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California Loses A Half Million Residents

Graham Perdue
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Over half a million Californians waved goodbye to the Golden State in the two years after the pandemic began, according to a new report by the Los Angeles Times.

Spanning April 2020 and July 2022, the number of people exiting California blew past the number moving in by over 700,000. The outlet reported that expensive housing, crowded cities, surging crime and unsanitary urban areas led to the exodus.

Urban areas in California are also beset by a burgeoning homeless crisis.


Another contributing factor, according to the Times, was the increase in remote employment opportunities. Spurred by the coronavirus, many are no longer bound to live near big cities to reap the benefits of working for major companies.

And while the state will certainly be a major tourist destination for the foreseeable future, its residents are undoubtedly voting with their feet.

H.D. Palmer of the California Department of Finance explained to the Sacramento Bee that expensive housing is spearheading the population decline. He called it a “challenging issue for the state.”

His department reported the state shrank by 211,000 people from July 2021 to July 2022. A full half of these residents who relocated elsewhere, 114,048, hailed from Los Angeles County alone.


On the other end of the spectrum, conservative bastions and notably business-friendly states Texas and Florida lead the charge for increased population. The Lone Star State added 470,708 residents since July 2021 to eclipse 30 million total.

University of Southern California professor Dowell Myers, who specializes in the demography of the state, believes that the majority fled for “safe refuge during the pandemic.”

However, while California still attracts the young and ambitious, it is having a difficult time keeping them within its borders. Myers explained that this demographic finds themselves facing skyrocketing rents and moves on to other areas with a cheaper cost of living.

Many are flocking to Nevada and Utah, and the latter recently tried to discourage Californians from migrating to within its borders.

California’s overall loss of residents surpassed that of another Democratic stronghold — New York. The Empire State also experienced a significant decline, though California’s net migration raced past it by roughly 143,000 people moving away.