Californians Fleeing to Other States — and Mexico

Some call it the “California Exodus” as over 360,000 residents left the state last year for greener pastures in Texas, Arizona, Washington — and Mexico.

Real estate brokers in Southern California report the trend over the past two years, especially among younger workers, to cross the border permanently. The pandemic-inspired move to remote work allows many more to live where they choose.

California officials report back-to-back years of a shrinking population, reversing a full century of population gains. The numbers crossing the border southward are eye-opening as many are choosing Mexico.

Inflation is a huge factor, according to experts. It is no secret that California has some of the highest housing costs in the country, and the disparity between homes and real estate in Mexico is startling to many.

Max Katz of the Baja Real Estate Group noted that a beach house or condo in San Diego has an untouchable price tag in the millions. If a buyer is willing to relocate southward, that dwelling may be as low as $200,000.

Foregoing beach houses and condos, regular living on the U.S. side is astronomically expensive. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Diego averages roughly $2,400 per month, and the median price to buy a home in the city is $850,000.

Mexican census numbers show approximately 1.5 to 1.8 million U.S. citizens live in the country today. Part of the migration comes from the children of Mexicans who returned, and some include retired snowbirds seeking sunshine and cheaper prices.

However, the census reports that many U.S. citizens moving to Mexico recently are younger people with families and few direct ties to the country. Experts say that, along with the obvious pull of a much lower cost of living, many are drawn by the less hectic lifestyle.

In fact, analysts say the vast majority of people still moving to California are either from other countries or the super-wealthy.

Even more than economic success, most people strive for quality of life. When hundreds of thousands are headed for the exits, that tells state leaders volumes. Whether they will listen, especially in California, is a different story.