areas on the forums formulating my opinions and ideas, and have also visited a fair amount of places. I'm really struggling on making a decision so I'm hoping you all can give me a little insight in comparing some of these places to help make my decision a little easier! So thanks in advance.

I'm currently in San Diego, CA and have been my entire life. I'm early 30's with a wife and twins on the way. I'm looking to leave San Diego #1 due to cost of living, #2 population is too big (traffic, people everywhere, etc), #3 California laws / too liberal.

With that said, I'm politically moderate. I get a long with everyone, but I don't like an area where everyone really leans one way. Not religious and don't want others religion to have an impact on my life, kids education, laws, etc.

When moving I will be able to keep my current job and work remotely, but I don't see myself doing that past 5 more years, so I will need to be able to find good work where ever I move. I work in IT operations, so I can realistically get a job with any company that has an IT department. Wife works in Child development \ behavior and will need to find a job where ever we go.

Things we are looking for:

Affordable housing / cost of living - would like to get a nice house in the $200-250k range. I don't need a McMansion but would ideally like a 4 bedroom house in the 1700-2500sq ft range. We could make due with a 3 br but I'll need office space which is why I'd like a 4br. This could potentially get stretched to $300k but it really isn't ideal.

Decent schools - they don't have to be amazing, we plan on being hands on parents, but we don't want to be some where where the highschool grad rate is only 70%.

Decent weather - this one is kind of funny because obviously no matter where I move the weather is going to be worse. We are mostly trying to avoid extremes though. Extreme heat or extreme cold. We can deal with either, but have never lived in either so I don't think an extreme would be a good first place for us to move.

Low crime - with in reason. Meeting the US national average is fine, but when it starts really getting beyond that I'd like to avoid it.

Lifestyle - Things to do! This can be a lot of things. We enjoy city offerings such as sports and theater and good food, but also love the outdoors, hiking, camping. This can be a give and take depending what the place has to offer. We are happy with suburbia if it is decently close to a nice city. We don't want to be in a downtown area at all, a medium commute is ok (30-40 minutes tops), and like the family environment these bring.

Ahhh! Another thread looking for the perfect place that doesn't exist, right?!

I know there will be some give and take on these ideals, and that's why I'm here! So that you can helpfully help me sort some of these out in terms of some different places.

Where we have considered so far and why:

Phoenix, AZ - Pros are the cheap housing, active city with a lot of amenities, somewhat better political environment for us (even though its on the opposite spectrum), and it is close to family. Our parents are all in So. Cal. Cons - the HEAT!, city is larger than San Diego so more traffic and hustle and bustle that we don't want, state wide the schools are bad though I know we can find good pockets. Not a fan of the desert geography. We mainly would consider the suburbs in Surprise.

Oregon / Washington - Considering Salem, Eugen, and Vancouver. Portland itself is too expensive for us. I love the area, the nature and GREEN. Housing in these area's seem good for us, although Vancouver seems to be pushing the budget (but has the better tax advantages being next to Portland). Biggest issue here is the WET. I absolutely love it here, but I'm not sure how we would deal with it being wet and misty 95% of the time. Do people just suck it up and get wet if they want to go adventure outdoors, or do most people get refined to only going out in the summer?

Idaho - Boise area. Visited with a friend who recently moved here. Love the city, the slower pace of life, the access to nature, and the cost of living is great. Cons for me are potentially the religious atmosphere. Since my buddy moved here with his family, he has tried to get engaged and meet people. He coached his daughters soccer team and when her birthday came up, invited a bunch of families to a birthday party. Except he planned the party for a Sunday. He said he got a lot of dirty looks and rude comments due to it being 'God's Day'. I'm fine people being religious, but if people act like this I'm not too interested. Just decline the invite if you don't want to / can't go, but giving me stink eye over your religion is going to make me not want to live there. Overall I understand the weather is pretty moderate here. Winters would take some adjusting to with the snow and cold, but I know its a lot less worse here than other areas of the country so we could adapt. Job situation is also another con just due to the pay out there. The forums make it seem like it can be hard to get a job out there, especially for decent wages.

Colorado - Colorado Springs? Doesn't look like we could afford anything near Denver. I love Colorado for the nature, not so sure how I would do with the winters. I haven't been to Colorado Springs, so I don't have a ton of info on this area really in terms of job market, crime, and education outside of this site.

Utah - The religious atmosphere has me most worried and I've only really spent time at the national parks here. SLC gets a crazy amount of snow in the winter right? COL seems good here, but I really haven't considered it much due to the amount of Mormons and the affect on their laws and such.

Nevada - Not considering Vegas because I'd rather go to Phoenix since the weather is so similar. Reno/Sparks would be where I'd consider. Great access to nature, weather is overall moderate (similar to Boise as I understand, maybe more wind?). Not sure how jobs are here. Housing seems to be on the very high side of my budget. Nevada is ranked dead last out of all the states for education which is scary. Crime seems to be hit or miss?

California - Largely not considering this at all. The places that are affordable to us are just not desirable compared to those listed above.

Any input on how to make a better decision between these places? I'd love if anyone has lived in more than one of these areas that can give me some comparisons on why they prefer one over the other.

As I mentioned, there is obviously going to be some give and take. Like, I could give Phoenix a shot at dealing with the heat is my families quality of life (overall) is going to be way better than the other areas.

I've gone back and forth soooooo much on these places, I'm starting to feel like I'm losing my mind. It's just such a big decision for my family I'm trying to do everything to make the right choice.

I sincerely appreciate you reading this and anyone that provides feedback, good or bad.

Last edited by JMT; 10-26-2017 at 06:25 PM..
Quick reply to this message

Old 10-27-2017, 12:10 AM
Location: Yuma,az
47 posts, read 42,253 times
Reputation: 35
Boise sounds like a good fit
Quick reply to this message
Old 10-27-2017, 05:45 AM
21,180 posts, read 30,336,326 times
Reputation: 19590
I would do a lot more research on Salt Lake City given your somewhat antiquated views of what it's like there, and while it can get a lot of snow it's not consistent year in and year out (more like every few years). It's also a very progressive city with much of what you're looking for on your wish list.
Quick reply to this message
Old 10-27-2017, 02:47 PM
Location: Colorado Springs
3,077 posts, read 2,109,467 times
Reputation: 3577
May want to dig into you choices a bit more. They seem to carry some typical steroetypes that may or may not be true.

Oregon - been through the Portland area several times and while humidity is high and everything is very lush, I've never experienced it as openly misty and wet, but, I've never lived there.

Boise - I've got family in the Boise and surrounding areas. I've never run into any sort of religious mantra like your friend described in all my visits there. With a major university downtown, I'd tend to think you will have a much more moderate to liberal slant there, but some areas can tend to collect certain types. Boise also tends to be hot in the summer. Real hot. and with several rivers in the area, somewhat humid.

Colo Spgs - job market can be tough depending on what your skill set is. Some jobs are in high demand, others are practically dead, its highly variable. It is a growing place, but not at the rate that Denver is growing at. $200k for housing will be tight. It's possible, but you would need to be johnny on the spot ready to close if you find one. Crime is below average in most categories, higher than average in some probably dues to the high military presence. Wide range of schools, several ranked highly in the state, several universities as well. Pretty mild weather most the time, but occasional severe storms.

Utah - the mayor of Salt Lake City is an admitted lesbian and they did manage to host the world for an Olympics without offending anyone. While I wouldn't underestimate the reach of the LDS Church, it may not be as prolific as you might think. SLC may also be hotter with milder weather than you think as well.
Quick reply to this message
Old 10-27-2017, 08:59 PM
12 posts, read 23,904 times
Reputation: 48
Thanks for these responses!

In terms of Utah, I'm just talking about stuff I've read, either on this forum or else where.

For example, is this not accurate about the politics? With Utah Legislature's Mormon supermajority, is it representative of the people? - The Salt Lake Tribune

Can you still only get a max of 3.4% alcohol in beer from a grocery store?


Utah GOP senators, LDS Church support cake shop refusing service over same-sex marriage | fox13now.com

Saying that there is a lesbian mayor isn't much different than California electing a republican governor. It doesn't change the fact that the elected overall government that actually makes the laws is what it is. If I'm wrong in this, then fantastic! But where would I find examples of that because I haven't seen them? I'm genuinely curious. Maybe the overall population wouldn't be in my face, but as I said in my OP, I'm not interested in having this type of stuff dictate my laws or children's education.

For the snow, according to city-data and other sites, SLC averages 62 inches of snow in a year, more than double the US average. I guess I don't know how I'm supposed to gauge that other than stats. If the average is 62 inches, and it only comes every few years, does that mean when it does come its 180 inches? Or are these sites just flat out wrong with their stats? Or maybe just my idea of a ton of snow is different since I've never lived where it snows. I know Boise and Seattle get much less snow though (at least according to these sites...).

What about the crime in SLC? City-data lists it as having 152 rapes per 100,000 people in 2015. That is ATROCIOUS. The US average is 28. The overall crime index is TRIPLE that of the US average.

I'm guessing Provo or Ogden would be a better fit than SLC itself?

I'm not trying to bash on Utah at all, and there's a reason I listed it here. I spent almost half my honeymoon last year in Utah camping and we loved it. I guess I just don't understand when you say I need to do more research because my views are antiquated, but my views are all derived from research seeing as I don't know anyone that has lived there and have never been in SLC. What would really help me is if you could provide some of this research that shows the opposite of these views.

TCHP - For Oregon, what times of year have you been there? My mother lived there for 6 years and constantly complained about the lack of sun and wet. Look how many people walk around wearing Columbia jackets and drive Subarus. The summers here are absolutely amazing, but I'm pretty sure I'm spot on with the no sun and wet. Maybe not quite 95% but it's definitely up there and is the reason the area isn't even more expensive considering everything else the place has going for it. SADs is a very real thing there for people that haven't adjusted. I'd likely need light therapy to live there coming from So Cal. Which is fine, I just really question my ability to deal with the lack of sun for such long periods at a time. Just due to the fact that I've only lived in San Diego, I might be able to adjust to the Arizona summers better than the 3 cloudy seasons in the PNW.

For Boise, yes that was just a single anecdotal mark, but coming from a close friend it kinda spooked me. Boise is towards or at the top of my list right now. I do wish it was a little more green instead of the high desert, but I'm nitpicking at that point The city really does have a lot of amazing things to offer. Is the heat in the summer going to be worse than say, east San Diego? I imagine it is similar, which I can handle. It's more the Arizona temps that can be 110+ for 3 weeks straight that are extreme to me. Boise summers are probably a little more mild than a lot of central valley in CA as well like Fresno.

Thanks for the info on Colorado Springs. I really need to read more up on this area.

I think what I'm mostly looking for in this thread is helping me narrow down these options some how, which will really only happen by comparing the QOL between them. Like, if someone were to say I lived in AZ and PNW and I'd take the cloudy wet weather over the scortching hot summers any day! - would kinda help me more. Outside of some things like how the people are / treat outsiders, I've done a lot of the statistical research. For example, we've reconsidered in Arizona and would move to Chandler if we went there instead of Surprise. It will cost a bit more, but that city seems to check off every box we have, outside of the horrible horrible heat in the summers.

Again, I really appreciate the feedback. I'm not trying to argue or bash anyone / place and I'm not the most eloquent writer. Just trying to make the best decision for my family.
Quick reply to this message
Old 10-27-2017, 09:48 PM
Location: Downtown Phoenix, AZ
18,907 posts, read 6,844,411 times
Reputation: 5837
OP, I know you pretty much wrote off your home state, but have you considered Sacramento? I think it's a cool town, I would live there
Quick reply to this message
Old 10-28-2017, 06:23 AM
21,180 posts, read 30,336,326 times
Reputation: 19590
Originally Posted by SoCal_To_Where View Post
Thanks for these responses!

In terms of Utah, I'm just talking about stuff I've read, either on this forum or else where.
The problem with "stuff you've read" , it's often from those who have read the same information. Perhaps a post in the Utah and/or Salt Lake City forum could shed some more factual light.
Quick reply to this message
Old 10-28-2017, 10:07 AM
Location: Colorado Springs
3,077 posts, read 2,109,467 times
Reputation: 3577
I've not lived in Utah, so I don't know how prolific the religious influence is. I'd imagine is does run fairly deep, but is changing slightly. My sister lived in Park City for a year. Visiting there was no different than any Colorado ski resort. Casual, fun, liberal. 3.2% beer in grocery stores is a fact. It also is a fact in Colorado as well. Gotta go to a Liquor Store or brewery to find higher alcohol levels in UT and CO.

Snow averages are averages, just like rain. Some periods will have more, some less, some years more regular, some years excessive amount. Altitude in the Rocky Mtn interior is a HUGE variable to weather. Also, high snow averages does not negate the possibility of above average high temps either. The Rockies can often get bitter cold snaps with a descent of Canadian air from up north and then snap back with warm Chinook winds drying things out and warming things up to the 70s in the middle of winter. Snow does not typically stay on teh ground for extended periods of time in SLC, DEN, or COS. Variable is the key to understanding weather at altitude which you will get in UT and CO.

My trips to Oregon have been limited to April-Sept. I've only ever visited there. I do have family in eastern Oregon, which might as well be the moon compared to how different it is from the Portland and coastal areas. I've had co-workers in the Portland area and they have all loved it as a home base to travel the globe, but said area selection is very important as some suburban areas have major drug and gang problems.

Boise seems to get stretches of weather. Whether that is snow or heat, they will get weeks of it before the patterns change. I've never been to San Diego, so no way to compare. The Treasure Valley area where Boise is located, has a lot of farming going on. It is close to the mountains, has a lot of recreation access, camping, etc. It isn't far, in central US terms of day long drives, to places like the Tetons, Yellowstone, Jackson, etc.

Colorado Springs is like the conservative equivilant of Boulder. Nestle in the foothills of Pikes Peak, it is similar to Boise in many ways, but lacks a huge state university atmosphere like Boise. There are a couple of largish private colleges and the Air Force Academy. Close proximity to hiking, biking, and exploring if very nice, but it will be a couple hours to ski areas and places with consistent winter snows.

AZ, I've got family in Glendale. They like it. To them, they say the heat is not an issue because everyplace is air conditioned and even outside cafes will have heavy shade and misters so the only real time to deal with heat is walking to your car. They do get their monsoon season where flooding can occur. Access to water sports with their multitude of reservoirs is possible, but there will be several months of the year you won't want to do outdoor activities unless you head up to the mountains. Phoenix always strikes me as So-Cal without the ocean. The traffic, attitudes, vibe, people, etc with the caveat I've only ever visited So-Cal and not lived there.

As an outsider looking in, I'd say this;

WA-OR, funky, hipster vibe with underlying currents of old hippy, progressive, co-op farms and naturalist undertones. Very tech focused and progressive political environment. Negotiating the place is a weird blend of highways dumping into small towns and is a GPS update nightmare.

ID-Boise, casual, old school blend of old industry and new. Very conservative on a state level with a solid moderate base in Boise trying to become a modern progressive desirable place. Great infrastructure for its size.

AZ-NV, southern CA with more heat, more vices, less water. Slick, polished, psuedo glamorous.

UT-SLC, more conservative on a state level with little pockets of liberalism, with a unique set of nearby attractions ranging from mountains to desert to water. If you like outdoors, it is found in abundance.

CO-COS, the Colorado marketing machine has been in high gear since the 1870s and it touts many things to many people. Slightly conservative on a state level, the Front Range corridor has huge swathes of progressives and liberals. One of if not the fittest states in the nation, it boasts a broad range of outdoor activities.
Quick reply to this message
Old 10-28-2017, 11:01 AM
Location: Illinois
988 posts, read 592,610 times
Reputation: 1091
I have heard Colorado Springs is VERY conservative and extremely white. Some may like that, but not me.

Boise sounds intriguing for the OP. Have you thought of going more inland PNW?

Also, why only mountain west states?
Quick reply to this message
Old 10-28-2017, 11:38 AM
1,900 posts, read 826,629 times
Reputation: 1605
Phoenix, AZ - Pros are the cheap housing, active city with a lot of amenities, somewhat better political environment for us (even though its on the opposite spectrum), and it is close to family. Our parents are all in So. Cal. Cons - the HEAT!, city is larger than San Diego so more traffic and hustle and bustle that we don't want, state wide the schools are bad though I know we can find good pockets. Not a fan of the desert geography. We mainly would consider the suburbs in Surprise.
If that is how you feel about it, then I would definitely scratch AZ off of your list.
Living in the suburbs outside the PHX area, while hating the HEAT and desert landscape sounds like a recipe for unhappiness.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > General U.S.
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top