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A new statewide poll found 70% of respondents expressed high levels of happiness with living in California and applaud the state for its diversity. But 4 in 10 Californians are considering moving out of state, with the majority saying it’s too expensive to live there.

California has had three consecutive years of population declines, according to U.S. Census This is why people are moving from California.

Insights from the California Community Poll

Dan Schnur, a communications professor, acknowledges California’s cultural appeal but expects more moves as living costs rise. The California Community Poll, conducted by Strategies 360 with partners like the Los Angeles Times, includes organizations like the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment and Hispanas Organized for Political Equality. 

Californians worried about the economy

The poll, conducted from June 6 to June 16, involved over 1,300 Californians. It had a 3.1% margin of error. Topics included diversity, the economy, and overall satisfaction. Only 29% felt satisfied with the economy, a drop from 41% in early 2020. Nearly half struggled financially, with over a quarter finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Racial Disparities in Financial Struggles and the Power of Diversity

Financial challenges, especially for communities of color, were noted. 59% of Black people and 34% of Latinos faced racial barriers. 81% of Black women and 62% of Hispanic women reported wage fairness challenges. Despite this, Nancy Yap from the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment finds optimism in the poll. 71% see California as diverse, with 58% valuing diversity in bringing people together. Moreover, 68% consider living in California integral to their identity.

A Key Factor in California's Appeal

California’s appeal lies in diversity, fostering happiness among communities of color. Amid divisions and limited resources, diversity stands out as a crucial factor for residents staying in the state.

Since 2020, when the population decline began, California’s population has shrunk by about 500,000 people.


According to Logan Mohtashami, lead analyst for HousingWire, a trade publication for mortgage, real estate, and housing professionals, the state has not been effective in lowering the cost of living because not enough homes are being built. That means there is more demand for homes than supply. “The housing market is savagely unhealthy because we still have too many people chasing too few homes,” Mohtashami said. “California is going to be a tug of war. Can they keep enough people here? Or do more people just keep moving away?”

Understanding the Impact of Migration Trends ( Moving) on California's Population

Decreasing migration rates can also be a contributing factor to the population decline in California, said Schnur, of UC Berkeley and USC. He noted that net domestic migration out of California has existed for years, but it was often leveled out by international migration into the state.

During the past decade, California’s immigrant population increased by about 5%, a historic low in comparison with the first decade of the 2000s, when the migrant population increased by about 12%.

“What allowed the state’s population to grow for a long time was the number of migrants from other countries and as international immigration has subsided, the state’s overall population began to decline,” Schnur said.


Nearly one-third of nation’s homeless population lives in California, new research shows .  RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) — In the span of two years, California’s population has dropped by more than half a million people.

Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

The decision to leave were partly fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, including new opportunities for people to work from home.
Also, the high cost of living in California also drove people out.

“The cost of housing and rent in the three coastal counties, L.A., Orange and San Diego, has gotten ridiculously high,” said economist John Husing.   The area with the largest net loss was metropolitan New York, with more than 800,000.

Other areas with large losses include Chicago, San Francisco and Boston.


While a loss of nearly 400,000 households and businesses is significant, it’s important to note that many of these areas are some of the most populated in the country. There are more than 4 million households in the Los Angeles metro area alone.

Among the areas with gains in households and businesses: Phoenix, Houston and the Inland Empire.

"With all the warehousing that's growing in the area, and the cost of gas, people are moving to the Inland Empire and they're staying here," Coelho said.

Traditionally, Coelho said many would move to the Inland Empire but still commute to places like Orange County to work. But that’s changing.

"We're seeing a lot of people stay in the Inland Empire and not commuting as much, maybe working remotely," Coelho said.

Husing said logistics and e-commerce have helped make the Inland Empire one of the fastest growing areas in the state.

The Growing Housing Price Gap Between LA, Orange County, and the Inland Empire

Zillow data shows the typical value of a home in LA and Orange counties at the end of January was $856,000. That’s about 60% higher than the $538,000 in the Inland Empire. “When the Inland Empire houses are going for half a million dollars at the median, meaning half above that and half below that, I mean that is extraordinarily high. And it really means that affordability is even vanishing out here,” Husing said.

Another factor both Husing and Coelho pointed to was politics.


“There is a political dimension to this, in that the states people are moving to tend to be quite conservative. And a lot of places they’re leaving tend to be pretty liberal communities,” Husing said. 

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