Every California county sees drop in new residents from out of state: study

State News

People gather in Griffith Park near the Hollywood sign on Oct. 7, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(KTLA) – Fewer people have moved to California from other states since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the number of Californians leaving to other states has gone up, a new study released Wednesday found.

Every single one of California’s 58 counties has seen fewer people moving in from out of state since the end of March 2020. Declines were especially steep in San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

The study by the nonpartisan California Policy Lab found that the number of people moving to California dropped 38% at the end of September 2021, compared to the end of March 2020.

Meanwhile, the number of residents leaving to other states increased 12%. That’s roughly in line with pre-pandemic trends, according to the researchers. The number of people leaving California and heading to other U.S. states had already been climbing since at least 2016.

The exit rate of movers has increased in 52 of California’s 58 counties, the study found.

“Taken together, these two trends mean that population loss due to domestic migration has more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic,” California Policy Lab found.

It’s not just people leaving California; fewer people have moved to the Golden State from other states since the start of the pandemic.

“The public’s attention has been focused on the so-called ‘CalExodus’ phenomenon, but the reality is that the dramatic drop in ‘CalEntrances’ since the pandemic began has been a bigger driver of recent population changes in the state,” said the report’s co-author, Natalie Holmes.

The study also found that by the end of September 2021, Californians in most counties were less likely to move than before the pandemic started.

The researchers used anonymized credit bureau data to calculate entrances and exits from California since the start of the pandemic.

California Policy Lab said the data is one of the best ways to measure mobility in near-real-time, but because researchers relied on adults with credit histories, the sample is older, more financially advantaged and less racially and ethnically diverse than the overall population. 

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