You Won't Believe How Many People Have Fled California

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File

California used to be the dream destination for Americans from all over the country and people from around the world. Now, for the first time, the state is shrinking.


I’m old enough to remember when the California Dream was just like the American Dream, only better, because it was in California. Glorious beaches, a Mediterranian climate, redwoods, the Pacific Coast Highway, a world-class education system, and room and liberty enough for everyone to find a home there. It was an almost magical kingdom, to coin a phrase.

Like millions of others, I dreamed of living in the Golden State someday. I made my way there from the Midwest at the tender age of 19. But even then, the writing was on the wall. Cheerful tolerance was giving way to progressive conformity, the schools really weren’t all that good anymore, the roads weren’t being taken care of, and everything was getting so damn expensive.

By 25, I’d had enough and left for Colorado. That was nearly 30 years ago, and California has been in decline ever since. About one in nine Americans call California home, and yet it’s also home to nearly one in three welfare cases.

Even as native residents (and more recent immigrants like me) started fleeing the state around the same time I did, the population continued to increase. Foreigners and out-of-staters still came in huge numbers.

There were 28.5 million people in the Land of Sunshine and Opportunity when I arrived there, and 39.5 million when COVID-19 struck from China in 2020. That’s a whopping 39% increase, outstripping the national population increase of 36%. And of course, Californians made up a huge and growing percentage of the American population.


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But for the first time since California became a part of the United States, its total population is shrinking.

The headcount actually shrank by more than 500,000 people between April 2020 and July 2022, according to a new report in the Los Angeles Times.

The actual number who fled is larger than that — over 700,000 — since hardy fools from other states and overseas still move in. The numbers moving out have reached such a Biblical exodus, it’s equivalent to someone taking my adopted hometown of Colorado Springs (metro population of about 750,000) and moving everybody somewhere else.

But in California, nobody had to move anybody — they’re moving out all on their own. They’re voting with their feet, with their small businesses, with their paychecks, and with their tax payments.

The question is whether the people and the government will learn from this and change, or whether they’ll double down on the progressive lunacy that’s been destroying the state from within.

Of course, it’s a question we already know the answer to.

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