What California exodus? Exits fell 5.4% last year in first drop since 2011

Despite all the talk about a California exodus, 5.4% fewer people left last year for other states — the first decline in eight years, new census stats show.

The annual state-to-state migration report shows 653,551 people left the state, the largest exit count among the states in 2019. But my trusty spreadsheet tells me this is a 37,594 drop from 691,145 in 2018. It’s the first decline in eight years and the fewest exits since 2015. Only Missouri had a bigger dip last year.

I say this each year this migration data is published: Scale matters when you look at California exits compared with other states.

Of course, everybody knows someone who left — and 2019’s exits included my daughter. But when you ponder that large raw number of exits from the state, you must also consider California is the most populous in the nation with 39 million residents. Its departures last year added up to only 1.7% of that population. Think of it this way: 98.3% of us are still here. Only two states — Michigan and Texas — have seen a better retention rate.

Why fewer departures in 2019? The state’s hot economy — if you can remember that far back — was certainly one reason California kept folks. But its sky-high cost of living — a challenge that nudges some to depart — certainly scares off other Americans from relocating to California.

Last year, only 480,204 arrived from other states — a 4.2% drop in a year from 501,023 in 2018. It’s California’s smallest influx from elsewhere in the U.S. since 2011.

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And while only two states took in more new residents in 2019 — Florida and Texas — California’s arrivals represented just 1.2% of its huge population. That’s the worst attraction rate in the nation. You see, the natural beauty, grand weather and dynamic economy may lure tourists and techies — but it draws few Americans as a place to live.

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So, let’s look closely at these exits vs. arrivals. California had a “net domestic migration loss” of 173,347 residents in 2019. Only New York had more exits than arrivals. The only good news is that California’s migration deficit fell 8.8% from 190,122 in 2018.

And even with the state’s huge population, this net migration loss on a per-capita basis was the ninth-worst.

California’s inability to attract new residents from other states helped shrink the state’s overall population count — this census report tracks residents above age 1 — by 0.1% in 2019. Only 11 states fared worse.

Ins and outs of California migration. (STAFF GRAPHIC) 

Remember, California’s population grew in recent decades, in large part, because of immigration from other countries. The Census Bureau report says 261,818 came to California from foreign lands last year — legally or not — the nation’s largest inflow from other nations. Foreign immigration equaled 0.7% of California’s population, the 12th highest as a percentage share among the states.

Also note that foreign …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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