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:
States you’d be most likely to run into a Californian:
These are the states new Californians most often moved here from:
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.
What we’re eating
For a late-summer gathering, try this spin on a salade niçoise. 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.”