Rate at which people stopped moving to California surprised researchers: 'Statewide phenomenon'

Celebrities and companies have also made the move out of California to states like Texas and Florida

The number of people moving to California has significantly dropped since the pandemic started last year, while the number of people fleeing the state continues to rise, according to a new study. 

"I guess I was a little bit surprised to see that entrances had fallen so much. It wasn't so much that we saw it in a particular area. For me, the surprise was that this was a statewide phenomenon," co-author of the study from California Policy Lab, Evan White, told KCRA.

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The study found a 38% decrease in people moving to California at the end of September 2021 compared to the end of March 2020. The study found a 12% increase in residents moving out of state.

White noted that while the spiked exodus from the state is notable, the drop in people moving to the state is "the bigger story." 

He said the biggest changes were in the San Francisco Bay Area. There was a 45% decrease in entrances from other states to the Bay Area and a 21% increase in residents leaving for other states. 

San Francisco

San Francisco (iStock)

Sacramento County, home to the state’s capital, saw a 33% decrease of people moving in and a 13% increase in people leaving for other states. 

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Overall, all regions of the state saw anywhere from a 25% to 45% decline in out-of-state entrances.

The study comes after the state had some of the most strict coronavirus measures in the country, which helped spark a recall effort against Newsom this year. The recall ultimately failed to oust the Democratic governor.

A spokesperson for the governor's press office told Fox News that other repeated studies have found "that the California exodus is a myth"

"California’s economy grew at a 4.7 percent annual rate in the past quarter-century compared with 4 percent U.S. growth, and more recently, California’s economy expanded at 3.9 percent annually in the last 5 years vs 2.9 percent annually. Bloomberg ranked California’s economy as # 1 in the country, pointing to GDP growth, investments in innovation, household income growth, and other key metrics. This year, we’ve seen nearly 100 IPOs already with dozens more announced from California-based companies and billions in investments are getting poured into the state," the spokesperson said.  

FILE - Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in Oakland, Calif., on Oct. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) 

FILE - Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in Oakland, Calif., on Oct. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) 

This year, California also lost one of its 53 House seats for the first time in its history due to the stall in population increases. 

"California is the capital of homelessness and poverty, suffocating gas and income tax rates, and the highest number of residents picking up and moving to more affordable and welcoming states," GOP party chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said in an April statement of the lost seat. "Californians will have one less voice to speak for us in Washington, which proves yet again that it’s time for change and real leadership."

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Companies such as Tesla officially moved from the state this month to Texas, with experts weighing in that tax incentives and that "getting employees is much cheaper and easier in Texas." 

While Disney also announced this year it would move 2,000 employees from California to Florida in part because of "Florida’s business-friendly climate," chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Josh D’Amaro, said in July. 

Photo depicting a sign reading "Leaving California"

Photo depicting a sign reading "Leaving California" (Ian Jopson)

Celebrities have also exited California, including tattoo artist Kat Von D who moved her family and business from Los Angeles to rural Indiana. 

California’s total population fell by more than 182,000 in 2020, according to a report by the California Department of Finance released in May. 

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"The numbers don’t lie. People are leaving our state because it’s not affordable to live here. One party rule has made it almost impossible to raise a family," tweeted Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego, at the time of the report.