Despite allegations of a “mass migration” from California in the past year, a new study released Thursday from a non-partisan think tank showed that 2020 exits from the most populous U.S. state largely reflected historical patterns.
California Policy Lab, which works with state governments to provide data on key issues, said in a press release announcement of the report’s findings that most of the movements from California residents in 2020 took place within the state.
The group found that the most significant change recorded was a decline in the number of people moving into California.
However, the city of San Francisco saw a record number of people leave the entire coronavirus pandemic.
From last March to the end of 2020, net output from Northern California increased by 649 percent compared to the same period in 201
“While a mass exodus from California clearly did not happen in 2020, the pandemic changed some historical patterns, for example, fewer people moved into the state to replace those who left,” said Natalie Holmes, a fellow at the Policy Lab. and a graduate student at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley.
Holmes added: “At the county level, however, San Francisco is experiencing a unique and dramatic emigration that is causing 50% or 100% increases in Bay Area immigration for some counties in the Sierras.”
Since 2015, the proportion of movers actually leaving the state has crossed from 16 percent to 18 percent.
Evan White, CEO of Policy Lab at UC Berkeley, said that while the state has not yet seen evidence of affluent residents leaving the state in large numbers, exits from higher-income groups could have a negative impact on the state’s economy in the future.
“Unfortunately, because the state is heavily dependent on income tax on the wealthy, the departure of even a small number of wealthy people could have a negative impact on revenue if they are not replaced with new entrants,” White said in a statement.
The study is based on data from that University of California Consumer Credit Panel, which contains information about adults with a credit history who have lived in California since 2004.
The dataset includes a person’s zip code and credit information, which is updated quarterly, according to Friday’s press release.
Policy Lab defines a move as a change in zip code from one quarter to another, meaning that there may be delays in the data if an address change is not reported immediately.