Leaving California? A guide to what state is best to move to

What is the most effective state to call residence after determining to quit The golden state?

First, allow’s bear in mind that much more individuals speak about leaving California than really do. As an example, a recent poll showed 26% of residents were considering a step out-of-state. Yet in 2017-2019, Demographics Bureau stats show simply 3% of the populace left.

However, for those who are seriously thinking about a relocation– or those that like to compare state economies– I loaded my dependable spread sheet with cost-of-living and also work data– as well as an essential political stat– developing a guide to great targets for antsy-to-exit Californians.

I’ll admit, for beginners, that averages as well as various other analytical measurements rarely talk to everybody’s individual circumstance. And states are challenging to identify by economic figures, as well, specifically those with a healthy and balanced mix of city and also rural areas.

Caveats kept in mind, below are my ideal evaluations of what a regular Californian can take into consideration when contemplating moving– as well as where the mathematics could lead them.

Price of living

Zero surprise: California is a pricey location to live.

The cost-conscious relocation prospects range from people in financial distress to those on a fixed earnings like retirees and a new group developed in the pandemic era– a worker that can do the task remotely.

Consider what a state-to-state “rate parity” living-expense index from the federal Bureau of Economic Evaluation tells us concerning cheap relocation possibilities.

Real estate: By this math, The golden state is the country’s most pricey to place a roofing over one’s head. Many cost effective? Mississippi, with housing 61% less expensive than the Golden State. After that comes Alabama, Arkansas as well as West Virginia at 60%, Kentucky at 56% and also Oklahoma and also South Dakota at 55%.

Providers: The most affordable places to obtain people to fix things as well as take care of you are Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee where solutions run 16.6% listed below The golden state prices. Next was Kentucky at 16.3%, then Arkansas as well as Louisiana at 16%. The golden state had the fourth-costliest services.

Goods: Reasonably talking, The golden state purchasing is nowhere as costly on a nationwide range. Nevada was the most effective place to be a customer with products 10.5% less expensive than the Golden State, by this mathematics. Next was Mississippi at 10%, Utah at 9.9%, West Virginia at 9.8%, Arkansas at 9.7% and also Arizona, Kentucky, New Mexico and South Dakota at 9.6%. Still, California has the fourth-priciest items.

Californians looking for a lifestyle bargain need to keep in mind the bureau’s overall cost-of-living index. This metric claims the most cost effective state is Mississippi where it’s 27.5% cheaper to live.

Following was Arkansas at 27.2% less costly; Alabama at 26.3%; West Virginia at 25.2%; Oklahoma at 25.1%; and Kentucky at 24.9%. California ranked next-to-last.


Not every person pondering a moving is simply being cost-conscious.

Work and also wage levels allow aspects for others who understand that more inexpensive states commonly come with lower salaries.

To evaluate chances, I checked out annualized typical wages from 2020’s 2nd quarter, creating a national pay range. The highest possible annual incomes were discovered in Massachusetts at $81,640, after that New york city at $79,040. California’s No. 3 ranking at $76,336 is a vital reason many folks stay. Next was Washington at $74,048, Connecticut at $73,164 and also New Jersey at $71,552.

A number of variables alter the value of those incomes.
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Begin with the capability to keep a task. Check out ordinary joblessness rates from 2015-2019 and you see North Dakota was the state in which you were least likely to shed a work with a typical 2.7% unemployment price. Next was Hawaii and also New Hampshire at 2.8%, Nebraska and also Vermont at 3%, then Iowa and also South Dakota at 3.1%.

The golden state ranked 11th-worst with 4.9% joblessness.

We can not ignore just how tax obligations hit wages, too. Integrating tax information from the IRS, the BEA and also WalletHub, I produced a benchmark for typical reliable tax obligation rates for a household. That includes federal and specifies tax obligations on revenue, residential property and also sales.

For those who despise paying taxes, Alaska is your state with simply 16.2% of incomes collected by the state and also the feds. Following was Wyoming at 17.5%; Mississippi and also West Virginia at 18.1%, Montana at 18.2% as well as Alabama at 18.4%.

The golden state, by this mathematics, ranked 17th-worst with 25.3% of income invested on taxes.

The lower line

What’s a paycheck well worth?

I changed spend for unemployment prices and also the tax bite. Massachusetts was still No. 1 with my definition of “take-home income” at an average $55,190. Following was California at $54,230, then New york city at $52,560, Washington at $51,900, Connecticut at $50,900 and New Hampshire at $49,190.

I’ll additionally keep in mind the 69% income space in between No. 1 as well as No. 50 Mississippi at $32,680

Obviously, the huge concern for those enjoying their dollars and the task market is just how a lot a paycheck can buy. So I recalibrated net income with the BEA cost-of-living benchmark.

The regular Californian believing concerning relocation needs to think about Massachusetts initially, with $42,190 in academic buying power. Next was Connecticut at $40,910, Washington state at $40,410, North Dakota at $39,530– then, yes, California at $39,321– and Virginia at $39,220.

The golden state’s high grade aids explain why 97% of citizens didn’t relocate in 2017-19. By the way, only three states– Michigan, Texas and Illinois– had smaller sized shares of their populace leave.

As well as the move-or-stay choice gets harder after prices are included in. The gap between states’ purchasing power narrows to simply 36% in between No. 1 and No. 50 Hawaii at $32,680.

Now I’m often told that The golden state’s dynamic political program motivates particular people to leave the state. So I even more modified my scorecard to see where traditional thinkers could want to go.

Just how? By further adjusting the purchasing power results with a procedure of Head of state Trump’s appeal in the 2020 governmental election. Note: He obtained simply 34% of The golden state’s votes.

Retooled for traditional eyes, the finest state for opportunity, expenses as well as politics, by my mathematics, was North Dakota adhered to by Wyoming, West Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma as well as Alaska.

California? It ranked 12th worst.


Every family’s needs vary– from financial to philosophical. No position will perfectly record the desire location.

As well as I’ll confess, my scorecard is better for people looking for a solid job market. Retired people or remote employees can largely focus on the cost of living metrics.

To evaluate the reasonableness of my scorecard, I compared outcomes with the Top 10 states to which Californians selected to relocate in 2017-19 …

… No. 1 Texas: Ranked by my metric as the 12th-best state for acquiring power and also No. 8 after politics are factored in. Not extremely far off, I ‘d say.

No. 2 Arizona: 16th-best buying power; No. 20 with politics consisted of. Its cost-of-living– 17% less expensive than California, by BEA math– is a key tourist attraction.

No. 3 Washington state: Third-best buying power– a precise ranking suit– however No. 29 with politics included. It’s generally California, with rainfall and also greenery.

No. 4 Nevada: 30th-best purchasing power; No. 36 with national politics consisted of. This bordering no-income-tax state is 16% more affordable than The golden state.

No. 5 Oregon: 20th-best purchasing power; No. 42 with national politics included. This neighboring state is 12% cheaper than The golden state.

No. 6 Florida: No. 44 buying power; No. 40 with politics consisted of. No earnings tax as well as 13% more affordable living bring in senior citizens.

No. 7 Colorado: Ninth-best getting power; No. 31 with national politics consisted of. The state is 12% less costly than California.

No. 8 New York City: 13th-best buying power; No. 38 with politics consisted of. You need a The golden state salary (or even more) to make this step pencil out.

No. 9 Idaho: No. 49 purchasing power; No. 27 with politics consisted of. Poor job market but it’s come to be a retired person haven as a result of 21% cheaper living than California.

No. 10 North Carolina: 23th-best purchasing power; No. 30 with politics included. Its draw? Likely being 21% less expensive than California.

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