Moving to Orange County, California

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    Orange County is famed for its significant attractions, including Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Angels, UC Irvine, CSU Fullerton, and Disneyland; you are in luck because there’s everything for everyone, whether visiting or moving to Orange County, California, alone or with your family. 

    Owning 34 independent municipalities, 40 miles of Pacific coastline, central California’s metropolitan cities, and several award-winning amenities, cuisines, and prestigious spots, it’s no wonder why Orange County is called the “happiest place on the earth.”

    If relocating to Orange County, California, is your plan, this comprehensive guide will help you get all the details from moving to settling down quickly and hassle-free. So, stay connected!

    Quick Facts Before Moving To Orange County, California

    Where Is Orange County, CA located?

    Orange County, California, is in Southern California near Los Angeles by the shorelines of the Pacific Ocean.

    Orange County’s significant cities are Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, Huntington Beach, and Orange. 

    Population In Orange County, CA

    With an estimated population of 3,240,017 as of the 2023 census, the population of Orange County ranks #3 in California, #6 in the U.S., and more populous than 19 states and D.C.

    Since the past year, Orange County has seen a population growth of 0.55%.

    Diversity In Orange County, CA

    With a diversity score of 96 out of 100, the racial composition of Orange County is categorized into the following groups:

    • White: 39-69.1%
    • Hispanic: 31.6-34%
    • Asian: 21.1-23.3%
    • African American: 1.6-2.3%
    • Two or more races: 3.9-4.2%
    • Other: 0-4.2%
    • Native American: 0-0.1%
    • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0-0.4%.

    Approximately 29.4% of Orange County’s population is foreign-born, contributing to its ethnic and economic diversity.

    Cost Of Living In Orange County, CA

    Orange County, California, has a 64.9% higher cost of living than the national average. The key components that make up the cost of living in Orange County, CA, are as follows:

    • Housing is the main reason for the high cost of living in Orange County, 157% higher than the national average, followed by utility prices being 8% lower, transportation expenses being 29% higher, and grocery prices being 11% higher.
    • The median household income in Orange County is $109,361 per annum.
    • To live comfortably, it’s recommended to have a minimum annual income of $193,320 for a family and $84,400 for a single person.
    • A good salary in Orange County is anything over $250,000, considering the cost of living is 51% higher than the national average.
    • The average cost of living in Orange County is $2585 per month.

    Here is a table summarizing the cost of living in Orange County, CA:

    Cost of Living CategoriesOrange County, CANational Average
    Overall Cost of Living Index164.9100
    Housing157% higher than the national average100
    Utilities92% of the national average100
    Transportation129% of the national average100
    Groceries111% of the national average100
    Healthcare99% of the national average100

    Housing Market In Orange County, CA

    If you have decided to move to Orange County, CA, here are the details regarding buying or renting a home in the city.

    • The median home value in Orange County, CA, is $1,049,401.
    • The median sale price is $1.1M, which has increased by 12.6% since last year.
    • The median price per square foot in Orange County, CA, is $626.
    • The homeownership rate in Orange County is 56.5%, and approximately 43.5% of the population are renters.
    • The average rental price for an apartment in Orange County is $2,550. 
    • The average rent for a studio apartment in Orange County is $2,246.
    • The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Orange County is $2,292.
    • The average rent for a 3-bedroom house in Orange County is $3,358.

    Job Market In Orange County, CA

    Job growth in Orange County, California, looks promising, with projections indicating an increase of 212,600 jobs by 2024, mainly in professional services, education, health care, hospitality, and construction. 

    If you’re a job seeker or employee moving to Orange County, CA, searching for jobs or with a job offer, here’s what you need to know about the city’s job market and salary scene.

    • The average yearly salary in Orange County, California, is around $58,818.
    • The median household income in Orange County is $109,361
    • The average annual household income in Orange County is $142,036.
    • The unemployment rate in Orange County in 2023 was 3.7%, slightly higher than the previous year’s estimate of 3.0%.
    • Male employees in Orange County, California, have an average salary ranging from $49,000 to $66,000,
    • Female employees’ average salary in Orange County ranges from $32,000 to $105,000.

    Top Employers In Orange County, CA

    • The Walt Disney Company
    • University of California, Irvine
    • County of Orange
    • St. Joseph Health
    • Kaiser Permanente
    • Albertsons
    • Target Corp
    • Walmart Inc.
    • Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian
    • The Boeing Company

    Most Common Job Titles In Orange County, CA

    • Accountant/Auditor
    • Administrative Assistant
    • Attorney
    • Deputy Director
    • Hazardous Materials Specialist
    • Information Technology Manager
    • Law Clerk
    • Manager, Information Technology
    • Project Lead
    • Supervisor II, Program

    Highest Paying Jobs In Orange County, CA

    • Psychologist
    • Software Engineer
    • Cyber Security Professional
    • Workers Compensation Claim Representative Trainee
    • VP of Finance
    • Property Resolution Claim Representative Trainee
    • Associate Director of Production
    • Physician Assistant
    • Receptionist
    • Patient Services Representative

    Is It Safe To Live in Orange County, CA?

    Orange County has a lower violent crime rate than the U.S. average but a slightly higher property crime rate, making it a relatively safe place to live in such a metropolitan city like Orange County. 

    • The likelihood of experiencing a crime in Orange County is 1 in 50.
    • Property crime is the most common in Orange County, with a rate of 19 per 1,000 residents, covering burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft.
    • The chances are 1 in 784 for violent crime and 1 in 54 for property crime in Orange County.
    • Violent crime is less frequent in Orange County, with a rate of 1 per 1,000 residents, including armed robbery, aggravated assault, rape (not statutory), murder, and non-negligent manslaughter.
    • Crime rates in Orange County might vary, such as a 1 in 1 chance of property crime in some southern neighborhoods or a 1 in 71 chance in the southwest part.
    • Santa Ana and Anaheim have the highest crime rates in Orange County, with violent crime rates of 1,137 and 927 per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively.

    Safest Neighborhoods In Orange County, CA

    Orange County has some of the safest cities in California, which is mentioned below:

    • Rancho Santa Margarita
    • Aliso Viejo
    • Yorba Linda
    • Villa Park
    • Laguna Woods
    • Coto de Caza
    • Irvine
    • Seal Beach
    • Laguna Niguel
    • Mission Viejo

    How Fast Can You Commute In Orange County, CA?

    The average one-way commute time in Orange County, California, is around 27.4 minutes, slightly longer than the average commute time in the United States of 26.4 minutes.

    Regarding how people in Orange County commute to work, about 85.7% of workers use their cars.

    Carpooling is also common, with 9.5% of workers sharing rides.

    Public transportation is utilized by a smaller percentage, around 1.8% of workers, while 9.0% of workers opt to work from home.

    The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) mainly provides public transportation in Orange County, California, offering various services, including buses, freeways, rail, biking, walking, and rideshare programs.

    • The OCTA bus service operates on significant bus routes, including Long Beach – San Clemente, Fullerton to Huntington Beach, Fullerton – Placentia, and La Habra – Huntington Beach.
    • OCTA provides Metrolink services for exploring destinations across Southern California.
    • Laguna Beach Trolley, Irvine Metrolink Station, and the San Juan Capistrano Metrolink Station are other transportation options in the county.
    • Notably, OCTA offers a Youth Ride Free program, enabling youths aged 6 to 18 to ride the OC Bus for free, facilitating transportation to school, work, and more.

    How Is The Weather In Orange County, CA?

    Orange County experiences the typical four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. However, seasonal variations are less pronounced compared to other parts of California. The summer is short, warm, arid, and clear, while the winter is long, calm, and partly cloudy.

    Orange County has a Mediterranean climate characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters. Temperature ranges from 45°F to 85°F, rarely falling below 38°F or exceeding 93°F.

    • The warm season lasts 2.8 months (July to September) with an average daily high above 81°F.
    • Winter season lasts 3.9 months (November to March) with an average daily high below 70°F.
    • The average annual rainfall is 14 inches, with peak precipitation in February, and the Rainy period spans 6.1 months (October to April).
    • Orange County enjoys an average of 278 sunny days per year.
    • August is the hottest month, with an average temperature of approximately 83°F to 86°F.
    • December is the coldest month, with an average low temperature of around 46°F to 49°F.
    • The best time to visit Orange County is during the summer, from June through August. 

    How Much Are The Taxes In Orange County, CA?

    Before moving to Orange County, CA, it is essential to understand the different types of taxes that residents must pay.

    • Sales tax: 7.75%
    • Income tax: 1.033% of assessed value.
    • Property tax: 1% to 12.3%

    Education System In Orange County, CA

    Orange County has many schools, with 640 public schools serving 450,584 students for the 2023-24 school year. Additionally, 390 private schools are catering to 73,232 private students.

    • Orange County Department of Education School District has a ratio of 14:1, lower than the California state average of 22:1.
    • The Irvine Unified School District holds the highest ranking among Orange County’s school districts.
    • Orange County schools, on average, are ranked 9 out of 10, placing them in the top 20% of California public schools.
    • Public education in Orange County, managed by the Orange County Department of Education, allocates an average of $86,179 per student annually.
    • Private school tuition in the county averages $11,642, but this figure can fluctuate significantly. Some private elementary schools charge around $11,631 per year.
    • Higher education costs also vary. Orange Coast College charges $46 per unit for residents, resulting in an estimated $1,288 for an average of 14 units per semester.
    • West Coast University-Orange County’s undergraduate tuition for the academic year is $22,889, with an average net price of $24,624 after scholarships and grants.

    Best Middle Schools In Orange County, CA

    • Oxford Academy
    • OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts)
    • Orange County Classical Academy
    • Niguel Hills Middle School
    • Orchard Hills
    • El Rancho Charter
    • Cerro Villa Middle
    • Jeffrey Trail Middle School
    • Pacific Academy
    • Pioneer Middle School

    Best Elementary Schools In Orange County, CA

    • Oxford Academy
    • Jack L. Weaver Elementary
    • Golden Elementary
    • Los Coyotes Elementary
    • Stonegate Elementary
    • Orange County Classical Academy
    • Parkview Elementary
    • Isojiro Oka Elementary
    • Crescent Elementary
    • Panorama Elementary

    Best High Schools In Orange County, CA

    • Oxford Academy
    • Troy High School
    • Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA)
    • University High School
    • Northwood High School
    • Woodbridge High School
    • Fountain Valley High School

    Best Universities And Colleges In Orange County, CA

    • University of California, Irvine (UCI)
    • California State University, Fullerton (CSUF)
    • Chapman University
    • Soka University
    • Orange Coast College
    • Irvine Valley College
    • Hope International University

    What Are The Best Things To Do In Orange County, CA?

    The attractions to explore and things to see in Orange County, CA, are as follows:

    • Experience the joy of Disneyland Park, renowned as the “happiest place on Earth” for family-friendly rides and attractions.
    • Enjoy Disney California Adventure Park, featuring attractions inspired by Disney and Pixar, including Cars Land and Pixar Pier.
    • Step into history at Mission San Juan Capistrano, exploring California’s past through beautiful gardens and architecture.
    • Head to Huntington Beach for excellent surfing conditions or to relax in the sun and sand.
    • Take ocean views, walking trails, and picnic areas at Heisler Park in Laguna Beach.
    • Shop, dine, and be entertained at Downtown Disney, an outdoor complex within Disneyland Resort.
    • Spark curiosity at Discovery Cube Orange County, a science museum with interactive exhibits for kids.
    • Visit Adventure City, a smaller amusement park with family-friendly rides and attractions.
    • Explore Old Towne Orange, California’s most significant historic district, featuring antique shops, art galleries, and dining.
    • Enjoy Knott’s Berry Farm, a famous amusement park with rides, shows, a water park, and a marketplace.
    • Discover Balboa Island’s shops, restaurants, and harbor views in this quaint destination.
    • Immerse yourself in nature at Crystal Cove State Park, known for its beautiful beaches, tide pools, and opportunities for hiking, camping, and exploration.

    Best Neighbourhoods In Orange County, CA

    The best places to live in Orange County, CA, are as follows:

    • San Clemente
    • Irvine
    • Fullerton
    • Dana Point
    • Newport Beach
    • Huntington Beach
    • Anaheim
    • Costa Mesa
    • Laguna Beach
    • Aliso Viejo

    Pros And Cons Of Living In Orange County, CA

    Here is a table summarizing the pros and cons of living in Orange County, CA :

    Pros Of Living In Orange CountyCons Of Living In Orange County
    Pleasant weather with a coastal breeze and access to outdoor activitiesHigh cost of living, including expensive housing and property taxes
    Safety and low crime rateTraffic congestion
    Proximity to attractions, beaches, and entertainment venuesLimited public transportation
    A robust educational system and good schoolsPotential environmental risks and natural disasters

    Final Verdict

    !If you’re considering moving to California, Orange County is a great option. It’s close to the coast, major cities, and many recreational opportunities. The weather is beautiful, the quality of life is high, and the food is fantastic. The art and entertainment scene is also booming. Don’t hesitate to move to Orange County, CA, if you think it’s a good fit!