California Is Dying Slowly for a Variety of Reasons: California is the most populous state in the US, but not for long.
As many conservative analysts have pointed out, residents and significant corporations have been fleeing the Golden State in unprecedented numbers.
In 2020 alone, about 650,000 people departed California for other states. Between April 2020 and July 2022, the number of residents departing easily outnumbered those moving in by about 700,000, and the outflow does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
The epidemic, California’s tight lockdown regulations, and many corporations requiring required vaccinations spurred the large exodus in 2020, particularly for families with children. Even if they worked remotely, most parents wanted their children to attend school.
The increase in remote job opportunities did not help California. Families may have fled the state as a result of pandemic policy, but many remained owing to the power of the money. People recognized that if they could keep their employment and work from home, they could live like royalty in nearly any other state rather than serfs in California.
The Cost of Living
A $60,000 salary goes a lot further in Kansas than it does in California. With the average two-bedroom rent in California well above $2,200, $60,000 may put a single-income earner at risk of poverty. That same rent in a large California metropolitan region can get you a studio apartment and some ramen noodles.
When you add a family to the mix, you can forget about being a stay-at-home mom.
Approximately 13% of married-couple homes with children had only the husband working, 31% had dual-income couples with children, and 25% had dual-income families with no children.
It is not a new phenomena for departures to outnumber arrivals. Since the 1990s, more individuals have left California than come in from other parts of the country. California lost a net one million citizens between 2007 and 2016, with Texas, Arizona, and Nevada being the top destinations.
While I understand that the plural of anecdote is not data, here is what I can tell you as a Californian who recently visited Tennessee. Life is simply easier here.
I don’t feel like the plague as a more conservative member of society. I’m not going about on eggshells for fear of offending someone. Although, I’m quite sure the twenty-something at the Whole Foods checkout did not enjoy my “Make Women Female Again” cap. However, my statement headgear received more compliments than criticism.
People may not have Harvard, Stanford, or Princeton degrees, but they do have common sense, which appears to be in short supply these days. They are also exceedingly kind and, as far as I can tell, accepting of anyone who do not share their beliefs.
They don’t mind if Californians relocate. They just do not want them to carry their ideals – or lack thereof – with them in the hope of changing the culture or politics.
As someone who has traveled much, I can say that California’s beauty, particularly its coastline, is unparalleled. Outside of California, though, there is simply greater space, both literally and metaphorically.
Tennessee’s beautiful, green undulating hills rival the rocky coastline and lovely beaches. A sunset on the farm is just as beautiful as one over the sea. Trails and hiking opportunities abound. Even journeys along the motorway are flanked with trees, and while traffic exists in Nashville, two-hour traffic jams that would enrage even the Dali Lama are rare.
Skyscraper Real Estate
While California is famed for its laid-back lifestyle, it’s difficult to live the “no worries” credo when petrol is $5 a gallon and state income tax is 10-12 percent on average and up to 13.3 percent for individuals earning more than $1 million. Given that California is middle-class, it’s a lot more people than one might think. Property taxes may be cheaper than the national average, but who can afford a home?
California fundamentally reimagines the concept of a “starter home.”
As you might imagine for the third largest state in the country by square miles, home prices vary greatly based on region, but none are particularly affordable. A single-family home in a less desired area, such as Sacramento, will cost you around $472,000 on the low end.
A comparable home in the Los Angeles area will cost little under $750,000, and we’re not talking beachfront property. Homes in California’s most attractive places, such as the coastal cities, anywhere around West Hollywood, or even Ventura County, the area north of Los Angeles, will start around $1.5 million.
Orange County’s median price was $1.26 million, up from $1.195 million in January and $995,000 in February 2021.
The constant day-to-day pressure of keeping sane in California can be difficult, with traffic, progressive regulations that have never passed a cost-benefit analysis, a cancel culture, and cost.
I haven’t even mentioned the homeless problem, crime, or education.
Living in a state like Florida, Tennessee, or Texas, where there is little to no state income tax, gas is around $3 a gallon, and there is a lot more space, makes living worry-free a little simpler. Not to mention men who don’t wear thin jeans, but that’s an other matter.
Governor Gavin Newsom speaks with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at San Francisco’s George R. Moscone Convention Center. Gage Skidmore provided the image.
While I fight the good fight on the west coast, I may be trading in my California kombucha for Tennessee whiskey sooner rather than later. Without a surety, I will not be alone.
Jennifer Galardi is the 19FortyFive.com politics and culture editor. She holds a Master of Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and presents the podcast Connection, which features conversations about health, culture, politics, and policy. She formerly worked for periodicals focused on health, fitness, and nutrition. Her work has also appeared in the Epoch Times and the Pepperdine Policy Review. You may find her on Twitter and Instagram.