The Real Out-Migration

Housing, not taxes, are forcing people out of California

by Brian Leubitz

There is much ado about the "job creators" fleeing California because of the high taxes. These uber wealthy are leaving, so we are told, because the high income taxes just aren't worth it.

Except that isn't true at all. In a new analysis by Trulia.com chief economist Jed Kolko, housing is the culprit:

Here are the basic facts. In 2011, 562,000 people left California, and 468,000 came, according to the Census's American Community Survey. That means 120 people moved out of California for every 100 people who moved in. Out-migration reached its peak in 2005, when 160 people moved out of California for every 100 people who moved in. The California exodus rose with the housing bubble and subsided in the recession. Lower home values in 2008-2011 made California more affordable, encouraging in-migration and discouraging out-migration, as well as pushing some California borrowers underwater, further discouraging out-migration. (Trulia blog)

The graph on the right isn't the only one that makes the case clear. If we are to really continue our growth, we must address the housing crunch that is going on, especially along the coast. That isn't accomplished through slashing services and budgets, but rather working to create new affordable housing solutions and ways for young families to stay here in California, where most would rather stay.

Thus, the slashing the government approach that the Legislative Republicans, far from being the panacea they claim, would make the situation worse as affordable housing money continues to dry up. Housing must continue to be a key focus of both our state and local governments.

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