The continued exodus from California in 2022 is a concerning trend with significant implications, especially from a conservative perspective. The latest U.S. Census data reveals that 817,000 residents left the state in 2022, resulting in an annual net loss of over 300,000 residents to other states. If this outmigration continues, California could end up losing even more than the already projected five congressional seats after the 2030 census. This would further diminish the state’s political influence and its ability to shape federal spending.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread adoption of remote work initiated a population decline in California for the first time in its history, leading to the loss of a single congressional seat in 2021 during the national reapportionment. The impact of this demographic shift on the state’s political and economic landscape cannot be underestimated, and conservatives are wary of the consequences.
California Governor Gavin Newsom’s response to this population decline has been somewhat dismissive, as he downplayed the issue by emphasizing a relatively small percentage decrease. However, the various estimates of population decline, whether it’s from Newsom’s Department of Finance or independent sources, consistently point to a downward trend. This is a significant concern for conservatives who see this as an outcome of the state’s high cost of living, lack of opportunity, and deteriorating public education.
The high cost of housing is a major factor driving Californians to consider leaving the state. Housing expenses weigh heavily on families, especially those with lower incomes, making it increasingly unaffordable for many to buy property and raise children in California. The consequence is a disproportionate outmigration of younger individuals and families seeking alternatives where housing costs are more manageable.
Moreover, the state’s public education system has been a point of contention. The poor performance of many California public schools, combined with the soaring cost of private education, leaves parents feeling compelled to seek better educational opportunities elsewhere. This dissatisfaction with the education system resonates with conservatives who have long advocated for more choice and competition in education.
In summary, the ongoing exodus from California has far-reaching implications for the state’s political influence and economic future. From a conservative perspective, it underscores the need for policy changes that address housing affordability, job opportunities, and education quality to ensure that California remains an attractive place to live and work.