Wait, Why Are We Here Again?: California Ranks 2nd in Nation for Outbound Moves

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The Democrat stronghold of California ranks second in the nation for outbound moves, according to a new Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago report.

California lost 352,000 residents between April 2020 and January 2022, according to the state’s Department of Finance statistics. The departure of hundreds of thousands of California residents comes after the state lost a congressional seat for the first time in history due to its below-average population increase from 2010 to 2020.

The Democrat-run cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles rank first and second in the nation for outbound moves. California residents are fleeing the state in droves due to its extremely high cost of living, housing prices, crime rates, and homelessness rates.

The data shows that Los Angeles residents left the city for areas like Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Antonio, and Dallas. Roughly 41,000 Angelenos left the city in the second quarter of 2022, up from the 33,000 who left the city during the same period in 2021.

Former Oakland resident Hari Raghavan detailed his move from California’s Bay Area to Miami, Florida, in an interview with the LA Times.

“We moved to the Bay Area because we had to be there if you want to work in tech and start-ups, and now that that’s no longer a tether, we took a long hard look and said, ‘Wait, why are we here again?’” Raghavan told the Times.

Raghavan cited the state’s crime, quality of life, and cost of living as reasons for his exit to the Republican-led state of Florida.

“That forced us to question where we actually wanted to live,” Raghavan added.

Raghavan and his wife reportedly had their Oakland home broken into four times but were “floored” when they accidentally left their Miami garage open for one day and found that nothing had been stolen when they returned home.

California residents like Raghavan are leaving the state for Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Florida – places where their dollars impact their budgets more, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago report.

“While 11.2% of homes in Los Angeles were affordable on that budget, using a 3% interest rate, that amount swelled to about 72% in Houston and about 50% in Phoenix,” the LA Times reported.

Additionally, California’s highest state income tax rate is 13.3 percent, compared to Florida and Texas, where there is zero state income tax.

University of Southern California economics professor Matthew Kahn said middle-class residents are being forced to leave the state due to California’s strict adherence to “environmentalism.”

Kahn told the LA times:

People want to live here, but an unintended consequence of the state’s environmentalism is we’re not building enough housing in desirable downtown areas. That prices out middle-class people to the suburbs [and creates] long commutes. We don’t have road pricing to help the traffic congestion, and these headaches add up. So when you create the possibility of work from home, many of these people … they say “enough” and they move to a cheaper metropolitan area.

Kahn added that San Francisco elites are “always able to hide in their bubble, but if the middle class looks at this quality of life declining, that’s a push factor to leave.”

Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather said California’s adherence to single-family zoning also pushes residents out of the state.

“California for the longest time has prioritized single-family zoning, which makes it so people stay in their homes longer because their property taxes don’t reflect the true value,” Fairweather said, “California is the epicenter of where the housing shortage is so people have no choice but to move elsewhere.”

For example, although the national median home sales price hit a record high of $416,000, according to a National Association of Realtors report, California’s median home price is more than $800,000.

UCLA economics professor Lee Ohanian told the outlet that California is “at a risk for becoming a state for very, very wealthy people and very, very low earners who receive state and local and federal aid that allows them to be able to live here.”

Another Californian, Kenny Phung, left the state for Oregon after he was able to find housing for less than half of the $3,600 he was paying in Los Angeles.

“It just didn’t make sense,” Phung said. “Why would I want to live in California when I’m working from home and paying something outrageous for such a small space when I can try things out and be able to save money on rent?”

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