Despite Los Angeles’ relatively speedy reopening, a livability survey released Wednesday by the USC Dornsife school indicates that 10 percent of L.A. County residents are plotting a move elsewhere in the coming year.
According to the college’s second annual LABarometer study—which polled 1,800 L.A. County residents between November 9, 2020, and January 7, 2021—the number of people planning an exodus has jumped 40 percent since it first surveyed the county in 2019. Back in those pre-pandemic days, just 7 percent of respondents said they were considering an escape from L.A., while 16 percent said they planned to relocate within the county.
Now, 14 percent want to find new housing in L.A. County.
Overall, Angelenos are slightly less satisfied with their quality of life than the rest of the state, as well as the country. On a scale of 1 to 7—with 7 meaning life is super—people here rated existence 4.3, while that score was 4.4 in 2019. Still, the rest California and the U.S. also said life satisfaction is only a solid meh, with both rating it 4.7. Pollsters note that that gap has doubled since the last survey.
L.A. has brighter news on the economic front, with data showing that consumer confidence is on the rise here while it has stagnated in the rest of the state and U.S. On a scale of 0 to 100, where higher numbers indicate positive feelings, consumer confidence among Angelenos is at 50.3 percent.
Although that figure is lower than California’s (50.9) and the nation’s (51.8), the study’s authors point out that “it has risen sharply since at least the middle of last year, while statewide and throughout the country, consumer confidence has stalled.”
The pandemic must be factored in here as well. L.A.’s consumer confidence is down 3.3 points from June 2019, but it’s up 2.7 percent from June 2020.
On issues of crime, vandalism, and alcohol and drug use, Angelenos feel they are less prominent in their neighborhoods now than they were in 2019.
One aspect of county life that residents think is getting worse is loitering. The number of people who say there are “too many people hanging around streets” has risen slightly since the last time the survey was taken.
“It’s encouraging that perceptions of neighborhood crime are down and that consumer confidence in Los Angeles is rising, even as confidence has stalled in other parts of the state and nation,” study director Kyla Thomas said in a statement. “The 40% increase in the number of people who plan to leave Los Angeles in the coming year, however, raises a red flag. It’s also worrisome that the gap in life satisfaction between L.A. County and the national average has grown.”
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