California is curiously alluring to those east of the Mississippi River.
My trusty spreadsheet tells me that California, when accounting for its nation-leading population, is the worst state at attracting new residents from elsewhere in the U.S, according to newly released 2017 census migration data. At the same time, just Michigan and Texas fared better, proportionally, at retaining their residents than California.
So, from where do these rare Californian newbies hail? And where do the modest number of exits from California go?
Its a good bet the few new neighbors you have come far. Meanwhile, a large share of those who departed didnt venture out of the West. Let my spreadsheet explain.
In 2017, 523,131 people came to California, a tiny 1.3 percent sliver of the states 39 million residents. All the Texas lovers should note the Lone Star state was last years top source for new Californians via interstate relocation, with 40,999 making the move West.
New York was the former home of Californias second-largest source of new residents (34,278) followed by Washington (33,143); Illinois (27,117); and then a border state — Arizona at 26,907.
As for outflow, 661,026 exited California, a scant 1.7 percent slice of the population. Texas — the second most-populous state — was the top destination for who departed the Golden State: 63,174 left for the Lone State state. Next came west-of-the-Rockies states: Arizona (59,233); followed by Washington (52,484); Oregon (50,109) and Nevada (47,513).
All these ins and outs add up to whats called a “net” migration score. Californias total net outmigration — more exits than arrivals — was 137,895 last year or 0.4 percent of the population.
On a state-by-state basis, though, California was looking good to folks east of the Mississippi.
Californias largest net in-migration was with Illinois as 11,071 more people came to the Golden State than exited to the Land of Lincoln. Then came New York (9,296); Virginia (6,653); Pennsylvania (5,146); and New Jersey (4,938).
Meanwhile, Californias biggest migration deficits had a Western flair.
The No. 1 state for net outmigration was Arizona, which added 32,326 more Californians than those who departed for the Golden State. No. 2 was Oregon where 29,561 more Californians came vs. exits to the Golden State. Next in the rankings came moves between Nevada, with California outmigration of 23,745; Texas (22,175); Washington (19,341); and Idaho (15,746).
California migration is a lot like fashion: What states are hot — and which ones are not — is often in flux.
This popularity measurement, for good and bad, is by no means uniform across the nation. When comparing last years state-by-state relocation trends with average migration habits for the previous seven years some intriguing patterns emerged.
Take Virginia, for example. It may be for lovers, as its old marketing lingo suggested, and it soon will be home to a new headquarters for retail giant Amazon.
But its also a hot spot for folks who want to be Californians.
Comparing 2017 migration with 2010-16 trends, California had 3,454 fewer departures to Virginia and 6,073 more arrivals. That adds up to a 9,526 net migration improvement, the largest among the states. By the way, Virginia in 17 was the No. 13 destination for departing Californians, and the No. 9 source for new residents.
California also picked up ground in Illinois, which has long suffered outmigration woes. There was a 6,138 net improvement for California, second-largest: 120 fewer departures to Illinois and 6,017 more arrivals. Illinois in 17 was the No. 12 destination and the No. 4 source for new Californians.
The next three states that California made progress on, migration-wise, might be a bit of a surprise.
No. 3 was Colorado, a 4,628 net improvement — thats 1,924 more departures but 6,552 more arrivals. Fast-growing Colorado was the No. 7 destination and the No. 6 former home state.
No. 4 was economic arch-rival Texas, with a 4,579 net improvement for California. Thats 1,976 fewer moves to Texas and 2,602 more arrivals. Texas — the second-most populous state — was No. 1 for both exits and arrivals.
And fifth was Wisconsin, a 4,249 net improvement — thats 991 fewer departures and 3,258 more arrivals. Wisconsin — with one of the nations most-educated populations — was the No. 33 destination for exiting Golden Staters and the No. 21 source for new Californians.
Of course, other states created noteworthy challenges for California. And that stiff competition is decidedly Western.
Arizona topped the list of folks outhustling California for residents. The Golden State was hit with a 15,419 net migration decline to this eastern neighbor. There were 6,877 more departures to Arizona than the average and 8,543 fewer arrivals. Proximity still matters, though, as Arizona last year was the No. 2 destination but also the No. 5 source for new Californians.
To the north, Oregon was No. 2 with a 14,059 net decline for California: 14,219 more departures far outpacing the 160 extra arrivals. Oregon in 17 was the No. 4 destination and the No. 10 source for arrivals.
Further north was No. 3 Washington, with a 10,050 net decline for California: thats 9,939 more departures and 111 fewer arrivals. Washington in 17 was both the No. 3 state for exits and arrivals.
And then theres tiny Idaho at No. 4, with a relatively stunning 9,362 net decline for California: departures up 9,448 vs. 86 more arrivals. Note that Idaho in 17 was the No. 10 state Californians moved to but just the 27th largest source for newcomers.
Then comes Florida, the third-most populous state. California suffered a net decline of 6,525 residents to the Sunshine State: 7,419 more departures vs. 893 more arrivals. Florida in 17 was the No. 6 destination and the No. 7 source for new Californians.
These migration trends make Floridas growing pull feel like an anomaly because California has a burgeoning attraction to Easterners living in relatively high-cost, urban states … while the Californian relocation preference grows for other more affordable, less-densely populated far Western states.
Check out this map with all the state-by-state migration details for 2017 …
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