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California Dreamin’ becomes California Leavin’

The various locations of these cities point to the fact that this is a statewide exodus

By Katy Grimes, June 10, 2024 2:25 pm

Californians are moving out. Still.

“The top states Californians were leaving for – as we’ve become accustomed to, Florida and Texas, North and South Carolina and Tennessee,” the Globe reported in January. “U-Haul reports that Idaho, Washington, Arizona, Colorado and Virginia were also in the top 10 states for inbound migration.”

There’s a new report out from PODS, the moving and storage company, which finds Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area, South Florida’s Miami metro, and Long Island, New York continue to see the largest population exoduses – largely because of high housing costs, high costs of living, and compromised quality of life issues.

Who better than a moving and storage company to keep the stats on inbound and outbound migration?

“In 2020, the state’s population loss was enough to cost it a congressional seat. And although population loss has lessened, it was still at a net loss of over 91,000 people in 2023,” PODS reported.

“Exorbitant housing costs, overcrowding, and hefty tax burdens have become, for some, insurmountable challenges in these urban centers,” PODS reports. “As a result, many residents find themselves priced out and seeking reprieve from major cities. This mass relocation underscores the growing appeal among Americans in prioritizing access to nature and a more sustainable quality of life over the pace of city living.”

“High taxes, high cost of living – highest-in-the-nation housing costs, highest-in-the-nation gas prices, failing public schools, and loss of parental rights – all factor in the decision to move,” the Globe reported in January.

PODS also notes that Companies are flocking to southern sunbelt states like Texas, Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, and Tennessee, according to global data center Iron Mountain. because of lower operational costs, tax incentives, and better value for employees.

Now PODS reports California makes the top 10 list of highest number of move-outs with four cities/regions, and has 7 cities out of the top 20 move-out cities. “The various locations of these cities point to the fact that this is a statewide exodus,” PODS said.

Here is PODS’ Top 10 cities with the highest number of move-outs:

1. Los Angeles, CA (1st in 2023)
2. Northern California (San Francisco area) (2nd in 2023)
3. South Florida (Miami area) (5th in 2023)
4. Long Island, NY (Serving parts of NYC) (4th in 2023)
5. Austin, TX (Not ranked in 2023)
6. Central Jersey, NJ (6th in 2023)
7. Chicago, IL (3rd in 2023)
8. San Diego, CA (14th in 2023)
9. Stockton-Modesto, CA (9th in 2023)
10. Hudson Valley, NY (11th in 2023)

PODS reports they are seeing “more people move to the Southern Appalachian region, which includes states like North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. People are also continuing to move to select Florida cities and long-standing retirement favorites such as Boise, Portland (ME), and Phoenix.”

They also say many people have the Carolinas at the top of their lists as the best state to live in.

“This year’s PODS long-distance moving data reveals that movers are swapping out previously hot move-to markets like Florida and Texas for spots in Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Georgia. More than 60 percent of the most moved-to cities were in these three southern states, with the Carolinas accounting for a whopping 30 percent of the top 20 cities with the most move-ins.”

Cities With the Highest Number of Move-Ins Ranked – Not one in California

Rank City
1 Myrtle Beach, SC/Wilmington, NC (1st in 2023)
2 Ocala, FL (4th in 2023)
3 Houston, TX (5th in 2023)
4 Greenville-Spartanburg, SC (10th in 2023)
5 Charlotte, NC (16th in 2023)
6 Raleigh, NC (20th in 2023)
7 Phoenix, AZ (18th in 2023)
8 Knoxville, TN (7th in 2023)
9 Jacksonville, FL (8th in 2023)
10 Asheville, NC (17th in 2023)
11 Boise, ID (15th in 2023)
12 Portland, ME (13th in 2023)
13 Nashville, TN (11th in 2023)
14 Atlanta, GA (Not ranked in 2023)
15 Johnson City, TN (Not ranked in 2023)
16 Huntsville, AL (Not ranked in 2023)
17 Dover, DE (Not ranked in 2023)
18 Orlando, FL (3rd in 2023)
19 Savannah, GA (19th in 2023)
20 Greensboro, NC (Not ranked in 2023)

PODS said last year Florida claimed half of the top 10 spots on their top move-in list. This year, Florida tied for third. The Myrtle Beach, South Carolina/Wilmington, North Carolina, area holds remains the number one most moved-to city for the second year in a row.

“Tennessee tied with Florida for the third most popular state for new moves,” PODS said. “This year’s Tennessee takeover sees Knoxville, Nashville, and Johnson City in the top 20. It seems the Volunteer State is next in line for a population boom, with many of its new residents reportedly moving from California or flocking from former favorites like Florida and Texas.”

PODS concludes:

“The Golden State has a reputation for imposing high sales, income, and property taxes. The cost of living is approximately 50 percent higher in California than the national average, and housing costs can be prohibitive. For example, home values in California have increased 6.4 percent over the last year, more than 2 percent above the national average, according to Zillow. And the national average cost for a rental in the U.S. is around $1,725 for a one-bedroom apartment, but it reaches an average of $2,525 in California, $3,275 in San Francisco, and $2,700 in Los Angeles, according to RentCafe data.”

“Additionally, California’s congested cities and rising rates of crime and homelessness may also be contributing factors.”

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13 thoughts on “California Dreamin’ becomes California Leavin’

  1. So sad as my wife and I have lived in Huntington Beach,CA for more years than I’m willing to admit. Until recently there wasn’t a place I’d rather live.

  2. Many people discuss it. Born and bred here, but can’t disagree with anyone leaving as there is nothing to debate- facts are facts. I do think we have now survived peek progressivism, the Covid hangover is wearing off, and maybe, just maybe we can make California great again with different leadership in DC.

  3. We have at various times considered Arizona, Idaho, Utah and near Knoxville TN…
    Actually made a move to Colorado about 7 years ago and it was basically California with lousy weather, so we returned to the devil we know, but know deep down that this is temporary unless major political changes happen…
    We are in a bit of a bubble in the 805, and are suffering with unacceptable insurance and other costs of living, but the furtive attempt depleted our financial and emotional reserves…
    We love California, but we HATE its politicians… and I mean HATE…

  4. Left Bay Area after 20+ years for Central Florida 3 years ago. Actually surprised by the number of upsides. Household costs lower by 1/3 to 1/2. Excellent high school. Friendly people. Calm roads and drivers. Endless nature. Lots of activities. Beaches where you can swim without freezing to death. Above all common sense pervades politics at the School Board, County and State levels. Certainly one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We’ll never return to CA.

  5. No registered Democrat should be allowed to move to any Red state. Democrats are like metastatic cancer cells. They move to conservative areas and vote for the same failed policies that escaped from. Eventually, they will ruin America, and they’re well on their way.

  6. Please stay out of AL. We don’t want you coming here and turning it into another CA with your liberal voting and policies. NO, Southern hospitality doesn’t exist everywhere below the Mason-Dixon line. Yes we can be downright inhospitable to newcomers from deep blue states. Let me put it very simply…WE DONT WANT YOU HERE!

  7. Moving around the country for work and opportunity used to be standard operating procedure, and I say good for the people finding a new location that makes them more content. Life is too short to do otherwise. I hate the politics here, but those are transitory, just like droughts and recessions.

  8. I live in the foothills or gold rush area of northern CA. It is still a great place to live. But not all moving out of the Bay Area and LA are making it to the boarder. They are leaving a sewer of their own making and moving into well run counties and turning them into what they left. Please, if you are moving out of the mess you created just keep going. We in Northern CA don’t want you either….

  9. My husband and I planned to leave CA and sold all of our rental properties in anticipation of that, and because the state wants to tell us how to run our business. He passed away on Sunday, so didn’t make it, but I plan to leave later in the year. It’s hard to leave friends and family, but it’s harder to stay in this money-grubbing state.

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