Census Map Shows Dramatic California Exodus
Census Map Shows Dramatic California Exodus

By John Seiler


Sometimes a map tells a dramatic story. That’s the case for the following map released March 30 by the U.S. Census Bureau. It shows net domestic migration for the United States, by county, for 2021-22. Each red dot shows 100 people leaving. Each blue dot shows 100 people arriving. For a larger version, click here.

(Screenshot via U.S. Census Bureau)

Americans are leaving in droves from the leftist, socialist cities and heading to areas with conservative state and local leadership. Before we examine California, just look at everywhere else: Detroit, when I was born there in 1955, enjoyed a population of 1.6 million. Now it’s down to 600,000, and keeps dropping.

Minneapolis was a beautiful city until 2020. But when leftist city and state leaders refused to quell the riots following George Floyd’s killing, with many buildings burned to the ground, it deteriorated rapidly, and people fled.

The Acela corridor in the Northeast—Washington, D.C. to Boston—also saw massive departures. All those cities and states have been ruined by leftist governance. In Nov. 2021, Virginia elected conservative Gov. Glenn Youngkin, so it may have a chance at recovery.

Even some large cities in conservative states people are moving to, such Texas and Florida, are seeing people flee. Dallas and Houston are red dots of people leaving, surrounded by blue-dot suburbs that have become refuges.

Florida has become so attractive, its big cities, such as Tampa and St. Petersburg, have enjoyed growth along with the smaller cities, with one exception—Miami, which people are leaving.

Denver, where many Californians moved to avoid the consequences of Golden State leftism—but then voted for leftist state and local politicians—now is a place to leave. Although much of the surrounding area still is growing.

Chicago is depopulating so fast it looks like it was bombed. So are St. Louis, Kansas City, Buffalo, and Cleveland. On the Left Coast, predictably Seattle and Portland, home of unpunished Antifa rioters, are shrinking fast.

California Exodus

Let’s turn to California. Here’s an isolated view of the Southwest.

(Screenshot via U.S. Census Bureau)

It’s just a mass of red dots, where people are leaving everywhere along the Coast. Some are moving inland to Riverside County, the only area in Southern California with blue dots. The incredible weather just isn’t enough to counter the state’s sky-high housing prices, record high taxes, failing schools, thousands of ridiculous new state laws, bizarre cultural decomposition, and general malaise.

Despite the desert heat, almost every area in Nevada and Arizona is growing, including their large cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix. Low taxes attract business, jobs, and people. California’s top income tax rate is 13.9 percent, with even the middle class paying 9.9 percent. Nevada has no income tax. Arizona’s flat income tax is just 2.5 percent.

Will it last? Nevada’s new governor is conservative Republican Joe Lombardo. Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has been in office since 2011 and followed Mayor Oscar Goodman, her husband. Originally a Democrat, since 2009 she has been an independent, and generally is pro-business.

For Arizona, fairly conservative and definitely pro-business Republican Gov. Doug Ducey just was succeeded, after a controversial election, by leftist Democrat Katie Hobbs. The loser, Republican Kari Lake, last week lost an appeal to the state Supreme Court challenging the 2022 election. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego is a leftist Democrat, but so far hasn’t done anything too anti-business.

In The Epoch Times in October 2021, I reported on my trip to Phoenix in “What Can We Learn from Arizona?” And “Arizona Growing Like 1980s California.” Arizona is growing so fast, there seems to be enough money flowing into state and city treasuries that there’s room for a lot of waste by leftists. At least for now.

COVID’s Effect

The map’s years, 2021-22, of course came after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Here’s the U.S. Census analysis from their report:

“The COVID-19 pandemic changed the U.S. population in many ways, including births, deaths and international migration. One of its more intriguing impacts was on domestic migration patterns.

“Some longstanding trends accelerated, such as outmigration from large urban areas in the Northeast, while other trends reversed, resulting in some small rural counties gaining rather than losing population.”

I’ve read a fair amount about previous pandemics, such as the Black Death of 1346-53 and the bubonic plague that hit London in 1665. The latter was the subject of Daniel Defoe’s “A Journal of the Plague Year,” likely based on the journals of his uncle, Henry Foe. It’s his second-best known book after “Robinson Crusoe.”

One thing that always happens is people, especially the wealthy, head out of the diseased cities for the clean air of the countryside. That also happened under COVID. Whether the pattern holds has yet be seen. But many people realized they could do their jobs from home, and home could be wherever they wanted.


Americans always have been highly mobile. Don’t like it where you are? Move. It’s a little dismaying the main three areas I’ve lived in, except when I was in West Germany while in the U.S. Army, all are shrinking: Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Orange County, Calif. Was it something I said?

All suffer from the same malaise: Highly expensive, intrusive, centralized government. Even in Orange County, somewhat isolated from the rest of California for decades, three of five county supervisors are leftists.

That means the exodus only will accelerate.

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