A new poll found nearly half of Californians don’t believe they can afford to live in the state. It’s not necessarily big news, but it does confirm why so many wish to flee.
The Quinnipiac University poll, taken July 10-15, tells us that 45% of Californians said “no” when asked “Do you feel like you can afford to live in California, or not?” Responses from those living in the coastal regions, where home prices are the highest, were evenly split.
Only 40% of the participants from ages 18 to 34 said they felt like they can afford California, the lowest portion of the four age groups in the poll. Those 65 and over, most of whom probably bought their homes while prices were more reasonable than they are presently, were the most likely to say all is well — 68% said they feel like they can afford it.
Nearly eight in 10 (78%) said there is a housing crisis in California. Only 15% denied, or are oblivious to, what is plainly in front of their eyes.
For many, the only recourse is to escape California’s housing troubles. Forty-four percent of “San Diego County’s largest working group” — millennials — is thinking about leaving the county within two years, says a San Diego Regional Chamber Foundation survey released in May. More than two-thirds (68.3%) “identify affordable housing options as one of the top three reasons they were considering a move.”
Decades of growth in the Bay Area have been followed by a reversal. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported “the nation’s tech capital is losing more residents than it is attracting as housing costs force families to pack up and leave.” Pollsters discovered last year that 46% of Bay Area residents are likely to quit the San Francisco region within the next few years.
Californians all over the state have fled to Las Vegas to enjoy the middle-class life they can’t find here. Destinations vary, but people are virtually lining up to get out because they’ve had it with the high cost of housing.
If this reads like a broken record, well, it’s because polls and surveys are continually telling us that many Californians are worn out by the high cost of housing and see no alternative but to leave.
Stephen Frank, longtime political observer and analyst, and senior contributing editor of the California Political View, believes the only way to save the state is to speed up the exodus. The productive and honest Californians need to leave, “taking jobs and corporations with them,” he says. The state will remain on its dangerous path “until Sacramento feels the pain” of a mass departure.
Politicians have a way, though, of insulating themselves from the problems that beset average citizens, many of which the politicians themselves caused. So, it might be a while before the headaches start.
Kerry Jackson is a senior fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.