The California Exodus is Real

Not unlike the Hebrews departing Egypt and the Okies exiting the dust and famine of the 1930’s Midwest the number of Californians getting the heck out of Dodge so-to-speak is staggering.

In just one decade about 5 million Californians left between 2004 and 2013. Roughly 3.9 million people came here from other states during that period, for a net population loss of more than 1 million people. The trend resulted in a net loss of about $26 billion in annual income.

Although foreign immigration has fueled California’s population growth for decades California natives are moving out. Starting in the 1990s, California has been losing more residents to other states than it has gained.

For the better part of three decades, the state has experienced a net exodus of residents every year to the point that there are now more than 7 million people born in California that call other states home.

You may ask why the exodus? The high cost of living fueled by (pun intended) the high cost of electricity and other utilities including unparalleled fuel costs at the pump.

Famed humorist Mark Twain said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it”. In California, everyone talks about the high cost of living, the high costs of electricity and fuels, and the over regulations, but nobody does anything about it. 

Well a vast number of California voters are talking with their feet.  They’re frustrated with the way their tax dollars are being spent and feel their votes have no say as to how to change it.

When you examine the facts, you see the grim data:

  • • Some of the highest cost of housing and living in the nation.
  • • Some of the highest costs for electricity and fuels in the nation.
  • • Unstoppable costs of more regulations, taxes and increased minimum wages targeted toward businesses that are just passed through to the consumers of the services and products from those businesses.
  • • The frustrating growth of the homeless, poverty, and welfare populations driven by the costs of housing, electricity and fuels.
  • • Frustration toward the deteriorating electrical grid that has allowed utilities to turn off power prior to threatening winds to protect themselves from liability lawsuits, producing manmade blackouts.
  • • Growing congestion from the increasing numbers of registered vehicles impacting transportation infrastructures that are not equipped to accommodate such increases. 
  • • The state has chosen to become a leading importer of manufactured goods, electricity, and crude oil rather than manufacture or generate them in-state.
  • • California has relinquished its environmental stewardship to other states and countries that have significantly less environmental controls.

Getting clobbered by taxes is taking its toll on the psyche and pocketbooks of its residents, along with the high cost of living and doing business. Moreover, Since 2008, more than 10,000 businesses have either fled the state or reduced their investments, says Investor’s Business Daily

From burger franchise Carl’s Jr. to international vehicle manufacturer, Toyota, big businesses are leaving the state in droves. The small ones find themselves with no choice but to leave as well. They simply can’t compete with the big corporations that stay and take the hit in taxes. 

With California so lax on enforcing federal immigration law, its open-borders sentiment is frightening responsible employers away. Businesses that remain in California are stuck in a “lose-lose” situation. 

Here’s the Catch-22. The Immigrant Worker Protection Act (GC, Section 7285.1) says an employer who follows federal immigration law is now violating California law, is committing a crime, and is subject to significant fines. At the same time, it is also a crime if an employer fails to follow federal immigration laws. 

In California’s one-party state everything in the state, everything, is controlled by the Democratic Party and its union allies.  The governor and legislature rushed through a massive tax hike on gas and diesel fuel along with higher car registration fees and hardly anyone outside the party noticed.

I see no good future for anyone in California thanks to the current political environment. It is sad to see this in a state where my parents were able to make a go with their businesses with nothing more than ambition, hard work and no big government to get in their way. 

Even farming, is becoming more and more arduous as the ill-informed legislature tries to run the only true environmentalists out of the state. If farmers don’t understand how to care for the land and environment, then no one does.

As to the state’s many complex public-policy challenges, like affordable housing, transportation congestion and inequality, we need the public and private sectors to work together to address these issues head on. That doesn’t so much require partisanship as it requires competent leadership.

While many Californians consistently express their pleasure with its current leaders at the polls, tapped-out taxpayers and businesses are voting with their feet and leaving the one-party state. Sadly, most who understand the destructive path the Democratic Legislature is on, have already left, not wanting front-row seats to the implosion, leaving little hope of overturning the irrationality that is California politics.  

The future exodus projections do not bode well for the state as across all counties, all age groups, and all races and ethnicities, about fifty percent of Californians are considering moving out.  Like rats leaving a sinking ship or major stockholders purging their portfolios, the smart ones are opting out of the failing enterprise called California.  The exodus is real.

Ronald Stein is founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure of PTS Advance, headquartered in Irvine, California.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily.


  1. There are TWO recall petitions in the works. Track one or both of them down and sign. It’s time for Pretty Boy Newsom to be booted out of office.

    • I’ve just about given up. People keep voting for these clowns. The state workers and the wealthy control the state.

  2. Govenor Gavin Newson said that he needs ALL OF THE WHITE PEOPLE to leave so they can make more room for Illegal scum mexicans.. This is what California has become. Me and my wife just left that fucked up state for Northern Nevada, just as pretty and NO STATE TAXES, we can’t believe how cheap it is to live here so all we have to say about MEXIFORNIA is BURN BABY BURN

  3. Shane Conway says

    What no one ever says about California is the utterly disgusting attitudes toward normal healthy people the state has shown. Yes, taxes and fees for everything and the ability to control every facet of our lives are contributing to the exodus from California. But what really angers me is the idea that the state, through the use of its education system, has begun to brainwash and indoctrinate our children. What other country on Earth tells their young they are not male or female? Stores are now allowing weirdos to enter and use whatever public restrooms they want. Homosexuals are now a protected class. Pedophiles have their own organizations that are fighting for them in changing our laws. Human decency no longer exists in California. Convicted felons are now being released back into society where they are continuing their antisocial behaviors. I left California because of all of the above. I watched. I spoke out. I wrote to my representatives. Even conservative legislators allowed themselves to be bullied by the liberals. Now it’s too late and literally millions of hard working, tax paying families have left for other states. California politicians are on record as wanting to change the rest of America so we all have to live under the same conditions as the west coast. If you flee California, please remember why you left and that there is no country left on Earth where we can go to live free. Take a stand and do not compromise anymore. That is what killed California and lead to the exodus in the first place.

  4. 68 years ago Born and raised in Cal . The only time I left the state was when I was in the Army. I am a conservative. Could not stand to see what was going on and I could not change anything. Looked at the wife and said we gotta go. Sold everything we could and moved to Georgia. Wish I could get my three kids and grandkids to move.

  5. Please know that there is only ONE PETITION. — not two!
    They cannot be combined. Just another ploy to defeat our purpose.
    Be sure you are signing the first one. Best to go to the local Republican Office in your area and sign there. Be sure you have the name as it was on your voter ballot.

  6. TheRandyGuy says

    Unless and until the top 1% of wage earners begin an exodus, Sacramento politicians do not care. Those 1% pay 50% of the income tax. The top 10% of wage earners pay 70%, so if middle/lower middle class residents leave, it has no effect on the money. The pols couldn’t care less. Unfortunately, the rich seem cemented in this state, so it’s up to individuals to decide to stay or leave because voters continue to elect liberals. We go in 2 years.

  7. Lived in California for a number of years. Remember when it used to be fun to live there. Left in 2012. When asked about California, I say it is like watching an old friend dying of terminal cancer. Sad but nothing can be done to stop it. Just a matter of time.

  8. Matt Slagg says

    When the Courts over turned Prop. 187 that was the day California surrendered to Mexico and the Cartels.
    I was born in the 50’s and starting in the late 1970’s the Illegal Mexicans began the takeover of the state. They control the economy and in less than 2 elections they will control the Socialist Democrat government of California.. I don’t care. I’m staying….I’m Old, Rich and well prepared to defend in space. Nobody lives forever. Bring it!!

  9. The problem is most of these Californians ( also New York ) have brought their high cost of living to Florida and now it’s crowded with these transplants and now in our state everything is going up and beginning to become too damn expensive to live here in Florida.. please turnaround and go back !!!!!!

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