Special Report

Where People From California Are Moving to the Most

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For much of the last 100 years, California has been one of the fastest growing states in the country. Since overtaking New York as the most populous state in 1964, California has doubled its population, which now stands at 39.5 million. However, the era of explosive growth that once defined the Golden State appears to have ended. 

According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, California is losing residents faster than any other state. In 2021 alone, more than 841,000 people moved out of California to live in a different part of the country – over a quarter of a million more than the number who left New York, which reported the second highest rate of outbound migration. 

Reasons any given individual or family may decide to move are often personal. However, some circumstances unique to California are also pushing people out. According to a recent statewide poll, these include concerns over the economy and the state’s high cost of living. 

Such concerns are not unfounded. California had the highest unemployment rate in the nation in 2021, at 7.3%. Additionally, goods and services in the state are about 12% more expensive on average than they are nationwide, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Partially as a result, hundreds of thousands of Californians moved to a new state in 2021 – and some parts of the country drew in far more ex-Californians than others. (Here is a look at the best states to live in.)

Using data on state-to-state migration flows from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states the most people from California are moving to. The 50 places on this list – Washington D.C. and every state except California – are ranked by the share of residents in 2021 who lived in California in 2020. For each state and Washington D.C., we also reviewed net population change from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021 with data from U.S. Census Bureau’s Population and Housing Unit Estimates program. 

Read on to learn where people from California are moving to the most.

The top five states on this list – Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington – took in over 40% of all Californians who moved within the U.S. in 2021. Four of them either border California, are located along the Pacific Coast, or both. Texas, the only top-five state in a different region, is drawing in new residents from all over the U.S., as its population increased by 326,390 from mid 2020 to mid 2021, the largest increase of any state – and it is the most popular state of all for California transplants. 

These five states each had a stronger job market than California in 2021, and all have a far lower average cost of living. (Here is a look at the cities that will add the jobs by 2060 according to economists.)

50. Delaware
> People from California who moved to Delaware in 2021: 116 (0.01% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +12,693 (+1.28%)
> Total 2021 population: 994,669

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49. West Virginia
> People from California who moved to West Virginia in 2021: 368 (0.04% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -5,894 (-0.33%)
> Total 2021 population: 1,767,792

48. Vermont
> People from California who moved to Vermont in 2021: 1,043 (0.12% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +4,079 (+0.63%)
> Total 2021 population: 641,007

47. North Dakota
> People from California who moved to North Dakota in 2021: 1,525 (0.18% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -1,584 (-0.20%)
> Total 2021 population: 764,638

 

46. South Dakota
> People from California who moved to South Dakota in 2021: 1,670 (0.20% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +8,365 (+0.94%)
> Total 2021 population: 884,616

45. Mississippi
> People from California who moved to Mississippi in 2021: 2,259 (0.27% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -8,555 (-0.29%)
> Total 2021 population: 2,919,574

 

44. Kentucky
> People from California who moved to Kentucky in 2021: 2,599 (0.31% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -856 (-0.02%)
> Total 2021 population: 4,460,646

43. Wyoming
> People from California who moved to Wyoming in 2021: 2,605 (0.31% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +1,878 (+0.33%)
> Total 2021 population: 573,476

42. Rhode Island
> People from California who moved to Rhode Island in 2021: 2,857 (0.34% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +640 (+0.06%)
> Total 2021 population: 1,085,539

 

41. New Hampshire
> People from California who moved to New Hampshire in 2021: 2,984 (0.35% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +8,918 (+0.65%)
> Total 2021 population: 1,377,638

40. Maine
> People from California who moved to Maine in 2021: 3,349 (0.40% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +13,681 (+1.00%)
> Total 2021 population: 1,360,264

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39. Alabama
> People from California who moved to Alabama in 2021: 3,369 (0.40% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +18,484 (+0.37%)
> Total 2021 population: 4,989,797

38. Louisiana
> People from California who moved to Louisiana in 2021: 3,430 (0.41% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -24,566 (-0.53%)
> Total 2021 population: 4,571,302

37. Alaska
> People from California who moved to Alaska in 2021: 3,808 (0.45% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +1,259 (+0.17%)
> Total 2021 population: 723,949

 

36. District of Columbia
> People from California who moved to the District of Columbia in 2021: 3,945 (0.47% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -2,077 (-0.31%)
> Total 2021 population: 661,026

35. Nebraska
> People from California who moved to Nebraska in 2021: 4,798 (0.57% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +912 (+0.05%)
> Total 2021 population: 1,939,700

 

34. Minnesota
> People from California who moved to Minnesota in 2021: 5,202 (0.62% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +1,619 (+0.03%)
> Total 2021 population: 5,645,866

33. Iowa
> People from California who moved to Iowa in 2021: 5,558 (0.66% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +7,118 (+0.22%)
> Total 2021 population: 3,159,672

32. Arkansas
> People from California who moved to Arkansas in 2021: 5,600 (0.67% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +13,927 (+0.46%)
> Total 2021 population: 2,990,311

 

31. Indiana
> People from California who moved to Indiana in 2021: 5,705 (0.68% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +24,733 (+0.36%)
> Total 2021 population: 6,729,771

30. Kansas
> People from California who moved to Kansas in 2021: 5,779 (0.69% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +3 (+0.00%)
> Total 2021 population: 2,900,594

 

29. Montana
> People from California who moved to Montana in 2021: 6,034 (0.72% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +19,152 (+1.76%)
> Total 2021 population: 1,093,888

28. Wisconsin
> People from California who moved to Wisconsin in 2021: 6,467 (0.77% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -16,170 (-0.27%)
> Total 2021 population: 5,838,954

27. Connecticut
> People from California who moved to Connecticut in 2021: 6,645 (0.79% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +25,993 (+0.72%)
> Total 2021 population: 3,571,470

 

26. Maryland
> People from California who moved to Maryland in 2021: 8,406 (1.00% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +1,405 (+0.02%)
> Total 2021 population: 6,099,715

25. New Jersey
> People from California who moved to New Jersey in 2021: 8,629 (1.03% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -3,728 (-0.04%)
> Total 2021 population: 9,174,117

 

24. New Mexico
> People from California who moved to New Mexico in 2021: 9,947 (1.18% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -1,713 (-0.08%)
> Total 2021 population: 2,092,251

23. South Carolina
> People from California who moved to South Carolina in 2021: 11,884 (1.41% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +61,418 (+1.20%)
> Total 2021 population: 5,142,137

22. Michigan
> People from California who moved to Michigan in 2021: 11,944 (1.42% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -32,073 (-0.32%)
> Total 2021 population: 9,950,336

 

21. Oklahoma
> People from California who moved to Oklahoma in 2021: 12,613 (1.50% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +26,313 (+0.66%)
> Total 2021 population: 3,943,443

20. Ohio
> People from California who moved to Ohio in 2021: 12,849 (1.53% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -33,175 (-0.28%)
> Total 2021 population: 11,660,200

 

19. Missouri
> People from California who moved to Missouri in 2021: 13,726 (1.63% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +15,825 (+0.26%)
> Total 2021 population: 6,102,443

18. Pennsylvania
> People from California who moved to Pennsylvania in 2021: 14,867 (1.77% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +17,619 (+0.14%)
> Total 2021 population: 12,842,522

17. Massachusetts
> People from California who moved to Massachusetts in 2021: 15,040 (1.79% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -6,039 (-0.09%)
> Total 2021 population: 6,916,314

 

16. Hawaii
> People from California who moved to Hawaii in 2021: 16,116 (1.92% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -3,889 (-0.27%)
> Total 2021 population: 1,426,298

15. Illinois
> People from California who moved to Illinois in 2021: 20,488 (2.44% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -100,111 (-0.78%)
> Total 2021 population: 12,544,435

 

14. Virginia
> People from California who moved to Virginia in 2021: 21,052 (2.50% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +20,894 (+0.24%)
> Total 2021 population: 8,557,020

13. North Carolina
> People from California who moved to North Carolina in 2021: 22,507 (2.68% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +116,440 (+1.11%)
> Total 2021 population: 10,446,881

12. Tennessee
> People from California who moved to Tennessee in 2021: 22,901 (2.72% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +42,732 (+0.62%)
> Total 2021 population: 6,899,165

 

11. Utah
> People from California who moved to Utah in 2021: 23,219 (2.76% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +55,328 (+1.68%)
> Total 2021 population: 3,295,561

10. Idaho
> People from California who moved to Idaho in 2021: 27,193 (3.23% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +55,112 (+2.98%)
> Total 2021 population: 1,879,719

 

9. Georgia
> People from California who moved to Georgia in 2021: 28,908 (3.44% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +58,201 (+0.54%)
> Total 2021 population: 10,688,429

8. New York
> People from California who moved to New York in 2021: 31,335 (3.73% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: -250,804 (-1.25%)
> Total 2021 population: 19,626,300

7. Colorado
> People from California who moved to Colorado in 2021: 33,648 (4.00% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +26,432 (+0.46%)
> Total 2021 population: 5,757,628

 

6. Florida
> People from California who moved to Florida in 2021: 37,464 (4.45% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +238,467 (+1.10%)
> Total 2021 population: 21,590,684

5. Oregon
> People from California who moved to Oregon in 2021: 51,623 (6.14% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +11,506 (+0.27%)
> Total 2021 population: 4,207,387

 

4. Washington
> People from California who moved to Washington in 2021: 57,576 (6.85% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +16,714 (+0.22%)
> Total 2021 population: 7,657,350

3. Nevada
> People from California who moved to Nevada in 2021: 62,437 (7.42% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +30,754 (+0.99%)
> Total 2021 population: 3,111,722

2. Arizona
> People from California who moved to Arizona in 2021: 69,432 (8.26% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +84,934 (+1.18%)
> Total 2021 population: 7,202,745

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1. Texas
> People from California who moved to Texas in 2021: 107,546 (12.79% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-yr. net population change: +326,390 (+1.12%)
> Total 2021 population: 29,170,380

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