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Is There Really A 'California Exodus' Happening? Researchers Don't Think So

 California City is filled with signs advertising vacant land for sale.
Researchers from major California university's have come out with studies disputing the notion of a widespread "California Exodus".
(Chava Sanchez
/
KPCC)
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There's been a lot of talk about a "California Exodus" in recent years. Look at posts with that hashtag on Twitter, and you'll find people complaining about taxes, the high cost of living, left-leaning politics, unhoused residents, and immigrants. Some posts from those who've moved out taunt Californians who remain.

California did lose a congressional seat after the latest census, but researchers at UCLA, UC San Diego, Berkeley, Stanford and Cornell have gathered data disputing the notion of a massive outflow of people, showing it's not a widespread phenomenon.

The studiesfound no evidence of an abnormal increase in residents fleeing the state.

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They used data ranging from credit reports and tax histories to home ownership rates and public opinion surveys.

One suchsurveyby UC San Diego researchers suggests the pandemic was behind last year's population decline — the first in more than a century. They asked a diverse population sample about any plans to move out and saw no change in the responses from a 2019 survey.

The researchers concluded that their "most striking finding here is that, in contrast to much of the recent narrative in news coverage, there appears to be no major movement toward Californians overall planning to leave the state."