There are more people leaving California than those moving in. Many are wondering if the California Dream is still alive.
California has experienced more than a century of rapid growth, spurred by the Gold Rush and industrial booms in farming, oil drilling, entertainment, aerospace, and big tech. But in recent decades, this growth has slowed more than ever, and more people are now leaving the Golden State than those coming in.
“I think the California Dream is changing,” said Lauren Hepler, an economy reporter at Cal Matters. “The idea of driving out to L.A. and making a go of it on a waiter’s salary maybe is not as realistic as it once was.”
Michael Storper, distinguished professor of Regional and International Development at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, believes there’s more to the California Dream than simply population growth.
“When people say things like ‘The dream is over’ because we are not growing as fast as Arizona or Texas, that’s comparing apples to oranges,” said Storper. “That’s because they entered the growth game later than we did. You can’t have super high levels of population growth forever.”