About 130,000 more residents left California for other states last year than came here from them, as high costs left many residents without a college degree looking for an exit, according to a Bee review of the latest census estimates.
They most often went to cheaper, nearby states – and Texas. Since 2001, about 410,000 more people have left California for Texas than arrived from there. That’s roughly equivalent to the population of Oakland.
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California has seen more than 15 consecutive years of net resident losses to other states. The trend was sharpest at the height of the housing boom between 2004 and 2006. It slowed markedly during the housing bust but quickened again during recent years.
The state’s overall population continued to grow because the number of births exceeded the number of deaths by about 220,000 in 2017, according to the California Department of Finance. The state also added about 185,000 residents via net immigration from abroad.
But California is drawing more people than it is losing from one distinct demographic group – those with an advanced college degree. About 9,000 more adults 25 and older with graduate degrees came to California from other states than left for them last year, census estimates show.
In addition, about as many adults 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree but no master’s degree came to California as left for other states last year.
On the other hand, adults without a college degree left California in droves. Educational attainment is closely correlated with income – those with college degrees tend to earn a lot more than those without.