California Faces Mounting Exodus Of Residents

California remains at the top of the rankings of states that are losing residents, according to recent census data. The Golden State has seen another wave of migration to other states since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

The state has lost more than 700,000 residents over the last three years, with large shares headed to states such as Texas and Arizona.

The Golden State joins several other heavily-Democratic states such as New York, Connecticut and Illinois in seeing large waves of residents leaving. States that are often significantly Republican-voting are seeing population increases.

California faces a myriad of reasons for the high outbound traffic. The state is currently facing a large budget deficit that undermines its economy. The shortfall comes as California is among the highest-taxing states in the nation.

Sacramento levies the highest sales, gasoline and personal income taxes in the nation. Some portions of the state pay as much as 10.75% in sales tax. 

In addition, environmental regulation and restricting business codes mean that California consumers pay gasoline prices well above the national average. Last year gas prices in Los Angeles reached a record $6.467 per gallon.

The state has also seen a significant increase in crime over the last several years. The state’s arrest rate declined as both violent and property crime rates increased. The state’s nearly 2,400 homicides in 2021 represented the highest figure since 2007.

In addition, several of California’s major cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles have seen some of the worst outcomes in terms of high taxes and violent crime.

A number of major retailers announced plans to leave San Francisco over concerns about crime and homelessness.

The state has reduced its enforcement of some common crimes, including shoplifting.

The state’s politics is dominated by Democrats. California has not elected a Republican to the state house since former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in 2006. Democrats also hold large majorities in the state’s legislature.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has emerged as one of the top critics of Republican states and policies. The former San Francisco mayor has especially targeted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who is currently seeking the Republican nomination for president.