Desire to exit California remains static, UC study finds

Traffic moves on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Traffic moves on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Associated Press file

A new University of California, San Diego, study shows that the number of Californians desiring to flee the Golden State has remained steady despite the pandemic.

A survey of 2,768 California voters found 23% are seriously considering moving out of state, compared to 24% in a 2019 survey by the University of California, Berkeley, the study says.

“Despite the popular notion of unhappy Californians leaving the state en masse, our robust research shows there is actually no exodus,” lead researcher Thad Kousser said in a statement.

The study found only a small gap between Democrats’ and Republicans’ responses, with 21% of Democrats considering a move, compared to 30% of Republicans.

By a 2-1 margin, respondents said they still believe in the “California dream,” that the state is a great place to raise a family, the study found.

Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans and younger Californians tended to be more optimistic of the state, the study said. White, middle-class, older and Republican residents tended to be more pessimistic.

The number of Californians who said they believe they live in the best state in the United States fell 8% — from 50% in the 2019 UC Berkeley poll — however.

Contrary to claims that millionaires are eager to flee California, the UC San Diego study found affluent Californians are among the most satisfied with the state’s direction.

A broader UC-led study also found that California draws more than half of the venture capital investments in the U.S., rising from the third it drew in 1995.

“The empirical data will be, at once, disappointing to those who want to write California’s obituary, as well as a call to action for policymakers to address the challenges that have caused some to lose faith in the California Dream.” UC Regent John A. Pérez said.

Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.