The exodus from California accelerates

Californians are running away from their state, a trend that follows a faster pace since the pandemic.

Post pandemic, the exodus from California continues to accelerate. The population deciding to move to other states is increasing, while the population coming from abroad to settle there is decreasing. However, the opposite is true for states that were already attractive before covid, e.g., Florida, Texas and North Carolina.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has released a report on movements within the country. It is based on data provided by the moving company United Van Lines, which according to the institution is the most updated compared to other sources. In fact, it has updated data for the year 2021, which allows us to observe the behavior of internal migrations since the outbreak of covid. It also allows you to see if it maintains the trends that were there before, or not.

The great resignation and teleworking

Prior to covid, it had been observed that the rate at which Americans were changing states was slowing down. This is no longer the case. Covid has accelerated telework, and telework allows workers to decouple their home from their workplace. The rise of teleworking explains one of the social changes taking place: workers are leaving the big cities. They keep the salaries there, and leave for counties and towns with less stress and a higher quality of life.

Added to that is the 'big resignation': 30 million workers have left their jobs in search of better conditions. This is rational behavior, since those who have changed jobs have improved their salaries more than those who have stayed in their jobs. The great resignation may also be linked to the another social trend: migration between states, which has also accelerated.

Demographic bleeding in California

The United Van Lines data shows mostly the movements of entire families, rather than single professionals or students. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has compared pre-pandemic movements between 2018 and 2019,  with those between 2020 and 2021.

Thus, it is observed that the main migratory flow is from California to Texas. That has not changed with the pandemic. What has changed is that the number of people moving from Texas to California, which was the third largest migration trend before covid, is now the seventh largest. California's attractiveness has plummeted. Similarly, the same is true for those who went from Virginia to California: after covid that movement has been greatly reduced.

The main flows are from California to other states. Number one is from California to Texas, number two is California to Washington, number three to Florida, and number five to Virginia. Another strong migration flow, which has accelerated in the wake of the pandemic, is that of New Yorkers moving to Florida.

Trends are accelerating

Another way of looking at this, which also allows comparisons between states, is to look at the relative weight of the currents to and from a state. For example, before the pandemic, 56.3% of the migrations corresponding to the state were to settle in the state from other states. And 43% were in the opposite direction: outward. After covid, these two percentages have been equalized (51.4-48.6%).

The demographic attrition of the most progressive states is accelerating. This is the case of California: the exodus was 56.2% of its migratory movements, and after covid it is 59.4%. States that were already receiving an influx of population from other parts of the United States, such as Florida, Texas and North Carolina, are now seeing a greater increase in immigration over the rest of the country post-pandemic.