Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Starting Over In Long Beach

Surf's up, Dude. If you're considering living in Long Beach, you might want to pack a swimsuit and get yourself a surf board.

Located in Los Angeles County, Long Beach is the fifth largest city in California with roughly 464,000 residents. On San Pedro Bay, Long Beach is noted for its proximity to 81 miles of Pacific Ocean shoreline. Surfers take to the waves anywhere from Santa Monica down to Newport Beach. The city lies just 25 miles north of Los Angeles, the second largest city in the U.S. Some very famous people were born in Long Beach, including rapper Snoop Dog, actor Nicolas Cage and tennis player Billie Jean King.

If you are considering living in Long Beach, you'll find ethnic diversity. The city's racial profile shows 40% of the population as Hispanic, 31% were White non-Hispanic, 14% African-American or African American, and 15% were Asian. Thirty-one percent of the people living in Long Beach are foreign born. Among people at least five years old living in Long Beach, 47% spoke a language other than English at home. Of those, 52% reported that they did not speak English "very well." The median age of city residents is 33.6 years. About 60,000 students can be found living in or near Long Beach annually. A very popular spot for higher education is California State University-Long Beach with a full-time enrollment over 25,000 students.

Initially a beachside resort in late 1800's, Long Beach has become the second-busiest port in the nation. Companies like Raytheon, Boeing and Gulfstream base their operations in the strategically located port community. The oil industry and tourism are also important to the city's economy. The famous ocean liner Queen Mary is now a floating tourist spot in the city harbor. Long Beach has seen job growth increase nearly nine percent between 2000 and 2005. But poverty and high unemployment remain a problem. And the average income is low compared with state and national levels. The median household income was estimated at $43,746 in 2005, while 19.2% of residents were living in poverty. Seventy-two percent of workers drove to work alone in 2005, 11% carpooled and 9% took public transportation. Long commute times await with an average of 28.8 minutes for residents to get to work.

Those heading to Long Beach to own a home will find housing values have more than doubled inside of five years. Census figures in 2000 show the median house value at $210,000. By 2005, it had increased to $494,200. Housing construction has slowed in recent years, only 85 dwellings were built in 2005. Housing units in Long Beach is considerably old when compared with the average age of homes in California. Only four percent of the housing units were built since 1990. Occupancy of studio and one-bedroom rental units in Long Beach is very high by state and the national percentages. The city had over 163,100 occupied housing units, 59% were renter occupied. Average monthly housing costs in 2005 was $1,880 for mortgaged owners while renters paid $855.

Violent crime in Long Beach is high for a city in California. However, the FBI crime index puts the community slightly above U.S. average for crime data compiled between 1999 and 2005. The Air quality index finds air that is considered 'good' only 32.9% of the year. Long Beach residents enjoy mild winters with plenty of days to spend on the beach. Average low temperatures for January are 46 while July's average highs reach 83. On the drier side, annual precipitation averages just under 13 inches. Top recreational attractions are obvious, with surfing, boating, jet skiing and kayaking to name a few. There's also walking, jogging or rollerblading on the 5-1/2 mile paved trail along the beach. Long Beach has a nationally recognized park system, with 92 city-owned parks. Golfing is also popular with 139 public golf courses within 30 miles. Getting to and from the city, Long Beach is served by Los Angeles International, more commonly known as L.A.X., about 19 miles outside the city. Travelers can also use Amtrak

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