Over the years, more and more residents have been foregoing Sacramento’s illustrious cultural and economic core in the downtown metropolitan area for greener (or cheaper) pastures. Former tech workers turned multimillionaires from high-profile start-ups like Uber and Lyft flee California to better protect their finances. Many other Bay Area companies (including McKesson, a medical-supplies company, and Jamba Juice, a smoothie company) have also relocated their headquarters from California to Texas to escape taxes and high cost of living.
Although many millionaires have left California to avoid taxes on their company shares, most have left due to overcrowding, filled with “carbon copy tech bros” trying to get their start-ups off the ground. American Community Service data shows us that between 2007 and 2016 about 6 million American residents left California while an influx of 5 million people moved to California from other states. In total, the state has lost more than 1 million residents to domestic migration—about 2.5 percent of its total population.
Of those that fled, Edelman Intelligence, a global communications firm, found that 53 percent of Californians don’t see themselves living in California in 10 years’ time, with an astonishing 63 percent of millennials touting the same tune. But, why is a state that’s been home to so many start-up and global tech giants seeing a rise in long-distance moving? Surely California’s intense wildfires or massive earthquakes come to mind, but most businesses and residents are commonly citing familiar issues such as affordable housing, higher taxes and cost of living, among other reasons, for their departure.
So, to where are Californians escaping? Just a few of the places these residents are choosing to make their new home include, Texas, Arizona, Washington and Nevada.
Texas, the Lone-Star State
With more than 70,000 California residents being drawn to Texas, here’s why the Lone-Star State takes the cake as the #1 destination for long-distance movers from 2012-2016:
- No personal income tax and no corporate income tax. Texas housing costs are also significantly lower, about 54.7% for single households and 61.7% for families than, in California.
- Austin, Texas’s capital is on the map as one of the top 10 growing economies in the United States. This is due in part to global tech companies such as Apple, Oracle and Google making the move to sidestep taxes.
- Texas has similarly warm climate, with the average temperatures between 80 and 100 degrees during the Summer and little to no snow during their mild Winters.
- Austin offers a plethora of live music options and a robust entertainment scene.
- If you’re a foodie, don’t forget to visit Texas’s Fried Food Capital, Dallas. Alternatively, Texas is host to more than 2,000 BBQ restaurants to choose from.
- Environmentally, Texas has widespread natural beauty including, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Palo Duro Canyon, Dinosaur Valley State Park, and Padre Island National Seashore.
Arizona, the Valley of the Sun
Arizona offers much in the way of wilderness. For example, Arizona sports two times the amount of wilderness than all the Midwest combined. With such a vast playground of fun activities, it’s no wonder more than 64,000 Californians since 2015-2017 have been running to move out-of-state. Here’s a few more facts why people are choosing this Valley of the Sun:
- If you struggle with season affective disorder, Arizona has over 300 days of sunshine a year! That’s more days of fun in the sun than any other metropolitan area in the US!
- The cost of living in Phoenix, Arizona’s largest city, is 40% lower than in Los Angeles. Additionally, Phoenix boasts one of the lowest national averages concerning cost of living (excluding housing and transportation).
- Places to explore include the Grand Canyon, Colorado River, hiking trails in the Sonoran Desert as well as more difficult trails lining the Camelback Mountain range.
- After taking a long-distance trek through many of Arizona’s beautiful scenic trails, journey over to Scottsdale, locally known as the Luxury Relaxation Capital of the USA, and soak in any one of the thousands of spa locations Arizona has to offer, boasting more spas per capita than anywhere else in the country.
- Arizona, the playground for the most iconic Looney Tunes characters, Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner is in fact home to real roadrunners, zooming around at 17 miles an hour dodging predators like the coyote.
Washington, the Evergreen State
Planning to relocate to the Evergreen State? A mecca for outdoorsy types, Washington is known for its tech-savvy inhabitants and evergreen forests. While Washington may not be as sunny as The Golden State, here’s a few reasons why many are making the long-distance move:
- While the cost of living may be higher than that of LA, it’s offset by the fact that Washington as no state income tax.
- With a ton of opportunities for job employment, Washington is host to a veritable “who’s who” of tech companies and other major corporations such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Boeing.
- With roughly 2,500 miles of marine shoreline and a lively shipping industry centered around major ports, Washington is both a haven for businesses and those who prefer a water-based locale.
- Washington has the second largest number of permitted breweries and wine production right behind California.
- Washington consistently ranks among the top five environmentally friendly states.
- It goes without saying that you don’t have to sacrifice the great outdoors when choosing Washington, home to three national parks: Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and North Cascades National Park.
Nevada, the Silver State
Nevada is a state filled with big skies, tall mountains and beautiful natural wonders. Though, most people think of Las Vegas, gambling, debauchery and aliens. If you’re thinking of relocating to California’s neighboring state, let this list of reasons persuade you:
- The cost of living is generally higher than the national average but it’s still lower (about 37% cheaper) than LA.
- No personal income taxes! Why? Nevada pulls most of its funding from gaming and sales tax thanks to the state’s relaxed business regulations.
- With over 300 ranges, Nevada is home to more mountain ranges than any other lower 48 state with endless amounts of scenic beauty such as: Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, Lake Tahoe and many more.
- Are you an alien enthusiast? This is the spot for you! Home to the “Extraterrestrial Highway”, Highway 375 has the second highest percentage of UFO sightings per capita in the US and it’s close to the mysterious site, Area 51.
- Sin City sits right at your doorstep with big-name entertainment, nightlife or fine dining experiences right at your fingertips.
Losing Californians to Long-Distance Locales
In general, California is a lovely place to live. But it’s expensive and the typical millennial looking to buy a home finds themselves unable to afford one. The median home value in California was $547,000 by the end of 2018 and according to the State Department of Finance, residents have paid more than 50% of their income toward housing.
In comparison, a new study from Apartment List shows 56.1 percent of renters in Sacramento County are just as cost-burdened as homeowners, spending around 30 percent of their total household income on rent. The lack of affordable housing, cost of living and high taxes are increasingly visible issues with the source stemming from an imbalance of supply and demand; strong economic growth creates thousands of new jobs which in turn increases the demand for housing and with insufficient construction of new housing units, supply fails to meet demand.
When will Californians return? It’s hard to say. Every year since 2014, California has seen a trend of out-migration speeding up and even reaching the negative. Though the birth rate has been steady, trends suggest that within the next decade California’s population will begin to decline.