People are fleeing California, are you?

311 Replies

I was born and raised in CA. It's so heartbreaking to see what is happening to it.  A recent poll says that 46% of the people plan on leaving the bay area. Let's do our own poll (FOR CALIFORNIANS or those that recently left in the past 5 years) 

  • Do you live in California? 
  • Have you lived in California in the past 5 years?
  • If so, where?
  • Will you be staying or leaving? 
  • Why?
  • What is your full time income producing job?  

I'll play! :)

  • Do you live in California? Yes- SoCal
  • Have you lived in California in the past 5 years? Yes, 8 years total
  • If so, where? Palmdale 1 year, West LA 2 years, Venice 5 years
  • Will you be staying or leaving? STAYING! 
  • Why? I love CA. Best weather, diversity, very progressive, major outdoors options, couldn't imagine leaving
  • What is your full time income producing job? I'm a mutt- business owner, RE investor, property manager, business consultant, pilot

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CA does lose a lot of people, but it also gains higher educated/ higher income earners. 

My issue with polls is the statistics are so easy to skew. 

But your questions


all my life, currently Pasadena


Beach, Mountains (hiking, rock climbing, mountain bike riding, snowboarding, skiing). The eclecticism of food, culture, art, music, diversity, education, entrepreneurship, film. The Juxtaposition of Beverly Hills fame and fortune to the Highland Park hipster. The list goes on. Obviously weather.

Business Owner, Realtor, Investor 

California is one of the most diverse states to live.  Survey polls only speak for the people who were paid to participate - millions of people love living in California and don't plan on leaving. 

  • QA: Yes; Yes; currently Hollywood Hills; staying unless there's a great opportunity to expand elsewhere; Diversity, family, friends, culture, no place like home; Business owner consultant, Realtor, investor

I live in sf Bay Area for last 15 years. Love this place. Best place on earth.

Great weather, booming economy, nice restaurant, diversity, great culture.

Every time I come back from a vacation, as soon as I step out of the airport, I must say that SF Bay Area is better than any vacation destination I have been to.

I do not agree with people leaving Bay Area. That is Fake news. The traffic pattern during rush hours will tell you exactly how many people are here. Low income people might be leaving. But more high income people are coming. The jobs created in Bay Area are mostly high paying jobs, with advanced educational degrees.

Most people I knew that left Bay Area are never able to come back. One couple sold their house in Fremont in 2005 and moved to Las Vegas. Now they want to come back but they are unfortunately completely priced out.

Bay Area is also the best market for real estate investing, IMO, despite its higher entry price. Limited land, strict restrictions on land use, result in limited supply and forced appreciation due to supply demand imbalance.

Most of the housing stock are 50-100 years old, creating a large stock for potential flipping.

Therefore, I am not leaving.

If you want to really get a big pocket, SF Bay Area and New York City are best places.

After 30 years in downtown Los Gatos we left last year and moved to Shelton Wa. California was wonderful, raised our family there, took our profit and moved on. G'bye Ca and thank you, we could not have done it quite the same without you!

Sorry to jump into a CA thread but the reason for the thread is also INCLUSIVE of NYC! :)

I completely agree with David Song, but I wanted to expand it a bit.

Basically, lack of Inventory which was probably caused by lack of supply as demand increased above the ability for SF and probably most high priced Cities. Generally, this can be due to Building Codes (think of Landmarking here) and Rent Regulations.

The trend seems to be that those that cannot afford to live in these cities are the ones moving out with a few exceptions of those that are seeking a bargain.

BUT, those seeking a bargain are generally trading off something in order to get their bargain, usually it may be something like weather, closeness to high income jobs, walkability of a City (think Vancouver and NYC here), diversity of Restaurants, etc. the list goes on and on and on.

I think what most people who may look at statistics for Migration do not go far ENOUGH with their usage of statistics, and therefore, do not get the full understanding.

If you begin to incorporate Birth and Death rates into the Net Migration, you start to see a fuller picture. Even this isn't the full set of statistics that you need.

BUT, adding Births, you will see that wealthier families that stay will have children that then have advantages because of their wealth and go on to stay in these cities and get those higher paying jobs.

That would be in addition to the fact that the higher paying jobs also attract those who qualify for those kinds of jobs and their families, who then have children and so on.

In NYC, so many neighborhoods have become what we call, "Stroller Neighborhoods." It's a term that seems to expand all the time as established neighborhoods continue to have more children and gentrifying neighborhoods start to settle in and have children themselves.

The Death Rate needs to also be included. You will see that statistically, people are living much longer. Therefore, this will be reflected in the Death Statistics. This become important as the elder generations want to continue to stay in their homes rather than move to a different location such as retirement communities.

Enabling those to stay in their homes at an advanced age are products like Reverse Mortgages. You can use your Equity which has become enormous due to high appreciation to remain in your home and even get PAID! Why should you move? You are now wealthy and you can tap your Equity and have a monthly spending account in addition to your Social Security.

When you put just the NET Migration, the Birth Rate and the Death Rate together, you start to see a much more fuller picture.

You start to see Cities that push out lower income people out except for the few lucky ones that has benefited from Rent Regulations, but then put an enormous burden on Housing by effectively reducing the supply of housing as compared to the demand.

At the same time, Stroller neighborhoods expand and increase solely due to birth rates. This time because of the concentration of wealth, this creates an advantage to those that remained.

Just as a side note, in Brooklyn, there are 3 very incredibly popular Public Schools. These schools are so sought after that young families are willing to spend multi-millions on their homes to be within the districts of these schools, to ensure they put their kids at an advantage.

The problem is that these schools then become much less diversified. The Mayor and School Chancellor want to require 20% of the seats to be slated for low income families. BUT this will be a huge uphill fight since rich families have spend huge money to have this advantage.

Getting back on topic, you cannot just take into account just the statistics of Migration OUT of a city with out taking into account several other factors including Migration IN and their quality of both the ones that leave and the ones that stay and then migrate in.

Then you need to add in the Birth Rate and the advantages they will have.

Then the Death Rate and how this affects supply and demand.

Just my 2 cents and sorry if a Brooklyn, NYC investor like me snuck in to your thread! :)

I've moved out of state twice and have always returned home to CA. I love this state but I can totally understand people leaving, especially the middle class. CA is unaffordable for most people and I've had several friends who have moved to other states and they said their quality of life has improved dramatically. They can afford a home and aren't being taxed to death plus they can always come back and enjoy California on vacation whenever they want.

I've lived in Pasadena since January. I work in South LA.

While I like it here it's very difficult to live here.

Wages are low compared to Seattle (where I came from) and I'm pretty amazed by the grinding, third world poverty that I see every day.

California is simultaneously the poorest state in the country (adjusted for cost of living) and number six for inequality. So for every person you know making a killing there are six more double bunking in a 250 SF studio.

To top it off, Los Angeles has a poorly educated population and an economy that has struggled to find something to replace the aerospace economy that left shortly after I was born.

That said, you can make a lot of money in real estate here, if you can afford to get started.

The above poster nails it. For every house millionaire, there are 6 shack renters. Interestingly, a couple of people above said "Nah ... only the poor people are moving out, the rich are doing ok"

Well, the police officers, teachers and nurses are still needed right? And they will need higher wages. And this will increase their pension. And so they will raise taxes. Which should be easy since the "rich people" live there. And Republic of California will probably come up with all sorts of affordable housing and restrictions to keep the prices "affordable".

I give this less than 2 years for it to come crashing. Several risk factors - downturn in tech (right now big data is solution to everything just like online delivery in 2000), gridlock in Washington (if Dems gain control in the fall) or double down tumpnomics (if GOP hold on).

Exhibit b - I give you Sydney Australia 2016 and London 2016. Prices kept rising because they thought there was an inflow of "rich, intelligent jet-setting banking wizards" in their city which made living their so desirable with huge migration inflows. 2 years later, they realized it was just speculation and you can google yourself real estate Sydney and London to see the 20% declines....

  • Do you live in California? Yup!
  • Have you lived in California in the past 5 years? Yes, living in CA all my life (except for a 3 year stint out in TX for grad school)
  • If so, where? Irvine, CA (Orange County)
  • Will you be staying or leaving? 100% staying. Might go here or there for short periods of time, but CA will always be home.
  • Why? Sun, weather, very progressive state, access to best ethnic foods in the USA
  • What is your full time income producing job? Technical Project Manager for a gaming company, technology consultant, and real estate investor

Yes and no with what folks are saying. Are people leaving CA? Absolutely yes, but the folks that have been leaving are the lower/low middle class who can't afford Bay Area or even most of Southern CA. CA is still attracting tons of top tier talent (engineering, finance, medicine, bio-tech) who earn a high enough wage to afford a quality life in CA, which in turn drives prices up.

You less frequently hear stories from the engineer/medicine/bio-tech families . It's usually the families that earn $60k that are fleeing and telling everyone how unaffordable the state is. This is the dark side of the state, increasingly polarized levels of quality of living and cost of living between the top 5% and everyone else.

THis is what happened to Sydney which was as hot as San Francisco in 2016


A Stanmore terrace in even worse condition is listed at $1 million. The walls are riddled with cracks and parts of the floors and roof have collapsed. It too requires hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore it to a liveable standard.

There are also a range of other homes currently advertised at considerable discounts.

A four-bedroom duplex on West St in northern beaches suburb Balgowlah is currently listed for $325,000 below its original price of $1.9 million.

In Belfield in the Canterbury area, a home at Statham St is being offered at a $275,000 discount on the initial listed price of $1.45 million.

A unit inside this building at 301/1-9 Meagher St, Chippendale, was first listed at $520,000 to $550,000 but sold for $429,000.Source:Supplied

A two-bedroom unit on Liverpool St in Darlinghurst is advertised at $100,000 below the original listed price of $1.5 million. chief economist Nerida Conisbee said it was inevitable that sellers would reach a point where they could no longer command prices $100,000 or $200,000 above what comparable properties sold for months ago and still find a keen buyer.

“Sydney pricing has been extreme for many years,” she said. “We’ve now hit the point where buyers can no longer continue to keep paying more.”

I live in Torrance California, a city in the Los Angeles metro area.

I plan on staying in California. If I moved somewhere else I would feel like I was settling for less. We’ve thrown around the idea of going to Texas or Arizona so we could buy a home in an A class neighborhood. But, that would feel like giving up. We don’t give up. Leaving for a less expensive city would be giving into weakness. I’ve grown accustomed to perfect weather and the endless options for recreation. I could never live somewhere that people don’t want to come on vacation. There is a price to pay, it is exorbitantly expensive. Life is too short to settle. I’ll never say I can’t afford it. Instead, how can I afford it? There’s things I don’t like. I’m a card carrying republican/libertarian so obviously the political landscape of California isn’t my cup of tea. But that’s not enough to make me live somewhere mediocre. Also, my future in-laws will be retiring to Ensenada Mexico soon and we need to be close to family when we have kids.

I am a baggage handler for a major airline at LAX. My fiancé is a flight attendant for another airline. We make a living wage and save quite a bit of our income. But, not enough to buy a home and raise a family here in LA. That’s why we are working like nobody else to buy more rentals. We’ve made amazing progress this year. $20,000 in the bank since January! If we can do it living in Los Angeles anyone can. At this rate we’ll buy 2 a year.

People are fleeing. Lol!!! That’s world class BS!!

Very few people are leaving and they are at the lower income scale. I deduce this from the uhaul article. I doubt well off families rent uhauls to move states.

Some more people are “thinking” about leaving. LOTS are “talking” about it but are not leaving, can’t leave or won’t leave. But it makes for cool party talk or happy hour topics to gossip about.

I don’t know anyone who is leaving or has left because it’s expensive. People figure it out.

The media however is cooking up stories about a mass migration of some sorts. That migration usually happens when the economy crashes and not when things are booming. Well whatever helps sell news I guess. They need to pay bills too.

Fact is this, more people are coming in vs leaving. Lots of jobs are being created. If you took a pulse of the youth all over the country and even abroad, most want to move to California if they could.

So yes let’s do illustrative math. Just illustrative.

10 people are leaving, 25 are coming in. 100 people are thinking about moving. 10000 are talking about it to kill time (and may be contributing to news) and 20000 would move here if they got a chance.

@Karen Margrave I work with a lot of people in California and I know a couple that have moved, others who plan to. One of our sales managers moved from LA to Las Vegas. He just drives in for sales calls two days a week and stays at a hotel. His decision was cost of living based. I know two other sales guys who moved from the Bay area to Sacramento. Sold their houses for good money, purchased a nicer home and put cash in the bank. They drive into the Bay area a couple days a week to make sales calls. There is a couple other people I know in the Bay area that are planning to sell their home and move out of state when they retire. Their homes are paid for and they can get over $1.5M when they sell, so the idea is they can buy a nice home out of state for $250K and invest the difference. 

I see some Californians calling fake news, but I bet you know people who are planning to move. This has been happening for years, so no secret here. As others pointed out, people are moving into California faster than moving out, so although people may be leaving, it is still a net gain.

Even in my little city we get people moving from Minneapolis or Chicago to enjoy lower cost of living here. We also have people leaving to move to bigger cities, so it goes both ways.

I’m born and raised in the Bay Area. As others have said, low income people leave and are replaced with more educated higher income earners. 

Gentrification is strong all over here and if you don’t make a high salary you’re going to struggle. 

The people who leave typically have been here a long time and sell their houses at a huge gain and live elsewhere. Those who didn’t save for retirement adequately and live off their equity. Alternatively, low income workers tend to leave after trying, and failing to get ahead here. 

The Bay Area is one of the best places to live in America (my opinion). As such it prices accordingly or everyone would move here. 

Now if only I could agree with the politics here... 🙄

@Joe Splitrock I think you’re right. At least among the working class. I see people transfer in from other airports all the time. They want to live the dream I guess. They seldom last more than a few months before they go back home. Also, when people retire from the airlines they often sell their home and move. Usually Arizona, Nevada, or Texas. But these guys bought back in the 80’s and 90’s. I’ll never be able to buy a home here on my W2 alone. With our income we could afford a $300,000 house. Nothing that price here unless I commuted 2 hours one way. So highly educated earners moving in, middle class moving out.

Yes, this is an old story and you could have read this same type story in the LA Times circa 1980s. There is a boat load of peeps here and tons always leave too. Perhaps the other story is no other state could have that many leave and still be growing. 

  • Do you live in California? Yes
  • Have you lived in California in the past 5 years? Yes, whole life. 
  • If so, where? LA
  • Will you be staying or leaving? Not leaving anytime soon. 
  • Why? No reason to leave, good schools, good weather, work, family etc...bad can be the traffic. 
  • What is your full time income producing job? Surfing. 

@Karen Margrave , great thread post!

I posted a similar post a few days ago regarding where people who live in SF now are looking to head to?

  • Do you live in California? Yes
  • Have you lived in California in the past 5 years? Yes
  • If so, where? Was in SF, but moved to Oakland 2 years ago.
  • Will you be staying or leaving? Staying
  • Why? Work
  • What is your full time income producing job? Designer/ Wife works in tech, so her job is here!

When I first heard people talking Cali exodus I thought they were crazy, but this also happened as home values boomed in 2006 and 2007.  I remember a lot of people selling for great returns and moving out of state paying all cash with plenty to spare. One thing to keep in mind, the population of wealthy that want to live in Southern California, Silicon Valley, the Bay Area, etc are only increasing around the entire world so prices will continue to climb but only the poor and middle class will be pushed out.

  • Do you live in California? - SoCal
  • Have you lived in California in the past 5 years?  Since I was born
  • If so, where?  San Diego, Huntington Beach, Murrieta
  • Will you be staying or leaving? Staying
  • Why? FAMILY!  If not for my family that I live within minutes of I would absolutely move in a heart beat and buy 10 properties with the sale of the California house 9 to rent and 1 to live in :)
  • What is your full time income producing job?  IT Director for a medium size medical based firm.  Can be remote.

I've been living in California, bay area, and southern california, all my life, so 52 years. I've seen and experience a lot. This post seems to assume that there is a 1 to 1 ratio of people moving out and in. However, the income level is different by far. California has the largest illegal alien population in the state at over 3M due to favorable sanctuary city and state laws, freebies, and close proximity to Mexico. The middle class are the ones moving out. The rich are staying because they are rich and have many options.

Look at other cities like Chicago and New York, increasingly high taxes is a sure sign that something is not right. California is trying to repeal passed gas tax under the disguise of fixing roads. They tried to use the excuse of children and schools too many times.


Some great responses. As for me, I moved out of California to Bend, OR. The reason being, it's easier for building. CA is going nuts with raising fees on everything, requiring solar on homes, and will soon be limiting water usage to 55 gallons a day per person. It takes forever to get through the planning and permitting process. ALL of those things drive up the costs of housing, and CA already has a few hundred thousand people sleeping out on the streets every night, and it will only get worse. 

I cannot believe the number of subs, designers, property managers, etc. that came from CA.

Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of the things about CA. The weather, the recreation, scenery, and most of all my family that still lives there. But, the lawmakers are destroying the state.  

I lived in Bay Area, California for 15 years.

After I move to Las Vegas,
I’m very happy that I left Bay Area, California and move to Las Vegas.

Bay Area traffic waste too much time.
Most houses are very old (years 1950, 1970) and small but are very expensive compare to the properties (years 2000, 2010) in Las Vegas.

I love living in Las Vegas!

I'm able to go back and live in Bay Area, California anytime.
However, I choose not to go back; because I don't like to live in California anymore.
I wish I could move to Vegas even earlier.

Job: Real estate

Exactly @Karen Margrave . Do you think the pols in Sacramento won't see this housing boom as a way to fund their pet projects - solar, sanctuary city, Battery Vehicles etc etc you name it?

And don't forget, as the costs rises, the civil servants will vote to increase their salaries by increasing your taxes.

Finally doesn't anyone find abhorrent that you want to live in a society where the "poor" people fail? California was always the land where the aspiring actress, smart engineer and hard working farmworker could afford to get ahead. Now it is become a fealty - where those lucky enough to have bought 10,20,30 years ago are going to be landlords to slum dwellers.

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave :

I was born and raised in CA. It's so heartbreaking to see what is happening to it.  A recent poll says that 46% of the people plan on leaving the bay area. Let's do our own poll (FOR CALIFORNIANS or those that recently left in the past 5 years) 

  • Do you live in California? No
  • Have you lived in California in the past 5 years? Yes
  • If so, where? San Jose
  • Will you be staying or leaving? left three years ago
  • Why? retirement and change of pace
  • What is your full time income producing job? investment income until I start Social Security at age 70