Richard and Judy Stark, a retired conservative couple, have decided to leave California, after spending most of their lives there.
The reason: According to Los Angeles Times, the Starks have become fed up with the Golden State’s liberal political culture, saying the state has high taxes, indifferent support for local law enforcement, and lax immigration policies.
A UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll indicates that over half of California’s registered voters have shown interest in leaving the state. Richard Stark, 71, came across a website called Conservative Move, which helps Californian conservatives move to redder states, such as Texas.
“We’re moving to redder pastures,” he said by phone. “We’re getting with people who believe in the same political agenda that we do: America first, Americans first, law and order.”
As the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported in 2018, in just nine years California lost around 2,5 percent of its total population, or 1 million residents, to domestic migration, with Texas being the most desired location. A Texas realtors study published in 2019, shows that in 2017 63,175 Californians moved to Texas.
However, over the last ten years, California has gained about 100,000 residents with large household incomes, $120,000 and higher. Around 85 percent of the new residents have headed for the Bay Area.
Other cases: Not all people are relocating because of their political views, says Ryan Enos, a professor of government at Harvard University. He added that most people seek quality schools, affordable housing and an overall better life.
“Actually moving is much more high-cost,” he said. “That doesn’t mean some won’t eventually move, but the evidence that people move solely based on politics is low.”
Marie Bailey and her husband, Scott, moved to Prosper, Texas, in 2017. They had been renting a place in El Segundo in southern California. “To buy a house there [El Segundo] is insane,” she said. “It’s like $1 million. Why are we working our butts off for a fixer-upper in El Segundo? We’re just working, working, working — and for what?”
“It’s just too expensive here in California,” said Nicole Rivers, a California native. She and her husband hope to move to Texas to look for a new place to rent. She added that the state’s politics have “really gotten out of hand.”
“There were so many stressors — traffic, taxes,” said Lisa Woolery. “The cost of living is so expensive. To fill up my tank here in Kansas is almost half of what it was in California. I feel like we get more for our taxes here than in California.” She added that “it was nice to come to a place where whether you were a Democrat or Republican, you feel respected.” She believes that Southern California is not a place where you can have or share a “differing opinion.”
“If I said I was a Republican, or I voted for Donald Trump, I would get comments like, ‘Oh, I didn’t think you were a racist,’” she recalled.
(Image courtesy of David Herrera)