Fewer Californians are moving to Texas, instead they’re going to Arizona and Florida

Oct 19, 2023, 6:00 PM

Jakob Howell, left, and Matt Brown load boxes belonging to Joyce and Anil Lilly into a moving truck...

Jakob Howell, left, and Matt Brown load boxes belonging to Joyce and Anil Lilly into a moving truck, Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in The Bronx borough of New York. The number of former Californians who became new Texans dropped slightly last year, and some of that slack was picked up by Florida which saw its share of ex-Californians grow, according to new state-to-state migration figures released Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The number of former Californians who became Texans dropped slightly last year, but some of that slack was picked up by Arizona and Florida, which saw their tallies of ex-Californians grow, according to new state-to-state migration figures released Thursday.

The flow of Californians to Texas has marked the largest state-to-state movement in the U.S. for the past two years, but it decreased from more than 107,000 people in 2021 to more than 102,000 residents in 2022, as real estate in Texas’ largest cities has grown more expensive. In Florida, meanwhile, the number of former Californians went from more than 37,000 people in 2021 to more than 50,000 people in 2022, and in Arizona, it went from more than 69,000 people to 74,000 people during that same time period.

California had a net loss of more than 113,000 residents last year, a number that would have been much higher if not for people moving to the state from other countries and a natural increase from more births than deaths. More than 343,000 people left California for another state last year, the highest number of any U.S. state.

Housing costs are driving decisions to move out of California, which with 39 million residents is the most populous U.S. state, according to Manuel Pastor, a professor of sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

“We are losing younger folks, and I think we will see people continuing to migrate where housing costs are lower,” Pastor said. “There are good jobs in California, but housing is incredibly expensive. It hurts young families, and it hurts immigrant families.”

Nevada also was a top destination for former Californians, but its gains dropped from more than 62,000 people in 2021 to more than 48,000 people in 2022.

The second-largest state-to-state movement in the U.S., from New York to Florida, remained almost unchanged from 2021 to 2022, at around 92,000 movers, according to the migration figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, which are based on American Community Survey one-year estimates.

There was a decrease last year in the outflow of former New Yorkers to New Jersey, dropping from more than 91,000 people in 2021 to more than 75,000 people in 2022. Year-over-year increases in former New Yorkers moving to Connecticut, Texas and Georgia made up for some of that cross-state drop.

Georgia was the most popular destination for residents leaving Florida last year and that outflow jumped from more than 49,000 residents in 2021 to more than 51,000 people in 2022.

Overall, more people living in one U.S. state moved to a different state last year in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic than they did in the previous year, though international migration was the primary driver of growth last year. In 2022, more than 8.2 million U.S. residents lived in a different state than they had in the previous year, compared to 7.8 million U.S. residents in 2021.

Among them were Evan Wu and Todd Brown, who moved from Corvallis, Oregon, to Honolulu in January 2022 for Wu’s job as an oncologist and cancer researcher, then at the start of this year to Southern California. Moving has been a constant for them in the past three years. In addition to Oregon, Hawaii and Southern California, they have lived in Baltimore and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Along the way, they added three daughters under the ages of 2 to their family.

They are now in the process of moving from Southern California back to Hawaii, and once that is done, they will have storage units in five cities with possessions they had to leave behind.

“I love moving, but Todd hates it,” Wu said. “I love the change of scenery. It keeps you on your toes and keeps you sharp.”

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Fewer Californians are moving to Texas, instead they’re going to Arizona and Florida