People move every day. They may move down the street, to a different state or even to a completely new country. California has always been a popular state. In fact, it is currently the most populated state in the United States, with 39.37 million residents as of 2020, according to Statista. However, that number has been declining.
Between 2010 and 2020, 6.1 million residents left California and only 4.9 million arrived, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco lost a combined 88,000 people in 2020. According to the Department of Finance, California’s population growth rate for the year 2020 was the lowest the state has experienced since 1900.
California even lost a congressional seat this year due to the declining population. Why are so many California residents leaving?
A recent University of California, Berkeley poll showed that the No. 1 reason for leaving or wanting to leave the state is the high cost of housing. However, the reasons can vary from housing costs to job opportunities, to family and connections.
Abigail Kearny, freshman biochemical major, said she is debating leaving California after she graduates.
“My grandfather lives in North Carolina, so as soon as I get the chance I want to move closer to him,” Kearny said. “He refuses to leave the East Coast because that’s his home, so I would have to go to him.”
Ash Leatherwood, freshman philosophy and psychology double major, said he is planning to move back to his home country of Spain because he misses the culture of his people and his family.
“I am planning to move back to Spain after graduating,” Leatherwood said. “I miss the culture, which is much stronger, and I want to continue my dad’s ministry over there.”
Some residents are also leaving California for work-related reasons, such as finding a better place to run a business.
Rachel Weber, owner of Columbia Shores Regenerative Health, moved her business from Riverside, Calif. to Richland, Wash.
“It’s much more affordable and safer to run a practice in Washington,” Weber said. “There is less crime, taxes, homelessness and wildfires. These are certain factors that I don’t have to worry about (in Washington as much) as I did in California. There are certain things I do miss about California, though, such as the weather. However, as a business owner, it just makes more sense financially.”
According to a TravelMedium survey, Washington is the third most popular place for Californians to move to, with more than 55,000 residents moving there in 2018 alone. The other two most popular destinations are Texas, with more than 500,000 California residents moving there in 2019, and Arizona, with approximately 70,000 residents moving there in 2018.
California is a beautiful state and has much to offer its residents. While the population may be declining, it is still the most populated state in the country. If it continues this downward trend, this might change, with Texas, currently the second most populated state, taking its place as No. 1, or Washington taking more of California’s former residents.