Why ‘Leaving California’ Is Rapidly Growing in Popularity

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Terry Gilliam, founder of the Facebook groups “Leaving California” and “Life After California,” has garnered more than 250,000 members combined who are looking to join the thousands fleeing the state or who have already left.

Since the first group was started in 2018, he said the groups have been rapidly gaining more members.

“I believe a million people will leave [California] this year. And I don’t see it slowing down if they keep doing what they’re doing,” Gilliam told EpochTV’s California Insider host Siyamak Khorrami in a Sept. 10 episode.

Around 367,000 people left California in the year leading up to July 2021, according to Census data, the highest domestic migration loss in the nation.

Gilliam said the reason people are moving is multifaceted. The cost of living, crime, homelessness, and climate policies are a few reasons families say they’re making the big move.

Nationwide, San Francisco and Los Angeles rank first and second, respectively, for cities with residents moving to other locations, Redfin reported in July. New York City, Washington, D.C., and Seattle round out the top five.

Cost of Living

California has one of the highest costs of living in the country. The average cost to own a home in August was more than $839,000, up from $707,000 in 2020, according to the California Association of Realtors. The U.S. national average is around $430,000.

“Most of the rest of the country you can go to a restaurant on a regular basis, because you have disposable income, because you’re not taxed to death,” Gilliam said. “And there’s not the regulation that they have here that that causes everything to be so expensive.”

California has an 8.8 percent corporate income tax rate, a 7.3 percent sales tax, and its highest individual tax rate comes in at 13.3 percent.

“What California is doing is they’re eliminating the middle class. There’s not going to be a middle class anymore,” he said. “You have the super wealthy who don’t care how much it costs to live here, because they love living here, and you’re going to have the poor who get everything subsidized.”

Crime and Homelessness

Safety is a major concern for many California residents.

“I will tell you that 98 percent of the people are thrilled that they left,” Gilliam claimed. “They can’t believe how great life is outside of California, just from being able to relax more, have a friendly neighbor, you know, walk down the street and not worry about a homeless person coming up.”

The Public Policy Institute of California examined the state’s crime trends in 2021 and found an increase in property and violent crime numbers—with homicides up by 17 percent—in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco.

“An increase in property crime in 2021, driven by car break-ins and auto thefts, returned property crime numbers close to pre-pandemic numbers,” the policy institute memo read. “The need to continue monitoring crime trends, investigating underlying causes, and identifying effective solutions remains high.”

Gilliam recalled an incident where a homeless person threw a cup of coffee at him as he was strolling through San Francisco. He has since moved from the Bay Area to Orlando, Fla.

Wildfires and Water Management

California’s management of its environment is also cause for concern, he said, pointing to the state’s wildfires as reason to be critical of the policies in place.

“In the 80s, when I first moved here, they had lots of controlled burns,” he said. “We had a thriving timber industry that cut down trees, but they ended all of that.”

Policy, not climate change, is causing the fires, he claimed. He also said the state is not building enough reservoirs amid drought conditions.

If leadership doesn’t make a drastic change, Gilliam said he believes more and more people will continue to join the so-called California Exodus.

About the Author

Jamie is a California-based reporter covering issues in Los Angeles and state policies for The Epoch Times. In her free time, she enjoys reading nonfiction and thrillers, going to the beach, studying Christian theology, and writing poetry. You can always find Jamie writing breaking news with a cup of tea in hand.

Article cross-posted from our premium news partners at The Epoch Times.

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  1. Californification won’t lose population. For every person who leaves an uneducated low skill person from some s hole country will replace them. These are the people they want, easily manipulated and they will vote Demoncrat.

  2. Prediction is not that hard. Rome fell because it went bankrupt, making promises based on expansion and booty to pay off its cooperating citizens.

    California will fall because it is already bankrupt, it has made promises based on nothing because they will just kill the people who got them into total power, they will murder the people they owe pensions to. its stupid to be allowed to be used by the khazarian mafia

    the km is the money mafia, they are world wide and they rule california.

    but not that much longer. mafias always fail, this one is ancient but they have no where to run now. km is also called nazis, communists, any elite group using deception and money for power and ocntrol is using ancient tactics of the khazarian mafia

    Khazaria was where modern day Ukraine is.

    Gee.

  3. WARNING: These people are toxic. Some have moved in my area of a (solid red) state. At first they’re happy and grateful to be in a welcoming, friendly place. But eventually they expose their true selves as arrogant Biden-voting libs who disdain, admonish, and impose their Democrat rules and policies on “ignorant bigot Trump voters”.

    If they move in your area, be rude and exclude them from social functions and business. Don’t sell them property. Encourage them to go elsewhere. Otherwise, they’ll take over and ruin everything.

    It’s like the scorpion and frog.

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