Many Cal­i­for­ni­ans look at leav­ing state

Lodi News-Sentinel - - STATE - By Sarah Parvini

LOS AN­GE­LES — Just over half of Cal­i­for­nia’s reg­is­tered vot­ers have con­sid­ered leav­ing the state, with soar­ing hous­ing costs cited as the most com­mon rea­son for want­ing to move, ac­cord­ing to a new poll.

Young vot­ers were es­pe­cially likely to cite un­af­ford­able hous­ing as a rea­son for leav­ing, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley In­sti­tute of Gov­ern­men­tal Stud­ies poll con­ducted for the Los An­ge­les Times. But a dif­fer­ent group, con­ser­va­tives, also fre­quently sug­gested they wanted to leave — and for a very dif­fer­ent rea­son: They feel alien­ated from the state’s po­lit­i­cal cul­ture.

Repub­li­cans and con­ser­va­tive vot­ers were nearly three times as likely to have se­ri­ously con­sid­ered mov­ing as their Demo­cratic or lib­eral coun­ter­parts — 40% com­pared with 14%, the poll found. The con­ser­va­tive vot­ers men­tioned taxes and Cal­i­for­nia’s po­lit­i­cal cli­mate as a rea­son for leav­ing more fre­quently than they cited hous­ing.

“If the peo­ple who are giv­ing se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion for leav­ing are in­deed go­ing to fol­low through, the state will con­tinue to get bluer and bluer,” said Mark DiCamillo, the di­rec­tor of the Berke­ley IGS poll. “That has huge po­lit­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions.”

The find­ings come amid the slow­est pop­u­la­tion growth in Cal­i­for­nia his­tory — un­der­scor­ing shift­ing im­mi­gra­tion pat­terns, de­clin­ing birthrates, and the eco­nomic strains that make it harder for some to af­ford liv­ing here.

One in five Cal­i­for­ni­ans pay more than 50% of their in­come for hous­ing, ac­cord­ing to the state Depart­ment of Fi­nance.

In South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, the six-county re­gion’s me­dian home price was $535,000 last month, un­changed from Au­gust 2018, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Wed­nes­day from real es­tate data provider CoreLogic. The Los An­ge­les County me­dian price rose slightly to $619,000. The me­dian price in the nine-county San Fran­cisco Bay Area re­gion was $843,000.

The state’s fis­cal year bud­get — the largest in Cal­i­for­nia his­tory — in­cludes a $1.75 bil­lion pack­age to in­crease hous­ing sup­ply, fea­tur­ing plan­ning and in­fras­truc­ture grants to lo­cal gov­ern­ments, an in­vest­ment in the state’s hous­ing loan pro­gram and an ex­panded hous­ing tax credit pro­gram, among other ini­tia­tives.

The Berke­ley IGS poll found that 82% of the 18- to 29-year-olds con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the state cited hous­ing costs as a rea­son, as did nearly 80% of 30- to 39-yearolds.

“That’s huge,” DiCamillo said. “Those 65 and older prob­a­bly bought a house many years ago and it’s not that big of a deal. It’s less of a fac­tor for the se­niors.”

Younger peo­ple have a much higher like­li­hood of mov­ing out of state than oth­ers, said Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia de­mog­ra­pher Dowell My­ers.

“Peo­ple in their 20s and 30s who are also cit­ing a hous­ing prob­lem, we have to take them a lit­tle more se­ri­ously,” My­ers said. “At least rel­a­tive to the other age groups, those are the ones you have to worry about.”

The poll sug­gests some “real threats” to Cal­i­for­nia should those vot­ers ac­tu­ally leave, he said. “That im­pacts the young work­force. The old folks are grow­ing in num­ber, and you can’t have the young folks shrink­ing in num­ber.”

Two in three vot­ers polled said they con­sid­ered Cal­i­for­nia “a land of op­por­tu­nity,” though there are stark dif­fer­ences along party and ide­o­log­i­cal lines. About 82% of Democrats said Cal­i­for­nia was a land of op­por­tu­nity; only about 44% of Repub­li­cans said the same.

Jes­sica Mil­lan Pat­ter­son, chair­woman of the Cal­i­for­nia Re­pub­li­can Party, said the find­ings about her party’s mem­bers didn’t sur­prise her, list­ing rea­sons they might con­sider leav­ing: “Our fail­ing K-12 ed­u­ca­tion. Our af­ford­abil­ity cri­sis. Not be­ing able to buy a home. The home­less epi­demic.”

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