Unlivable: Exodus from California Increases Due to Cost of Living

Zzyxx (KIDD99 / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
KIDD99 / Flickr / CC / Cropped

Crippling home prices, traffic congestion, high taxes and the rising cost of living have all contributed to an increase in “net outward migration” from California, particularly in the Bay Area.

“They are tired of the expense of living here,” Scott McElfresh, a certified moving consultant, told the San  Jose Mercury News. “They are tired of the state of California and the endless taxes here.” One Bay Area resident told the publication that living there was like being a “gerbil on a wheel.”

The Mercury News reports that over 61,000 more people have exited California for another state than the number of people who moved into the state over the duration of 12 months ending on June 30.

In addition, the Bay Area’s middle-class jobs are dwindling at a stunning rate. The Mercury News notes that a state labor report released on Friday reveals that in since 1989, the middle class has diminished by at least 10 percent, having accounted for 56 percent of all households in Silicon Valley that year, but dropping to just 45.7 percent by 2013.

The median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,490. The prices are creeping up in Southern California, too, where the median monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,000 in Santa Monica, $2,930 in Venice, and $2,550 in the rapidly up-and-coming downtown Los Angeles neighborhood.

The tech industry is often blamed for high rents and rising housing prices. Individuals working in that sector, who are typically better able to afford new homes or the cost of remodeling, buy in neighborhoods that have often been home to middle-to-lower-class residents, who are then faced with the challenge of relocation.

Such is the case with areas like the historically black Bayview-Hunters Point in San Francisco, whose population has been forced to move to less expensive areas. A growing number of middle-class employees, particularly in the service industry, are also struggling to pay rents in the cities where they live, and are relegated to longer commutes from cheaper.



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