California has been experiencing a significant exodus of its residents, many of them moving to arguably quite dissimilar states, such as Florida, Texas, and North Carolina. The most salient difference between California and these states is political leanings; however, that’s not the reason people are leaving. The real reason is that California is simply too expensive. When asked where they would move if money were no object, the greatest percentage of people named California, at 27% of respondents.
This is definitely not where most people did move in 2022, but the responses of those people regarding their reasons for moving corroborate this idea. The two biggest reasons were better quality of life for 24% of respondents and lower cost of living or home prices for 23% of respondents. Note that respondents could pick multiple options, so they do not add up to 100%. Within quality of life, affordability was rated as the second most important factor, only below a safe neighborhood.
Along with California, New York and Illinois were also among the states that the greatest number of people left. The fact that these three states contain the three most populous cities in the country is probably not a coincidence. But this is not because people don’t like big cities. 40% of people would prefer to move to a city if they could, but many can’t afford it.