No, this isn’t another one of those tired threads about somebody in California wanting to have their state split apart or secede from the union. (Although if you’d like to, don’t let us stand in your way. Please feel free.) Rather than the state of California leaving the USA, this story is about Californians leaving their own state for greener pastures. As it turns out, a recent poll indicates that it’s a pretty popular idea. So popular in fact that a majority of residents have “seriously considered” it. (L.A. Times)
Just over half of California’s registered voters have considered leaving the state, with soaring housing costs cited as the most common reason for wanting to move, according to a new poll.
Young voters were especially likely to cite unaffordable housing as a reason for leaving, according to the latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times. But a different group, conservatives, also frequently suggested they wanted to leave — and for a very different reason: They feel alienated from the state’s political culture.
Republicans and conservative voters were nearly three times as likely to have seriously considered moving as their Democratic or liberal counterparts — 40% compared with 14%, the poll found. The conservative voters mentioned taxes and California’s political climate as a reason for leaving more frequently than they cited housing.
51% is a pretty significant amount by any measure. How badly are things going in your state when literally half of the population is looking at fleeing?
Well, this is California we’re talking about, so we already knew conditions were less than ideal. But the ideological breakdown in reasons why people would like to leave tells an interesting if probably predictable story. Republicans and conservatives cite the toxic political climate of the state (along with the huge tax burden) as reasons for wanting a change of scenery. Liberals and Democrats, particularly the younger ones, blame the high cost of living and impossibility of ever being able to afford a home.
It’s tough to blame them when it comes to the cost of living in general and housing in particular. The Times article notes that the median cost of a home in the SoCal region around San Diego is $535K… and that’s not even for a particularly nice house. In the Los Angeles area, it’s more than $600K. Twenty percent of California residents spend half of their income on housing.
But it’s not just the taxes and the skyrocketing housing prices. All the major cities are facing a homelessness crisis that’s driving away tourism dollars and making entire neighborhoods unsafe, dangerous waste dumps. This has led to increased crime rates. Let’s face it… California Dreaming has turned into a California nightmare unless you’re rich enough to avoid all of these unpleasant factors.
But how did things get this bad? Well, the same block of voters keeps electing the same family of officials who keep cooking up schemes that cost massive amounts of money. That has to be paid for somehow, so the taxes continue to rise. Meanwhile, the competition for housing continues to drive prices higher. The one blessing they may encounter if all of these people really do start leaving is that plenty more homes will open up and perhaps the prices will start coming down. Assuming there are enough people around to buy them.