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Press Release · August 21, 2000

Who’s “Movin’ Out” Of California?

The 1990s marked a major shift in the domestic migration trends that have long characterized California. During the past decade, as many as two million more people left California to live in other states than came here from elsewhere in the United States, according to a new analysis by the Public Policy Institute of California. During most of the 20th century, domestic migration was a larger source of the state’s overall population growth than international immigration. The reverse is now true.

In Movin’ Out: Domestic Migration to and from California in the 1990s, demographer Hans Johnson finds that most domestic migrants left the state in the recession years of the early 1990s. However, he finds that California was still losing as many residents to other states as it was gaining during the boom times later in the decade. Here are some of the study’s major findings.

  • Californians leaving the state are more likely than those who stay to be unemployed, to be less educated, to live in poverty, and to receive public assistance. In contrast, newcomers moving to California tend to have higher incomes and more education and are less likely to live in poverty or receive public assistance.

  • Seventy percent of the domestic migrants to and from California are white.

  • 430,000 more Latinos left California to live in other states than came here from elsewhere in the United States.

  • The flow of lower-income Californians, who account for many of the people leaving the state, was as great at the end of the decade as it was during the recession of the early 1990s. During the last half of the decade, nearly 25 percent of domestic migrants leaving the state were living in poverty.

Please call Victoria Pike Bond at 415/291-4412 or Abby Cook at 415/291-4436 for assistance or further information.

The Public Policy Institute of California is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to objective, nonpartisan research on economic, social, and political issues that affect the lives of Californians. The Institute was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett.