24% of Renters are “Seriously Considering” Leaving California

Written by William Hale

A new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California illustrates ongoing dissatisfaction with the cost of living, as 24% of renters are “seriously considering” moving out of the Golden State. The average monthly cost of rent in California is $1,967, which is second in the US only behind Hawaii. What’s more, residents in only three other states dedicate a larger percentage of their income to rent at 32%. 

This bleak financial scenario has worsened as a result of the pandemic, subsequent lockdowns, and business closures. Prior to the pandemic, California had 900,000 more jobs than today, that means primarily low-skilled workers took the biggest hit from this loss. No wonder why 24% of tenants know someone in their household who has lost a job over this past year. 

Further examination of the poll points to several points of discontent from renters in particular. For example, 17% of renters worry daily about losing their job, 21% say they are working unstable hours, and 42% of renters say their job lacks career advancement opportunities. 

These figures are not likely to surprise those paying attention to certain trends, as liberal states have been exporting large swaths of people and businesses to historically conservative states like Texas and Tennessee in order to avoid high income taxes. According to NBC “The state’s four most populated cities — Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco — lost a combined 88,000 people in 2020.” And California recorded its first yearly population loss last year, with a total of 182,000 leaving the state. 

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer tweeted earlier this year that “The numbers don’t lie. People are leaving our state because it’s not affordable to live here.” Serious change will have to come from Sacramento if California wants to reverse this exodus.

Photo Cred: Brookings Instiution