California Dreaming: A look at what makes the Golden State great, despite its challenges

California is among the most desirable places to live in the world, despite its challenges and high cost of living. The Golden State offers much more than just beautiful landscapes and great weather.

"I think there are a lot of reasons why people see an image that conjures up our state, and it makes them feel optimistic about what's possible," said California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. "There is a lot about our state that is extremely attractive and kind of captures the imagination."

Dave Walsh, president of the California Association of Realtors, also believes there is plenty of room for optimism.

"At the end of the day, the California Dream is: Can I come into a beautiful area that has higher education opportunities (and) employment opportunities? California really does have it all," he said.

California is home to 20 of the 100 fastest growing companies in the world. The state is also a leader in cultural diversity and an incubator of progressive ideas.

"When you look back on the last few generations and the kind of waves of change that have taken place across the country -- whether it's women's liberation, whether it's more progressive ideas about health care or environmental protection -- California tends to go first," said Lt. Gov. Kounalakis.

"We are a melting pot state," said Walsh. "We have the ability to interact with each other in ways, and cultures, and experiences like many people never get," Walsh added.

"I couldn't image living anywhere else other than California," said iHeart Radio host, Big Boy. "I love Cali. This is where I feel like I gotta be, this is where I love to be. For those that feel like the California Dream is over, maybe I'm still sleeping, because I'll continue to love it."

Our special docuseries "California Dreaming" explores the challenges, solutions and people striving to keep the Golden State great, and the California Dream alive. Download our app on Roku, AppleTV, FireTV or AndroidTV to watch the special now on your TV!

Explore the graphics below to see how the population and demographic of California is changing:

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