Sunday, April 14, 2019

What happens if California tanks?

An able and well respected blogger contends that States across the Union will be monkey-hammered by mouth-breathing, un-employable morons when California goes totally in the ditch and become uninhabitable. He contends that virtually all of the people who migrated from other states to California are leeches, louts and lay-abouts.

I was stung by the assessment. My youngest brother lived in California for a while and I think he is a pretty smart guy.

I suspect that the blogger was thinking back to the Dust Bowl years and the migrants who traveled to California from the Dust Bowl to start a new life. Few of those migrants were highly educated or "skilled". He undoubtedly read Of Mice and Men (written by John Steinbeck, a California author) and subconsciously thinks all non-Californians are Lennie Small.

My gut feel is that migration from 1980 onward were primarily skilled workers seeking higher pay scales rather than less-skilled people seeking manual labor or welfare benefits. Let's get real here: Who wants to compete with illegal aliens for wages?

Testing the blogger's theory is difficult because the data regarding the educational attainment of people who migrated to California from other states is either non-existent or highly fragmented.

The best I could do was to look at US Census data and segregate state-of-origin for California inward migration.

The easiest data to use was 2010-through-2016, seven years data. I am going to commit a statistical sin and multiply it by 3.0 to make it look like two decades of migration. I speculate that is the high-end of the raw number of people who would leave California. Many are bound by family ties to stay in California. Many don't have the means to move.

States who sent the most
Geography is destiny, at least as far as California inbound migration. Value listed is number who migrated from ( (2010-through-2016) TIMES 3.0 / sending state's population ) expressed as a percent.
States who sent the fewest

All east of the Mississippi River. Most have great football and/or basketball teams.

Deep-diving those states who sent the most to California as a percentage of their population:
Nevada: Nevada economy is highly coupled to California economy. Nevada is a tough place to grow a garden. Leaving California for Nevada is trading the frying pan for the kettle.

Alaska: Tough place to live. I wonder how many of the migrants from Alaska originally lived in California and decided to commune with nature in Alaska before being slapped in the face by reality.

Hawaii: Many fragilities when primary economic drivers are tourism and military. Some islands might be OK for the end of civilization as we know it, others not-so-much. Might be wise to learn Mandrin as a safety net. Just saying, living in Hawaii puts a target on your chest.

District of Columbia: Great place to be when the Empire implodes. Not!

Arizona: Beautiful state. Population over-shot carrying capacity. Shares a border with Mexico.

Oregon and Washington: Yup, many of them will go back.

Deep-diving those states that sent relatively few to California:
It is difficult to believe that any state would struggle to absorb 2% more people.

Most of the locals will be happy when there is more access to doctors and veterinarians and mechanics and welders. It might drive down wages in those professions.

The other states:


  1. One argument could be the brightest and best have left California OR are in the process of leaving. So...perhaps half of whats left are either un-educated or lazy or true believers. ( Some are just semi-responsible and/or cant imagine getting a similar job elsewhere or are taking care of family that cant or wont move)

  2. I left Cali twenty-five years ago. I tried a lot of the South but only Nevada had the culture I was comfortable with AND affordable land AND any jobs. I didn't have land to sell in Cali so it was all pay as you go on low wages. From my perspective, I refuse to leave the Great Basin, nor will I ever go back to visit Cali, not even for family. I love Nevada, even acknowledging all its issues ( no more than a lot of Red states, though ). All others thinking about moving here: don't. No trees. Really cold in the north and really hot in the south. High cost of living, unless you go off grid. High property taxes. Still, I love your description! :)