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Where Californians Are Going: 10 States Experiencing the Biggest Influx

Between 2020 and 2022, California lost about 750,000 of its residents to other U.S. states. This astonishing number is due to a crazy hike in out-of-state troopers before the pandemic hit in 2020.

Of course, people migrate between states all the time, but it becomes worrisome when there are more residents moving out than new settlers coming in.

Why are Californians moving en masse out of the Golden State?

Where are Californians moving to?

According to census data, the Lone Star State takes the #1 spot for housing the fleeing residents of California—more details about the top ten states having a high Influx of Californians.

Possible Challenges of Living in California

  • High cost of living
  • Housing shortages
  • Rising unemployment rate
  • High taxes
  • Natural disasters 
  1. Texas
  • Number of Migrating Californians: 105,434
  • Housing Cost: 27% lower in Texas
  • Healthcare Cost: 19% lower in Texas
  • Food Cost: 10% lower in Texas

With over 100,000 Californians fleeing their high-rise buildings to live in the Lone Star State, Texas has become the number one go-to place. It’s not just the Golden State residents moving to Texas; movers in California have recorded a national influx into Texas.

The cost of living is around 33% cheaper in Texas, and with rising rents, housing value, and mortgage rates in California, it just makes sense for residents to move into the growing tech hub.

Texas’s no-income-tax law appeals to many movers, although it’s not a major instigator for most migration. For a few others, the warm and fair weather in Texas is a steal for them compared to the natural disasters in California.

  1. Arizona
  • Number of Migrating Californians: 63,597
  • Housing Cost: 22% lower in Arizona
  • Healthcare Cost: 20% lower in Arizona
  • Food Cost: 3% lower in Arizona

Many Californians have made the Grand Canyon State their next destination just by the Eastern border. Most of the migrating residents choose Arizona because it offers a cheaper living cost and is close to their ex-state.

Aside from the weather conditions, which are mostly better for the larger population going to Arizona, the strong economy and affordability propel many Californians here. Job opportunities and tax benefits favor many in search of work without having to lose much by leaving.

According to data trends, the larger population of Californians moves to Phoenix or Tucson when settling in Arizona.

  1. Nevada
  • Number of Migrating Californians: 54,740
  • Housing Cost: 27% lower in Nevada
  • Healthcare Cost: 27% lower in Nevada
  • Food Cost: 3% lower in Nevada

Among the best states to move to from California, Nevada is #3. Like Arizona, Nevada borders California. It makes sense for Californians to move to a nearby state with amazing opportunities and a lower living cost.

As a plus to its many natural attractions, Nevada offers a lower tax burden on its residents by having the “no income tax” law and a median property tax rate among the nation’s lowest.

Big cities like Las Vegas, have become massive tech hubs, making them even more attractive to a younger population of Californians.

  1. Washington
  • Number of Migrating Californians: 46,677
  • Housing Cost: 15% lower in Washington (Olympia)
  • Healthcare Cost: 3% lower in Washington (Olympia)
  • Food Cost: 1% higher in Washington (Olympia)

The nation’s capital—the next hotspot for Californians!

Moving all the way North, Washington has become the perfect haven for fleeing Californians in search of lower living costs, a great job market, favorable taxes, and competitive salaries.

Cities like Seattle and Washington have big tech companies and major corporations that offer limitless career opportunities across different industries. Plus, the availability of top schools and outdoor recreational activities makes it luring for families and young adults from California.

What cities are Californians moving to Washington? Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, and Olympia take the lead. For those migrating for job opportunities, Seattle is primarily their bus stop.

  1. Florida
  • Number of Migrating Californians: 40,730
  • Housing Cost: 24% lower in Florida
  • Healthcare Cost: 12% lower in Florida
  • Food Cost: 11% lower in Florida

When highlighting the states Californians are moving to, Florida easily comes to mind. California and Florida have long traded residents, making it unsurprising on this list.

Like many other states on this list, Florida also lacks income tax and offers many job opportunities for its residents, making it an attractive sight for incoming Californians.

Based on data records from 2022, the top cities chosen by new residents in Florida are usually between Miami and Orlando.

  1. Oregon
  • Number of Migrating Californians: 32,906
  • Housing Cost: 32% lower in Oregon
  • Healthcare Cost: 11% lower in Oregon
  • Food Cost: 1% lower in Oregon

The absence of state sales tax, affordable housing, and a thriving market makes Oregon easily one of the best states to move from California. Oregon is an excellent opportunity for many Californians hoping to convert to a more laid-back lifestyle with beautiful weather.

There’s less traffic and congestion, and the state offers young adults artsy and creative opportunities, plus access to plenty of natural scenery. One of the major draws to the Beaver State is the average housing cost—it’s cheap.

  1. Colorado
  • Number of Migrating Californians: 26,900
  • Housing Cost: 13 % lower in Colorado
  • Healthcare Cost: 17% lower in Colorado
  • Food Cost: 3% lower in Colorado

Moving east of California is another state not so far from Californians’ reach. Since the pandemic, many California residents have begun calling Colorado their new home, having received nearly 30,000 of them on its shores.

Colorado is a stunning state with beautiful weather, climate conditions, and affordability. The average cost of living is lower here than in California, making it easy for many residents to opt for an escape route as the next best choice.

  1. Idaho
  • Number of Migrating Californians: 26,000
  • Housing Cost: 27% lower in Idaho 
  • Healthcare Cost: 13% lower in Idaho 
  • Food Cost: 4% lower in Idaho

Unexpected? That’s right! Idaho has a lot of perks that can benefit residents in California. As a growing tech hub in Boise, Idaho, the state gradually has many career opportunities for residents who would live here.

Plus, with a lower cost of living, Idaho joins the league as a contender for Californians. The state has many outdoor activities, natural scenery, and a picturesque environment that might give California good competition. 

Crime rates are low on average, and there’s less traffic than the Golden State can only hope for.

  1. Tennessee
  • Number of Migrating Californians: 23,409
  • Housing Cost: 27% lower in Tennessee
  • Healthcare Cost: 22% lower in Tennessee 
  • Food Cost: 8% lower in Tennessee

Lower taxes, lower housing costs, affordable average living, and more conservative politics are just a few of the perks residents in the Volunteer State enjoy.

Many Californians, especially music lovers, have really come to fancy the idea of living in Tennessee. Nashville has the appeal that many aspiring artists tend to love about the city.

For others, it could be the natural scenery. Of course, they want to leave California, and that’s precisely why they go somewhere with a picturesque environment and historic attraction.

  1. New York
  • Number of Migrating Californians: 21,500
  • Housing Cost: 4% higher in New York
  • Healthcare Cost: 7% lower in New York
  • Food Cost: 3% higher in New York

In a shocking turn of events, the Empire State made the list. While New York has its own fair share of high living costs, Californians moving here are clearly looking for a lifestyle change compared to the one they already experience.

For many Californians, the next best state matching the unique, vibrant lifestyle, excellent educational system, incredible career prospects, and other city perks is New York. 

One realtor, in 2021, speaking with a news outlet, stated that more than 50% of her buyers in Hudson Valley were from the West Coast.

Summary

Since the great migration out of California took place after the pandemic, more than 750,000 of its residents have scattered across the nation.

Why and where are Californians moving to? 

Understanding the motive driving this migration can help balance the loss and gain of residents within the state. However, the large population relocating only tells part of the story because while many residents flee, more than half of other state residents have come to fill the void.

If you plan on coming to California and the rate of migration has you worried, there’s no need to panic. As long as you have your relocation sorted out and budgets planned, California would be a great place for you.

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