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University Of California Study Finds No Evidence Of A 'Cal Exodus'

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A new study by University of California researchers has determined that no, there is no "Cal exodus."

The most recent census resulted in California losing a congressional seat for the first time due to slowing population growth. And while some high-profile technology companies and at least one billionaire publicly left the state, a poll of 3,000 people determined there was no evidence of an abnormal increase in residents planning to move out of the state.

Santa Monica Pier remains closed on April 10, 2020 after sunset in Santa Monica, California, where the Stay-At-Home order has been extended from April 19 to May 15 amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

"Sliced and diced by geography, race, income and other demographic factors, our efforts have produced a clearer picture of who perceives California as the Golden State versus a failed state," UC Regent John A Perez said in a statement. "The empirical data will be at once, disappointing to those who want to write California's obituary, as well as a call to action for policymakers to address the challenges that caused some to lose faith in the California Dream."

The key findings of the study determined that a majority of Californians still believe in the "California Dream" and that the state's economy attracts as much venture capital as all other states combined. Residents are indeed moving out of state, but not at unusual rates, and there is no evidence of "millionaire flight" from California. Out of those surveyed, only 23% of people said they were seriously considering leaving the state, about the same number from 2019.

The study also found that while there has been an increase in migration out of San Francisco, those residents are staying in the 11-county Bay Area economic region, with 80% of them staying in California. In fact, counties in the Sierra Nevada mountains and other parts of Northern California have been on the receiving end of these former Bay Area residents.

Further south, the percentage of people considering moving from San Diego and Orange counties was lower than any other region in the state at 17%.

"Despite the popular notion of unhappy Californians leaving the state en masse, our robust research shows there is actually no exodus," Thad Kousser, lead researcher of the most recent survey and chair of the political science department at UC San Diego, said in a statement.

UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego, Cornell University and Stanford University researchers were part of the population pattern research project, delving into data sources like public opinion data, the U.S. Census, consumer credit histories, home ownership rates, venture capital investments, and information from the Franchise Tax Board.

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