Moving out: California cities are bleeding residents. How long will the trend last?  

Silicon Valley

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed like everyone knew a co-worker fleeing the Bay Area. Now, a new report out of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago shows just how much the exodus is gaining steam. Only Illinois ranked worse off than the Golden State when it came to moving vans heading for the border during the pandemic, according to the report, which focused on data from the moving company United Van Lines. In 2018-19, 56% of moves in California were families fleeing the state. In 2020-21, that figure jumped to nearly 60%. The state that was by far the biggest draw of California residents? It was Texas, the destination for more than 7,500 California families during the four years in the study, perhaps little surprise given that Silicon Valley’s tech giants like Oracle, Tesla and Hewlett Packard Enterprise picked up and moved their headquarters there too. California also continues to lose residents to Washington, Florida and Virginia while attracting consistently fewer movers arriving from those states. “Our cities have always competed with the suburbs to attract residents, but now they’re competing against every single other area in America,” said Matthew Kahn, an urban economics professor at USC and author of a recent book on the remote economy. “It’s San Francisco against Boise, Idaho, or Bozeman, Montana. We’ve never seen this before.”

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