California exodus continues: State’s population dwindles by 500,000 in two years
California has witnessed a sharp decline in its population in recent years, with 500,000 residents leaving the state over the course of the last two years.
The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the population loss but is not the sole cause. High housing and cost of living prices, high crime rates in urban areas, and long commutes have all also contributed to the exodus, as residents move to less populated states , according to the Los Angeles Times.
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“While salaries in other regions and states are lower, the cost of housing is even lower,” Paul Ong, director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA, told the Los Angeles Times. “This means that they have a higher standard of living because of more disposable income and/or high chance of owning.”
Ong added that because cities in California are so densely populated, the fear of a higher transmission rate during the pandemic contributed to the exodus. The rise in working remotely after the pandemic, and therefore no longer needing to live in a large city, has also contributed to the population loss, the Los Angeles Times said.
The number of people moving out of the state, compared to those moving into California from April 2020 to July 2022, is a gap of 700,000 people, census data showed. The population decrease was second only to New York, which lost 15,000 more people than California.
During the last year of the study, from July 2021 to July 2022, California lost approximately 211,000 people, the outlet said. Nearly half of those were from the state’s most populous county, Los Angeles County .
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States near California, such as Utah and Nevada , have seen an increase in migration. However, both states are attempting to discourage Californians from moving to their states, according to the outlet. But Texas and Florida have seen the highest influx of migration. They gained about 884,000 and 707,000 people between April 2020 and July 2022, respectively.
Although the state has seen the highest decrease in numbers, it only accounts for a small percentage of the state’s population of 39 million people. When compared to losses in other states, California ranked 10th in the overall percentage decrease for 2021-2022. But it ranked fourth overall percentage-wise when looking at April 2020 to July 2022, a Los Angeles Times analysis said.