Where have all the Californians gone?

California ranks #49 in domestic migration, edging out only New York, according to data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of people from other states moving to California (468,428) falls far short of the number of people leaving the state (562,343), extending a multi-year trend.

Last year, the most popular destination for departing Californians was Texas, which became home to over 10% of 562,343 people who left California in 2011. Generally, former Californians stay close to home, opting for a state in the west. Popular destinations include Arizona (49,635), Nevada (40,114), Washington (38,421), and Oregon (34,214). Outside the western United States, former Californians found homes in New York (25,761), Florida (22,420), and Virginia (19,371).

California nevertheless continues to serve as a popular destination for people moving from one U.S. state to another. On this measure, California follows only Texas (514,726 new move-ins) and Florida (498,597). However, adjusting for existing population drops California from number 3 to dead last among of all 50 states and Washington D.C. Only 1.26% of California’s population moved into the state from another U.S. state during 2011, behind Michigan (1.42%), New York (1.47%), and New Jersey (1.61%). By this measure (new move-ins divided by existing population), Washington D.C. is the most popular destination in the U.S. with 7.86% of its population moved from another state during 2011.

Data underlying figures reported in this post are available through Census.gov’s American Community Survey. See Table 1. State-to-State Migration Flows: 2011, available here.

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