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California has long been seen as a dream destination for many people! Visualize its beautiful beaches, diverse culture, and thriving tech industry. However, in recent years, a growing number of people have been packing up and leaving the Golden State behind.

So, what’s behind this trend? In this article, we will explore some of the key reasons why people are choosing to move out of California, and the implications this has for the state’s economy. As a bonus, we show you the best way to ship your car when you decide to move out of state.

Reasons people are moving out of California

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High Cost of Living

It’s no secret that California is an expensive place to live. The cost of housing, groceries, and other daily expenses can be astronomical, particularly in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. This makes it difficult for many Californians to afford a comfortable lifestyle. More so for those on lower incomes. As a result, many people are being forced to leave in search of more affordable options in other states.

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Here are some factors that contribute to the high cost of living in California

Housing Costs

 leaving California skyrocketing housing prices

California is well-known for its skyrocketing housing prices. The demand for housing outweighs the supply, leading to inflated prices. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy a home, you’ll often find yourself paying a premium. This can make it challenging for individuals and families to afford suitable housing, especially in desirable areas.

For more insights on housing issues and the state’s efforts to address them, the California Department of Housing and Community Development offers a plethora of reports and plans.

Taxes and Fees

Another factor driving people to moving out of California is the high tax burden. California has some of the highest state income tax rates in the country, which can take a significant chunk out of residents’ paychecks. Additionally, the state also has a high sales tax, property tax, and gas tax. Additionally, the cost of registering a vehicle and other fees can add up quickly. All of these taxes add up and can make a big dent in residents’ wallets. It’s no wonder why many people are choosing to relocate to the Cheapest States to Buy a House.

Everyday Expenses

The high cost of living in California can put a strain on individuals and families. Obviously, making it harder to save money, or lead a comfortable lifestyle. It’s no surprise that many people are choosing to move to states where their dollar can stretch further.

From groceries to gasoline, everyday expenses can also be higher in California. In cities like San Francisco, dining out or purchasing basic necessities can be quite expensive. More so when compared to other parts of the country. This can make it difficult for some people to keep up with their day-to-day expenses.

n Francisco - moving out of California

Why are people moving out of California?

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According to a report by the California Policy Lab, “between 2018 and 2019, the number of people leaving California increased by more than 86,000.” The rising cost of living is a significant factor contributing to this trend.

It’s clear that the high cost of living may be a deterrent for some. Yet, it’s important to consider all the factors, and weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. California offers many advantages, such as a booming job market, diverse culture, and beautiful landscapes. Evaluate your personal situation and priorities. Once that’s done, you can decide whether the high cost of living is a deal-breaker for you.

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High Taxes

One of the major reasons why people are moving out of California is the high taxes they have to pay. The state has one of the highest tax rates in the country, which can take a toll on individuals and businesses alike.

Here are some key points to consider regarding high taxes in California

  • Income Tax: California has a progressive income tax system. This means that the more money you earn, the higher percentage of tax you have to pay. The top marginal tax rate in California is currently 12.3%, which is the highest in the nation.
  • Sales Tax: California also has one of the highest sales tax rates in the country. The state sales tax rate is 7.25%. However, many local governments add their own taxes on top of that. This can make everyday purchases more expensive for residents.
  • Property Tax: Pt in California can be quite high, especially in desirable areas. The state law limits property taxes to 1% of the assessed value. Still, there can be additional charges and assessments that increase the overall tax burden.
  • Gas Tax: California has one of the highest gas taxes in the country. The state excise tax on gasoline is currently 51.1 cents per gallon, plus an additional 18.4 cents per gallon in federal taxes. These high taxes contribute to the high cost of living in California.

“California has the highest income tax rate in the country. Sales and gas taxes are also among the highest. This can make living in the state quite expensive. This sees many people looking to move elsewhere to lower their tax burden.”

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Homelessness Issue | Moving out of California

The issue of homelessness is also a major concern in California. The state has the highest homeless population in the country, with many of them living on the streets of cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. The homeless crisis not only affects the quality of life for Californians but also poses significant health and safety risks. The lack of affordable housing and the high cost of living contribute to the growing homelessness problem in the state.

tent cities and makeshift shelters

The rise in homelessness is a complex problem with various causes. Included are, the high cost of housing, mental illness, and substance abuse.

The homelessness crisis has reached alarming levels, with tent cities and makeshift shelters becoming a common sight in many cities across the state.

Here are some key points about the homelessness issue in California

High Cost of Housing

One of the primary reasons for the increase in homelessness is the exorbitant cost of housing in California. The state has some of the highest housing prices in the country. As shown, making it difficult for many people to afford stable housing. As a result, individuals and families are forced to live in overcrowded conditions, shelters, or even on the streets.

Lack of Affordable Housing

The scarcity of affordable housing options exacerbates the homelessness problem. Developers face challenges in constructing affordable housing due to stringent regulations and high construction costs. This creates a cycle where individuals who become homeless have limited options for finding affordable and stable housing.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Mental health disorders and substance abuse are major contributors to homelessness. Many homeless individuals are struggling with these conditions.

As a result, making it difficult to secure stable housing and sustain employment. Limited access to mental health resources and addiction treatment further exacerbates the problem.

Mental health disorders | moving out of California

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Lack of Supportive Services

There are programs and services aimed at assisting the homeless population. However, the demand often outweighs the available resources. Limited access to healthcare, mental health services, and employment opportunities can hinder individuals’ ability to overcome homelessness. Without adequate support systems, it becomes challenging for homeless individuals to regain stability in their lives.

Spillover Effects on Communities

The homelessness crisis in California has spillover effects on the broader community. It impacts public safety, sanitation, and overall quality of life. Tensions arise as local residents and businesses sometimes clash with the homeless population over public spaces. Often this leads to increased frustration and strained relations.

The homelessness issue in California is a multifaceted problem that requires a comprehensive approach to find long-term solutions.

The root causes of homelessness

  • affordable housing
  • mental health services
  • and supportive programs.

The state should invest in:

  • preventive measures
  • early intervention,
  • and ongoing support.
    • This will help individuals experiencing homelessness regain stability and rebuild their lives.

The state and local governments, along with community organizations, are actively working to tackle this issue. However, while progress is being made, the magnitude of the problem demands continued attention. This means collaboration from all stakeholders involved.

High Crime Rate

High crime rates are another factor that is driving people away from California. While the state is home to some beautiful and safe neighborhoods, there are also areas plagued by crime. Violent crime rates in cities like Oakland and Stockton are among the highest in the country. This phenomenon has led many people to seek out safer communities in other states.

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Causes of High Crime Rate

There are several factors that contribute to California’s high crime rate

  1. Population density. With over 39 million people, California is the most populous state in the country. Dense population areas tend to have higher crime rates due to the increased opportunity for criminal activity.
  2. Income inequality. California has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the United States. This disparity between the rich and the poor can lead to higher crime rates. Why? People in disadvantaged areas may turn to illegal activities to make ends meet.
  3. Gang activity. California is notorious for its gang presence. Particularly in major cities such as Los Angeles and Oakland. Gang-related crimes, including drug trafficking and violence, contribute significantly to the overall crime rate.
Los Angeles Police Department

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Impact on Safety and Quality of Life

The high crime rate in California has a direct impact on the safety and quality of life for its residents. Some effects of the high crime rate include:

  1. Fear and anxiety. Living in an area with a high crime rate can create a sense of fear and anxiety among residents. This can lead to increased stress levels and a reduced sense of safety and security.
  2. Property crime. California has a higher property crime rate compared to other states. This includes crimes such as burglary, theft, and vehicle theft. Dealing with the aftermath of these crimes can be time-consuming, frustrating, and expensive.
  3. Violent crime. California also has a higher rate of violent crime compared to the national average. This includes crimes such as homicide, assault, and robbery. The presence of violent crime can make residents feel unsafe and can have long-lasting psychological effects.

Seeking Safer Alternatives

Idaho, Utah, and Texas.

Due to the high crime rate in California, many residents are choosing to move to states with lower crime rates and a greater sense of safety. Some popular destinations for Californians looking to escape the high crime rate include Idaho, Utah, and Texas.

Moving to a state with lower crime provides individuals and families with increased security and serenity. This affords them a better quality of life and freedom from fear.

The decision to move out of California due to the high crime rate is a personal one. Therefore, individuals should carefully consider their options before making a move. It is important to research crime rates, job opportunities, cost of living, and other factors. After that, make an informed decision that aligns with personal priorities and preferences.

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Water Shortages

Water shortages have been a persistent issue in California for many years. The state’s arid climate coupled with a growing population strain the water supply. This often leads to drought conditions, and serious implications for residents. The result is water restrictions and higher water bills being commonplace. The increasing scarcity of water resources is a significant concern for many Californians and has motivated some to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

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Here are some key points to understand about water shortages in California

🌵 AspectDescription
🌊 Drought ConditionsSevere drought from 2012 to 2017 led to mandatory water restrictions. Future droughts remain a concern.
🚰 Water InfrastructureStruggles due to booming population. Relies on water from Sierra Nevada and Colorado River. Challenges in efficient distribution.
🌾 Agricultural Water UseConsumes ~80% of state’s water. Intensive irrigation adds strain, leading to debates over allocation.
💧 Conservation EffortsMeasures include watering restrictions, efficient appliances, and education. Smart meters monitor usage & detect leaks.
🏗 Long-term SolutionsInitiatives such as water recycling, desalination plants, and storage infrastructure investments.

As a potential resident, it’s essential to be aware of the water shortage issue in California. Efforts are being made to address the problem. Still, it’s important to consider the impact it may have on daily life. Think particularly in terms of residential water usage, and potential water restrictions.

Individuals should take personal responsibility in conserving water! 

  • Reduce outdoor watering
  • Fix leaks promptly
  • Use water-efficient appliances.

By adopting these practices, you can contribute to the collective effort of mitigating water shortages. Help assure a sustainable future for California.

“Water shortage is a significant concern in California. It is important for residents, and potential newcomers, to be aware of the issue. Understand the causes and effects of water shortages. This way you can make informed decisions about water usage and contribute to conservation efforts.”


California is notorious for its devastating wildfires, particularly in recent years. Wildfires have become more frequent and more destructive, causing significant damage to homes and infrastructure. The risk of losing everything to a wildfire has prompted many Californians to consider leaving the state in search of safer regions.

These wildfires are a result of a combination of factors, including dry weather conditions, strong winds, and human activity.

California Wildfires

Here are some key points to understand about wildfires in California

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  • Causes of Wildfires.
    • Lightning strikes
    • Power lines
    • Campfires
    • Arson
      • Dry vegetation and strong winds can quickly spread the fires, making them difficult to control.
  • Frequency and Severity
  • California has experienced an increase in the frequency and severity of wildfires over the years.
    • Factors such as climate change, drought, and urban sprawl have contributed to the worsening wildfire problem. In recent years, the state has seen large-scale fires that have destroyed homes, businesses, and even entire communities.
  • Impacts on Health and Safety
    • Wildfires can have serious health and safety implications.
    • The smoke from the fires can cause respiratory issues, especially for people with pre-existing conditions.
    • Additionally, the evacuation process during wildfires can be chaotic and stressful, leading to mental and emotional strain on individuals and families.
  • Property Damage and Insurance
    • They can result in significant property damage, destroying homes, vehicles, and other belongings.
    • The cost of rebuilding and recovery can be substantial. Homeowners in high-risk areas may also face challenges in obtaining insurance coverage. Sometimes you may see an increase in premiums due to the wildfire risk.
  • Prevention and Preparedness
  • Steps can be taken to prevent and mitigate the impact of wildfires. This includes proper forest management.
  • Checking that power lines are well-maintained, and implementing fire-safe building practices. Individuals and communities must have emergency plans in place. It is always good to stay informed about evacuation orders and fire safety protocols.

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Are Wildfires valid reasons for relocation from California?

While wildfires are a serious concern in California, it is important to note that they are not limited to this state alone. Many other regions around the world also face wildfire risks. However, due to the state’s size, climate conditions, and population density, California has been particularly susceptible to wildfires.

To end this burning issue! Wildfires are a significant factor that has led some people to consider moving out of California. The devastating impacts have caused many individuals and families to weigh the safety and security of living in the state.

It is important for residents and policymakers to continue working towards effective wildfire prevention and preparedness measures! We can all do what we can to mitigate the risks associated with these natural disasters.

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Politically Liberal Climate

The politically liberal climate in California is yet another reason why some people feel disenchanted with the state. The policies and attitudes of the state’s government are not aligned with everyone’s values! Obviously, this can create a sense of frustration and alienation for some residents. This has led to people seeking out states with differing political climates that better align with their own beliefs.

Here are some key points to consider

Policy Differences

California has a reputation for implementing policies that align with liberal ideologies. Think about:

  • environmental regulations
  • strict gun control laws
  • and support for social programs.
    • While these policies are supported by many, they may not resonate with everyone. People who hold more conservative views may feel that their values and priorities are not adequately represented in the state’s policies.

Lack of Balance

There is often a lack of balance or diversity in political representation. California has been dominated by the Democratic Party for many years. This can lead to a lack of alternative perspectives and ideas in policymaking. Some individuals may feel that their political beliefs are not being adequately represented. It can lead them to look at other states, where their voices can have a greater impact.

Cultural Shift

The politically liberal climate in California has also contributed to a cultural shift in the state. The values and attitudes held by a majority of Californians may not align with those of individuals who hold more conservative beliefs. This cultural divide can create a sense of alienation and frustration. Specifically for those who do not identify with the prevailing political and social climate.

It’s important to note that the politically liberal climate in California is not inherently good or bad. It simply means that the state tends to lean towards progressive policies and ideas. 

Do you agree or disagree with the politically liberal climate in California? Whatever your view, respect different perspectives, and understand that people have varying political beliefs. This diversity of thought and opinion is what makes our country unique. What’s more, it contributes to our ongoing dialogue and growth.

Moving out of California | Economic Implications of the Outmigration

The outmigration trend from California has important economic implications for the state. With a declining population, California is losing not only its tax base but also its workforce. The state relies heavily on income tax revenue. The result is that with more people leaving, there will be a significant loss of tax dollars. Remember, a declining workforce can lead to a decrease in productivity and economic growth.

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Loss of Tax Base

When individuals and families move out of California, they take their taxable income with them. This results in a loss of tax revenue for the state, which can have a detrimental effect on public services and infrastructure. With a smaller tax base, it becomes more challenging for the state to fund projects. Programs such as transportation, education, and healthcare, suffers.

Moving out of California | The Declining Workforce

The outmigration of people from California also means a decline in the workforce. As skilled workers and professionals leave the state, it becomes more difficult for businesses to find qualified employees. This can lead to labor shortages and a decrease in productivity.

This not only affects job opportunities for current residents but also hampers the state’s ability to attract new businesses and industries.

Additional Information

  • The state’s population has been declining for the past two years. U.S. Census Bureau – California Population. To get a deeper understanding of California’s population trends, you can explore data directly from the U.S. Census Bureau. They offer detailed statistics on the state’s demographics.
  • The outmigration trend is concerning for the state’s economy! That is as it means a loss of tax base and workforce.

It is really important for policymakers to address the reasons why people are leaving California. They have to also implement strategies to mitigate these issues. Otherwise, the economic health of the state may continue to suffer.

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Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Moving to California

Are you thinking about a move to California? It’s important to carefully evaluate the pros and cons before making such a big decision. California is a diverse and vibrant state with a lot to offer, but it also has its fair share of challenges. In this section, we’ll explore some of the pros and cons to help you make an informed choice.

Pros of Moving to California:

Beautiful weather

One of the biggest draws of California is its amazing weather. The state is known for its warm and sunny climate, particularly in Southern California. If you love spending time outdoors and enjoy plenty of sunshine, California is the place for you.

Stunning natural beauty

California offers breathtaking natural beauty. From the majestic mountains of the Sierra Nevada to the picturesque coastline along the Pacific Ocean.

Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, or simply taking in the views, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to connect with nature in the Golden State.

California via Pacific Coast

Job opportunities

California is home to many thriving industries, including technology, entertainment, and agriculture. This means there are plenty of job opportunities, especially in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. If you’re looking to advance your career or start a new venture, California can provide ample opportunities.

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Cultural diversity

California is known for its cultural diversity. People from all walks of life and from different parts of the world call this state home. This diversity is reflected in the cuisine, arts, and festivals that you’ll find throughout the state. Moving to California can expose you to new cultures and broaden your perspective.

Top-notch education

UC Berkeley California

California is home to some of the best educational institutions in the country. From renowned universities like Stanford and UC Berkeley to prestigious private schools, there are plenty of options for quality education.

If you have children or are planning to pursue higher education, California offers excellent opportunities for learning.

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California Air Resources Board – Air Quality and Transportation. To better understand California’s transportation challenges and the state’s initiatives to improve air quality, you can review resources provided here.

Cons of Moving to California:

High cost of living

California consistently ranks as one of the most expensive states to live in. Housing costs, in particular, are significantly higher than the national average. If you’re considering a move to California, make sure you take into account the high cost of living and factor it into your budget.

Traffic congestion

California is notorious for its traffic congestion. Even more so in major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco. If you’re used to breezing through your daily commute, be prepared for potential gridlock on the freeways. Traffic can be a major downside, impacting your quality of life and adding stress to your daily routine.

Natural disasters

While California’s natural beauty is undeniable, the state is also prone to natural disasters. Wildfires, earthquakes, and droughts are a reality that residents have to face. It’s important to be prepared and have a plan in place to deal with these challenges.

CalFire – California’s Response to Wildfires. California’s wildfire challenges are significant. CalFire provides up-to-date information on current wildfires and the state’s response measures to ensure public safety.”


California overcrowding

This is the most populous state in the United States. The population density, especially in urban areas, can lead to overcrowding and a lack of personal space.

If you prefer a quieter and more relaxed lifestyle, you may find the hustle and bustle of California overwhelming.

High taxes | Moving out of California

California has one of the highest state income tax rates in the country. Additionally, sales tax and property tax rates can also be quite substantial. Be prepared for the financial implications of higher taxes when considering a move to California.

Evaluating the pros and cons of moving to California is essential to determine if it’s the right fit for you. Every individual’s priorities and circumstances are different. That’s why it’s important to make a personal decision based on careful consideration. California has its challenges, yet it also offers incredible opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Reasons People Are Moving Out of California

So? What do you think? The reasons people are leaving California are multifaceted and complex.

  • High cost of living
  • High taxes
  • Homelessness issue
  • High crime rate
  • Water shortages
  • Wildfires
  • Politically liberal climate
  • Economic implications of outmigration

Weigh your priorities, lifestyle preferences, and financial considerations before making a move.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Moving out of California

  1. What are some of the reasons people are moving out of California?
    • Some key reasons people are moving out of California include all the sections covered above.
  2. Is the high cost of living the main reason people are leaving California?
    • The high cost of living is definitely a major factor leading people to leave California. Yet, it is not the only reason. Other factors also contribute to the decision to move out.
  3. Are there any specific cities in California that people are moving away from the most?
    • There is no single city that everyone is moving away from. Cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose are often mentioned.
  4. Where are people who are leaving California relocating to?
    • People who are leaving California often relocate to states like Texas, Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon. The cost of living is generally lower and there are perceived opportunities for a better quality of life.
  5. Is there anything California can do to address the reasons people are leaving?
    • Addressing all the above factors are some steps that can be taken by the government and local authorities to reduce the migration out of California.