Californians Are Fleeing These 7 Cities to Move to an Appealing City in Idaho

California is known for its sunny weather, diverse culture, and booming economy. But it also has some drawbacks, such as high taxes, expensive housing, traffic congestion, and natural disasters. These factors have led many Californians to seek a better quality of life elsewhere, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the most popular destinations for Californian exodus is Idaho, a state that offers lower costs of living, more space, and less regulation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Idaho was the fastest-growing state in the nation from 2019 to 2020, with a 2.1% increase in population. Many of these newcomers are from California, who accounted for 28% of Idaho’s in-migration in 2019.

But which cities are Californians leaving behind, and which city in Idaho are they flocking to? In this article, we will explore the data and trends behind this migration phenomenon.

The 7 California Cities That Californians Are Leaving

According to a report by United Van Lines, a moving company that tracks state-to-state migration patterns, these are the top seven California cities that had the highest outbound moves in 2020:

San Francisco: The Bay Area city saw a 38% increase in outbound moves compared to 2019, making it the second-most outbound city in the nation. The main reasons for leaving were the high cost of living, the lack of affordable housing, and the impact of the pandemic on the tech industry and the urban lifestyle.

Los Angeles: The City of Angels also experienced a surge in outbound moves, with a 27% increase from 2019. The reasons for leaving were similar to San Francisco, as well as the social unrest, the homelessness crisis, and the poor air quality.

San Diego: The coastal city had a 24% increase in outbound moves from 2019, mainly due to the high cost of living, the lack of job opportunities, and the desire for more space and nature.

Sacramento: The state capital saw a 23% increase in outbound moves from 2019, mostly driven by the high taxes, the political climate, and the lack of public safety.

San Jose: The Silicon Valley hub had a 22% increase in outbound moves from 2019, largely due to the high cost of living, the competitive job market, and the lack of diversity and culture.

Fresno: The Central Valley city had a 21% increase in outbound moves from 2019, mainly because of the low wages, the poor education system, and the drought and wildfires.

Riverside: The Inland Empire city had a 20% increase in outbound moves from 2019, mostly because of the high crime rate, the traffic congestion, and the lack of entertainment and recreation.

The Idaho City That Californians Are Moving To

While Californians are leaving various cities in their home state, they seem to have a clear preference for one city in Idaho: Boise. According to the United Van Lines report, Boise was the most inbound city in the nation in 2020, with a 70% increase in inbound moves from 2019. Boise also ranked as the best place to live in the U.S. in 2019 by U.S. News & World Report, based on factors such as affordability, job market, quality of life, and desirability.

So what makes Boise so appealing to Californians? Here are some of the reasons:

Lower Cost of Living: Boise has a significantly lower cost of living than most California cities, especially in terms of housing. According to Zillow, the median home value in Boise was $406,579 as of February 2021, compared to $717,930 in California. The median rent in Boise was $1,550, compared to $2,527 in California.

More Space and Nature: Boise offers more space and nature than most California cities, with a population density of 2,675 people per square mile, compared to 8,484 in California. Boise also has access to various outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, skiing, fishing, and rafting, as well as scenic attractions, such as the Boise River, the Boise Foothills, and the Bogus Basin.

Less Regulation and Taxes: Boise has less regulation and taxes than most California cities, with a state income tax rate of 6.925%, compared to 13.3% in California. Boise also has less restrictions on businesses, gun ownership, and personal freedoms, which appeal to some Californians who feel overregulated and overtaxed in their home state.

Friendly and Welcoming Community: Boise has a friendly and welcoming community that embraces newcomers and diversity. Boise has a reputation for being safe, clean, and livable, with a vibrant downtown, a thriving arts and culture scene, and a strong sense of civic pride and social responsibility.


California and Idaho are two very different states, with different advantages and disadvantages. For some Californians, the trade-offs of living in California are no longer worth it, and they are looking for a change of scenery and lifestyle. For them, Idaho, and especially Boise, offers a compelling alternative, with lower costs, more space, more nature, less regulation, and a friendly community.

However, this migration trend also comes with some challenges and consequences, both for the newcomers and the locals. For the newcomers, they have to adapt to a different culture, climate, and political environment, and deal with the potential backlash from some Idahoans who may resent their influx and influence. For the locals, they have to cope with the rising housing prices, the increased traffic, the changing demographics, and the possible loss of their identity and values.

Therefore, it is important for both sides to be respectful, tolerant, and open-minded, and to find ways to coexist and collaborate for the common good of their city and state. After all, they are all Americans, and they all share the same dream of living a happy and fulfilling life.

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