The Great California Exodus: More Californians Packing Their Bags?

If migration patterns are important indicators of fiscal and political health, then California might have cause to worry due to its diminishing capacity to draw in residents with ample economic opportunities. A new study from the Manhattan Institute says that the “golden age of migration into California is over” because more and more people have been leaving the state in the past two decades. The so-called exodus reveals that 3.4 million Californians have left the state since 1990 and have fled to states like Texas, Nevada, and Arizona. In comparison to the past, since 2005 more Americans have left California than have moved into the state.

The study indicates that the following factors have affected the pattern of movement in the state: economic adversity, population density (including dense coastal areas that push people outward within the state), government fiscal instability, and out-of-balance budgets that discourage businesses. Authors of the study identify taxes, regulations, the high price of housing and commercial real estate, costly electricity, union power, and high labor costs as cost drivers that are leading businesses to head elsewhere, which has led more people to leave.

A USC professor has countered that the report fails to point out that California natives are less likely to leave and that people originally from somewhere else are the ones who typically pack their bags. The professor also suggests that in reality the state has conformed to the national average, which does not warrant such a negative outlook.

You can read the report for yourself here.

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