How Covid-19 Has Changed Where Californians Live

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California Today

The pandemic hasn’t pushed radical retired of the authorities arsenic overmuch arsenic rearranged wherever they reside wrong it.

Soumya Karlamangla

Nov. 30, 2021, 8:37 a.m. ET


Mandeep Bansal plays with his children extracurricular  their location  successful  the Sacramento suburb of El Dorado Hills.
Credit...Max Whittaker for The New York Times

Since the earliest days of the pandemic, we’ve been proceeding astir Californians abandoning their accustomed mode of beingness for greener, cheaper pastures.

There are the San Franciscans who weathered lockdown orders successful Lake Tahoe, and the Angelenos with caller godforsaken cabins successful Joshua Tree. Tales abound of Silicon Valley types moving location to Miami and Seattle, oregon renting acres of onshore successful Idaho.

The communicative goes similar this: The coronavirus and the quality to enactment remotely person fundamentally reshaped wherever we privation to unrecorded — and ample California cities, peculiarly Los Angeles and San Francisco, are not connected the list.

But is immoderate of that really true?

I’ll commencement with the abbreviated answer. There hasn’t been an exodus from California, but pandemic forces person shifted wherever radical reside wrong the state. Those patterns of relocation reflector what we were already seeing earlier Covid-19, but connected overdrive.

Here’s however this shakes out.

California’s colonisation declined somewhat successful 2020, but it wasn’t due to the fact that of a wide migration to different states. To blasted are coronavirus deaths, a little birthrate and less planetary arrivals.

In fact, 82 percent of Californians who moved past twelvemonth stayed successful the state, according to a study from the California Policy Lab. That fig has been fundamentally unchangeable implicit the past 5 years.

“A batch much radical are moving astir wrong the authorities than they are retired of the state,” Eric McGhee, a elder chap with the Public Policy Institute of California, told me. “That question tends to beryllium wrong a definite metropolitan area, and a batch of that is radical moving to suburbs and exurbs.”

Californians are apt to determination from Los Angeles to the Inland Empire oregon from San Francisco to the fringes of the Bay Area oregon the Sacramento region, McGhee said. That’s due to the fact that they privation cheaper lodging but don’t privation to extremity up truthful acold distant that they request to alteration jobs.


Credit...Lucas Foglia for The New York Times

It’s been that mode for a agelong time. These were the largest county-to-county nett migrations successful California betwixt 2015 and 2019, according to census data:

  • Los Angeles to San Bernardino (20,809 people)

  • Los Angeles to Riverside (13,949)

  • Los Angeles to Orange (11,879)

  • Alameda to Contra Costa (9,246)

  • Orange to Riverside (8,282)

  • Los Angeles to Kern (6,032)

  • San Diego to Riverside (5,892)

  • San Francisco to Alameda (5,469)

  • San Francisco to San Mateo (4,239)

  • Alameda to San Joaquin (4,134)

With the emergence of the pandemic successful 2020, immoderate of these trends kicked into precocious gear.

The Inland Empire tied Phoenix successful 2020 for the biggest summation successful households from migration nationwide, The Wall Street Journal precocious reported. The travel of humanity into Riverside and San Bernardino Counties accrued by 50 percent compared with the erstwhile year.

This reflects Californians’ tendency to flight the exorbitant location prices of much coastal regions. In Riverside County, the median single-family location terms successful August was $570,000, compared with $830,070 successful Los Angeles County and $1.85 cardinal successful San Francisco.

As my colleagues noted successful a caller analysis, pricey San Francisco experienced 1 of the astir important exoduses of the pandemic. While “migration patterns during the pandemic person looked a batch similar migration patterns earlier it,” that wasn’t the lawsuit for San Francisco, they wrote.

In the city, nett exits — the fig of radical leaving minus the fig of radical arriving — accrued to 38,800 successful the past 3 quarters of 2020, compared with 5,200 during the aforesaid clip the erstwhile year, according to the California Policy Lab report. The metropolis mislaid one-eighth of its full households past twelvemonth by immoderate estimates.

But possibly this is bully quality for those america of warring the story of a California exodus: Two-thirds of San Franciscans who fled landed successful different parts of the Bay Area and 80 percent stayed successful the state.

For more:


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Today’s question extremity comes from Curtis Ridling:

“For earthy quality I ne'er get capable of Yosemite during the fall, erstwhile colorful leaves adhd to the experience. The wintertime with snowfall puts a antithetic twist connected the parkland with a consciousness of quiescent not disposable astatine different times. Summer with its crowds is hard but the views are inactive determination arsenic you look up and spot climbers connected El Capitan.”

Tell america astir your favourite places to sojourn successful California. Email your suggestions to We’ll beryllium sharing much successful upcoming editions of the newsletter.

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Share stories of your children receiving their coronavirus shots and however it has affected your vacation plans. Please see your child’s name, property and metropolis of residence — and adjacent a photograph, if you’d like.

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One fortunate Californian is astir to go a multimillionaire.

All six numbers drawn successful Saturday’s Super Lotto Plus matched a summons sold astatine a state presumption successful Santa Clarita, KCAL9 reports. The victor volition assertion $38 million.

Happy holidays, indeed.

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