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New Research: People are Leaving SF, But Not California

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Key Research Findings
1. The share of movers that leave the state has grown slightly since 2015, from 16% to 18%, a trend that continued in 2020 with no marked increase.
2. Historically, the number of people leaving California tracks the number of people entering California, but this pattern deviated in Q4 2020, when 267,000 people left the state and only 128,000 entered.
3. There is no evidence that wealthy households are leaving the state en masse. Their rates of exit track trends in less wealthy areas.
4. Net exits from San Francisco from the end of March to the end of the year increased 649% as compared to the same period in 2019, from 5,200 net exits to 38,800.
5. Approximately two-thirds of people who moved out of San Francisco remained within the 11-county Bay Area economic region, and 80% remained in California.
6. Counties in the Sierra Nevada mountains and other parts of northern California saw huge increases in entrances by former Bay Area residents, with 50% and in some cases 100%+ more in-migrants in 2020 as compared to 2019.

https://www.capolicylab.org/news/new-research-people-are-leaving-sf-but-not-california/

 

We left the Bay Area ourselves at the beginning of 2020, but it had nothing to do with not wanting to be there any longer. We both would have preferred to have stayed, and in many ways riding out the pandemic would have been easier for us there, too. The virus just hit harder in this county. 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, laylalex said:

https://www.capolicylab.org/news/new-research-people-are-leaving-sf-but-not-california/

 

We left the Bay Area ourselves at the beginning of 2020, but it had nothing to do with not wanting to be there any longer. We both would have preferred to have stayed, and in many ways riding out the pandemic would have been easier for us there, too. The virus just hit harder in this county. 

 

 

headline is misleading

 

2. Historically, the number of people leaving California tracks the number of people entering California, but this pattern deviated in Q4 2020, when 267,000 people left the state and only 128,000 entered.

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Just now, Nature Boy 2.0 said:

headline is misleading

 

2. Historically, the number of people leaving California tracks the number of people entering California, but this pattern deviated in Q4 2020, when 267,000 people left the state and only 128,000 entered.

Headlines usually suck. But think about it -- why would there be fewer people moving in during Q4 2020? What was happening then not only in California, but everywhere, and what made that different from, say, Q3? We had a massive COVID spike after Thanksgiving, during a time when California was more or less completely shut down. This is different from Q3 in that while there was a big spike from July 4th celebrations, much of the state was reopening. You could get your hair cut, restaurants were open for outdoor service, etc.

 

There's another point that is useful:

Quote

The extent of any such exodus, and whether it proves to be temporary or permanent, is not yet clear — at least not in data sources traditionally used to quantify residential mobility. 

https://www.capolicylab.org/calexodus-are-people-leaving-california/

 

The table on that page has all sorts of figures to slice and dice. I was interested to see that there was less than 2% move rate in LA County.

 

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I appreciate your comment, nykolos. You say a lot of things that resonate with me.

 

I've also lived here most of my life, just four years at college in the Northeast and a six-month attempt to live in the UK. I happen to be pretty happy living here. It takes all sorts as they say. :)  I don't disagree with you about the taxes, and I don't vote for all tax increases. I take a measured approach and dig down into why some new tax is being raised. Sometimes I agree, and sometimes I don't. 

 

Our current housing fiasco is one that can be laid at the feet of both parties, starting back with Prop 13 (which deincentivized moving house and therefore keeping market supply artificially stagnant), but on top of that excessively restrictive environmental, planning and zoning regulations stymie the kind of expanded growth we desperately need. And then on top of that, there are monied and powerful NIMBYs of every political persuasion who just don't want any of the new housing anywhere near them, thanks. Coupled with the dismantling of public mental health institutions, and the wholesale dumping of homeless/newly-freed prisoners in our state from other states, we're stuck.

 

Or...? What has been interesting to me recently is seeing how the pandemic has made all sorts of things possible that previously weren't. The quick and relatively inexpensive tiny houses that have been going up in the Valley, for example, cost in the tens of thousands of dollars rather than hundreds of thousands. Mayor Garcetti is relaxing restrictions on the construction of accessory units (aka granny flats) on the grounds of existing homes. Just two housing examples that come to mind in the past couple of months in the county. The state needs to be open to more of these kinds of experiments, even if sometimes they fail. Because experimenting is how we come to solutions.

 

Prop 13 is another place though to look for why public education in this state is troubled. I am myself a product of California public schools, K-12. I had a great education, but I had two parents who made sure we lived in a city with an excellent reputation for public schooling, partly because of the tax base. There's probably more movement in and out of my little hometown of about 100k people because we're a city that lives and dies by the entertainment industry, and that involves people moving in and out all the time. People who are well paid buying expensive real estate. Move out, property gets reassessed, taxes go up, more to spend on the kids in school. A lot of my classmates had studio execs or professionals for parents (me too -- my parents are a doctor and a lawyer), and they had the clout and the money to agitate for good educations. But poorer areas with less home ownership, or fewer transactions outside of families and/or family trusts, mean the opportunities for increasing tax revenue are suppressed.

 

California schools are not the worst in the nation, though they can of course do better. (I was reading this morning by the way that Arizona's are next to last, can't recall who did the ranking.) We can't expect to draw blood from a stone, which means we do need to fund our schools properly, which does mean taxation. But what we need is greater equity across the districts. Somewhere like Mill Valley in Marin County is flush with cash, and they have excellent schools. Right down the road from me is Santa Monica High School, which my neighbors tell me is amazing. But a few miles away is LA, and we all know what LAUSD is like. Some gems, but a lot of disappointment, because there just isn't enough money to fund the schools properly. Now, that is not to discount all the mismanagement of funds in the LAUSD, or to say that Santa Monica/Malibu USD is perfection in how it runs itself. But more money does help -- better physical plant, more resources, etc.

 

With all that though, I do like it here a lot and genuinely can't imagine myself living anywhere but this state. We have opportunities to go back to the UK at some point, or move to NYC, but to be honest I don't want to. 

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I used to run the west coast a lot and remember that just to go to a national fast food place that an identical meal would cost about $1.50 more and going shopping anything would cost more than any other state and that included the northeast that had an overwhelming toll road system and an advanced mass transit system that was heavily subsidized.

 

It is the housing that is tragic in California in my opinion and very unnecessary. It may be the main engine that will force people to relocate if it is possible but unfortunately  one needs to save money to do that and savings can't happen when your pay is being confiscated. Now of course the state already has a high minimum wage and the state wants an even higher minimum wage boost that is inflationary and just will make the prices and rents to go even higher so with the mindset that has gotten them there in the first place they will have to revisit the higher minimum wage to combat that and so on. Of course that means that the taxes will need to be raised and that unemployment becomes higher. Businesses have to put off hiring more and/or let go of some employees.

 

What this causes is a slave class of citizens so yes the middle class is disappearing as the rich get richer and new rich come into being to soak up that extra money that will be flowing into the economy but they all become slaves to the system as the poor and middle class are now slaves just in order to survive and exist. So I hope that fantastic climate and whatever it is that makes California such a huge attraction is worth it. Personally if it is so fantastic in California then why do so many want to leave the plantation?

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5 hours ago, laylalex said:

Some gems, but a lot of disappointment, because there just isn't enough money to fund the schools properly.

I'll just touch on 2 points, I sharply disagree that School districts don't have enough money, most districts have more money than they know what to do with.. The Teachers Union con job is;  Always claim schools are broke, that teachers are underpaid and the poor children are left to suffer, all in a effort to increase more funding for TEACHERS and their fat pensions when a new proposition comes on the ballot every 2 years.  

 

As for Prop 13, I don't see any correlation with Prop 13 and property values, maybe you can explain that one to me..  Prop 13 benefited retirees and the elderly who were being taxed out of their own homes by this "caring" State of California, As property values increased, so did property taxes, Without Prop 13, their entire Social Security income for the year wasn't enough to cover their property taxes, so they were forced into mortgaging their home to pay property taxes, which is unsustainable, and they ultimately lost it.

 

OK, I'll make a 3rd point, you're absolutely right about low housing prices in some of the Valley's here, that might be a good option for many who work out of their home and don't need to commute to work,  and they don't mind the blistering summer heat and cold winters.

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22 hours ago, laylalex said:

 

 

 

Prop 13 is another place though to look for why public education in this state is troubled. I am myself a product of California public schools, K-12. I had a great education, but I had two parents who made sure we lived in a city with an excellent reputation for public schooling, partly because of the tax base. There's probably more movement in and out of my little hometown of about 100k people because we're a city that lives and dies by the entertainment industry, and that involves people moving in and out all the time. People who are well paid buying expensive real estate. Move out, property gets reassessed, taxes go up, more to spend on the kids in school. A lot of my classmates had studio execs or professionals for parents (me too -- my parents are a doctor and a lawyer), and they had the clout and the money to agitate for good educations. But poorer areas with less home ownership, or fewer transactions outside of families and/or family trusts, mean the opportunities for increasing tax revenue are suppressed.

 

California schools are not the worst in the nation, though they can of course do better. (I was reading this morning by the way that Arizona's are next to last, can't recall who did the ranking.) We can't expect to draw blood from a stone, which means we do need to fund our schools properly, which does mean taxation. But what we need is greater equity across the districts. Somewhere like Mill Valley in Marin County is flush with cash, and they have excellent schools. Right down the road from me is Santa Monica High School, which my neighbors tell me is amazing. But a few miles away is LA, and we all know what LAUSD is like. Some gems, but a lot of disappointment, because there just isn't enough money to fund the schools properly. Now, that is not to discount all the mismanagement of funds in the LAUSD, or to say that Santa Monica/Malibu USD is perfection in how it runs itself. But more money does help -- better physical plant, more resources, etc.

 

 

This always makes me shake my head.  How do we improve schools?  Spend more money....LOL

 

My wife was a teacher of Russian grammar and literature in Russia when I met her.  I made many trips to Russia and most visits I had the opportunity to spend time at her schools.  I met many of her teacher friends and the headmaster of one school.  It was quite obvious to me that these students were doing much better and working at a higher level than students in the US.  It had nothing to do with how much money was spent.  The classrooms were old with old wooden desks and a single chalk board.  Not much extra money available for education.  Very basic yet all these students were multi lingual and well prepared for university.  What was the difference?   Took me a little time to understand that the difference was discipline and a strong emphasis on the basics along with putting in extra time in school.  


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I grew up in SoCal, South Bay area.  I moved to the Bay Area in 1994 to 2002.  Worked in the city 2000-2002 before the company moved us to S. Florida.  Buying a house was just out of my reach back then in Calif. but I bought a house in Florida.

 

I ran across this video a few days ago.  What a shame.  The homeless issues remind me of Biden's border policies.  If you invite them, they will come, along with all of their problems.

 

 


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19 hours ago, nykolos said:

I'll just touch on 2 points, I sharply disagree that School districts don't have enough money, most districts have more money than they know what to do with.. The Teachers Union con job is;  Always claim schools are broke, that teachers are underpaid and the poor children are left to suffer, all in a effort to increase more funding for TEACHERS and their fat pensions when a new proposition comes on the ballot every 2 years.  

I don't claim to have a solution to schools here -- I only have my own experience, growing up in a relatively wealthy small city perched on the very edge of LA. The schools were unionized then and continue to be. But living in a middle class community with engaged parents who have time and money to be involved in their kids' schools is a different kettle of fish than where parents are working multiple jobs to keep a roof over their family's head. Inner city schools are left holding the bag, in my observation, for dysfunction in the greater community -- kids who aren't getting enough food at home, kids who are homeless, kids who are dealing with living in cramped conditions, often means more services are needed beyond the "regular" education. If there is so much money sloshing around -- and I mean this genuinely, because I really don't know -- how is the money better managed? I have myself been very frustrated these past few weeks watching LAUSD resist going back to school when my friends' kids in NYC are back already. My stepdaughter in England is back already, and England is not exactly in great shape virus-wise. I agree that the unions are too powerful, and protect teachers who should have been kicked out long ago. But what are concrete solutions that are also workable? It's not realistic to break the unions, but what can be done that is palatable to all stakeholders?

19 hours ago, nykolos said:

As for Prop 13, I don't see any correlation with Prop 13 and property values, maybe you can explain that one to me..  Prop 13 benefited retirees and the elderly who were being taxed out of their own homes by this "caring" State of California, As property values increased, so did property taxes, Without Prop 13, their entire Social Security income for the year wasn't enough to cover their property taxes, so they were forced into mortgaging their home to pay property taxes, which is unsustainable, and they ultimately lost it.

Prop 13 was a massive boondoggle that was made to look like it was protecting vulnerable homeowners. What it does is disincentivize people from putting homes onto the market -- when you sell your home and buy a new one, you're switching your lower property tax at your existing home for what is likely a significantly higher tax on your new home. As you know I'm sure, when a home goes back onto the market, it is reappraised, and the tax is then based on the reappraised value. So take people like my parents, who bought their home in 1990 for about $250k. But now they are paper millionaires -- my family home is worth well over $1m now because of 30 years of increased property values. Their tax is peanuts, really, especially compared to my mom's family back east, who pay WAY more in mill rates. If they were to buy a home that was even half the size of their current home in my neighborhood, they're looking at $750k bare minimum, unless they went for a condo. So they swap their big house and low tax rate for a smaller home and a whopper of a tax bill. No thanks!

 

How does this distort the market? Pretty simple -- supply and demand. If you have fewer people wanting to sell, demand outstrips supply, and prices go up accordingly. Yes, older people HAVE benefitted from Prop 13, but often times when it comes time to move out of their homes, they transfer to a living trust, and the reassessment is not triggered. The trust can then provide for another family member who is benefitted by the trust to use the home -- and the house stays out of the market, and no increase in tax is triggered. It benefits existing homeowners at the expense of first time buyers. 

 

Ugh, I want to address the last point but I have a phone call to make in 15 minutes! I will return to talk about the Valley. :D I am a Valley Girl, born and bred. This is a great discussion, really enjoying it!

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4 hours ago, Neonred said:

This always makes me shake my head.  How do we improve schools?  Spend more money....LOL

 

My wife was a teacher of Russian grammar and literature in Russia when I met her.  I made many trips to Russia and most visits I had the opportunity to spend time at her schools.  I met many of her teacher friends and the headmaster of one school.  It was quite obvious to me that these students were doing much better and working at a higher level than students in the US.  It had nothing to do with how much money was spent.  The classrooms were old with old wooden desks and a single chalk board.  Not much extra money available for education.  Very basic yet all these students were multi lingual and well prepared for university.  What was the difference?   Took me a little time to understand that the difference was discipline and a strong emphasis on the basics along with putting in extra time in school.  

We pay a lot for substandard Houston school district too. It is so bad the state trying to take over. Of course we know the problem is public school cookie cutter approach. Our private Catholic school is doing way better at a cheaper price. The teachers make less though but the ones I know would never teach at a public. We have several private schools nearby too that are way better. Shame people don't try to stop the bleeding and care about the kids but Liberal ideology wants slaves not productive citizens.

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