Lately, a lot of families have been moving out of Southern California. The reason is obvious, and even if you don´t live in the area you can probably name it quickly: The high cost of housing.
I know that housing prices have risen across the United States in the past four years, but the increase that we have seen has been, well, astronomical. Four years ago you could have purchased a 3 bedroom, 2 bath single family home for somewhere in the $300s. Now those same homes are selling for over $600,000. They say home prices are dropping, and yes, we have seen a slow down in the market, but when you get to a certain price, a twenty or thirty thousand decrease really doesn´t mean much.
With that said, it is easy to see why families are moving. If you have more than one mouth to feed, it´s pretty tough to also stomach a $2000 or more house payment. And rents in LA are not cheap. For a 3 bedroom home you are looking at starting around $2500 a month, and really, for a home in a nice neighborhood, you´ll probably pay closer to $3000.
Maybe you are also considering a move but are concerned about the cost of housing. If so, check out this article from cnn.com. Each year Money magazine rates places to live based on various criteria, including crime rates, weather, commute time, and cost of housing. You can read the article in its entirety here: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2006/states/AL.html. You can also search based on the criteria and by state.