Net Migration Between California and Other States: 1955-1960 and 1995-2000

Source: US Census

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  1. Molesworth commented on Apr 3

    More blue line confusion. Did 30800 migrate from NY to CA or vice versa?

  2. tinmanwp commented on Apr 3

    As a recently minted Washifornian myself, I gotta ask– why no recent data? The last 5 years would be more interesting.

  3. Willy2 commented on Apr 3

    – I am not surprised to see a net outflow from California. CA seems to have very high tax rates. Keywords: “People’s republic of California”.
    – And other states have, unlike CA, no income tax. So, people with high incomes flee CA.

    – Any reason why people “flocked” to CA from 1950 up to 1960 ? Warm & dry climate ? Lots of jobs ?

    • Willy2 commented on Apr 3

      – Do the US Census have data available for the entire period from say 1950 ?

    • jbegan commented on Apr 3

      I’m guessing you’re not from California and probably have heard the typical GOP line from people like Gov Perry. Combined tax rates are very hard to compare, but our combined tax rate (California) isn’t really that much different than many states and is lower than some states you’d think were higher. In fact, California is pretty much in line with Texas:

      Based on your belief, people in Tennessee and Arkansas should be flocking to Oregon.

      And there are other issues not addressed in this type of comparison. In California, because of Prop 103, our property taxes are kept very low (no more than a 2% increase per year), whereas a lady I just corresponded with in Texas had a 40% property tax hike this year. Further, our homeowner’s insurance is not only cheaper, but subject to fewer exclusions and normally carries a very low deductible, as opposed to Texas, which uses (for the most part) a ‘percentage of the premium value’ deductible. Here in CA, a deductible is normally $500 to $1000, depending on the insured’s choice. When I was handling claims in Texas, I commonly saw 5% deductibles on $200,000 homes ($10,000) and worse. And before someone pipes up with “yeah, but homes in Texas are cheaper”… Nope. You can actually still buy 3 bedroom, 2 bath homes in acceptable neighborhoods in many cities, such as Sacramento for under $100,000,

      Having lived in Texas for awhile, I’m certainly happier here in California.

  4. Iamthe50percent commented on Apr 3

    “Any reason why people “flocked” to CA from 1950 up to 1960 ? Warm & dry climate ? Lots of jobs ?”

    All of the above. Why did they stop? No one can afford a house in California unless they already have a house in California (or a condo in NYC)

    • JRS commented on Apr 3

      Indeed. I live in San Diego and it’s cheaper to rent than buy. Always has been. The people I know who’ve bought a home either received and inheritance or emptied out their retirements to do so.

    • jbegan commented on Apr 3

      People flocked to California for opportunity, jobs, quality of life, climate, accessible amenities, and a relaxed lifestyle. And as I posted above, this silly ‘homes are outrageously expensive in California’ just isn’t true. You can actually still buy 3 bedroom, 2 bath homes in acceptable neighborhoods in many cities, such as in our State Capital Sacramento for under $100,000,

      Sacramento CA Real Estate – 43 Homes For Sale | Zillow

    • Iamthe50percent commented on Apr 4

      Followed your link, found a trailer and an empty lot. Good April fool joke.

  5. mcdruid commented on Apr 3

    It would probably be useful to see a breakdown by age: I’d guess that a lot of it was driven by retirement. What else would explain the exodus to Arizona? I’m sure some people will blame taxes, but more likely most of it is due to housing prices.

    • Whammer commented on Apr 3

      I live in California, and anecdotally I think you’re right. Nevada has no income tax and Arizona has relatively low taxes, so if you want to retire, those are good places you can go and not freeze your ass off. Housing prices have a ton to do with it — people have been using their house appreciation as retirement accounts, but you still need to live somewhere, so if you’re going to move anyway, might as well go somewhere with a lower cost of living.

      The way things are going, water shortages will be the next driver causing people to move out of CA.

  6. howardoark commented on Apr 3

    The arrows from points south and west would be inbound and shrink the other arrows to insignificant widths.

  7. SecondLook commented on Apr 3

    I can come with a plethora of reasons why California was a migration magnet for many decades, and still is a draw for many.

    1. The best public higher education in the States; then, and likely still now. From the community college level up to post-graduate, when you look at both qualitatively and quantitatively, No State has a system that comes really close – and for many years one of the most affordable thanks to the far sighted generosity of the public and politicians.
    Anecdotally: My wife was accepted at both Radcliffe and Berkeley, looking at them academically, for what she wanted, quality of faculty, facilities, etc, they were equal; price-wise, Berkeley was incredibly cheap, even with her heavy scholarship offering from Radcliffe
    That was a consideration, trust me, for many moving.

    2. Along with the above, on average lower education in California was the best, or nearly the best in the country (currently ranked 2nd for high schools). When you consider the huge size of the school systems, even more extraordinary.
    Add 1 and 2 together, if you had or still have any interest in education for yourself or your children, California is a major advantage.
    (Realizing that, it makes perfect sense why California is the premier state for R&D and high-tech companies.)

    3.Not only does California have by far the largest State economy ($2.3 trillion dollars), its also the most diversified, from mining, forestry, agriculture, fishing to mid and high-tech manufacturing, to a vast service industry. Which means not only lots of jobs, but lots of varied jobs – i.e no matter what you did for a living, you were very likely to find a similar one in California if that’s what you wanted.

    4. The psychological impact of being seen as the both the “find gold: state and the “do-over” state. The former is kind of obvious, along with Texas (oil prospecting) and Florida (real estate speculation), California has been seen since the beginning as the place where if you were ambitious, it was your best chance to strike it more or less rich.
    The latter isn’t much thought of, but California in the popular imagination has been the mythical West, where you can start over, change your life, change who you are. Often it’s make-believe, Hollywood gone bust, but often enough, it did happen, enough to keep a hold on the imagination to this day.

    5. Related to the above is that California, after the never to be forgotten shame of the Japanese-American interment, rather strikingly, if at times stumbling, became a very social tolerant State. During the 1950’s that was a significant contributing factor to the very large migration of African-Americans, particularly from the South. It was also an incident factor for a number of social and ethnic minorities.

    6. The weather. Here’s a bit of amusing trivia: San Diego county (pop. about 2.5 million) has more doctors than any other county in the United States, more than Manhattan, more than Cook. Why? Because 2/3 of them are retired physicians. Most of them came out for medical conventions, couldn’t believe the near perfect climate and went back home to Pennsylvania and made their plans on what to do after they took their their proverbial shingle.
    Ditto for the huge numbers of service men and women that passed through California on their way to one of three Pacific wars.

    Those are just a handful of why much maligned California is such a draw.

    • Joe commented on Apr 4

      Pretty much. And these points will ebb and flow and if the drought goes long term and Ca keeps getting bigger waves of population in instead of population out, these positive points may become non significant. But that’s a different conversation…

  8. tinmanwp commented on Apr 4

    Just going by the old data here, reminds me that “…if one tortures a dataset long enough, it will confess to anything!” – Andrew Lo


    ADMIN: Here is the most recent data, on an annual basis, up to 2013.

    If you believe the premise of the graphic from Census is “tortured,” use this to demonstrate so.

  9. spencer commented on Apr 4

    You need to calculate these flows as a share of population.

    For example, the flow from Texas to California in the earlier period was about 0.8% of the Texas population in 1960. The flow from California to Texas in 2000 was only 0.2% of the population.

    The raw numbers imply that the 2000 flow from California to Texas is about 80% of the earlier flow from Texas to California. But not adjusting it for the population growth from 1960 to 2000 massively overstates the comparisons.

  10. Joe commented on Apr 4

    Jeeze this is a hackneyed conversation. But it pretty much has to be.

    I was born and raised in SF CA

    Hurricanes? I ain’t living in Florida. Or New York (Sandy).

    Earthquakes? When I was in Washington, people responded to the idea of me going back home to Ca with, ” Earthquakes!!!” We’d had a big one the previous summer. But 3 months after I left, Mt St Helens happened.

    Energy costs? When I left Washington there were going to be nuclear power plants every 50 miles along the Columbia River and energy exports to Ca. Google WPPS bonds.

    My son, a software tech writer for a Very Significant Company tells me a lot of industry people who bought the “relocate to TX, you can’t even imagine” are having second thoughts because it is not like they imagined.

    No, California is not the wonderland it was when I was a kid before I knew anything. Neither is New York or Alabama or Rhode Island, or Texas unchanged in reality or perception Some for the better and some for the worst. But each has had it’s moment(s) in the last 50 years.

    By now, if there was one place that had it all and other places that had nothing, some states would be empty and other states would have wingnut militias at the borders.

    There is flow and counterflow. Port cities and states with intellectual, cultural, and natural resource benefits will rise and fall as society and commerce rise and fall.

    Pick two 5 year periods of anyplace with something going for it/against it and pick out salient points and argue over them. There are always bigger stories than the talking points.

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