Texas? Idaho? Where Californians Are Moving.
The recall election has resurfaced talk of a “California exodus.”,
If there’s one thing the candidates vying to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom can agree on, it’s that too many Californians are fleeing the state.
While kicking off her campaign, Caitlyn Jenner shared that a fellow private plane owner was “packing up his hangar” for Arizona because he couldn’t stand to see any more homeless people. Kevin Paffrath, a YouTube star running as a Democrat, began his candidacy announcement by listing reasons for trading in “broken” California for Florida’s greener pastures.
In a recent debate, the Republican candidate Kevin Faulconer said that if you named a state, any state, Californians were headed there.
Sure, there’s some truth to what’s been called the “California exodus”: More Californians are relocating to other states than are moving here from elsewhere in the country. But that’s by no means a new trend — it’s been that way for more than 30 years.
Our halted population growth was mostly because of falling numbers of births and international immigration, as well as a high number of deaths from Covid-19, as my colleague Shawn Hubler has reported.
Still, the discussion left me wondering where Californians end up settling when they do leave. So I crunched the numbers.
More than 653,000 Californians moved to another state in 2019, while about 480,000 people moved here from elsewhere in the country, according to data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. (The 2020 numbers aren’t available, but analyses of other 2020 data sets have yielded similar results.)
These were the top destinations for Californians leaving:
Texas (82,235 people in Texas had moved from California in the last year)
States you’d be most likely to run into a Californian:
Nevada (three out of every 200 Nevada residents had moved from California in the past year)
These are the states new Californians most often moved here from:
New York (37,567 Californians had lived in New York in the past year)
For many Californians, the high cost of living makes staying here near-impossible, experts say. In Texas, the median home price is $329,000, less than half of what it is in the Golden State, according to RedFin, a real estate brokerage.
Eric McGhee, a senior fellow with the Public Policy Institute of California, told me that people moving to California were more likely to be educated, employed and earn higher incomes than those moving away.
That suggests that high expenses are to blame for the departures, though not high taxes, as some claim, he said. California taxes wealthier people at much higher levels than those with lower incomes, he said.
“If those taxes were the motivation, you’d expect wealthy people to be moving out,” McGhee said, noting exceptions such as Elon Musk, a newly minted Texan. “By and large that’s not the people leaving the state.”
For all the hand-wringing about California’s no-longer-booming population, there’s some evidence that we may actually prefer it that way.
A U.C. San Diego poll released in July found that a fraction of Californians believed the state would benefit from continued population growth over the next decade.
A far higher share — more than one in three Californians — had a different take: California would be better off if it shrunk.
Elon Musk’s departure for Texas last year stoked the state’s longstanding rivalry with California. Read more from my colleagues.
Californians are moving within the state too, most often from urban areas to far-flung suburbs. Four of the 10 metropolitan areas nationwide with the highest percentage of supercommuters (people who travel 90 minutes or more to work each direction) are satellites of San Francisco. See the full list from The Times.
The website SFGate has an entire series on people who left the Bay Area for the South, the Pacific Northwest or to live in a van. Read more from “Flee Market.”
If you read one story, make it this
On Wednesday, Texas enacted the nation’s strictest abortion law, prohibiting the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy. The new rule amounts to a near-total ban on abortions and on its first day in effect, forced clinics to turn women away.
Already, Texas had some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, which have pushed clinics to close. Texas has about 24 abortion clinics, down from roughly 40 before 2013, when the state imposed a previous round of regulations.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, about 3 percent of women in California live in a county with no abortion clinic. In Texas, before the new law, that fraction was 43 percent.
The rest of the news
New recall poll: Thirty-nine percent of likely voters say they would choose to remove Newsom from office, while 59 percent say they oppose the recall, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday night. The findings align with other recent polling, as tracked by FiveThirtyEight.
Caldor fire: A Times reporter and photographer followed the Caldor fire through the night as it engulfed trees with a crackling sound that crescendoed into a roar. See the stunning images from Lake Tahoe.
Plus, South Lake Tahoe was largely unscathed as of Wednesday evening thanks to firefighters’ efforts to steer the blaze away from the resort town, Reuters reports.
Vaccines: More than 80 percent of Californians eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine have gotten at least one dose, according to The Associated Press.
Recall votes: The recall election ballots returned so far show that twice as many Democrats have voted than Republicans and that liberal areas of the state have the highest rates of return, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Community college scam: More than 65,000 fake students applied for financial aid in California in what is believed to be one of the state’s biggest financial aid scam attempts in recent history.
Teacher shortage: A severe shortage of substitute teachers in California has added another layer of chaos to the pandemic school year, reports CalMatters.
Stranded in Afghanistan: More than 30 children who live in the San Diego and Sacramento areas are stuck in Afghanistan after they traveled there to see their relatives weeks before the Taliban seized power, reports The Associated Press.
Gender-neutral displays: The State Legislature passed a bill on Wednesday aimed at getting rid of traditional pink and blue marketing schemes for items like toys and toothbrushes, reports The Associated Press.
Covid resurgence: The staff of a San Diego hospital system experienced a small resurgence in coronavirus infections this summer, despite more than four-fifths of employees being fully vaccinated.
Five missing in crash: On Tuesday, a U.S. Navy helicopter crashed off the coast near San Diego. A sailor was rescued, but five others were missing, according to military officials. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. Read more from The Times.
Karen Bass mulls campaign: Representative Karen Bass, who represents South Los Angeles, Crenshaw and West Los Angeles in Congress, is seriously considering running for mayor of Los Angeles, the LAist reports.
Mysterious deaths: Several hiking trails and recreational sites near where a California family was found dead last month were closed in the Sierra National Forest this week because of “unknown hazards,” reports USA Today.
Nonessential surgeries on hold: Several Fresno-area hospitals have canceled or postponed nonemergency surgeries to keep beds available amid a flood of Covid-19 patients, according to The Fresno Bee.
BottleRock festival: With 100,000 or more attendees expected to attend, the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival is moving forward this Labor Day weekend. The event will require attendees to show proof of vaccination, but some locals remain nervous as the Delta variant spreads, SFist reports.
What we’re eating
For a late-summer gathering, try this spin on a salade nicoise. The recipe comes from Fanny Singer, writer, art critic and daughter of Alice Waters, the owner of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse.
Where we’re traveling
For the past decade, the writer Barbara Jane Reyes has taken the same road trip: from her home in the Bay Area to the Santa Cruz Mountains, down to the Monterey Peninsula and across the Bixby Bridge into Big Sur. Read about her journey in The Times.
Tell us about the best spots to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
Your recall questions answered
If Governor Newsom is recalled, how long will the new governor be in office?
The new governor would be in office for the remainder of Mr. Newsom’s term, which would be through Jan. 2, 2023. (California has a regularly scheduled election for governor next year.)
Read answers to more of your frequently asked questions about the California recall election.
Tell us what else you want to know about the recall. Email your questions to CAtoday@nytimes.com.
And before you go, some good news
Angela Braren, 38, comes from a family of Christians and of mostly carpenters, farmers and blue-collar workers.
Gauri Manglik, 32, is a practicing Hindu from a family of doctors, business people and politicians.
The two women met at a queer party in Oakland two years ago, and have been together ever since. Despite their differing backgrounds, Manglik told The Times, “Together, we make our own family.”
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Chin dimple (5 letters).
Steven Moity, Briana Scalia and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.