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UC San Diego Survey Finds That There Is No California Population Exodus

‘In contrast to much of the recent narrative in news coverage, there appears to be no major movement toward Californians overall planning to leave the state’

By Evan Symon, July 8, 2021 2:39 am

A new UC San Diego survey released on Wednesday has found that California is not experiencing a population exodus, and that any fluctuations match national averages in population shifts.

According to the survey, the number of Californians either looking to move within the state or out of the state has not changed greatly from previous surveys with similar questions in years past, with the number of Californians considering moving out of state actually going down from 28% in 2019 to 26%. All regions except for Northern California and the Central Valley also reported fewer people considering to move away.

While many respondents did say that they were considering a move, with roughly 60% of all Republicans and 40% of all Democrats surveyed that they were thinking of moving either to elsewhere in California or out of state, the number who actually moved was drastically lower, even with an increase of remote work during the pandemic that made moving particularly easier.

The recent data coming from the 2020 US Census, in which California recorded its first population loss ever and lost a Congressional seat, also played a part in the survey. Only 19% of Californians surveyed said that California would be in a better place if the population continues to rise, with most respondents saying that it would be better if the population stayed the same or continued to fall.

Livability was another major topic touched. Only 48% of respondents said that California was one of the best places to live, a decline from 75% three decades ago. However, in contrast, nearly two-thirds of all Californians agreed that the ‘Californian dream’ still works for them and their family, with a near even split among residents on whether California is a better or worse place to live, with 58% of Democrats and only 25% of Republicans favoring better.

However, in the end, the survey concluded that despite the population going down in the most recent Census, many companies leaving the state, hundreds of thousands of wealthy taxpayers leaving in recent years, and other surveys noting continued out of state migration during the pandemic, that no exodus is occurring.

“There has been absolutely no trend toward an exodus,” Wednesday’s survey reported. “In fact, the plans of Californians have remained remarkably consistent over this tumultuous period. In the 2019 Berkeley survey, 24% of Californian registered voters reported that they were giving serious consideration to moving out the state; in this 2021 UC San Diego poll of the state’s adult population, that figure was 23%.The percentage who reported that they were giving some consideration to a move (26% today) or no consideration (at 35%, this was the most frequent response) were also largely unchanged.”

“There was a discernible uptick from 10% up to 15% in the percentage of respondents considering a move to another location within the state, consistent with demographic data over the past year showing declines in the populations of San Francisco and Los Angeles counterbalanced by rises in the populations of counties in the Central Valley and Inland Empire. Yet the most striking finding here is that, in contrast to much of the recent narrative in news coverage, there appears to be no major movement toward Californians overall planning to leave the state.”

No exodus happening according to UC San Diego

The UC San Diego study continued showing the trend of no exodus happening from previous studies, such as a February 2021 UCLA study that found that the increases of migration since 2012 have been at the same levels of a similar migration flux in the mid 2000’s.

“Despite the popular notion of unhappy Californians leaving the state en masse, our robust research shows there is actually no exodus,” explained UC San Diego political science department Chairman Thad Kousser in a statement on Wednesday. “Most residents say that they still believe in the California Dream.”

However, some migration experts remained skeptical of the new survey on Wednesday, pointing out several factors that could show such results.

“A lot of places are still growing due to immigration in California,” noted John Busic, a New York-based migration tracker for a non-profit organization, to the Globe on Wednesday. “And with California opening up again and demanding people go back to offices or work on-location, we’re going to see a lot of people move back. We’re already seeing a lot of tech people move back to the Bay Area and entertainment industry people move back to LA after a year of being able to work remotely.”

“The UC San Diego conclusions seem like they’re holding back somewhat. Yeah, less people are considering a move out, but a lot of people who really wanted to already have, so the numbers are receding of people who want out. But more than that, those numbers of Californians considering to move out are still very high. Yeah, they have gone down, but that’s still a lot of people considering leaving. And enough people left to put a dent in the Census figures. Growth had been slowing for decades, but that was quite a sharp turn to take there.”

“But I do have to admit, for as much as people hate the high tax rate and other things like that in the state, a lot of people still believe that California is best for them. So even if it’s just the weather or scenic views, or the excitement of it, people of all backgrounds still want to live in the state in some capacity.”

“A lot of people still want to leave though, for a wide variety of reasons, so, with a survey like this, you need to see what is right with California and try to build up from there. I don’t know if I buy that there is no exodus happening out there still, but enough people seem to still really like at least some aspects of living there, so there is still a lot to build on.”

Other organizations are expected to release similar cal-exit surveys later this year.

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25 thoughts on “UC San Diego Survey Finds That There Is No California Population Exodus

  1. University of California, San Diego: Telling the “We need more money for education” state legislators exactly what they want to hear.

    I’ll never forget what Darrell Steinberg said 10 years ago. “The idea that businesses are leaving California because of higher taxes and more regulation is a myth.”

    California: The State of Delusion.

    1. Ted, you are so right!! This is a fake report to produce results the Dems want. I am a realtor and have been for 35 years in California. They are leaving and this past couple of years they are leaving in droves. Try to get a mover or Uhaul to move out of California. You have to get in line. Bring a Uhaul back to California and they practically pay you!! Look at all the big corps that left this past year!!!The idiots in Sacramento will have to make up up that loss.
      Biden can only finance the failed Blue state for so long and in 2022 that will all come to an end.

        1. if you are using a uhaul to move out of state, your individual economic impact is negligible. The people fleeing are the people who fled here. See ya!

  2. Then why did California lose a seat in the House of Representatives….
    This is total horse [ ].

  3. These results don’t explain why you can’t find a moving truck for weeks and when you do it will cost you your first born to rent it. Most moving trucks are leaving the state and very few being returned to the state. Who knows, maybe it isn’t people moving, could be BLM renting/stealing them for their smash and grab merchandise, a moving store of stolen goods, illegal guns and ammunition.

  4. Dear Naive Comrades
    They do it out of love and compassion….you’re final rail ride to perpetual summer camp….
    It’s ok, a few here and there move to do STATE work…no big deal…enjoy camp.

  5. They also neglect the effect of exchanging immigrants who don’t answer surveys in English with middle and upper class citizens that have moved.
    It is sad to be a parent and know that your kids will have to move hundreds of miles to afford a life.

  6. I rather listen to UHAUL vrs leftist seeking research monies.

    Uhaul to leave CA costs thousands while taking a uhaul from any state to CA costs hundreds

    1. I didn’t believe it when I read your comment so I tested it myself.
      Go to uhaul website and plan a trip from any California zip code to any zip code on the east coast and the cost is outrageous. Flip the zips and the cost is reasonable.

    2. Please note the the word “academic” means not only applicable to the academy, but also irrelevant.

  7. One of my friends rented a one way U-Haul truck in Las Vegas, for a move to Boise, ID. He flew to La Vegas from L.A., picked up the truck and drove back to L.A. to pack. He then drove the truck to Boise, ID and returned it there. By renting in Las Vegas AND flying there to pick up the truck and driving to L.A. first, he saved $1,500. In other words, since no one is moving away from CA and it’s all a myth, try and get a U-Haul truck in CA for a one-way trip out. In Houston, TX, a one-way truck rental to CA is 20-30% of the cost a Californian would pay the other way. These UC surveys are INACCURATE.

  8. I checked the U-Haul website for prices. It’s easy to do.
    A 26′ U-Haul truck from Rough and Ready, CA to north central Tennessee would cost $5903.
    A 26′ U-Haul truck from north central Tennessee to Rough and Ready, CA would cost $1765.
    That means it costs over three times as much to leave California than it does to move into California using a 26′ U-Haul truck. Your mileage may vary.

  9. These people love to tell you that the Emperor Has No Clothes. They’re doing it just for fun now. Apparently. P.S. Don’t believe the PPIC or IGS-Berkeley polls either. They’re wrong but quoted endlessly to tell you Gavin will beat the recall. It’s nonsense, just like this UC “exodus myth” survey is.

  10. They’re likely counting illegals as residents thus they will show a growing CA population instead of a negative!

  11. Add me to the long list of those adhering to “the Uhaul pricing” test, rather than some UC think tank (I figured it would come out of UC Berkeley) providing PR cover for Newsom’s recall prevention campaign…

    Time to DUMP Governor Dippity-Doo, and replace him with someone that has California’s best interests in mind, like McClintock, Moorlach or Kiley…. And not the clown-show of the first generation of also-rans that anxiously jumped into the ring…

    Speaking of Ring, why isn’t he in charge of something important in this state???

    Asking for a friend…

  12. What a joke…the study.

    U-Haul high prices and low availability, weekly reports of big businesses leaving, losing a rep in the house of rep, and multiple, multiple friends and families saying “we are done packing up, we love you and will miss you. Also, come and join us in Texas”

    What an utter joke this study is. UCSD should be embarrassed how much lap dogs to this government that’s trying to save it’s face.

  13. If the poll was San Diego residents , they love it there. San Francisco is another matter. The crime and homelessness is so bad there that people are leaving in droves to live in the Sacramento area and Tahoe and work from home. Many who can afford it have moved to Idaho. I don’t think that survey is correct.

  14. I left when the getting out was still good in early 2004, after the last recall election. I knew that the ‘Terminator’ was no match for the state legislature and that turned out to be correct. Glad I’m out of CA for good. Things there have been going downhill ever since.

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