Shifting down south

California may be one of the most beautiful states in the country, but nobody wants to move there.

The Golden State was last listed dead on moving company U-Haul’s most recent list, not only because it has lost more residents than any other state (you’d expect the most populous state to be), but also because it failed to attract new residents to replace those who left. The state has lost hundreds of thousands of residents each year, but the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated migration, according to the study. The Bay Area, particularly San Francisco, saw most of the departures in the months after the coronavirus pandemic was declared a national emergency.

New York City, reputedly the most glamorous city the United States has to offer, saw a similar exodus. More than 3.5 million New Yorkers left the city between January 1 and December 7 last year, according to Unacast. But unlike California, New York was able to replace many of the residents who had left with a new demographic of lower-income residents who wanted to make a change and (at a reduced cost) increase the housing that had fled higher-income individuals, who fled to greener pastures.

Greener Pastures and Smaller Governments: The majority of people who were leaving for good moved to states with lower taxes, better property prices, and looser coronavirus restrictions. The Californians went to Texas and the New Yorkers to Florida.

Perhaps that is why Republican-led states like Texas are working hard to keep these new residents here. Texas recently announced that it is lifting all state-mandated coronavirus restrictions – not because state officials don’t take coronavirus seriously, but because they understand residents can follow the correct protocols without instruction.

“COVID didn’t suddenly go away,” Texas governor Greg Abbott said in a statement. “But government mandates are no longer needed.”

Florida was also a top travel destination for people looking to get back to normal.

“It’s a relief to be here,” said Connecticut-based advisor Boo Huth, 60, who traveled to South Florida in February.

In these states, restaurants are open, people are outdoors, and the precautions required by private businesses are reasonable. California and New York can’t say the same thing and lose people as a result. Perhaps that will change when the pandemic is finally declared over. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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