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Comparing and Contrasting Virginia and California

There are many differences between the states of Virginia and California. Virginia is on the East Coast of the United States, while California is located on the West Coast. The current paper will be a comparison of the two states above mentioned. It will mainly focus on demographic characteristics, migration, age distribution, languages spoken, marital status, housing, energy and transportation. It will also briefly focus on geography, cost and efficiency.

California is the third largest state in the US. It is larger than Virginia in terms of population. The population of California is 37,253,956 people. It borders the states of Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon. Virginia is smaller in terms of population, with only 8,001,024 people. Virginia is the 35th largest state by size. It borders Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Even though California has a large population, the state is experiencing negative net population growth each year, as the number of people who settle in the state is less than those who leave it. In Virginia, the population increases each year, especially due to the increased migration.

Both Virginia and California have a typical age distribution. Thus, they have a large population, aged under 20 and between 45 and 64. These two age groups are the most common in the United States. Both California and Virginia have similar composition of racial communities. However, the ratio of Hispanics to other communities is larger, when compared to most other states. In both states, women out-populate men. California is known for much movement of people who settle, trade or move out of the state. It could be the reason for the high number of Hispanics’ migration. The high number of Hispanics in Virginia could be attributed to the state’s position at the East coast of the United States.

Most households in Virginia, about 85%, primarily speak English. Spanish is the second most spoken language; about 6.7% of households speak Spanish (Virginia, 2015). Slightly over half

households in California speak English. More than a quarter of households speak Spanish. Virginia and California families are usually small, with approximately 2-3 members. A member of a household is related to the household head by birth, marriage, or adoption. From the data on the significance of a language by state, it is evident that California has an influx of foreigners, especially Spanish-speaking people. Virginia does not have many foreigners, as most people tend to speak English. However, one could argue that the prevalence of a language makes it necessary for foreigners to learn the language.

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In both Virginia and California, there are a lot of married couples. Other people are mostly single and never get married. In our case, only and live-in couples and common law marriages are considered as marriages. Those who are labeled as ‘never married’ include people who have never entered a marriage and whose first marriage was negated. California has a smaller married populace than the whole nation. Virginia has a higher married populace than the whole nation. Looking at the statistics, it seems that Californians do not like marriage or it takes them a while to make a decision to get married.

In the United States, prices of homes have been increasing (Khouri, 2015). In 2015, the median price increased (California, 2015). There are major differences between California and Virginia, as homes in the latter are falling. The median sale price in Virginia has fallen, since 2014 (Virginia, 2015). In California, home prices are rising. The median sale price is about $400,000, reflecting an increase since 2014. Although Virginia tends to experience low median home sale prices, the median list price tends to increase (Lerner, 2015). However, the rising median list price is a common phenomenon among all states. In California, the highest median list price is about $429,000. California’s median list prices are always higher than that of the United States in general (Khouri, 2015). However, property taxes in California are lower, when compared to those in Virginia. In 1978, California people amended the property tax and made it 1% (Schwartz, 2014). Thus, it seems median home prices and median list prices are high because there is a demand for housing in California. As California is also experiencing negative net migration, the demand for apartments could be high. Indeed, about 44.7% of residents normally rent houses (California, 2015). The rate is higher than the U.S. average. The other 53.3% owns houses; indeed, the number is lower, when compared the U.S. average (California, 2015). In Virginia, about two-thirds of the people own property, while the one-third rents property.

Both Virginia and California can be compared in terms of costs of owning a home. Most mortgaged home-owners pay over $2,000 per month. The next common range for Californians is $1,500 – $2,000. These rates are higher than the United States’ average. Thus, California’s residents are paying more for different expenses, utilities or services. Certainly, property taxes are low (Schwartz, 2014). Thus, the high total costs could be due to high costs of deeds of trust, mortgages, house debts, contracts to purchase, hazard insurance, fuels and utilities (Schwartz, 2014). Most home-owners in Virginia pay rent within the $500 – $1,000 range (Virginia, 2015). Thus, home-owners pay less money for property, when compared to those in California.

The cost of renting in Virginia is not as high as in California, perhaps because California has a higher demand for housing. In Virginia, almost a half of tenants pay rent within the $500-$1,000 range. The rate is lower than the United States’ average. However, about a third of tenants in California pay within the same range. Thus, rental prices are higher in California than in Virginia. However, the rates are lower than the U.S. average; it means that there are other states where people pay very high rental prices. It would appear this way for states with several major cities, or those with entertainment and relaxation cities. The rent amount discussed only includes contract rent and excludes fuels, utilities, and furnishings (Schwartz, 2014). The cost of heating homes in California is a bit high because most residents use utility gas. In Virginia, most people use electricity.

Both Virginia and California can be compared in terms of the percentage of the middle class population. About 27-29% of people in both states live in an upper middle class household, that is, a household that earns between $75,000 and $150,000 annually (California, 2015). Thus, the percentage for the two states is higher than that of the United States. About 21% of residents in both states earn between $25,000 and $50,000 annually.

Virginia and California compare in terms of the number of people who have earned a degree. For both states, the number is 27-29% of the population. Although, Los Angeles is often branded as the entertainment capital of the world, it does not cause significant improvement in the total number of bars for California. The number of bars is less than the average for the whole country. However, the rate was counted on per capita basis; if it were on other basis as per location, the number of bars would have been higher. Virginia has more bars than California; the number is about 1/2 times as large as that of the United States. Still, the rate is on the per capita basis. The density of religious organizations in Virginia is the same as that of the United States. In California, the density is lower, and there are fewer religious groups than the country’s average (California, 2015). It means that Californians are not very religious.

There are major differences between California and Virginia regarding transportation. Approximately 87% of Virginia’s work force drives to work (Weiner, 2012). The proportion is typical and, thus, similar to that of other states. About 84% of California’s work force drives to work. Therefore, less people drive to work when compared to the United States’ average.  Commute time in both Virginia and California is 10-20 minutes; the rate is typical for the country (California, 2015). The approximately equal commute time in both states shows that they may have similar characteristics, such as distance from homes, and the time spent in a typical traffic jam. Both states also compare in terms of the number of cars available for transportation. However, the number of people with access to two vehicles is much lower in California. People aged 16 years and above tend to have the two available vehicles that may belong to the family, employer or car-renting company. Most Virginia and California employees/workers who work in employer premises leave home for work between 6:00 – 8:00 AM (Weiner, 2012).

Conclusively, California and Virginia compare in a number of aspects, such as age distribution, the number of people who form the middle class and the time it takes to get to the work place and other work dynamics. People in California use energies more efficiently. Property prices are very high when compared to Virginia. The costs of renting and owning a home are higher. Thus, the cost of living seems to be higher in California than it is in Virginia. While most people would associate California with much entertainment, there are actually fewer bars in California. Still, there are fewer religious organizations in the state. It seems that fewer people in California than in Virginia have access to cars or prefer cars to travel to work.

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