Natalie Holmes and Evan White at the California Policy Lab:
News reports, anecdotes, and preliminary research have speculated about whether there has been an exodus from California during the COVID-19 pandemic. The implications of population changes, such as federal representation and federal funding allocations, are significant. This policy brief uses the University of California Consumer Credit Panel (UC-CCP), a dataset containing residential locations for all Californians with credit history, to track domestic residential moves into and out of California at a quarterly frequency through the end of September 2021. This brief updates our spring 2021 analysis that used data through December 2020.
Since the pandemic began, California has lost population due to domestic migration, mostly because fewer residents moved here from other states. At the end of September 2021, entrances to California were 38% lower than at the end of March 2020. Exits, following a dip early in the pandemic, have rebounded and are now 12% higher than pre-COVID levels — on pace with pre-pandemic trends.