Inflation puts a permanent strain on Southern California household budgets – Orange County Register

“Survey Says” looks at various rankings and scorecards that assess geographic locations and finds that these grades are best viewed as a mix of artistic interpretation and data.

Buzz: The cost of living in Los Angeles and Orange counties has increased by 15% in three years. In the Inland Empire it is up 19%. These are pretty much enduring hits on a family’s budget.

Source: My trusty spreadsheet looked at the January CPIs for Southern California, released Tuesday, February 14, and how the cost of living has skyrocketed since January 2020, just before the coronavirus turned the economy upside down.

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The short-term direction of inflation is mixed. January’s CPI shows LA OC prices up 5.8% in one year — and a surprise 4.9% gain in December. But the Inland Empire inflation rate of 7.3% was the lowest since September 2021.

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However, ignore recent trends and intense debate over the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool an overheated economy. No amount of cooling will erase the blow of the pandemic era from a household’s checkbook.


Consider three years of inflation in the price of everyday items in Southern California.

Food and drinks: 19% up in LA-OC and 23% up in the Inland Empire. Food bills soared as farmers and truckers faced labor shortages and drought shrunk harvests. And eating out offers no savings.

Housing: 15% up in LA-OC and 22% up in the Inland Empire. Building a roof over your head is far more expensive due to the pandemic-era rush for larger living spaces and skyrocketing utility bills. Inflation puts a permanent strain on Southern California household budgets – Orange County Register

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