Climbing cost of living in San Diego poses challenges for Mesa students


Teal Davis/The Mesa Press

One gas station displays prices as the the cost of gas climbs across the San Diego County.

Teal Davis, Staff Writer

   As cost of living and gas prices continue to climb, San Diego surpasses San Francisco as the least affordable city in America and poses an increasing challenge for individuals in lower tax brackets and for many Mesa College students.

   OJO Labs, a company which utilizes AI in data analytics for real estate, recently released a report that compares the cost of living in many major cities to income in different cities across America. The company, which has reported on the affordability of cities across America for several years, “saw San Diego bypass both San Francisco and Los Angeles to become the nation’s least affordable metro.” 

   While San Francisco remains the most expensive city, average income is greater in the city and thus more affordable than San Diego. The average salary in San Diego is $68,565/year or about $32.96/hour, however according to OJO home prices have climbed 14.3% in January to $764,000.While the overall cost of living in San Francisco remains greater than that of San Diego, southern residents have a greater cost of living in relation to average income. 

   As prices continue to climb, Mesa college students have begun to feel the effects of living in one of the least affordable cities. Hannah Notsch, a second year fine arts major who hopes to go into film production, talks about how the effects of COVID-19, paired with high cost of living changed her plans of living on her own after coming out of high school. Notsch hopes of transferring this upcoming year, and explained, “When I transfer, I would like to live on campus but I don’t think that’s realistic based on what I have saved up and I really don’t want to take out a bunch of loans.” Having lived in San Diego for a majority of her life, she explained how she really loves the city and wants to continue living here after she graduates. With work opportunities nearby, she has hope for her future in San Diego but said, “I’ll be happy, but I’ll be happy and broke.”

   As recent gas prices have spiked across the country, San Diego gas prices have repeatedly broken records over the past week. With many areas in San Diego reaching well over six dollars per gallon, the average price across San Diego County is about $5.94. Near the beginning of the month, gas prices consistently rose, breaking twenty records over the course of twenty-two days. And as these records have consistently been broken in the city, San Diego prices sit at about four cents above the state average and over a dollar over the national average. Tuesday marked the twenty-eighth consecutive day that prices have risen, San Diego’s average is expected to surpass six dollars per gallon.

   A workers’ strike at a Chevron refinery in the Bay area is also most likely an influencing factor in these prices. This facility produces around 13% of California’s production, a considerable amount as even a change in one or two percent would have been noticeable. Chevron has explained that they believe the conditions and pay they are currently offering is reasonable, however they are currently talking with the striking workers. In the meantime, the company has brought in skilled workers to stand in for the employees on strike.

   First-year Mesa student, AJ Laly explained that as gas prices have continued to climb, “I don’t fill up my tank ever now.” She said that, while she loves the lifestyle in San Diego, there are a lot of expenses that aren’t always evident. Many of the perks of San Diego offer additional expenses in hobbies and entertainment. She explained, “I think that there are a lot of added things if you really want to be in the San Diego lifestyle.”

   While several Mesa students have hope in their plans to stay in San Diego, increasing prices and cost of living will continue to pose challenges for students in the county.