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Poor, Uneducated People are Leaving California … Here’s Why


EXODUS 2016--More people are leaving California than coming, and it is the poorest and least-educated residents who are leading the exodus, according to a new report from Beacon Economics and the independent nonpartisan organization Next 10. [[http://next10.org/sites/next10.huang.radicaldesigns.org/files/california-migration.pdf ]]

California saw a net loss of 625,000 residents from 2007-2014, and 469,800 of those people did not have a bachelor's degree. The vast majority earned less than $30,000 a year, lured away to cheaper states like Texas, Nevada and Oregon.

California’s high housing costs are becoming a bigger problem for the state’s employers, said the study’s lead author, economist Chris Thornberg.

“We do need to have an economy that’s welcoming to all different kinds of folks, not just the most well-heeled,” said Thornberg.

But while lower-income people leave, there’s been a net increase of 52,700 residents making over $50,000 a year who have a bachelor's degree. However, as Thornberg knows from personal experience, even those making relatively high wages have trouble affording housing in Southern California.

“I’m paying some of my master’s students $75,000 to $80,000 a year, and these guys don’t have a prayer of buying a house in West L.A.,” said Thornberg.

Housing prices are only expected to rise the next couple of years, according to the UCLA Anderson Forecast. 

The good news is employment growth has been strong, with California seeing some of the highest rates of post-recession job growth in the nation. 

“California has an employment boom with a housing problem,” said Thornberg.

The report notes that people in California spend more of their income on housing than anywhere else in the country.

(This Ben Bergman piece originated at KPCC.)

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