There has been a considerable number of people leaving California in recent years. It is worth discussing specific characteristics of the people leaving the state of California and those who are moving to the state. The people who are deciding to leave the state are either middle-income or lower-income residents of California. This is not a new trend for the state of California, however. The departure of middle-income residents from California has only increased in the last five years.
As with any trend involving large amounts of people leaving a state, there are multiple reasons for this. One important reason is that there is a lack of affordability for these residents in California. In terms of the actual numbers, a combined total of 88,000 people left Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and San Diego in 2020. This is significant to note, given the fact that these are the four most populous cities in the state of California. In total, the population of California decreased by greater than 182,000 people in 2020.
As previously mentioned, the trend of California residents leaving the state to move to other states is not really a new thing. People leaving California happened in significant numbers from 2010-2020, with approximately 6.1 million people departing the state and heading to other states in the US. However, the fact that cities like Bakersfield, Fresno, and Sacramento have added to their population supports the cause that the affordability of housing is a major reason for these departures. When you compare the number of people that moved to California in 2020 to the number of people that left it in 2020, you see that 135,000 more people left it than entered it.
From 2015-2019, a total of 204,900 lower-income adults moved out of California, according to data from the Public Policy Institute of California. That continued the trend from 2010-2014, where 173,400 lower-income adults moved out of the state. When it comes to middle-income adults leaving California, the numbers are a bit different, but the trend remains the same. From 2010-2014, 79,600 middle-income adults moved out of California and this trend accelerated from 2015-2019, with 210,000 middle-income adults moving out of the state during that time period.
It is also worth noting that 311,900 adults without a bachelor's degree left California from 2010-2014. This trend likewise accelerated from 2015-2019, with 465,500 adults without a bachelor's degree leaving the state. The trend of less-educated, lower-income people leaving California and higher-income people with at least a bachelor's degree or more moving into the state has continued since 2010.