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"The Great California Exodus: A Closer Look"
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September 27, 2012, 01:40 PM
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Torrey PinesThe Manhattan Institute has a new report out with lots of statistics on population shifts in and out of California over the last 50 years. Unfortunately, the data tables are represented in image format so I can`t graph them easily.

But one thing that is pretty clear is that over the last half century, domestic migration in and out of California has been sensitive to economic conditions, such as housing prices and unemployment.

In contrast, foreign immigration until recently appeared to be relatively insensitive. It simply mounted upward with the number of chains in the chain migration. After all, California was better than wherever they were from, so why not?

This reminds me of a perceptive bit of indignant criticism I was subjected to a number of years ago by somebody who posited, as I vaguely recall, that the worst immigration restrictionists were the Californians, such as myself, Dennis Mangan, and Mickey Kaus.

Our underlying sin was that we liked California and preferred, all else being equal, that the privilege of moving to California be a perk more readily available to our fellow American citizens than to random foreigners.

I`m fascinated by how rare that attitude is today. Can you imagine a speaker at either party`s 2012 convention saying something like that?

Perhaps my assumption that we owe certain debts to our fellow citizens, whether or not we like them or approve of their politics, is simply outmoded. The contemporary mindset seems to be that nobody is more annoying than your fellow citizens who don`t agree with you, in contrast to those blank slates from Randomistan.

Maybe my point of view is a relic of the (apparently temporary) bonds of solidarity forged by WWII and the Cold War. Growing up, most people in Southern California had some connection to the Cold War and/or WWII, especially the War in the Pacific, which brought so many Americans to the West Coast. More than a few took a look around and vowed that if they got through the war, they were coming back here. My mother, for example, moved from St. Paul, Minnesota to Los Angeles during WWII to be near her first husband, who had enlisted in the Marines and was stationed in California. (Not everybody came back, of course. He was killed on Iwo Jima.)

P.S. The photo above is of the sixth hole on the North course at Torrey Pines north of San Diego.