It’s official: the Californian dream has become a nightmare.

According to the California Policy Lab, which is affiliated with the University of California, the number of people leaving the state has increased 12% since before COVID-19.

In fact, there is more people are leaving than to enter.

Even before the pandemic, an Edelman Intelligence survey found that more than half of California residents said they wanted to move her to another state. Among millennial residents, it was nearly two-thirds.

Count it on the cost of living – the top tax rate of 13.3% is the highest in the country – as well as safety and other quality of life issues. And then there are housing prices: according to Zillow, the median home value in San Francisco is nearly $1.4 million. (No wonder “Should I move?” topped the Google search rankings there.)

Here, California expats explain why they left the Golden State.

Ali Wolf on Broadway in his new hometown of Nashville.
William DeShazer

Ali Wolf

Left San Francisco for Nashville, Tenn.

Wolf, 32, grew up in California and has spent most of her career there as a TV presenter and journalist, most recently in San Francisco. Fed up with the quality of life issues there, she — along with her husband and one-year-old daughter — now lives in Nashville, where Wolf hosts the Mom’s Calling podcast.

“Growing up in Del Mar, CA, my fondest Californian memories are by the ocean. I’ve always enjoyed taking quiet walks on the beach in the morning with perfect weather.

I started thinking about moving away soon after moving to San Francisco for a job at one of the major train stations in the Bay Area. That was in 2019. I covered issues as a journalist: affordability, housing, homelessness and safety. I also experienced the effects of these same problems on my quality of life on a daily basis.

My husband and I lived in a very small, very expensive one bedroom apartment in the Nob Hill area. In the streets surrounding our house, it was not uncommon to see people passed out in tents or on the sidewalk, using orange needles to shoot themselves. Several of my friends have been mugged, attacked or assaulted on the streets of the city. And the traffic: I remember once it took me 45 minutes to drive home from a single errand in Palo Alto. I wanted to live somewhere where daily errands wouldn’t be a problem.

My pink glasses fell off.

After a short stay in Seattle, we left the West Coast in January 2021 and moved to Nashville.

Finding a house was more difficult than expected, but we are extremely happy with where we live. We love our leafy, traditional community where homes are spread out and private. It’s family.

I wanted to settle with my family in a traditional and safe suburban community. In California, this American dream seemed increasingly inaccessible.

Thomas Davoren and Kelly Ritchey-Davoren at the Pineapple Fountain in Charleston, SC.
Thomas Davoren and Kelly Ritchey-Davoren at the Pineapple Fountain in Charleston, SC.
Stacy Howell for NY Post

Thomas Davoren and Kelly Ritchey-Davoren

Left El Segundo for Charleston, South Carolina

Thomas, 55, is a retired member of the LAPD bomb squad, while his 52-year-old wife, Kelly, works in banking. They lived in El Segundo, a small seaside community outside Los Angeles, but the high cost of living and overcrowding caused them to decamp for the Gadsden, a luxury condo resort in Charleston, South Carolina. .

Kelly: “We moved to El Segundo when it was the perfect fit for us — it was known in the area as ‘Mayberry’. But with the popularity of the Silicon Beach area just north of us, the crowds and high-density housing in surrounding areas has made freeways impossible.

Thomas: “We thought about leaving California three years ago—knowing we would be retiring in 2020—for a number of reasons: Too many people. It takes forever to drive anywhere. Once there, it’s crowded and overpriced, whether it’s taxes, consumer goods, etc. It all costs too much.

We decided to move to Charleston after visiting a friend who lived there. We fell in love immediately. People were friendly. It’s near the ocean, safe. And it’s a beautiful city where the cost of living is cheaper.

When we left, it was difficult to get a moving truck because too many people were leaving California.

When we told family and friends [in California], 90% were jealous of us. A good majority of friends and family members have or will leave the state. We have two friends from Los Angeles staying with us now.

We will never go back to California. It is a beautiful state that has lost its way. The only thing we will miss is the weather.

RMS Thornton decamped to Tempe, Arizona, full time.
RMS Thornton decamped to Tempe, Arizona, full time.
Adrian Baird for NYPost

RMS Thornton

Left Carmel for Tempe, Arizona.

The 34-year-old lawyer and writer grew up in Carmel, before buying a part-time house in Tempe. Driven out of California by government restrictions and the “revival”, he recently moved to Arizona full-time.

“I love Carmel and the Monterey Peninsula. That’s where I grew up. It’s heartbreaking to move permanently, almost like going through a breakup. I always thought of California as this really stereotypical hot girl in high school. She knows she’s pretty, so she thinks she can get away with treating her peers terribly and they’ll keep flattering her, buying her presents, congratulating her.

However, being aesthetically stunning can only get you so far. Eventually, your peers will begin to realize that enough is enough.

For me, it was 2017. I could tell that the state was starting to deteriorate before that; however, I always believed that he would bounce back thanks to his dynamism. Eventually, however, things started to get worse: crime, homelessness, and government policies.

Part of the reason I left was because of taxes. But honestly, it really came down to the cultural change there. I am not a COVID denier. I have been vaccinated. But the governments there, both local and state, have apparently lost their minds [over pandemic restrictions]. And the revival and so forth is just too much. I would consider going back, but the government should become more moderate.

Arizona just seems a lot more open and cold. People just seem happier there.

Kitty Thompson is now a New Yorker.
Kitty Thompson is now a New Yorker.
Stefano Giovannini

Kitty Thompson

Left Huntington Beach for New York

the 49-year-old eXpRealty agent – who grew up in what is now known as Silicon Valley – and her husband moved to New York from Southern California, in part because of climate change.

“California has become a bit boring and uninteresting; perfect southern california weather was hot and getting hotter with the occasional rainy day.

We had no children to bind us and our parents still wanted their independence and freedom.

We lived a mile from the beach in California, and our neighbors disagreed with our choice of location: “Why would you leave paradise for a city like New York?”

But it’s the place we love. New York has been hardest hit by the pandemic and we wanted to be part of the renaissance. I love the energy of the city and all the inspiration it creates.

Here’s what I would say to anyone considering doing what I did: Go. You can always come back but you will never be the same again. You will feel better.

Jane Coloccia loves living on the Oregon coast.
Jane Coloccia loves living on the Oregon coast.
Dina Avila for NY Post

Jane Coloccia

Left Laguna Niguel for Gearhart, Oregon.

Jane Coloccia lived in Orange County, California for several years before she grew tired of the overcrowded and overpriced housing situation. Now the 59-year-old, owner of a public relations and marketing communications consultancy, and her husband live on the Oregon coast.

“It was California housing for me. It was really badly built, and the houses were on top of each other. We were renting a house that was so close to all our neighbors that we could hear everything: people making love, talking loudly at parties, etc. Southern Californians show no courtesy to those who live around them, so they would be out there yelling at their phones at all hours.

We also found that people weren’t so friendly there. I lived there for seven years and really didn’t make many close friends. I’m a New Yorker and people are real, serious and honest and in your face. People in SoCal just aren’t like that. It’s very superficial. It must be a lonely place there.

You couldn’t buy a decent waterfront house in Southern California for less than a million dollars and then you had to remodel it from the ground up. We wanted to move to a coastal community where you could buy a spacious, well-built home on a nice lot that didn’t cost a million dollars.

Last year I saw an ad online for a house in Gearhart, Oregon. It was just beautiful from the outside, just over half an acre of land, 2,800 square feet on one level inside, a white kitchen – that was all I wanted .

[People] told us, “You know, it rains a lot there and it’s colder there. Californians have never understood our exasperation with the constant noise from contractors and neighbors or the price of housing. For them, everything was “normal”.

California is not the alpha and omega.