Californians are fleeing the state in unprecedented numbers, and their primary destination is Texas, according to an analysis issued Monday.
About 5 million Californians departed the Golden State between 2004 and 2013, while 3.9 million arrived from other states for a net population loss of roughly 1.1 million, The Sacramento Bee reported Monday, using tax return data from the Internal Revenue Service.
The estimated loss in annual income to California? Roughly $26 billion.
Nearly 600,000 Californians wound up in Texas, while about 348,000 Texans moved to California. The other top net recipients of Californians were Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, the analysis found.
Even so, California has seen its population increase slightly from 37 million in 2010 to nearly 39 million, thanks largely to an influx of foreign-born immigrants.
The graphic also shows that the people leaving California earn more overall than those entering California.
For example, those leaving California for Texas had a combined income of $15 billion, while those leaving Texas for California earned $9.7 billion, meaning that Texas received a windfall of $5.3 billion.
Analysts blame a host of factors for the migration, starting with California’s high tax rate and cost of living.
The state is also mired in its fourth year of drought and recently enacted mandatory reductions on residential water suppliers.
It’s not entirely clear why Texas is so attractive to California migrants, but it may have something to do with the pro-Texas campaign mounted in recent years in the Golden State.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who delighted in poaching California companies, ran radio ads in 2013 saying that it was “next to impossible” to build a business in California and that entrepreneurs should “come check out Texas.”