News and Commentary

EXODUS: California Exiles Are Flocking To Nevada, Data Show

Data continue to demonstrate that many Californians are growing weary of their state’s highly regulated, fiscally confiscatory, infamously left-wing governance. As the libertarian Cato Institute noted in its most recent “Freedom In The 50 States” rankings:

California is one of the least free states in the country, largely because of its long-standing poor performance on economic freedom. Given this, it is likely no surprise that the Golden State is the most cronyist state in the union. …

Despite Proposition 13, California is one of the highest-taxed states in the country. California’s combined state and local tax collections were 10.8 percent of adjusted personal income. …Local taxes are about average nationally, while state taxes are well above average. …

Regulatory policy is even more of a problem for the state than fiscal policy. California is one of the worst states on land-use freedom. Some cities have rent control, new housing supply is tightly restricted in the coastal areas despite high demand, and eminent domain reform has been nugatory. The state even mandates speech protections in privately owned shopping malls. Labor law is anti-employment …

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal profiled the extent to which Californians are increasingly willing to flee their state and its government’s overbearing nature. The Journal reports:

California has been losing more residents than it gains from other states for years, even though its population of 40 million keeps growing from births and foreign immigration.

But the outflow has accelerated lately. Net migration to other parts of the U.S. from the nation’s largest state was more than 100,000 in 2015, 2016 and 2017, according to the Census Bureau. Total emigration from California to other states between 2006 and 2017 was 1.24 million, according to the Census Bureau, third highest in the nation behind only New York and Illinois.

One locale where Californians seem to be relocating en masse is the rapidly growing Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nevada. As the Journal notes, Henderson’s population increased 20% over the past decade to more than 300,000 — which now makes it Nevada’s second most populous city, surpassing Reno. Incredibly, according to Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles data as reported by the Journal, a whopping 56% of Henderson’s explosive growth between 2013 and 2017 came in the form of California exiles.

Henderson’s growth is not without downsides for local citizens. The Journal continues:

Henderson is feeling some growing pains from the California influx. Schools are becoming crowded. Enrollment in the Nevada State High School at Henderson rose to 350 from 200 three years ago and is at its full capacity, school officials say.

Two more campuses of the state charter high school system are in the works in Henderson, said John Hawk, chief operations officer for the school district.

It remains to be seen how Nevada, presently a purple/light blue state, will be politically affected by this influx of disaffected Californians.

But in Texas, the nation’s most iconic red state, it has recently become a common refrain within conservative political circles to lament their state’s own influx of Californians. Last September, in the midst of his tight U.S. Senate reelection campaign, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) warned supporters at a rally that Texans “are seeing tens of millions of dollars flooding into the state of Texas from liberals all over the country who desperately want to turn the state of Texas blue. They want us to be just like California, right down to tofu and silicon and dyed hair.”

Today, at National Review, Kevin Williamson spoke for many conservative Texans when he wrote: “You crazy Californians are going to love Nevada. Please don’t come here.”