Earlier this month the Highland Community News lost reporter Corey Evan to another newspaper when he and his wife decided to join the California exodus and move to Oregon.

Like many others they decided the cost of living was just too high in California, and they set out to start a family elsewhere. It’s a growing trend that should bring alarm to the state.

According to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, California experienced two consecutive years of negative net migration in 2017 and 2018 and significant drop in positive net migration in 2016. Net migration has fallen every year since 2014. Domestic migration (state to state) has been negative for California since 2011.

It’s a shift from decades long trend of strong in-migration.

According to the data, approximately 38,000 more people left California then entered. California has yet to see a drop in total population thanks to births in California (about 480,000 in 2018) and international migration into the state.

In 2018, California’s population grew by almost 160,000, down from the growth of 300,000 each year from 2011 to 2015.

Surveys show the California’s high and rising cost of living to be among the top reasons given for domestic out-migration.

The fact that many are leaving for Texas, Utah and Tennessee hints that politics also plays a part.

The data also shows that the main groups leaving the state, ages 35 to 44 and 26 to 34, are the also the main groups raising families.

Total population in California is projected to begin dropping in the next decade.

The solutions posed are to either raise wages or to lower the cost of living.

State legislators need to reign in living costs by showing restraint when passing ever-increasing and costly regulations for businesses, utilities, transportation and municipalities.

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