California Exodus Continues, Tennessee And Southeastern States Are Primary Destinations

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By Bethany Blankley [The Center Square contributor] –

As the California exodus continues, a new migration trend is occurring, with southeastern and Appalachian states taking the top spots as inbound migration destinations, according to new reports.

According to a new Consumer Affairs 2024 Migration Trends report, “California’s mass exodus continues to ensue,” with the South and Southeast region of the country being the “hottest regions for people moving.”

The states where the most residents said they were planning to leave are California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Washington. The most popular states with growth for inbound migration are North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Texas.

The report also highlights population growth and decline data, with California losing the most of nearly 10,500 and North Carolina gaining the most of over 3,500.

“People are considering leaving states with higher costs of living for those with lower costs,” according to the analysis. “The states with the highest net loss of migration, New York and California, are home to densely populated cities with notoriously high rent costs.”

While the surveys show a continued interest in Californians leaving for other states, the California Department of Finance estimates the state’s population loss trend could be slowing compared to the years since the COVID-19 pandemic began. They estimate California’s population rose by just over 67,000, marking a first since 2019. The state estimate doesn’t include undocumented residents.

The data also points to Northeastern and Midwestern states, like Illinois, experiencing “the biggest loss of people.” 

It attributes California’s “whopping net loss of 10,453 people” likely to “it’s steep cost of living,” noting that Los Angeles and San Francisco rank near the bottom of its 2024 Cheapest Places to Live list. New York City ranked last.

The data is from a survey of nearly 144,000 Consumer Affairs users who said they were interested in moving between January 2023 and March 2024 and identified where they were moving from and where they hoped to move. 

The data “covered migration patterns that the U.S. census has yet to release,” the report states. The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2022 that 8.2 million people moved from one state to another, with the majority moving to southern states, led by Florida and Texas. 

From 2020-2023, California reported a 1.4% decrease in population as Texas and Florida reported 4.7% and 5% population increases over the same time period, the Census reported.

A new report by PODS identified a similar trend as Consumer Affairs: more people are moving to the southeast, but they are also moving from hotspots in Texas and Florida for less expensive regions in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.

The latest PODS data suggests that many people have the Carolinas at the top of their lists as the best state to live in. 

“This year’s PODS long-distance moving data reveals that movers are swapping out previously hot move-to markets like Florida and Texas for spots in Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Georgia,” the report states. “More than 60 percent of the most moved-to cities were in these three southern states, with the Carolinas accounting for a whopping 30 percent of the top 20 cities with the most move-ins.” 

Last year, five of the top ten cities people were moving to were in Florida. That data has changed, with more moving to major cities in the Carolinas and the Appalachia region, the PODS report found. 

Florida lost its stronghold as the most popular state for move-ins, the report says—primarily due to skyrocketing insurance rates, overall decrease in home value appreciation, hurricanes and extreme weather events. “In other words, the risks and costs of owning a home in Florida may outweigh the reasons to move to Florida,” it says.

While Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature have taken measures to reform the insurance industry, since 2019, 12 home insurance companies have declared insolvency. According to an Insurify analysis, in 2023, Florida homeowners paid more than $8,500 higher premiums than the national average and homeowner insurance rates spiked 19.8% in the last two years.

While California cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco remain at the top of the list for the greatest number of move-outs, Austin, Texas, was new to the ranking this year, at 5th. 

“Rising rent prices, a housing struggle, high tax rates, and overcrowding are common issues in many of the cities that top this year’s move-out list,” the report states.

Citing Census data, Austin is “reporting a decline in net migration for the first time in two decades,” the report notes. “The main reason? Declining affordability, being priced out of housing, and a lack of space for new builds are being cited as leading factors. Moving to Texas doesn’t come with the same top-tier benefits it once did.”

Of the top 20 cities with the highest number of move-ins, only one was in Texas and ranked third: Houston.

About the Author: Bethany Blankley is a writer at the Center Square, Patheos/Hedgerow, political analyst and former press secretary at Capitol Hill / NY / WDC. Follow Bethany on Twitter@BethanyBlankley.

3 thoughts on “California Exodus Continues, Tennessee And Southeastern States Are Primary Destinations

  • June 4, 2024 at 9:19 pm

    Hope they’ve got sense enough not to foul the states they’re moving to.

  • June 7, 2024 at 9:59 pm

    When our family moved to Nashville, TN, in 1952 from Eugene, Oregon via Falls Church, VA, it was not for the purpose of converting to conservatism. My dad had received a job offer at Vanderbilt at the History Department to start up the Italian History Program and to build up that program’s book collection at the campus library to make it into a prestigious study program. He and my mother held pretty progressive values just as it turned out that several of his new Vanderbilt colleagues also held progressive views. Some of these progressive faculty members were native white male southeasterners. Indeed, they promoted progressive programs for Nashville and the rest of Tennessee with varying degrees of success throughout the decades. In fact, people like my dad who transplanted themselves to Tennessee helped make the state less conservative than it had been over seventy years ago. They continued to live in Nashville until just before 2000 when they retired to Santa Fe, NM until their deaths over a decade later. My point is that not all of us who chose to move to Tennessee from the West Coast were trying to convert to conservatism; many of us held on to our progressive values and even persuaded at least some Tennessean to reconsider their old beliefts.

  • June 17, 2024 at 2:56 pm

    Except for pregnant women who need an abortion for health and other reasons. They are leaving the Southeast in droves with or without their husbands and children since Tennessee and similar states refuse to provide them with decent medical care.


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