Moving to Oakland, CA


What’s the name of the city on the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay across from the Golden City? Why, it’s Oakland!

This city is quite a catch. One user on Quora went as far as to say, “Oakland has hills with beautiful homes and expansive views. Has a lake in the middle of downtown that is like a Public Park great for exercise or people watching. Many fine Restaurants. Ethnic diversity. Wide distribution of wealth and resources.

…We could go on!

Just hearing our friend on Quora talk about their experience with life in Oakland gives us a glimpse into what it’d be like.

Now, let’s say you’re thinking about moving to Oakland. What should you know? Is it really as dangerous as it sounds? Is it worth it to move to Oakland? We’re glad you asked!

The Basics of Moving to Oakland: Data, Cost of Living, and Of Course, Jobs

Below is what you should be aware of before moving to Oakland:

The Numbers: Population Info and Demographics

Roughly 444,956 people live in Oakland, making it the eighth-largest city in the State of California. (It’s also the biggest city in Alameda County and the third-biggest city in the Bay Area!) Oakland is proud of its community and is known for its diversity within that community.

The city of Oakland is projected to expand by as much as 0.90% each year. Not only is it one of the leading cities for sustainable practices, but it has also turned into a top spot for tourists to check out. In fact, it made #16 on one of America’s Coolest Cities lists, reinforcing just how awesome of a place it is to live.

The Cost of Living in Oakland

One of the top questions we hear is, “Is Oakland expensive?” To be frank, Oakland’s cost of living is higher than the national average on essentially all counts, excluding utilities. First, let’s talk about groceries. Oakland is 11.3% higher than the national average and 6.2% higher than California’s average.

Healthcare-wise, Oakland comes up just above the national average (by 3.5%). Transportation is 25.8% more costly in Oakland, and Oakland’s cost of living is 74.4% higher than the national average overall.

This goes to show that Oakland is one of the pricier cities in California. In fact, it is estimated that Oakland residents should bring in a minimum of $77,360 per year to cover their basic experiences, a one-bedroom home, and still have a little wiggle room.

The Oakland Job Market

Regarding the job market, Nina from Quora says, “It’s booming if you’re in tech, finance or bio-medical engineering. Now if you’re an artist, a teacher or a nurse you can still get by, but it’s more far more competitive.

One article mentioned that the Oakland job market went up by 1.4% in a year’s time, with job growth projected to increase to 35.3% over time. That means that if you do move to Oakland, you can trust that you’ll find a job there in no time that pays well and helps set you up for success.

Below are some of the biggest companies and organizations to work for in Oakland:

  • Kaiser
  • City of Oakland
  • BART
  • UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland
  • University of California
  • State of California
  • Southwest Airlines

Getting Around Oakland

Living in Oakland, CA, having a car is not a requirement, but it can be helpful. If you choose not to bring your car when moving to Oakland, you can whip out your bike and take a ride along the city’s many bike trails and walking areas.

Don’t have a bike? No problem. You can rent one from FordGoBike or get a LimeBike scooter. Some other great transportation options in Oakland include the AC Transit, the Broadway Shuttle, and the San Francisco Bay Ferry.

Another option is the Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART), which is what many people living in Oakland and other nearby cities use. The great thing about BART is that if you do decide to ride your bike to one of the stations, you can put the bike up on a bike rack–at least for the majority of locations. You can also request valet parking for your bicycle at no cost to you.

Where to Live in Oakland? Here’s a Mini Neighborhood Guide

Oakland has a high quality of life and plenty of beautiful communities fit for families, professionals, and startups. Here are some of the best neighborhoods in Oakland:

1. Montclair: Great Schools and Plenty to Do

If you’re moving your family to Oakland, consider Montclair. It’s rated an A- overall, with a lower-than-average crime rate. There are also multiple highly rated schools in the neighborhood, including Montclair Elementary School and Oakland High School.

Montclair has the Montclair Egg Shop, the Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, the Chabot Space & Science Center, and many local shops. (Oakland residents are all about supporting local businesses!)

2. Upper Rockridge: Benefits for All

There are about 11,175 people living in Upper Rockridge. Like Montclair, it’s one of the top places to raise your kids in Oakland. (Nearly one-third of the population is families with kids!) The neighborhood has been given an A in terms of family-friendliness, and the schools are among the best around. For that reason, it’s clear why so many families flock in that direction.

However, Upper Rockridge is also great if you’re a professional looking to expand your network or if you’re planning on retiring soon. It has an exceptional view of the Bay and lots of activities to keep you busy, including golfing at the Claremont Country Club or visiting Lake Temescal.

3. Oakmore: Peace and Quiet

You’ll find Oakmore at the bottom of the Oakland hills at the north end of the Dimond district and southeast from Montclair. It comes up in the top-50 lists as one of the “best neighborhoods to raise a family in Oakland, to live in Oakland, and for Young Professionals in Oakland.

Oakmore is a quiet part of the city with a lower-than-average crime rate compared to the rest of the nation. The city has even been recognized as 78% safer than other California cities. (It’s also been called one of the most “walkable cities” in the country.)

Moving to Oakland: Pros and Cons

Before you start house-hunting in Oakland, here are some things you should know:


Incredible Weather:Oakland’s weather is among the best in the state. It stays warm between June and October, often not exceeding 71 degrees. September is the warmest time of the year, getting temperatures up to 75 degrees (though the temperature can drop down to 58 degrees).

Also, along with great weather comes lots of activities to keep you busy outdoors with your friends and family. You can spend your Saturdays checking out the Oakland Zoo, riding your bike on the Bay Bridge Trail, or golfing at one of the city’s many golf courses. (Also, you can’t forget to schedule a time to go canoeing, kayaking, or sailing!)

Pup-Friendly:Want to keep your furry pals happy? Well, you need plenty of parks for that and walking areas so that you can take them out and about to their hearts’ content. Oakland has many dog-friendly parks.

Some of the best parks in Oakland for dogs are Athol Park, Joaquin Miller Park, Diamond Park, Eastshore Park, Hardy Park, Mosswood Park, and Oak Glen Park. You _will_have to keep your furry friend on the leash there.

If you want to let your dogs have some fun off the leash, check out the Grove Shafter Park Dog Play Area, Hardy Park Dog Play Area, Mosswood Park Dog Play Area, or Jefferson Park Dog Play Area.


High Crime Rate: According to Neighborhood Scout, Oakland is safer than only 1% of cities here in the United States. You have a 1 in 227 likelihood of being a violent crime victim in California in general, with a 1 in 77 likelihood of having a violent crime happen to you in Oakland.

So, yes, Oakland is dangerous–in certain neighborhoods. Some people have even expressed regret moving to Oakland based on the crime rate, but don’t worry _too_much. There are tons of safe neighborhoods you can call home. These include Trestle Glen, Crocker Highlands, and Glen Highlands–to name a few.

Rising Home Prices: The average home value is $984,377 in the city of Oakland, according to Zillow. Just in the last year, the home value increased by 15.6%.

Research shows that housing is 216.3% higher in Oakland than the national average, making it difficult to find a home within an average worker’s salary. Fortunately, there are several affordable neighborhoods to choose from in Oakland, including Bushrod, Cleveland Heights, and Grand Lake.

Good Luck With Your Move to Oakland

If you’re moving to Oakland and need a hand, Bellhop is happy to help. We coordinate local and long-distance moves to Oakland, assisting you with the moving process from start to finish.

We are dedicated movers that provide all the essential supplies, services, and team members to help this move go smoothly like you deserve. Not to mention, we do so at a price that works!

Need an affordable mover fast? Book a move online with us now.