Poor Californians migrating to other states, mainly Texas

By: Alexsis Beltran


A Texas-sized welcome is given to the increasing number of Californians choosing to migrate to the Lone Star State. This state boasts an abundance of opportunities regarding job outlook and residential areas that satisfy the needs of the Californians that are below the poverty line. (http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/06/california-is-too-expensive-for-poor-people/)

A report from the Sacramento Bee of U.S. Census Bureau found that California’s poorest population are migrating to other states- the most popular being Texas- since the early 2000’s. (http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Report-California-s-poorest-are-coming-to-Texas-10979832.php) In that time frame, many people are coming to the Golden State with college degrees and higher income. (http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article136478098.html)

More than 155,000 of these individuals moved from California to Texas from 2005 to 2015. (http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Report-California-s-poorest-are-coming-to-Texas-10979832.php) A fractional amount compared to the 2.5 million people that left California, while 1.7 million people along the same income level moved in from another states in that time frame, resulting in a net loss of $800,000. (http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article136478098.html)

“Why are people leaving? Economic reasons and the high cost of living are certainly a part of it,” said Hans Johnson, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. “For those people near the poverty line, California is not viable”, he said. (http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/06/california-is-too-expensive-for-poor-people/)

California has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation. (http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article136478098.html) There is intense competition for jobs.

“I just helped someone apply for a cashier position at CVS,” said Michael Bernick, a job training expert and former director of the state Employment Development Department. “Very competitive. The person I applied with failed, even though he has a college degree.” (http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article136478098.html)

He adds that San Francisco “is the best employment market in the state – and yet even here, the cashier jobs, the restaurant jobs, are getting tens of applicants for most positions.” (http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article136478098.html)  
As of early 2017, nearly 50% of Californian households are unable to afford the cost of housing in their local market and every local market in the Golden State has at least 30% households that cannot afford the local cost of housing. (https://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/reversing-decline-californias-workforce-housing/) The rising housing demand, the chronic undersupply, and the escalating prices have led to a statewide housing crisis. (https://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/reversing-decline-californias-workforce-housing/)

The rent-housing crisis in San Diego is well recorded as it shows the median rent and housing price change from $70,639 (U.S. Census) in 2007 to just $67,320 in 2016 without disregarding a nonessential 4.7% decline in the average household income. (https://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/reversing-decline-californias-workforce-housing/) It should be noted that a San Diego working family earning the median household income can only afford to pay $1,500 per month in rent or buy a home priced at $225,000. (https://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/reversing-decline-californias-workforce-housing/)

Reversing the decline in California’s workforce housing is a critical step in order to reverse the apparent financial crisis; however, the high cost of construction and lack of affordable housing subsidies for family housing projects has made such a goal harder to accomplish. (https://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/reversing-decline-californias-workforce-housing/)

As the lack of new housing construction continues to take a toll on many Californians, innovative measures that would incentivize cities and regions to produce more housing are sought.

Research by the McKinsey Global Institute indicates that the Golden State needs to add an estimated 3.5 million housing units by 2025 to meet the needs of its growing population. (https://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/reversing-decline-californias-workforce-housing/) It also denotes that the state is 49th nationally for housing units per capita. (https://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/reversing-decline-californias-workforce-housing/)

“The burden has been on the private sector to respond to market demand and make a profit, while working within our regulations,” said Dahvia Lynch, director of development services for the east San Diego County city of San Marcos. “We have to change or find a way within the framework to help them.” (https://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/reversing-decline-californias-workforce-housing/)

A report from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office argues that the housing affordability crisis is largely due to the community opposition to density, as voters in Encinitas recently rejected a ballot initiative that would have put their city in compliance with the state’s Housing Element Law, which requires cities to provide housing for every income group. (https://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/reversing-decline-californias-workforce-housing/)

“The city wants more housing that’s affordable, not more expensive condos,” said Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, “but the people in Encinitas don’t care about California’s housing crisis, they care about what affects them—‘traffic-ism.’ We hired a high-priced legal adviser to educate people about this issue, but it was double-edged sword”, she said. The mention of density bonus makes people in Encinitas blow up,” Blakespear added. “We will have to find a solution hand-in-hand with people it affects.” (https://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/reversing-decline-californias-workforce-housing/)

Sen. Scott Wiener, a freshman Democrat from San Francisco, introduced a bill that would remove some of the development restrictions and provide new housing in areas already planned for high-density development, with accommodation for low-income families. (http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-california-cities-will-have-to-make-it-1485196277-htmlstory.html)

Another proposal came from Sen. Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), whose bill targets the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which allowed property owners from rent-controlled jurisdictions to raise rent rates on units after they had been vacated by the last occupant, and such a bill will leave the responsibility of residential market pricing to the local government. (http://la.streetsblog.org/2017/03/07/state-legislators-put-californias-housing-crisis-in-the-crosshairs/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa-Hawkins_Rental_Housing_Act)

The takeaway is that the housing affordability crisis in California is the epitome of the great need of good planning in order to accommodate the disadvantaged income groups in our nation.


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