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Living in Orange County?

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Orange County at a Glance

Living in Orange County

When staying in Orange County, you may indeed experience the ‘outdoorsy’ lifestyle the locals are famous for. Our InterNations Guide on life in Orange County has just the information you need on housing, healthcare, and education for expats and their families.

Healthcare in Orange County

Healthcare in the USA is amongst the best in the world. Largely privatized, it is also amongst the most expensive. Orange County is home to a vast majority of medical services, multiple hospitals with emergency rooms and even specialized children’s hospitals. While access to healthcare facilities in the county is good, those considering living in Orange County need to be aware that medical insurance is a must. Immigrants and green card holders are not always eligible for public programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program, but there are a number of companies who specialize in providing cover for those who do not qualify for private or domestic US health insurance. Be aware that these specialist services can come at a price, so make sure you do your research prior to moving and factor in the cost of adequate cover when developing a budget.

Education in Orange County

The education system in the USA is highly regarded internationally. Children begin school at the age of five, graduate to middle school at 11 and transfer to a high school at the age of 14, achieving a high school diploma upon leaving at 18.

The curriculum is managed at a county level, not nationally, and Orange County has an excellent reputation for schooling. As well as a number of private institutions, such as Eldorado Emerson and St. Mary’s School, which cater to expatriate communities and provide qualifications including the International Baccalaureate, the county also hosts a collection of highly ranked high schools.

For more information on various education options in the US in general, please refer to the various articles in the Family, Children & Education section of our Extended Guide to the US.

Culture and Leisure

Famous for its parks and attractions, living in Orange County offers lots of opportunities to discover new things and make the most of a whole host of experiences on your doorstep. Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm offer fantastic diversions for kids of all ages (not to mention visiting family members) whilst the 40 miles of coastline means you’ll be able to wander on the beach to your heart’s content. A mecca for surfers, the county offers a variety of water sports as well as a web of fantastic hiking trails.

And if all that sounds far too energetic? Fear not! California is home to 90% of America’s vineyards, meaning you’ll have some of the best wine in the country on your doorstep — and a fantastic excuse to spend a weekend or two sampling it.

The crime statistics for Orange County are impressive, and it boasts the lowest crime rate in the state relative to its population size, with property crime noted to be particularly low. As with any location, some areas are known to be safer than others. Yorba Linda is a suburban town often hailed as the safest in the county. It has an affluent community and thriving economy and it is easy to commute to downtown Los Angeles from there. Another city of note is Irvine. Declared to be the safest metropolitan community in America by the FBI, it is full of open space, has a university and a thriving business hub, cementing its appeal to young professionals and families alike.

InterNations Expat Magazine