California Residents Relocate

Los Angeles – The current spate of domestic out migration began in 2005 after six years of domestic growth. The trend coincided with the housing bubble, which peaked in 2007 when median home values in Southern California reached $505,000.

They said, “Go west,” but many Californians are going north, south and east.

For the fourth consecutive year, more residents left the Golden State than moved there from other states, according to a December report by the California Department of Finance.

The outflow – last seen during the economic and social struggles of the 1990s – started when it became too expensive for most people to buy homes in the state.

The trend underscores the state’s sour economy, as layoffs continue, the fiscal strain on government grows and home values decline.

While more births and rising international immigration boosted California’s population 1.16 percent in 2007, the state continued its steady stream of domestic out migration – the movement of residents of one state to others.

In the last fiscal year, 135,173 more people moved out of California than moved in from other states. Though just a drop in the bucket for a state of 38 million people, the trend is significant because such declines usually occur when working Californians decide opportunities lie elsewhere.

Many of those who left California went to Texas, according to the U-Haul truck rental company; other popular states were Nevada, Arizona and Washington.

U-Haul said that as of late November, 0.5 percent more rentals were hired this year to leave the state than move in – 0.2 percentage points higher than last year’s figure.

Before writing the state’s obituary, critics might note that a study by the Pew Research Center bolsters the notion of California’s high desirability, showing that most native Californians prefer to remain in the state.

Though California is often depicted as a bastion for the rootless, 69 percent of native residents 18 and over still live there – a stability exceeded only by Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.

Still, the departure of so many residents is serious enough to concern policymakers, who worry about the drubbing that California is taking in the recession.


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