LABarometer: Though More Angelenos Plan to Leave L.A. County, Consumer Confidence Among Residents is Rising

June 2, 2021

The second annual USC Dornsife-Union Bank LABarometer livability survey also reveals that while Angelenos continue to be less satisfied with their quality of life compared to all California residents and people throughout the country, they perceive less crime, vandalism, and drug and alcohol use in their neighborhoods than they did in 2019.

Contact: Jim Key, (619) 253-1077 or or Jenesse Miller, (213) 810-8554 or

The annual USC Dornsife-Union Bank LABarometer Livability Survey assesses neighborhood quality of life in Los Angeles County, measuring residents’ life satisfaction, stress related to housing, neighborhood satisfaction, exposure to crime and social connectedness, and more. The survey also tracks consumer confidence through six questions regarding individual finances and the economy.

This is LABarometer’s second livability survey, which is based on responses from a representative panel of 1,800 L.A. County residents between Nov. 9, 2020 and Jan. 7, 2021. To compare livability in Los Angeles to the entire state of California and the U.S., the same questions were fielded to more than 9,000 U.S. residents from Feb. 18, 2021 to March 17, 2021.

The first livability survey, referred to as Wave 1, was fielded between June and July 2019.

Key Findings

  • Angelenos remain less satisfied with the quality of their life, compared to people throughout California and the U.S., and the gap has widened. On a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 denotes low life satisfaction and 7 denotes high life satisfaction, the average life satisfaction in L.A. County is 4.3, nearly unchanged from 2019. But it’s almost half a point lower than the U.S. and California average of 4.7 — double the gap observed in 2019.
  • Ten percent of Angelenos plan to leave L.A. County in the next year, a 40% increase from 2019. In 2019, 7% of L.A. County residents said they planned to leave Los Angeles and 16% said they planned to move to new housing somewhere else in the county. The new findings reveal that 10% of Angelenos now plan to move away from L.A. County while 14% plan to find new housing in the county.
  • Consumer confidence in L.A. County is rising, while it has stalled throughout the rest of California and the U.S. On a scale of 0 to 100, where higher numbers denote more positive assessments of the economy, consumer confidence in L.A. County (50.3) remains slightly lower than the entire state of California (50.9) and the U.S. (51.8). That said, it has risen sharply since at least the middle of last year, while statewide and throughout the country, consumer confidence has stalled. The 50.3 consumer confidence measurement in L.A. County is down 3.3 points from June 2019 but up 2.7 from June 2020.
  • Angelenos perceive there to be less crime, vandalism, and drug and alcohol use in their neighborhoods than they did in 2019. Survey respondents were asked a series of questions about whether or not problems like drug and alcohol use, vandalism, and crime were common in their neighborhoods. Residents who perceived those to be issues in 2019 were significantly less likely to consider them to be common issues in the most recent survey.

Expert Analysis

“Five months after our first LABarometer livability survey, everyone’s lives were upended by COVID-19. Our latest findings, which reflect the experiences of L.A. County residents during the peak of the pandemic, reveal reasons for optimism as well as concern.

“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. 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.”
Kyla Thomas, director of LABarometer, USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research

Download video and audio of Kyla Thomas’s commentary here:

Satisfaction Gap Widens

Leaving Los Angeles


About LABarometer

LABarometer is a quarterly, internet-based survey of approximately 1,800 randomly selected Los Angeles County residents, designed and administered by the Center for Economic and Social Research at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

LABarometer is made possible by the generous support of Union Bank through a sponsorship agreement. The agreement is funded for 10 years, with plans to expand survey participation in L.A. County over the next few years to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the region.

The survey monitors social conditions in Los Angeles County, with a focus on four key issues: livability, mobility, sustainability and resiliency, and affordability and prosperity. By following the same residents over time, LABarometer aims to capture trends and shifts in residents’ attitudes and circumstances, allowing decision-makers in the public and private sectors to better understand the evolving lives and needs of L.A. residents.

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