16 Pros and Cons of Living in San Jose, CA

Updated On November 7, 2023

San Jose, California is a popular destination for people who want to visit the area.

It also has a lot to offer residents and people who want to move to this third-most populous city in the State of California.

The City of San Jose has many amenities and features that attract people to the area and that is a reason that many people are likely to consider moving to San Jose.

Weighing the pros and cons of moving to any city, including San Jose, is important for future residents.

San Jose
San Jose

Pros of Living in San Jose

Weather and Climate

San Jose has an ideal climate and weather for people who enjoy warm, sunny days during the summer, and mild winters.

The Mediterranean-like temperature averages around 83 degrees during the warmer months.

The area has around 300 days of sunshine each year.

The temperature during the winter averages 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most of the annual 15 to 20 inches of rainfall in San Jose occurs between November and March.

The amount of rain in San Jose is well below the U.S. average of 38 inches of annual rainfall.

Highly Rated Schools

San Jose public schools have higher test scores than the state average in both math and reading proficiency.

Public School Review lists San Jose’s average test scores at 46 percent, compared to the average score of 34 percent for California public schools.

San Jose public school students average 58 percent in reading proficiency.

The statewide test score average is just 49 percent.

The San Jose public schools have an 8/10 ranking, on average.

The score means that the schools in the city rank in the top 30 percent of all public schools in California.

Variety of Attractions

There are many attractions in San Jose, including several free attractions, such as The Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum.

Step back into the 1800s, when mining during the Gold Rush was a lifestyle for many people.

The city of San Jose calls the Japanese Friendship Garden a “living symbol of the Sister City relationship” between San Jose, California, and Okayama, Japan.

Enjoy the beautiful gardens when you walk along the pathways, or sit by the tranquil waters.

Many activities are affordable, including the bizarre Winchester Mystery House, the Children’s Discovery House, and The Tech Interactive.

Enjoy water activities, museums, and family adventures.

Great Cuisine

No matter what your favorite food choices are, there is a range of great-tasting food throughout San Jose.

Eat at a five-star restaurant or from a favorite diner or food truck.

Choose Asian Faire, European delights, or your favorite Caribbean food choices.

Grab a burger or indulge in delectable desserts.

Residents likely never tire of the cuisine available at locations or venues such as Santana Row.


Niche gives San Jose an A+ rating in its diversity category.

The poverty rate in San Jose is 8.3 percent, which is below the national poverty level.

The United States Census Bureau indicates that the U.S. poverty rate was 11.6 percent in 2021.

Residents experience getting to know people of diverse cultures.

The racial diversity of San Jose includes 37 percent Asian population, 31 percent Hispanic, and 24 percent of the population identifying as being white.

San Jose’s population is 3 percent African American, with 2 percent of the population identifying themselves as being of two or more races.

Sense of Community

Many San Jose residents express that there is a sense of community in the city.

An impressive 61 percent of the city’s residents indicate that there is a good sense of community in San Jose.

Many people who live in San Jose, CA believe that residents are hard-working and family-oriented and that San Jose is a progressive community.

Low Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate for San Jose, California is below the U.S. unemployment rate.

Some sites have different statistics.

Various sites indicate that there is an unemployment rate range of 3.2 percent to 3.4 percent for San Jose.

The same sites show an unemployment rate for the U.S. at between 3.8 and 4.8 percent.

High-Income Levels

The median income for a household in San Jose, CA is $125,075, compared to a national household income of $69,021.

The median household income for the State of California is $80,440.

Some people refer to San Jose as the “unofficial” hub of high-tech in Silicon Valley, while others claim it is the “official” tech hub of Silicon Valley, beating out San Francisco for the title.

Some of the best new tech startups make their home in San Jose.

Examples of other companies with locations in the area include Western Digital, Nvidia, Align Technology, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, and Adobe.

Many other career fields contribute to the higher median household income, including surgeons and other physicians, other workers in medical fields, engineers, education professionals, and people who work in the service industries.

Cons of Living in San Jose

Population Density

The population of San Jose has decreased slightly, with a 2.7 percent decrease in 2021, compared to the population in 2020.

The 2022 population was 983,489 people.

The area of San Jose is 176.5 square miles.

The population density is 5,358.7 residents per square mile.

The city has the 19th highest population density among large cities in the U.S.

Lack of Affordable Housing

The lack of affordable housing in San Jose is a factor for many people.

The average price of a home in San Jose, California is $1,312,163.

The cost of a home in the city is considerably higher than the national average, which is $410,200, and higher than the median home price in California, which is $799,000.

Rental costs in San Jose exceed the average cost of renting in California.

It also exceeds the national average for the monthly cost of a rental property.

The average rent cost in San Jose is $2,366.

The national median rent is $1,163.

Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters

San Jose is more likely to experience an earthquake than many other California cities and the rest of the country.

The historical earthquake activity for the city is 7,685 percent higher than the overall earthquake activity in the U.S.

The number of other natural disasters that occur in the area also exceeds the number of similar natural disasters that occur in other areas in the country.

The primary sources of other declared natural disasters that occurred in San Jose include floods, fires, storms, landslides, and mudslides.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in San Jose exceeds the cost of living in many cities across the U.S.

People who plan to move to San Jose may want to consider that the cost-of-living index is 127.4, compared to the U.S. cost-of-living index of 100.

Residents who move from Chicago will experience a 65.6 percent increase in the cost of living.

People who move to San Jose from Dallas will experience more than a 70 percent increase, while people from Boston, Miami, and other large cities will also see a cost-of-living increase.


The thriving city of San Jose has an issue with traffic congestion.

The large population means that many drivers are often on the roads at the same time.

The high number of tech companies and other businesses that have people driving to work is likely to create traffic jams during rush hours.

Plan for extra time to get to your destination when driving yourself or using another form of transportation.

Crime Rate

The crime rate in San Jose, CA is lower than in some large cities, but residents still see crime and safety as a concern.

Niche gives San Jose an overall grade of A-.

It gives the city a grade of C on crime.

There has been an increase in some violent crimes.

The San Jose Police Department recorded 10 homicides for the period January through April 2023, compared to eight homicides during the same period in 2022.

The aggravated assault rate increased by 7.6 percent when considering the number of aggravated assaults that occurred from January through April 2023, compared to the aggravated assaults that occurred from January through April 2022.

Air Quality

The air quality in San Jose is worse than the air quality in several other nearby cities.

Traffic congestion, topography, and the city’s weather are cited as contributing factors to the high ozone levels in San Jose.

The smoke from wildfires also contributes to unsafe levels of harmful pollutants in the air.

One survey found that the rate of childhood asthma cases in the area is more than double the national average.

Not Enough Full-Time Law Enforcement Officers

There are fewer full-time police in San Jose than there are in many other areas of the state.

The number of male officers greatly exceeds the number of full-time female officers.

There are slightly over 1,000 male officers, compared to just over 150 female officers.

The number of police officers per 1,000 residents is 1.14, compared to a California average of 2.30 full-time law enforcement officers per 1,000 residents.

San Jose
San Jose

Pros and Cons of Living in San Jose, CA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in San JoseCons of Living in San Jose
1. Weather and Climate 1. Population Density 
2. Highly Rated Schools 2. Lack of Affordable Housing 
3. Variety of Attractions  30 Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters 
4. Great Cuisine 4. Cost of Living 
5. Diversity 5. Traffic  
6. Sense of Community 6. Crime Rate  
7. Low Unemployment Rate 7. Air Quality 
8. High-Income Levels 8. Not Enough Full-Time Law Enforcement Officers 

San Jose Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: San Jose Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is San Jose a good place for families?

San Jose is a great place to raise a family.

There are many family-friendly attractions and things to do in the area.

Niche gives San Jose a B+ in their “Good for Families” category.

How is the nightlife in San Jose?

San Jose has a vibrant nightlife, with many nightclubs, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

Several sites give the city high marks for its nightlife.

Are there any sports teams in San Jose?

Sports teams excite the die-hard sports fan to the person who attends an occasional event.

Take in an NHL hockey game to see the San Jose Sharks.

The San Jose Giants developed several major league baseball players.

The Bay Area Panthers, co-founded by Marshawn Lynch, recently moved from Oakland, California to San Jose.

What county is San Jose, California in?

San Jose is the county seat of Santa Clara County.

It is the primary part of the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara extensive metropolitan area.

Is there a high rate of property crime in San Jose?

Property crimes have recently declined in San Jose.

The property crime rate is still above the national average.

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