OC Still Losing Young Adults to Cooler, Better Places: Report

Thumbnail image for douche_palm_springs_ed_carrasco.jpg
Photo from the Ed Carrrasco Archives
I saw the best minds of my generations getting the hell out of Orange County the moment they turned 18 or realized that Yorba Linda is still among us. Colonies of talented OCers exist across the U.S., with Austin, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Portland being the ones most of the people I know who left now live.

Maybe it's because I'm a coffin dodger now, but I thought that trend had finally finished, that young naranjeros were finally being like us lunatics and deciding to fight in the belly of the OC beast instead of bouncing for progressive paradise. Shows how much I know: U.S. Census figures shows that we've lost over 50,000 residents in the 18-44 age range, making us age at a faster rate than California or the nation. And a bunch of Brave New Urbanists want your ideas to help stop this.

Late last month, something called the Urban Land Institute launched MyPlaceOC, a website that seeks the ideas of young people to make OC cooler for them.

"While some may view this departure from OC as anecdotal, or merely a 'phase' where young people will 'eventually come back to settle down', data shows us we are not bucking this trend," said Phyllis Alzamora, Executive Director, ULI Orange County/Inland Empire. "This trend will impact the quality of life in communities in Orange County. It is great to see that the media, school administration, health care, planning officials and the non-profit sector are finally joining in the conversation about this issue."

I'm skeptical of the group, because they gave Don Bren an award--and anyone who hails Satan offends my religious beliefs. But they did survey 1,649 participants--yet, by their own press release, "the average participant profile is 38-year old female from Irvine and Newport Beach areas."

What?! What do they know about young people? All that demographic wants is to hang out at Gulfstream and snag a sugar daddy--don't you read our listicles?

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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65 comments
18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Considering that your engineering career can be systematically derailed by racist trash bags masquerading as law enforcement leadership (Stan Knee / Brad Gates. Etc) I can't say that I blame these kids.

rdiaz714
rdiaz714

 No surprise!!!   Chain restaurants left and right, nothing open past 11 except douchy clubs and shitty dive bars full of dirtbags who think they are tough guys because they just got a new "tat".   Oh yea,  and the exorbitant high price to live here.   Look i l love this county, but i also hate it.   Orange County is NOT the beach cities only,  you have Anaheim, Fullerton, Brea, Santa Ana, and Westminster etc. which by the way have waaaaay better food than all those beach cities combined!!  Tacos, Pho, Korean BBQ, Steak, etc.  I could say more but I'm done for now.  


jessica.kim07
jessica.kim07

They are all moving to Belmont Shore, Naples, Belmont Heights, Alamitos Heights etc in Long Beach...Seriously!!!

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

Its the cost of living. For what you get its just not worth the cost. Sacramento has a nice midtown area.

sarahgmakesart
sarahgmakesart

 I'm pretty sure if the economy in OC wasn't fueled by materialism, petty competition, and general feelings of inadequacy, Pleasantville wouldn't feel so Stepford Wives.  However, as long as I've lived here (my entire life, minus 5 years), this county has been an empty, soulless pile of low self-esteem, maxed out platinum credit cards, and cosmetic surgery.  I know I'm not the only lady who feels like she's out of place when she doesn't smear on her top dollar MAC warpaint and regularly blown-out tresses in public, even to pick up her "vegan, soy, gluten-free, tree nut-free, flax seed oil, agave nectar sweetened, otherwise you're a bad mom" groceries. Because that's just totally unacceptable.  I mean who DOES that??  Guess what? I DO.  I like my cow medium rare, I like going weeks without smearing overpriced dirt on my face, and I like having hobbies and interests that don't involve organized parental hovering (play dates), or spending money and time trying to feel adequate compared to every other cookie cutter person living in their cookie cutter home. POP THE BUBBLE PEOPLE!!

Mike Randolph
Mike Randolph

Wow, that really passes for journalism these days?

ICregular
ICregular

That photo captures everything I hate about the OC. Thanks Gustavo. 

Carlos Rosas
Carlos Rosas

"The party is where you're at." If you're bored it's because you yourself are boring. You can have fun in any city

Derek Bonanni
Derek Bonanni

The fact that there is no good music venues south of the observatory is ridiculous.

Monica Silva
Monica Silva

I love living in the South OC because I am not from here! SGV por vida! I love being the one in the group that's "Interesting!" But I can add that it's peculiar being almost 10 years younger than my cohorts in the area with children the same age. I guess I will never get sick of hearing "You guys are babies!" So I stay :)

Chris Wyland
Chris Wyland

I guess this means a younger, smarter, cheaper employee pool for me.. Yeah

Simon Baty
Simon Baty

To be honest, I try and save up for trips to Hawaii or Europe. But I believe you, Matt. Some of your pictures are really awesome.

Matthew Dean Mahood
Matthew Dean Mahood

It's possible... I would miss the sun though. Denver and Portland are the two places I could see myself living outside of so cal. You should check it out sometime to see for yourself!

Simon Baty
Simon Baty

Yeah, but it's Portland, man. Could you really see yourself living in Portland? The problem with Portland is that it's not LA. of course, LA has it's drawbacks (as fuck), but I couldn't do it.

Matthew Dean Mahood
Matthew Dean Mahood

Everything is CHEAP! Food, rent etc. And no sales tax. And grow your own produce so you don't have to buy it.

Simon Baty
Simon Baty

He said you guys drank a lot of great beer WHICH you can also do in SD.

Simon Baty
Simon Baty

Oh, yeah! You just went. Angelo was telling me about it. What's the dream of the 90s?

Matthew Dean Mahood
Matthew Dean Mahood

Simon Baty you ever been to Portland ?? The dream of the 90's lives in Portland!

BeerSnobieDoug
BeerSnobieDoug

Nice Howl homage, it wasn't lost on everyone... but don't worry they will all come back. Those born and raised here don't have the thick skin to survive on the East Coast (weather wise or honest peers), nor the work ethic and Northwest cities lack the predatory social environments in which the natives thrive.  Besides I haven't met too many OC OGs who can survive too long with out their Double Double fix. 

Jon Lundin
Jon Lundin

Griff Black Stewart you nailed it on the head.

Laine Aguas
Laine Aguas

well.. all i can say is...i am glad im in OC.. the place where you can wear flip flops and tank while everyone else cant go out coz its snowing or just too cold..

David Bolt Backer Parada
David Bolt Backer Parada

I say good, GTFOH. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. It is their right to live where they want to live.

Rachel Penn
Rachel Penn

Lots of people leaving California period and all ages...

Simon Baty
Simon Baty

No. What I'm saying is why the fuck would you want to live in Portland? That's nuts to me.

Nestor Jaimes
Nestor Jaimes

I don't blame them at all... Irvine sold the great park to a billionaire shah that will create more houses here in Orange County for the Chinese to buy up, and spike up property values.. No room for growth for the echo-boomers here, even though this place is the dopest place of a time

Kanani Fong
Kanani Fong

I'm not a native of OC, moved here a decade ago, and have never found it an "easy" area to be in. The cost of living here is high, and most of the chasing is for material goods that are soon forgotten. If a kid can make a break from that --great, but sometimes you wonder if they just take those same shallow values with them, and set up shop --only with a different set of colors, and maybe a clunkier car.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

"Coffin dodger"? You can't be THAT old, Gustavo. ;-)

I, myself, am 35...I prefer the term "over-ripe"...:-D

Joseph Glover
Joseph Glover

Cost of living>quality of life, who the fuck would want to stay

sarah_g
sarah_g

Pretty sure the south county scum is afraid to drink the water in the cultural corner of OC (all the cities you've mentioned). Only smartwater or Voss for those creatures.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

Wow, and I thought I was a keen, pithy commenter.  

You only left out the vegan, soy, gluten-free banzai bowls and cleanse smoothies...but this still easily makes the Top 10 comments listicle.  

Preach, sis!  

sarah_g
sarah_g

@JBinOC So, how does one become a top commenter?  Just many many comments, many likes?  Genuine curiosity.

sarah_g
sarah_g

@JBinOC I don't think I know what a banzai bowl is.  I was too busy eating cow to care. ;)  Seriously, I could go on, but I figured that was enough venom for a single post.


I grew up in the heart of South OC with the rest of the people too good to travel north of Irvine without taking pepper spray.  I still live here, however, I'm sure OC's "ugly step-child" doesn't count as actual OC.  Though, I've noticed there IS actual culture here.  And historic buildings that haven't been ripped down to erect pristine shopping centers so sterile, you need a country club membership and a Mercedes to shop there.

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