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Best place in US to live?

Best place in US to live?

Old May 5th 2008, 6:24 pm
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Default Best place in US to live?

I know this is a very broad question, but I'd be interested to see how answers are grouped. As a framework I've drawn a short list of what I think are some fundamental criteria that a British expat may consider:

1) Employment
2) Standard of living
3) Education
4) Cost of living and taxes
5) Health Care
6) Entertainment
7) Culture
8) Assimilation

I have visited other places but have only lived in California for a few years. There seems to be plenty of work (though unemployment on the rise), but then it is the economic power house of the US. Standard of living is high. If measured by disposable income, I'd say higher than most of Europe, but if measured by quality of life, the same or less. Education is not something I have experience of, but an American teacher told me it's lower than in Europe. Cost of living can be high, mainly due to housing but also food and eating out on a par with major European capitals. Taxes definitely lower, unless you get caught out by AMT, which is a silly tax as is the property tax. I saw Michael Moore on CNN saying he thinks France is lower tax than here if you add health care and school fees etc. I like Moore, but I'm not sure I agree with him on that on. The health care still freaks me out, and I just can't seem to get my head round why the US is the only major industrialized nation not to have socialized health care system. Living in the entertainment capital of the US (notice I didn't say the world), there's no shortage of things to titillate the senses, but they nearly all involve parting with hard earned bucks. No nice walks or drives in the countryside, villages, towns, mountains, lakes, swimming, or romantic getaways. Culturally, around LA is a vacuum. San Diego gets a bit better, and San Fransisco has almost a British feel to parts of it. Marin County reminds me of Kent. Assimilation is fairly easy in LA because there's so many different nationalities here, that you never feel singled out. I still feel a little like a guest in someone else's country, which is perfectly normal, but never that I don't belong.

On balance, had I moved to LA in when I was much younger, it would have been easier to accept things like the health care, lack of culture, and desolation of arid countryside, but I'm certain this isn't the best place for me in retirement, or even now in semi-retirement.
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Old May 5th 2008, 6:30 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Originally Posted by qwerty007 View Post
I know this is a very broad question, but I'd be interested to see how answers are grouped. As a framework I've drawn a short list of what I think are some fundamental criteria that a British expat may consider:

1) Employment
2) Standard of living
3) Education
4) Cost of living and taxes
5) Health Care
6) Entertainment
7) Culture
8) Assimilation

I have visited other places but have only lived in California for a few years. There seems to be plenty of work (though unemployment on the rise), but then it is the economic power house of the US. Standard of living is high. If measured by disposable income, I'd say higher than most of Europe, but if measured by quality of life, the same or less. Education is not something I have experience of, but an American teacher told me it's lower than in Europe. Cost of living can be high, mainly due to housing but also food and eating out on a par with major European capitals. Taxes definitely lower, unless you get caught out by AMT, which is a silly tax as is the property tax. I saw Michael Moore on CNN saying he thinks France is lower tax than here if you add health care and school fees etc. I like Moore, but I'm not sure I agree with him on that on. The health care still freaks me out, and I just can't seem to get my head round why the US is the only major industrialized nation not to have socialized health care system. Living in the entertainment capital of the US (notice I didn't say the world), there's no shortage of things to titillate the senses, but they nearly all involve parting with hard earned bucks. No nice walks or drives in the countryside, villages, towns, mountains, lakes, swimming, or romantic getaways. Culturally, around LA is a vacuum. San Diego gets a bit better, and San Fransisco has almost a British feel to parts of it. Marin County reminds me of Kent. Assimilation is fairly easy in LA because there's so many different nationalities here, that you never feel singled out. I still feel a little like a guest in someone else's country, which is perfectly normal, but never that I don't belong.

On balance, had I moved to LA in when I was much younger, it would have been easier to accept things like the health care, lack of culture, and desolation of arid countryside, but I'm certain this isn't the best place for me in retirement, or even now in semi-retirement.
What exactly do you call culture Please be specific?!?!

Last edited by Lord Lionheart; May 5th 2008 at 6:35 pm.
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Old May 5th 2008, 6:50 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Originally Posted by qwerty007 View Post
I saw Michael Moore on CNN saying he thinks France is lower tax than here if you add health care and school fees etc. I like Moore, but I'm not sure I agree with him on that on.
Let's say the average wage is about $52000 in NJ (roughly based on: "At the state level, the average weekly wage in New Jersey increased 0.3 percent to $931 in the third quarter of 2006." from http://www.bls.gov/ro2/qcew9320.htm).

When I left my last job, to continue my health insurance for my wife and I was over $700 a month, so if only one of us was working on the average NJ wage, and assuming that the employer was paying for the healthcare (effectively making my "salary" $60400) then almost 14% of "my" money is going on healthcare alone (and that's without my co-pays and costs for items the insurance company won't pay for).

If you're earning less than that, the percentage going to healthcare obviously increases because the cost of healthcare does not change for lower earners; obviously the inverse is true, so earning more then percentage going to healthcare reduces.

Now, back to your query, there are too many factors to be able to answer - employment may depend largely on your area of expertise; as already pointed out, culture is not easily defined; taxes are a tough one, because lower income tax in a state might mean a higher sales tax and/or property taxes and vice-versa; education is usually tied to the level of local taxes, etc.
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Old May 5th 2008, 7:19 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Originally Posted by qwerty007 View Post
I know this is a very broad question, but I'd be interested to see how answers are grouped. As a framework I've drawn a short list of what I think are some fundamental criteria that a British expat may consider:

1) Employment
2) Standard of living
3) Education
4) Cost of living and taxes
5) Health Care
6) Entertainment
7) Culture
8) Assimilation

I have visited other places but have only lived in California for a few years. There seems to be plenty of work (though unemployment on the rise), but then it is the economic power house of the US. Standard of living is high. If measured by disposable income, I'd say higher than most of Europe, but if measured by quality of life, the same or less. Education is not something I have experience of, but an American teacher told me it's lower than in Europe. Cost of living can be high, mainly due to housing but also food and eating out on a par with major European capitals. Taxes definitely lower, unless you get caught out by AMT, which is a silly tax as is the property tax. I saw Michael Moore on CNN saying he thinks France is lower tax than here if you add health care and school fees etc. I like Moore, but I'm not sure I agree with him on that on. The health care still freaks me out, and I just can't seem to get my head round why the US is the only major industrialized nation not to have socialized health care system. Living in the entertainment capital of the US (notice I didn't say the world), there's no shortage of things to titillate the senses, but they nearly all involve parting with hard earned bucks. No nice walks or drives in the countryside, villages, towns, mountains, lakes, swimming, or romantic getaways. Culturally, around LA is a vacuum. San Diego gets a bit better, and San Fransisco has almost a British feel to parts of it. Marin County reminds me of Kent. Assimilation is fairly easy in LA because there's so many different nationalities here, that you never feel singled out. I still feel a little like a guest in someone else's country, which is perfectly normal, but never that I don't belong.

On balance, had I moved to LA in when I was much younger, it would have been easier to accept things like the health care, lack of culture, and desolation of arid countryside, but I'm certain this isn't the best place for me in retirement, or even now in semi-retirement.
..err.. Idaho.
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Old May 5th 2008, 7:50 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Doesn't a lot of it have to do with your career field?

If your a nurse, Maine ain't a bad place to live, high property tax, but over all not bad...if your not a nurse then not so good on the job front, and education, not so great generally for kids, but not bad for uni, though there's a massive difference between the north and the south of the state.

Throwing a pin into a map, Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Washington and Oregon seem pretty appealing to me though, but then they could be utter pants for all I know.
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Old May 5th 2008, 8:22 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Originally Posted by Lord Lionheart View Post
What exactly do you call culture Please be specific?!?!
Yes, this is open to interpretation. I mean in it more in an historical sense; a deep-seated notion of belonging to a people or place, by virtue of homogeneity and a strong nurturing of art's, social behaviour, and intellectual traditions. So for the purposes of my post, I would therefore exclude things like youth culture, corporate culture, and things you grow in a biology lab. Hope that helps.
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Old May 5th 2008, 8:25 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Come up to Oregon - many Californians been heading this way for years.
An appealing countryside, lots of beautiful walks and drives, valleys, coast, mountains, "culture", etc - it's all good.
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Old May 5th 2008, 8:41 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Madison, Wisconsin

It actually has been voted one of the best places to live in the US. It's a great small town. Massive college, beautiful scenery, very cultural, great nightlife, relatively low crime, only couple of hour drive from Chicago. If I had a family I would definitely consider living there.
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Old May 5th 2008, 8:54 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Originally Posted by pejpm1 View Post
Madison, Wisconsin

It actually has been voted one of the best places to live in the US. It's a great small town. Massive college, beautiful scenery, very cultural, great nightlife, relatively low crime, only couple of hour drive from Chicago. If I had a family I would definitely consider living there.
How about the weather?
One thing that appeals about Oregon (Willamette Valley anyway) is the equable weather - 4 seasons with a pleasant mediterranean type summer. For some british expats surviving the summer heat of Texas or the winter cold of minnesota would be a put off even if the other criteria were satisfied.
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Old May 5th 2008, 9:21 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Billings Montana ... If you are not into too much heat ...
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Old May 5th 2008, 10:13 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

You are always going to have the healthcare issue anywhere in the US. As for culture depends on what you are looking for. I love NYC for just that reason and for the fact that there is always something to do and see at any given time. If I want good scenery, I can drive to the beach (Jones Beach on the Island or to the Jersey Shore), or drive to Massachusetts for culture at Tanglewood, the summer stock theaters, the art museums, on both ends of the state, or I drive to the Finger Lakes in New York to relax and fish and contemplate the state of my navel. I have the four seasons and winter is only a minor hiccup. Not too cold and not too much snow.
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Old May 5th 2008, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Originally Posted by Lord Lionheart View Post
What exactly do you call culture Please be specific?!?!
History that pre-dates the 1970's?
Ooops, sorry. I forgot.
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Old May 5th 2008, 10:49 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Originally Posted by Lord Lionheart View Post
What exactly do you call culture Please be specific?!?!
From what I remember during my school days ... It's a little green mould and the bottom of a specimen jar.
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Old May 5th 2008, 11:16 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Originally Posted by qwerty007 View Post
Yes, this is open to interpretation. I mean in it more in an historical sense; a deep-seated notion of belonging to a people or place, by virtue of homogeneity and a strong nurturing of art's, social behaviour, and intellectual traditions. So for the purposes of my post, I would therefore exclude things like youth culture, corporate culture, and things you grow in a biology lab. Hope that helps.
Hope this helps;

http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/
http://www.lacma.org/
http://www.getty.edu/museum/
http://www.hammer.ucla.edu/
http://www.huntington.org/
http://www.museumoftolerance.com/
http://www.nortonsimon.org/
http://www.theatricum.com/
http://www.musiccenter.org/
http://www.queenmary.com/
http://www.wherela.com/LA/la_g_museums.html
http://www.losangelesopera.com/
http://www.centertheatregroup.org/theatres/ahmanson/
http://www.centertheatregroup.org/theatres/douglas/
http://www.pasadenaplayhouse.org/?gc...FQYxiQodM2d_UQ
http://www.americansouthwest.net/cal...ons/index.html
http://www.olvera-street.com/html/ol...__history.html
http://college.usc.edu/geography/la_walking_tour/
http://www.laconservancy.org/tours/d.../bradbury.php4
http://www.caamuseum.org/
http://www.chinatownla.com/
http://www.historicdowntownla.com/br...ater_district/
http://www.moca.org/index.php
http://www.griffithobs.org/
http://www.museumoftheamericanwest.org/
http://www.greektheatrela.com/
http://www.hollywoodforever.com/Hollywood/


Not to mention all the other places like Little India, Koreatown, Little Saigon, Little Tokyo and Alpine Village in Torrance for Oktoberfest.
Homogeneous LA is not.
The biggest problem I have is having the time and money visit all these places nd more, in addition to all the outdoor activities, sports, restaurants, theme parks etc. etc
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Old May 5th 2008, 11:17 pm
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Default Re: Best place in US to live?

Originally Posted by Patrick Hasler View Post
From what I remember during my school days ... It's a little green mould and the bottom of a specimen jar.
Petri dish, a specimen jar is what you use when you use too many cheap hookers at truck stops

Last edited by Lord Lionheart; May 5th 2008 at 11:24 pm.
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