“New research released today by the nonpartisan California Policy Lab finds that contrary to suggestions about a mass exodus from California, most moves in 2020 happened within the state,” according to a press release from the organization.
“’While a mass exodus from California clearly didn’t happen in 2020, the pandemic did change some historical patterns, for example, fewer people moved into the state to replace those who left,’ explains author Natalie Holmes, a Research Fellow at the California Policy Lab and a graduate student at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. “At the county level, however, San Francisco is experiencing a unique and dramatic exodus, which is causing 50% or 100% increases in Bay Area in-migration for some counties in the Sierra.”
“Key Research Findings
1. The share of movers that leave the state has grown slightly since 2015, from 16% to 18%, a trend that continued in 2020 with no marked increase.
2. Historically, the number of people leaving California tracks the number of people entering California, but this pattern deviated in Q4 2020, when 267,000 people left the state and only 128,000 entered.
3. There is no evidence that wealthy households are leaving the state en masse. Their rates of exit track trends in less wealthy areas.
4. Net exits from San Francisco from the end of March to the end of the year increased 649% as compared to the same period in 2019, from 5,200 net exits to 38,800.
5. About two-thirds of people who moved out of San Francisco remained within the 11-county Bay Area economic region, and 80% remained in California.
6. Counties in the Sierra Nevada mountains and other parts of northern California saw huge increases in entrances by former Bay Area residents, with 50% and in some cases 100%+ more in-migrants in 2020 as compared to 2019.”