It’s been two-and-a-half years since we left California (though the two years we spent in the Sierra Nevada Mountains felt like we were living in another state, that is, until we drove 90 miles down to the flatlands to go to the Costco only to be reminded that the state has nearly 40 million people) and it looks like the net migration from California to other states that began a half-decade ago is continuing, as detailed in this story at the LA Times.
The demographics of California today more closely resemble those of 1900 than of 1950: It is a mostly home-grown population, whose future depends on the children of immigrants and their children, said William Frey, a demographer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“We used to say California, here we come,” said Frey. “That now has flipped.”
It was a different world in the 1950s and ’60s, when roughly half of Californians were drawn from other states by jobs and by visions of crystalline blue skies in January and beach parties in September. The state’s shining image was burnished by a public relations machine that pushed attractive suburban real estate and a wide-open field for business.
As domestic immigration slowed between 1970 and 2000, foreign immigration filled in the gap. But since 2000, even the state’s once-growing immigrant population has been frozen at 27% of total residents. Since at least 2005, more residents have left California than arrived here from other states.
What they don’t say here is that, with little net inflows, the state’s demographics continue to be transformed by the relative birthrates of its citizens and one can only imagine what the place will look like when that process goes on for another 10, 20 or 30 years.