Saturday, December 27, 2008

California Diaspora

Californication is a phenomenon at least two decades old. States such as Colorado and Washington have well established antipathy towards the real estate refugees in search of a more affordable life. That out-migration from California is now news is, well, news:

A noted historian, Joel Kotkin, recently wrote that the net out-migration of residents indicates a state in deep trouble — trouble that will only get worse because of state government’s dysfunction, and the widening gap between California’s rich and poor.

At the same time, however, a study released by the Pew Research Center adds credence to California’s reputation as the place to be — still. While Californians are often depicted as rootless souls in search of the next good wave, the plain truth is that nearly three-quarters of the folks born in this state stay here.

The curious element is that Californians need reassurance that there isn't an exodus going on. Immigration has, for quite some time, kept the state from being America's capital of shrinking cities. And a 75% immobility rate is not worth celebrating.

IF Pittsburgh is sincerely interested in "filling the talent pipeline", then the region should try to tap into this out-flow. I've heard that Pittsburgh could use more software programmers. Look no further than Los Angeles. Pittsburgh has strong links there and the talent could further fuel the growth of the emerging economic niche of distance-trust technologies.


John Morris said...

Isn't the 75% immobility rate exagerated? California is a very big state so chances are that a lot of people move around within it. Seems like a bit of a "damn lie" type statistic. For example the huge housing bubble in inland California was fueled by a lot of internal migration from cities like LA.

Jim Russell said...

Only Texas, North Carolina and Georgia have higher rates of native-borns still living in the state.

Your "big state" theory makes some sense given the above data sound byte. The story doesn't talk about the state in-migration rate. We are left to our own imaginations as to why the current rate of out-migration seems to be a problem.