Andrew Parker

25 Reasons People Are Leaving California Permanently

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Once upon a time, many people saw California as the perfect state. After all, its nickname is the Golden State! Many people saw it as being the peak of American creativity and hard-working spirit. However, it appears as though people are starting to change their minds about it. Instead of being a state to celebrate, it’s become a state that’s been shunned. Here are the reasons why.

Traffic, Traffic, Traffic

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If California is known for one thing, it’s traffic problems. No matter where you drive in the state, you can expect to deal with some pretty significant lines. This has caused long commute times and increased stress for drivers. Unfortunately, the state’s government hasn’t been able to solve this problem as they have simply focused on building more roads instead.

The Cost of Living

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The state’s cost of living is easily one of the highest across the entire United States. Studies show that it is almost 50% higher on average. Regular Californians suffer from astronomical grocery costs, meaning that many can’t even afford the bare necessities. This issue is particularly bad in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

High Taxes

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The state also has one of the highest tax rates in the country. Currently, residents are taxed between 1% and 12.3% on their income, while the sales tax is between 7.25% and 10.75%, depending on the county. For many people, this high tax rate and cost of living make it financially impossible to live in the state.

Expensive Houses

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Likewise, the state is suffering from a house market disaster. There is a huge demand for housing but not enough supply to meet this demand, which means that house prices are going through the roof. Many people cannot find suitable housing within their budget. In San Diego, more than half of properties on the market are priced at over $1 million, despite the fact that the average salary is only around $87,000.

High Rent

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There are even problems for those who are renting instead of buying a house. According to Zillow, the average monthly rent in California is $2756, which is clearly much higher than the national average of $2050. The high cost of rent is now taking up a huge proportion of people’s salary, which is causing them to leave for more affordable places.

More Gentrification

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Because of the increasing property values and rapid development, some areas of California have become gentrified. This has caused neighborhoods to completely transform and has pushed out many long-term residents in the area. Some of the people still living in these places have complained that they no longer feel a sense of community.

Widening Wealth Gap

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These financial issues are causing the state’s existing wealth gap to become even wider. Data shows that the wealthiest residents in the state are becoming richer, while the poorest residents are becoming even poorer. This trend is happening across the United States, but it is particularly serious in California.

Record Deficit

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On a state level, California has one of the highest state deficits in the country. It currently stands at $68 billion. Although the government is trying to solve this issue, economists predict that it will continue to be a problem for many years. As such, a lot of people are moving out of California and into more financially-positive states.

Increasing Interest Rate

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To tackle some of these issues, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates several times over the last few years from 0.25% to 5.5%. This has made borrowing in the state far more expensive, causing financial problems for businesses and residents. Because of this higher rate, investment has declined rapidly in the state.

Environmental Issues

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Outside of finances, the state has a number of environmental problems that are continuing to get worse. For example, the number of wildfires has increased over the years while issues like droughts are becoming more widespread. Some people are also concerned about the risk of earthquakes, which are particularly bad in California due to the San Andreas Fault.

Increasing Heat

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One of the major causes of the state’s environmental problems is the increasingly hot summers. Over the last 128 years, data shows that summers have become approximately 3 degrees hotter. However, predictions show this could increase to 9 degrees by 2100, which will worsen the state’s environmental issues.

Poor Air Quality

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Another major environmental issue in the state is air quality. The increasing traffic and industries are causing California’s air quality to drop, with one report claiming that 98% of people in the state are suffering from poor air quality in their area. This can cause serious respiratory issues and long-term health risks for the citizens.

Difficulties With Managing Water

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These environmental issues are causing problems with how the state manages its limited water supply. Following a number of droughts, many agricultural and urban areas were left without water. This has led to crop failure, and some areas are enforcing water restrictions to try to conserve what little water is left.

Educational System is Lacking

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Some Americans are concerned about California’s education system. Several Republican officials have criticized the Golden State’s approach to education as being too liberal, whereas others have been more critical about the high cost of student loans. The state is also struggling to meet its many residents’ educational needs.

Higher Crime

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A lot of California’s current issues are causing other problems, such as rising crime rates and concerns over public safety. Numerous reports show that the rate of violent crime has increased across the state, although the rates still appear low. This increase in crime has, naturally, caused many people to feel worried.

Not Friendly to Businesses

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Many businesses and business leaders are leaving California as they feel there is too much regulation in the state. They argue that the high costs and complex rules mean that they cannot they cannot conduct business efficiently, unlike in more business-friendly states like California. As such, this has stopped the state from attracting and retaining businesses.

Too Many People

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In many of the state’s urban areas, the population is packed together quite densely. This not only makes housing issues worse, but also increases the competition for education and other resources. According to some reports, the overcrowdedness of places like Los Angeles has also worsened health problems, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Too Much Tourism

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Similarly, California is very popular as a tourist destination for both Americans and international travelers. This has worsened the problem of overcrowding and is impacting the daily lives of people who live there. More tourists means more traffic and, usually, higher prices for basic necessities, including housing.

People’s Attitudes

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In other states, some people think that Californians have a superiority complex. They believe that the state’s residents think they are better than people from other states, particularly in terms of their morals. Whether or not it is accurate, there is a stereotype that Californians have a sense of entitlement.

Criticizing Celebrity Culture

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Since Hollywood is in the heart of California, it is easy to see how celebrity culture has influenced the state. However, many people are unhappy with this. They believe that celebrity culture has become too much of a focus on the state, and they argue that it has caused people to lose genuine connections in their community.

‘Too’ Liberal

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California has almost always been a liberal state. However, there has been a lot of pushback recently, particularly from Republicans, over the state’s preference for liberal ideologies. Critics claim that the state does not allow for freedom of thought and instead ‘pushes’ a liberal view of the world on people. 

High Unemployment 

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Unfortunately, some areas of the state have exceptionally high unemployment rates. The state has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 53.%. In some areas, such as El Centro, the rate is even higher at 18.5%. This, along with the rising cost of living, has caused some people to turn away from the state.

Poor Public Transportation

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Like many states, the public transportation system in California is rather undeveloped, particularly in the areas outside of the major cities. This makes it very difficult for residents who are forced to buy a car in order to travel anywhere. As a result, this makes the traffic problems even worse.

Reality vs Expectation

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Traditionally, people have thought of California as a relaxed place where they can enjoy relaxing on the beaches. However, the reality of it being fast-paced and competitive can cause some people to feel uncomfortable. This can make people, both newcomers and citizens, feel a sense of unhappiness about the state.

Expensive Healthcare

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It is particularly expensive for people to see a doctor or access medical treatment in California, even when they have insurance. Governor Gavin Newsom has pledged he will expand healthcare access to include undocumented migrants in the state. However, the already high cost of medical care is a huge barrier to the state’s regular citizens.

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