Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus

Californiamap SC 275x300 Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus

‘California is God’s best moment,” says Joel Kotkin. “It’s the best place in the world to live.” Or at least it used to be.

Mr. Kotkin, one of the nation’s premier demographers, left his native New York City in 1971 to enroll at the University of California, Berkeley. The state was a far-out paradise for hipsters who had grown up listening to the Mamas & the Papas’ iconic “California Dreamin’” and the Beach Boys’ “California Girls.” But it also attracted young, ambitious people “who had a lot of dreams, wanted to build big companies.” Think Intel, Apple and Hewlett-Packard.

Now, however, the Golden State’s fastest-growing entity is government and its biggest product is red tape. The first thing that comes to many American minds when you mention California isn’t Hollywood or tanned girls on a beach, but Greece. Many progressives in California take that as a compliment since Greeks are ostensibly happier. But as Mr. Kotkin notes, Californians are increasingly pursuing happiness elsewhere.

Nearly four million more people have left the Golden State in the last two decades than have come from other states. This is a sharp reversal from the 1980s, when 100,000 more Americans were settling in California each year than were leaving. According to Mr. Kotkin, most of those leaving are between the ages of 5 and 14 or 34 to 45. In other words, young families.

The scruffy-looking urban studies professor at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., has been studying and writing on demographic and geographic trends for 30 years. Part of California’s dysfunction, he says, stems from state and local government restrictions on development. These policies have artificially limited housing supply and put a premium on real estate in coastal regions.

Read More at The Wall Street Journal. By Allysia Finley.

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  1. I was born in California but thankful I grew up in western Pa. California had the fifth largest economy in the WORLD not all that long ago but since the Progressives have taken over the state government, along with unions, the state is being driven down a hole. Strange that this state has a way out of certain bankruptcy but the Green Movement will not allow them to drill for the billions of barrels of oil off shore. Amazing how destructive the Progressives really are and along with their union thugs hold a strangle hold on this once dynamic state.

  2. Betsy K. Larsen says:

    30 years ago, my husband and I were going to move to California, but we didn’t have the money to get there. God must have known what was about to happen, for we wound up in Texas instead! So, I am glad, and deeply thankful that our money ran out before we got there. Since then, living in Texas, I have ran into severel people who have left California and came here to live. All with the reasoning that Texas is a better place to raise children, and that we have more “wide open spaces” than California. And our life styles are slower paced. Most of these people sing the praises of my state, and I am glad to have them, as long as they do not bring their “progressive” bullsh#( to Texas and ruin our beautiful state. We do have our own problems here, but we are still the best one so far, to live in, if one has to live in this nation of fools. Call us “rednecks” if you want, but we live decent lives mostly, and we still pray in public, and worship God in our churches as He should be worshipped. We still have schools that are decent to send our children to, mostly in the rural areas, and they still have rules that our children must go by, and some of them have dress codes, such as the one my son attended when he was in school. And he graduated at the top of his class, as did many of his classmates. We still fly our flags high and say the pledge of allegiance too. And I believe that we still pray before our football games……….I haven’t been to one since my son graduated, but I read our town newspaper, so I beleive we still practice this prayer before our games. We are a Christian state for the most part, and we as Texans, will hold onto our GUNS for a long time……we own the most guns, per captia than any other state. And that, I am proud of, as I am PROUD TO BE AN ADOPTED TEXAN! LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS! I am one who wishes that we would just break from the Union, and become that same REPUBLIC THAT I WRITE OF! Whatever we do, I hope that Texas stays TEXAS ALWAYS, BECAUSE I BELEIVE IN OUR LONE STAR STATE! I don’t even want to VISIT California now! No desire to at all anymore, golden or not, as the song goes “All that glitters is not gold”!

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