“and I get to come to California!”
I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on a recent article in the LA Times about the long-term decline of migration to California, both from within the US and from other countries. I can definitely relate to the main reason cited in the article, namely the high cost of housing (along with a struggling economy and job market, ofcourse).
I think our state does a great job of providing a whole bunch of stuff that emerging professionals want in a place. You like music? We’ve got that. You like hiking? We’ve got that. You like gourmet burgers and craft beers? We’ve got that too. How about movies?!…you get my point. Unfortunately, however, those who would benefit most from all the pleasures and amenities offered by the Golden State (and who in turn would benefit the state’s tax base and further stimulate the economy) can’t stay here because 1. housing costs too much, and 2. wages are too low.
So what does this mean for those of us who actually do stay here? For one thing, we can’t rely on a steady influx of the nation/world’s best and brightest to bring all sorts of great new ideas, businesses, products, industries, experiences, and most importantly, labor (skilled and otherwise). Consequently, we need to do a better job of preparing our existing Californians to create these for themselves. This means better education and training (which are not typically characterized by repeated cuts to public education, arts programs, and publicly funded state universities).
What particularly sparked my interest from the article was the climate factor:
“But though fewer outsiders cherish California dreams — and some residents have soured on them — those who depart may soon mourn what they leave behind: diversity of every stripe, mountains, ocean, climate. Especially climate.”
Being a SoCal native, I REALLY take the 70 degree winters for granted. But even I can see how much of a competitive advantage it is for businesses and professionals to stay here where the climate is the least of anyone’s worries. That said, I have to put my environmentalist hat on here, and reiterate how important it is for us to stay on the forefront of climate regulation. This article is just another piece on the ever-growing pile of evidence underscoring how much California’s future economy will depend on the responsible and sustainable use of our air, water, and land.
Graphic below borrowed from the LA Times website: