Staying or Leaving: California on the Move

In a news cycle that seems to be increasingly fueled by shared impressions and speculation, I was intrigued to see a Los Angeles Times article tackling rumors about California’s massive influx/outflow of residents. “Who moves to California? The wealthier and better educated, mostly” cites U.S. Census Bureau Geographic Mobility Data for 2017 in calling state-to-state migration “fairly stable.”

While the 2017 figures showed that more people are leaving California than arriving, the difference between the two figures is holding steady, at least since the economic recovery began in 2010. For all its loss of population, the article suggests, the Golden State is attracting more educated residents – and more Texans – than one might expect. Meanwhile, those who are leaving California to seek more compatible lifestyles are not going far. Texas, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada accounted for the bulk of those leaving as well as many of those arriving!
What seems to be keeping California’s inward migration in check is the cost of living. While the “high-tech economy is a powerful draw,” both established and recent residents may be unable to meet their lifestyle goals, even with impressive paychecks and multiple family incomes. Still, with the birthrate outpacing the death rate “by about 220,000 in 2017,” California’s population is growing. For those of us who call California home, there’s simply no place like it.

Joyce Rey
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