Not so Golden

California has long lured folks from across the nation. Many still come to the Golden State, but now more are flowin’ out than are flowin’ in:

Between 2004 and 2005, the migration flow into California from the other 49 states started flowing the other way. Data from the state Department of Finance shows that, for the first time this decade, more people left California in 2005 for another state than the number who moved in. Mary Heim, a finance department demographer, says this particular kind of outflow will continue for the foreseeable future. Unlike the tens of thousands who left Silicon Valley following the tech bust earlier this decade, the new migration is about the quest for something besides a job: a better quality of life at a lower cost of living.

Consider Wayne Brown. He took a $40,000 pay cut and moved from the Bay Area to Kansas:

It got to be too much last year for the college information-technology officer: the commute to downtown San Francisco that sometimes took two hours, the housing-price spiral and the high-wire borrowing that paid for it. “I would find myself sitting in traffic,” Brown recalled, “screaming at people.” When the Kansas job came up in early 2005, Brown and his wife, Teresa, sold two Bay Area homes and happily settled in a suburb of Kansas City. They have never looked back. … Brown, who lived in Dublin before he moved to Kansas, believes he did well in spite of his pay cut because the cost of living is so much lower in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park. He and his wife were able to cash out the equity in real estate they owned and get a jump on saving for retirement. Brown loved the Bay Area’s weather, but much of the time he had to enjoy it stuck inside his car. On weekends, he and his wife were often too tired from work and commuting to take advantage of the Bay Area’s cultural and recreational riches. “During the week, it was no life,” Brown said. “And really there was no way to relieve stress from work; it just continued on in my life.”

Mercury News article here. Note that the MN article says that 2004-2005 was the California’s first out-migration year this decade. In 2003, I pointed to a Census report that revealed that the Golden State was out-flowin’ from 1995 to 2000. (Somewhat) related: A 2005 LA Daily News piece by me