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The California Exodus

Posted by Ron Nehring in Noteworthy on February 5, 2013 with No Comments

Manhattan Institute Looks at Why So Many People Are Leaving

Actions have consequences, and an opportunity deficit in California is driving an increasing number of Californians to move out of state. Their top destinations: Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.

The Manhattan Institute’s Tom Gray and Robert Scardamalia performed an exhaustive analysis of available data to examine the causes and nature of what is being called the California Exodus.

One might wonder how an exodus can be taking place when California’s total population is rising or stable.  The only reason the state’s population has not fallen in real terms since 2000 is immigration from other countries.  Net domestic migration (people moving within the United States) continues to be negative for California.

This wasn’t always the case.  Using statistics going back to 1960, the authors found that California, seen as a state of opportunity, was a net gainer of both domestic and foreign immigration until 1992.  With the exception of a brief period around 2001, California has been experiencing negative net domestic migration since 1992.

How does California rank nationally?  We’re number one – more Californians leave the state each year than leave any other state.  New York, Illinois and Michigan rank 2, 3 and 4, respectively.  Is this because California is such a large state?  No.  The top destination states for domestic migrants are the big states of Florida and Texas, with  North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona rounding out the top five.

What’s driving so many Californians to leave?  The authors conclude the top reasons all relate to an opportunity deficit, with the major components being a lack of jobs and costs that are too high, including taxes.

Learn more by reading the study.

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