Golden State loses its allure for Americans

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The Independent US

The lure of California, the supposedly easy-going state that has drawn people for generations, appears to be wearing thin.

The lure of California, the supposedly easy-going state that has drawn people for generations, appears to be wearing thin. Figures show that, for the first time, more Americans are leaving the Golden State than arriving.

Census officials said yesterday that during the past five years of the 1990s, when California was reeling from a series of natural disasters and man-made dramas, more Americans opted to get out than get in. That was the first time such a discrepancy had occurred since 1940, when officials started to keep migration records.

About 2.2 million left California during the 1990s as the state suffered earthquakes, race riots, economic slumps and rocketing house prices. At the same time, fewer than 1.5 million people from other parts of the United States moved to California.

The census shows that most people who left California relocated to other states in the west, particularly Nevada, Arizona and Oregon.

Other data revealed that the majority of people moving out of New York in recent years went to areas close to the city, such as New Jersey. In the past, most people moving out of New York moved to California.

Robert Lang, an urban studies expert from Virginia Tech's Metropolitan Institute told the USA Today newspaper: "What it shows is that the country is finally filling out."

Since the days of the Gold Rush and the Great Depression, the perceived opportunities available in California have lured immigrants and outsiders from other states. Just as then, the current change in migration is affecting the economic, cultural and political dynamics of the region.

In the last five years of the 1990s, New York lost 1.6 million people to other states compared to 725,000 who moved in.

Yet New York and California continued to grow in overall population as a result of births and a continuing influx of overseas immigrants.

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