People Fled California by the Thousands

Last year, the movement of people in and out of states varied widely, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors. The state people left the most, by far, was California, which lost 343,000, based on net migration. Net migration is the number of people who moved to a state compared to how many moved away.

Why did people relocate? According to the research, “Millions of people moved during the pandemic, driven by the opportunity to work remotely, the desire for more space, and better affordability.” California is among the most expensive places to live in America, particularly in its largest cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose. San Jose is the only city in America with a median home price above $1 million. (Click here for America’s 19 fastest shrinking cities.)

Where did these Californians go? Net migration increased in nearby Idaho, Utah and Arizona. Boise, Salt Lake City and Phoenix are among the fastest-growing cities in America. Real estate prices skyrocketed in Phoenix and Boise, which had a double-digit increase in median home value. People who moved to these areas found that these home prices were not as cheap as they might have imagined.

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People who lived in New York also exited the state in huge numbers, based on net migration, which hit 300,000. It is another of the most expensive states to live in, particularly in and around New York City. There is strong evidence that many of these people left for southeastern states. Florida’s net migration was a positive 319,000, the highest among all states. North Carolina’s was 99,000, near the highest. South Carolina’s net migration was 84,000, also among the highest.

ALSO READ: The 15 Countries Americans Are Moving to the Most

People want to get away from America’s big and expensive cities, which where the cities they wanted to move to not long ago.

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