September 23, 2017
California exports poor, wealthy move in
California exports more than commodities such as movies, new technologies and produce. It also exports truck drivers, cooks and cashiers.

Every year from 2000 through 2015, more people left California than moved in from other states. This migration was not spread evenly across all income groups, a Sacramento Bee review of U.S. Census Bureau data found. The people leaving tend to be relatively poor, and many lack college degrees. Move higher up the income spectrum, and slightly more people are coming than going.

About 2.5 million people living close to the official poverty line left California for other states from 2005 through 2015, while 1.7 million people at that income level moved in from other states – for a net loss of 800,000. During the same period, the state experienced a net gain of about 20,000 residents earning at least five times the poverty rate – or $100,000 for a family of three.

Not surprisingly, the state’s exodus of poor people is notable in Los Angeles and San Francisco counties, which combined experienced a net loss of 250,000 such residents from 2005 through 2015.

The leading destination for those leaving California is Texas, with about 293,000 economically disadvantaged residents leaving and about 137,000 coming for a net loss of 156,000 from 2005 through 2015. Next up are states surrounding California; in order, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.

All told, California lost about 260,000 economically disadvantaged residents to the 10 states with the lowest cost of living during that time period, compared to a net gain of about 40,000 from the 10 states (other than California) with the highest cost of living.

Losing impoverished residents to other states is better for the state’s economy than losing wealthy residents, some experts said. But they said the migration itself is a symptom of deeper social problems largely related to how expensive California has become.

“Why are people leaving? Economic reasons, the high cost of living, are certainly a part of it,” said Hans Johnson, senior fellow at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. “For those people (near the poverty line), California is not viable.”

By some measures, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation.

Poverty is associated with issues ranging from high crime rates to an increased likelihood of health problems. If someone puts most of their money toward rent, it leaves them with less money for hospital bills or essentials – so society steps in and picks up the slack, at a cost. (Source: Sacramento Bee)
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