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The blue state migration

Winter isn’t the only person frustrated with California living. There’s been a huge migration out of blue states, like California and New York, and toward red states, like Florida and Texas.

The population in the South saw 706,266 people move there via net domestic migration, according to a recent report from the Census Bureau. In fact, southern states accounted for roughly 87% of the nation’s growth last year, adding more than 1.4 million residents to its total population.

By comparison, California saw a particularly steep population decline in 2023: it lost 75,423 residents.

Personal finance celebrity Grant Cardone said that this is because blue states’ tax rates are too high — particularly for those making good money.

Winter herself complained about the taxes in her video. Her more than $100,000 a year income means she needs to pay 9.3% in taxes, according to the 2023 State of California Franchise Tax Board.

Millionaires are required to pay even more money to the state. Those who earn more than $1.3 million need to pay 12.3% in taxes.

This is a big reason why people are drawn to red states like Texas and Florida: they don’t charge state income taxes. With the rising cost of living, saving money on taxes is tempting many people to consider uprooting to another state.

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California housing is unaffordable

Taxes aside, Winter also complained that she can’t afford anything — particularly housing. She’s even moving back in with her father, despite her salary.

Lots of young people feel this way. They’re looking to the South and the Midwest for homes, which are significantly more affordable than the ones in California.

A recent study from Point2 said that the Golden State has seven of the 10 most difficult cities for Gen Z to buy a home in, including Fremont, San Diego and Los Angeles.

However, the same study noted that places like Fort Wayne, Ind., Corpus Christi, Texas, and Detroit, Mich., are much more affordable for young people starting out.

This is because the home prices in these cities are significantly less than in California. A home in Detroit still costs three times a typical Gen Z’s salary, but a home in Fremont or Los Angeles costs almost 23 times that of a youngster’s average earnings.

Winter isn’t the only one who has had to move back home, despite her solid salary. Several other TikTokers have explained how hard it is to even move out in the first place.

One Gen X mom even made a video where she empathized with her kids, who are in their mid- to late-20s and still live with her.

It’s tough out there right now — but especially in California. It may be time to consider a move if you can swing it.


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About the Author

Sabina Wex

Sabina Wex


Sabina Wex is a writer and podcast producer in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Fast Company, CBC and more.

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