California, Here I Go — More Slowly

Interesting dispatch on population migration trends from the Census Bureau. California’s population outflow has diminished. Whereas in 2005 some 201,000 people have migrated from California, by 2005, that figure was down to 71,000. Why the drop? People who own houses and would like to cash out and head out, can’t sell them, at least not at prices they insist on, so that a family home in la-la land has become, not just a family’s shelter and its major asset, but in terms of mobility, a ball and chain. See Jennifer Medina and Sabrina Tavernise, Economy Alters How Americans Are Moving, N.Y. Times, October 28, 2011, at A12.

Note that these figures refer only to California residents who head out. They do not include immigrants from other countries. So this appears to be a gringo phenomenon, with many small towns in the Central Valley becoming increasingly Hispanic, with official business transacted in Spanish, rather than English. But remember, houses are still considerably more expensive in California than most anywhere else, so the motivation to move out of state may have gone dormant (pending sale of the ol’ homestead) but it’s there and likely to revive once the housing market in California improves. People have come to realize that California is being grossly misgoverned and is well on its way to insolvency. So why not cash out your quarter-million-plus home equity while you can, and move to another place where that money can buy you another home free and clear, with six figures left over tax free?

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