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California's Population Drain

October 2023
Publication Documents

In a tri-state polling project conducted by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the Bill Lane Center for the American West, Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs, researchers examined economic migration out of California.

Key Takeaways:

  • California is losing population to Arizona and Texas at higher levels than ever before, including a greater share of college graduates and residents at all income levels.
  • Two-thirds of those who moved said that politics was not a factor in their decision, but the population loss has political consequences: California lost a congressional seat after the 2020 census.
  • California’s high cost of living has spurred many businesses and residents to leave the state, posing serious consequences for the state’s job market and fiscal outlook.
  • California’s environmental policies and mandates could fuel the economic and political exodus to more lenient states like Arizona and Texas.