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California Dreamin’

California dreamin’ is a song by a group called The Mamas and The Papas (you can find it on YouTube). They were popular in the 1960s, when Jeff was still very young.

In the song, the song writer, who is suffering from (having a bad experience as the result of) a cold winter day, is dreaming about moving to Los Angeles:

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey.
I’ve been for a walk
On a winter’s day.
I’d be safe and warm
If I was in L.A. (Los Angeles)

According to an article – America’s Most Popular States: The Reality of Living the Dream – at The Book of Odds web site – California has flooding, earthquakes, and wildfires. It’s short on cash (the state doesn’t have much money) and drinking water, but it’s still the state that most people want to live in. People prefer (like one thing better than another) California to Florida, Hawaii, Texas, and Colorado – the other states in the top 5.

What about the California dream? Is California a good place to live? How does it compare to other states? Here are some of the things I found in the article (some of the numbers have changed since the article was written):

  • 12% of Americans already live in California (the population is more than 36 million!)
  • 11.5% of Californians older than 16 are unemployed (don’t have a job). It’s better in Texas, where only 7.5% are unemployed. The national average is 6% (Since the recent economic problems, these numbers are much higher.).
  • The odds (see explanation below) of being a victim of violent crime in California are 1 in 198.5. California is safer, or less dangerous, than Florida and Texas.
  • Fewer people in Texas – only 75% – have a healthcare plan (health insurance). In addition, about 37% of the people in Texas are overweight (weigh too much). That doesn’t sound healthy.
  • Hawaii and Colorado have the highest number of insured residents (people with insurance) and the lowest number of violent crimes in the top 5 states.
  • Hawaii has almost as many earthquakes as California.
  • If you live in Colorado, there is a 1 in 10 chance that you will experience a wildfire each year. In California the odds are 1 in 3.33. I know about that; one of the recent wildfires was only a few miles from where I live.

The article asks an important question – “What do these numbers tell us about what life is really like in America’s most wanted states?” – and answers it – “Not much.” To really know what life is like somewhere, you have to know and think about more than these numbers. They are only part of the story. But they are interesting.

I’m curious: if you moved to the U.S., where would you like to live? Why?

Explanation: When we say “the odds are…” we are talking about the probability or chances of something happening. Here’s a simple example: when a woman has a baby, the odds are 1 in 2 that the baby will be a boy (or girl). Another example: if a horse is expected to win 25% – ¼ – of its races, the odds of its winning are 1 in 4. When the second number is smaller, there is a greater probability, or chance, of the thing happening. Oh my, I see that there’s a 1 in 1.4 (70%) chance of rain tomorrow. I need to make sure I carry my umbrella!

~Warren Ediger – ESL teacher/tutor, perpetual (permanent) learner, writer, musician, husband & father, creator of

photo by W. Ediger

21 Responses to “California Dreamin’”

  1. Michel Says:

    Hello, it’s 11pm in France and I say you: good evening

    I have never been to the USA. But if I had to go for a long time of course, I’like to see first big citys. very impressive I suppose.
    And after, in a so enormous country, everywhere must be to visit. Only after I could make an answer.
    I hope once, it will be possible to fly to USA and perhaps to see Jeff……(joke)
    I am tired, I have to go to bed. Working tomorow morning
    bye bye and will be see soon in contact on the net.

  2. francesco Says:

    Good morning professor Ediger! I’ve been both to NY and LA few years ago and I liked them a lot at that time. Completely different cities but amazing! NY stressing, cold and big big building. LA sun, beautiful women and cars and beaches! In my case the odds to live there are 0 % because I’m in Italy, but for a touristic trip I would like to go back again!
    happy day to all the ESL teachers and learners!!

  3. dongsung Says:

    I If I have chance to live America, I’d like to live in L.A first because I do not have any knowledge on any Cities in America. But, LA, we can see it through the TV drama or news. I can figure that At least how big this city is, how many people live in, and many places that I want to visit. According to the number you’ve written above, it’s not best city, but I think it’s better than moving to a city that entirely I don’t know.

  4. Daniele Says:

    I do not know. I have never been to the U.S., so I cannot say where I would like, but I know what I would not like:
    Not a big city.
    Not too crowded.
    Not too many cars.
    Maybe, I would like to be a Ranger at the Yellowstone National Park or an Astronaut at NASA. I would like to see the earth from the moon or the ISS
    Thank you Mr. Warren.
    Bye! :-)
    Daniele, Italy.

  5. Mario Says:

    Hi everybody!
    Here in Italy (I’m from Rome) yhe U.S. are seen as a large country for those who did not have a chance to visit it (like me).
    When I say “large” I mean that all of your things are big: the streets, the buildings, the land itself. So, visiting your country is a very difficult thing because of picking up all the things that you have there.
    I’ve always prefered to visit small city (4 or 5 thousand people) and the beach!
    I have a dream: visit your country once in my life!!!
    No matter which part of it but if i have to give you a particular place I’ll say the Northern part: Wyoming, Montana and of course Minnesota. But also California is my heart especially San Francisco!!!

    Bye from Italy!!

  6. emiliano Says:

    A good point dear Mr Warren, to me Mamas and the Papas was one of my favorit groups and the song “California Dreaming” was a dream to me.
    I like also Scott Mckencie and his “San Francisco” a lovely song that it was like a hymn to the Hippies.
    Yes, of course, I was a hippie then but living in Madrid instead of California, and I was against Vietnam war, colour or race discrimination and so on. Yes, by soul a hippie without any drugs.

    What can I say about going or living in USA?. Yes that´s a very good question to me as I don´t know what to choose.

    I have seen so many movies about every State and City of your country that I would like to be everywhere, from Seatle (the green city), Chicago (the windy city), New York (the great apple), ……thank you Jeff by the cafes…and so on.
    When I saw San Francisco in Hitchcock´s “Vertigo” I wanted to be there with Kim Novak, in fact I fall in love with her and with the City.
    So, what can I say about so many USA cities?, the only thing is that I would like to see everyone of them. But also the mountains, The Grand Canyon the Arizona desserts, the Maine´s forest and say hello to Stephen King one of my virtual friends too….and so on.

    Living in your country is another question.

    May be California despite the fires and earth-quakes, and if living in California just a little town beside the coast.
    That´s an impossible dream, but may be in another life?.

    Thank you Warren to be here, I like your presentation as “a perpetual learner” that´s what I would like to be always till I was dead.

    P.D. Today one of the greatest spanish writers and persons had pass away, Miguel Delibes, from here I want to give to his memory my
    litle homage, Rest in Peace my dear Writer.

  7. Carlos Says:

    Now that you are talking about songs, I remember that some time ago you used to post songs with the meaning of its lyrics. I think it was a good idea because I like music very much but I have a lot of problem to understand the lyrics in English when I haven`t seen them written.
    So, I would like to know if you will continue with that someday.


  8. Peter Says:

    Hi Guys,how have you been ? any thing new down your road? What is up with Jeff and Lucy ?

    This is Peter dropping a line. Peter From old school. Feels like ,it has been years since the last time I pestered you with my nonsense.Sigh, home sweet home.what is new in town.long time no talk Guys. The thing is I have had a bumpy ride for quite while.Hey, don’t go away.i am not gonna bore you with the details.Just bare with me for one more sec or two .then, I will be out of your hairs. you know what , have a bumpy ride is pretty much the gyst.

    Hi Emiliano the most faitful member of this blog. Hope eveything is doing ok with you. Oh ,I see we have a new prof in town. Way to write man

    Got to go guys
    i have another engagment

  9. Thomas Says:

    When I have to decide where I want to live in the USA so I have to surfin’ U.S.A. and all over the USA first.
    But you need a lot of money and time to do this.
    The beach, the average temperature and the friendly people I know in California could attract me to live there.
    But I think what’s attracting you really where to stay are your relatives, your Job and maybe you’re feeling where your home is.
    When you fall in love for instance, there will be no question about it.
    You want to be there, where this person you fall in love with, lives.
    Also when she lives in the desert.
    Thomas, Germany

  10. Ivan from Italy Says:

    I’ve been in California in 2002. San Francisco is still in my mind and in my heart! Please Jeff, would you comment and sing the song I’m going to post? I don’t know if is a correct connection, but when I hear it, I always think to California. Thanks A LOT!

    Everybody’s talking at me, I don’t hear a word they’re saying, Only the echoes of my mind

    People stopping staring, I can’t see their faces, Only the shadows of their eyes

    I’m going where the sun keeps shining, Thru’ the pouring rain
    Going where the weather suits my clothes, Backing off of the North East wind
    Sailing on summer breeze, And skipping over the ocean like a stone

  11. Chris Says:

    I’ve been to LA in 2007. The traffic is terrible to me. They drive too fast. I am living in a small town of midwest. If I can choose, I want to live in Seattle Washington.
    I’ve never been there. My friends told me that it is very humid and rains everyday. That is exactly the weather I like!

  12. Fabienne Says:

    I’ve never been to the States, but I wish could visit New York (it seems to be a beautiful city) and L.A of couse (mainly because of its warm weather, palm trees, pacific ocean…everything I dream about). Here in France many people dream about living in the southern part of our country (called the Riviera or Côte d’Azur : Nice, Cannes, Saint Tropez…you probably know) because it’s also a place near the sea and where the weather is nice too. I think these kind of places, wherever they are in the world, are like dream places for most people.

  13. dini70 Says:

    where i want to live there have to be a lot of mountains , rivers , even should be beaches and a little deserted lands . the temperature ranges must be beetven – 37 in winters with a lot of snow for skiing and + 40 celsius in summers for me to go swimming .

    ohh i forget to say we have all this here in our little country , romania . :) :)

    i my city ,miercurea ciuc , in every winters we have temperatures below – 30 celsius , but it’s true that for short periods only , for about two weeks or at least some days but temperatures below -20 can stay for as long as 1 month . in summer the temperature goes above +30 very often .

    near my city in 15 km distance i can go to skii almost every day in winter .

    and about people who i want to live with i could say a lot , but the most important thing it is that we can live in peace and safe, thank god my place is very safe …

  14. Karl, Austria Says:

    San Francisco is the place to be (for a holiday). It has flair, character and lots of friendly people. Like most of my fellow european peers, however, I’d prefer one of our cities as a permanent residence . Rome for example where you still can feel the overwhelming power of the ancient roman empire.

  15. Michelle Says:

    Hello, professor Ediger!!!
    It’s my first time in this site. My korean professor tells me about here. And I think that this site is really good to improve my English, because the difficult words to understand are explained really easier. I like that.
    Well, I really want to go to USA since I was a little girl. I don’t have a specific place that I want to go, but it’ll be good if I could go to where I can meet Pastor Joel, or Mr. Will Smith or Mr. Martin Lawrence.

  16. nino Says:

    i’ve never been in california but i bet i would be a nice place to visit! but i do live in the us , in the beautiful state of NY , and i have to say that i love it! i’ve visited many places in NY ( from the niagara falls to the top of the empire state building ) if you have an opportunity to visit NY , dont think it twice! its just awesome! greetings jeff n lucy

  17. Magda Says:

    In my point of view, LA, looks like the city where I live in Brazil. I like big cities, beaches, sun . So I love LA. When I travel to the USA, I stayed in Santa Barbara, near from LA.

  18. Linn Says:

    If I would move to America, I think I choose to live in New York. It seem to be such a cool city and I have heard so much about it. Just one point here, this has not something to do with SATC…I am not the person who watch SATC and then wants to go there and live Carries life, haha :)

    New York is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, that would suit me very good. The fall in the New York must be very nice too. I think I have to stop dreaming about New York now…or I will be a day dreamer..

  19. Canan Says:

    Hello Prof. Ediger,

    If I have chance to visit or stay in U.S.A I think I want to visit mainly two cities .First one is New York ,especially I want to see and I think I temporaryl live in Manhattan -I guess its because of Woody Allen ,I am a fan of his movies and stories- .And the second one is of course beautiful Los Angeles.I espcially like the meaning of the city’s name too – City of Angels- really beautiful.And of course I am a new fan of eslpodcasts,Dear Dr. Jeff and Dear Dr.Lucy too .
    And the photograph that you had taken above is very beautiful too.
    Thanks and happy days .

  20. Hellfire Says:


  21. Valery Says:

    I am planning to work in LA. And I really want it. Why? Maybe because of The O.C. I liked this TV serial. :) I don’t know exactly why… Because of Holywood, of the ocean(which I have never seen), of the many very different people and better oportunities. I would like to visit and maybe live in NY, of course, and state of Florida, maybe Texas.
    We are victims of the television. They very rarely make movies or TV programs about little american towns or countries, even about other states. So the most of people wish to live in the most popular sities, which we see on TV every single day, And sometimes it seems that we already know everything and everybody there :)
    We must realize that there is life in other sities too…