According to recent U.S. census data, over 500,000 people have fled California since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. High housing prices, natural disasters like wildfires and mudslides, high crime rates in cities, rampant homelessness, and high taxes are all cited as reasons for the exodus. The largest population declines occurred in San Francisco and Lassen County. San Francisco’s weak office market and the rise of remote work have also contributed to the departure of tech workers seeking more affordable housing elsewhere. Portland has also seen a significant decline in downtown activity due to safety concerns caused by the homeless population. The exodus of half a million residents from California represents a major shift in the state’s demographics and economy.
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