California conservatives are leaving the state in droves over what the LA Times describes as their "disenchantment with deep-blue California's liberal political culture," not to mention "high taxes, lukewarm support for local law enforcement, and policies they believe have thrown open the doors to illegal immigration."
Just over half of California's registered voters have considered leaving the state, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times. Republicans and conservative voters were nearly three times as likely as their Democratic or liberal counterparts to seriously have considered moving - 40% compared with 14%, the poll found. Conservatives mentioned taxes and California's political culture as a reason for leaving more frequently than they cited the state's soaring housing costs.
Former Californians Richard and Judy Stark had no regrets as they left their Modesto home, towing a U-Haul trailer with their Volkswagen SUV 1,300 miles to Amarillo, Texas. After finding the website Conservative Move, the Starks put their home up for sale around six months ago and bought a newly constructed three-bedroom home in the suburb of McKinney for around $300,000. According to Stark, a similar home in California would cost around twice as much.
"We're moving to redder pastures," said the 71-year-old. "We're getting with people who believe in the same political agenda that we do: America first, Americans first, law and order."
According to new Census Bureau migration data for 2018, 691,145 Californians left for other states last year, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
* Top destinations: In raw terms of people moving, the top spot for Californians is Texas, which got 86,164 Californians in 2018. Next came Arizona (68,516), Washington (55,467), Nevada (50,707), and Oregon (43,058). All told, California had the most exits among the state and that wave grew by 4% in a year.
* Largest net gain: Texas also had the largest "net gain" from California - more ins than outs - with 48,354. Next was Arizona (34,846), Nevada (28,274), Oregon (19,008), and Washington (17,460).
* Greatest ratio of ins to outs: Or look at the comings and goings as a ratio of ins to outs. Idaho wins this race with 497 arrivals from the Golden State for every 100 former Potato State residents who moved to California. Next was South Carolina (247 ins per 100 out); Texas (228); Nevada (226); and Arizona (203).
That said, the LA Times also notes that California is gaining people with higher incomes - most of whom have migrated to the Bay Area.
Over the last decade, the Legislative Analyst's Office report said, the state added about 100,000 residents with household incomes of $120,000 or higher. About 85% of these higher-income earners moved to the Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara.
The three-member Bailey family moved from California to Prosper, Texas in 2017 to get away from Southern California's steep housing prices. Bailey and her husband Scott owned a home in Orange County, while renting in El Segundo to be closer to Scott's work in Santa Monica.
"To buy a house there [El Segundo] is insane," said Marie. "It's like $1 million. Why are we working our butts off for a fixer-upper in El Segundo? We're just working, working, working - and for what?"
Bailey launched a Facebook group for people struggling with the same problems - "Move to Texas From California!", which boasts over 14,000 members. She says that most members are conservatives like her, though not all. As such, one of her rules is "no insulting or going overboard with political conversations."
"I wouldn't be one to put up a Trump sign, even here," said the 40-year-old Bailey. "But in your town Facebook, people would be like, 'We know who the Trump supporters are.' I had friends who voted for Trump and went to work the next day and pretended they didn't."
Bailey says she helped around 40 families migrate to Texas over the last year.
"There are hundreds more who made the move who didn't use my real estate services but are in the group," she said. "Tons and tons of families are moving all the time. People are posting photos of their families waving goodbye."
Nicole Rivers and her husband put their Clovis home on the market in April, and hope to close escrow soon. They plan on flying to Texas to look for a place to rent in the eastern part of the state, near Tyler, coming back to California and then driving to their new home.
Rivers, who recently quit her job as a medical assistant and phlebotomist, said the cost of living is so much lower in the Tyler area that she can afford to stop working and dedicate herself to being a stay-at-home mom.
Her husband works in the oil fields, she said, and was already splitting his time between his job in Pennsylvania and family in California. When he had the chance to transfer to Texas full time, they jumped on it.
The 37-year-old said she wants to live in a town where the family can save money and her husband can retire sooner.
"It's just too expensive here in California," said Rivers, a California native. The state's politics have "really gotten out of hand," she added. She doesn't support the state's restrictive gun laws, she said, or the controversial sex education framework California approved despite protests earlier this year. -LA Times
Between earthquakes, seasonal fires, high taxes, poo-covered streets, the worst homeless crisis in the nation, and transgender summer camp for children as young as four, what's not to love?