A moving truck full of boxes from a home. Photo via iStock

(CALMATTERS) – Is there really such a thing as the California Exodus? The takeaway from a Wednesday report from the nonpartisan California Policy Lab: It’s complicated. The report found that while the Golden State is losing more than twice as many people to domestic migration than it did before the pandemic, the decline is largely due to fewer out-of-state residents moving in, not more Californians moving out. And the report doesn’t take into account international migration — which for more than a decade has helped California’s population grow, albeit at a slower pace than the rest of the nation.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • 38% fewer people from other states entered California in September 2021than in March 2020.
  • 12% more Californians left the state during that period — but that uptick is on pace with pre-pandemic trends.
  • All regions of California saw steep declines in people entering from out of state, but the impact was especially pronounced in the Bay Area, which saw a 45% decrease. (There was also a 21% increase in Bay Area residents moving to another state.)
  • By net moves, the most popular destinations for Californians leaving the state were Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Washington. Tennessee, Montana and Idaho saw the largest percentage increase in California arrivals, according to a San Francisco Chronicle analysis.

“If these trends continue, the implications for California are significant, ranging from federal funding allocations and tax revenues to how many seats we have in Congress,” said report co-author Natalie Holmes. “Population swings can have even more dramatic effects on local jurisdictions.”