Is everyone moving out of California? It sure seems like it. The Golden State is filled with iconic landmarks, breathtaking scenery, dreamy beaches, and unique employment opportunities. Heck, it’s even the nation’s frontrunner when it comes to state economics. Yet more than 117,000 moved out of California in 2021, marking a decline for the second year in a row — and putting its total population back to where it was in 2016. And recent polls by the U.C. Berkeley and U.C. San Diego researchers indicate that half of Californians have considered moving out of the state — not to mention the millions that have already made the jump.
Sacramento and the Bay Area, specifically, are some of those California locations with plenty of migrants. About 80 miles, or a little over an hour, away from each other, this mega-region has seen a decade of change in just two years, according to Bernadette Austin, the Executive Director at the U.C. Davis for Regional Change. But why are so many people moving out of this area? And where are they moving to? Let’s take a closer look.
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All that glitters isn’t Golden State
When you think of California, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? Is it the high cost of living? Same. That’s likely one of the main reasons people are relocating from Sacramento and the Bay Area. In fact, a lot of the reasons why people are moving out of the state, in general, apply to this specific area. Let’s take a look.
Cost of Living
Compared to the rest of the nation, Cali’s cost of living is 42.2% higher — the third highest in the country after Hawaii and New York. Yes, salaries are generally higher here, but that doesn’t mean much if you still can’t afford everyday essentials.
Zillow.com reported the typical home value in Sacramento was $517,612, as of May 2022. The San Francisco Bay Area? A whopping $1.65 million! Compare that to Texas, for example, with a typical home value of $308,628, and you can see why housing may play a huge factor. Thinking of renting instead of owning? The average rent isn’t much better. For a one-bedroom apartment, it’s around $1,800 a month in Sacramento and more than $3,200 a month in San Francisco. That alone can concrete your decision to move — and move fast!
It’s not just about earthquakes anymore. Now you have to worry about environmental issues like climbing heat indexes, uncontrollable wildfires, and seemingly unending droughts. In fact, the summer of 2022 marks the third year in a row of an excruciating drought in California. And those wildfires? They’ve caused people throughout the state to shut themselves indoors for months on end, just to avoid breathing in the unhealthy air. Does that sound like the California you know and love?
Over the past couple of years, there’s been a huge shift in the workforce. Because of all the quarantining taking place during the pandemic, companies have really jumped on the remote working bandwagon — and it doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. Why is this a huge perk for Californians? They can keep their jobs, salaries, and benefits, but live in much more affordable places throughout the nation. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?
|Insider Tip: Looking for work-from-home options? Check out these best places to live and work remotely in 2022 — and these states that will pay you to move there!|
On to greener (and more affordable) pastures
So when leaving California, where do most people go? Well, according to research from UCLA, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada are the top destinations they’re flocking to.
Texas is one of nine states that doesn’t have state income tax — adding a nice boost to your budget. Typical housing costs in Texas, as mentioned above, are also significantly lower than in the Bay Area and Sacramento Valley. And, of course, you just can’t beat that southern charm!
The overall cost of living in Arizona is much lower than in California. For example, according to CNN’s Cost of Living Calculator, you’ll only need a salary of $52,100 in Phoenix to match a $100,000 salary in San Francisco. The economy is flourishing in Arizona, as well, as many large, international companies are setting up headquarters in Phoenix. And if it’s breathtaking landscape attractions you’re after, Arizona can deliver in droves.
This state isn’t just about Las Vegas! Cheaper housing and no state income tax are among the many pluses, too. You also get more land for your money as well as a less densely populated space. And the slower pace of living? It may be something you’ll quickly realize you were actually longing for. Sounds like a no-brainer!
|Insider Tip: Thinking about Sacramento moving options but still want to live in a similar area? You can! What city is similar to Sacramento? It’s Phoenix! A minor difference is you’ll have warmer temperatures year-round. A major change? That would be the thousands of dollars you’ll likely be saving each year on the cost of living. Not a bad trade, huh?|
Making the leap
When you’ve figured out where your next moving adventure is going to take you, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to Bay Area and Sacramento moving companies. But whether you’re moving one state over or across the country, finding the right company starts with deciding what type of move best suits your situation.
Full-service movers will handle it all for you, but typically at a high price — especially if you want them to pack and unpack your belongings.
Renting a moving truck will be a much more economical option than full-service movers. But are you willing to take on the responsibility of driving that big truck yourself? All that way? And paying extra fees (insurance, gas, etc.) with very restrictive timelines? No pressure, right? Yikes!
PODS moving and storage containers offer built-in storage with every move, making every relocation a flexible one. You pack and load and unpack and unload when you want. And when you’re ready, your container will be delivered to your new place (no driving required on your part!) or stored at a secure PODS Storage Center for as long as you need. Basically, wherever — and whenever — your move takes you, PODS has you covered, so you can focus less on moving your things and more on exploring your new neighborhood!
For more insight into the best places to move, how to get there, and more, check out the PODS Blog.
Kiran Bahl is a freelance writer who loves discovering how to make something better yet simpler at the same time. She lives happily and peacefully amongst her family and enjoys dessert every day — especially after meeting a writing deadline early.