The Comprehensive Guide to Moving Out of State California

California. The city of dreams. The Golden State. Non-native Americans think of California when they think of the US thanks to Hollywood. Of course, there’s no surprise why people want to live there. 

The mesmerizing coastlines, the diverse population, and the amazing food, all make California a dream state to live in. 

So, it comes as a surprise that people are leaving California in herds. They’re giving up their lives and moving to different states all over the country. 

In this post, we’ll look into the reasons that are causing people to leave. We’ll also look into factors that you should consider before relocating. Consider this your ultimate guide to moving out of California. 

Why Are People Leaving California?

Of course, California is an amazing state with lots of options to explore. To tell the truth, however, not everyone is cut out for it. In this section, let’s explore the primary reasons why people are moving from California to other states. 

The main culprit is obviously the cost of living. It’s bound to happen because it’s the Hollywood state after all. A lot of affluent people across different counties, driving economic growth. From gas to food to accommodation, everything is pretty expensive. According to data, it’s 42% more expensive than the national average! 

Then there is the house price. Did you know that the average home prices are higher in California than in New York? Yes, you read that right! The only state to beat CA is Hawaii.  

With housing comes utilities and taxes, which are also pretty high. Speaking of taxes, it’s another huge reason people are leaving California. Residents end up paying a 7.25% statewide tax on top of the 30% federal tax! 

All of these factors lead to a very poor quality of life for residents who can’t make ends meet as well. Their survival instinct is to leave the area and move to an area with a lower cost of living. 

Apart from the insane living cost, traffic, and congestion are pretty troublesome. The freeways are often packed during rush hours, causing people to be late for work. Some areas house too many people, leading to serious overcrowding. 

For people who don’t like city life, it’s a painful situation to be in. Most of the people moving away from California are realizing this and looking for better alternatives. 

California’s climate is another reason. You know all about the recent wildfires and droughts, right? Compared to a few decades ago, these natural calamities are happening more frequently. Some of the areas are outright dangerous to live in! 

And of course, how can we forget the homeless problem? It’s worsening by the day. At this point, the city has acknowledged the fact that it’s going out of their hands! The littering around the freeways and the harassment residents have to face are unreal. 

To wrap up, a lot of reasons have culminated in California that are making the residents rethink their lives. Sure, it’s still vibrant and brimming with opportunities. But there’s no point in living a life you don’t enjoy anymore for the sake of it. Is there?

Companies Getting Out of California: What Does It Mean for You?

It would’ve been okay for the state if only the residents were leaving. But that’s not the case. Even companies are leaving California, mainly due to high business costs! If people are having trouble affording residential properties, just imagine what would happen to commercial real estate! 

The scary part is that this trend could negatively affect job opportunities in the state, possibly leading to fewer jobs or job losses in some sectors. 

If we have to contextualize it for you, let’s take a look at a scenario. You’re looking for a job in Cali but all you can find are odd jobs that pay minimum wage. If that’s the case, it might be smart to look for work in other states. You can track where these companies are moving and follow their trail.

This shift in California's business landscape might also change the local job market and economy. As companies and their employees leave, there could be less demand for goods and services. If we know anything about the economy, it’s that supply and demand controls everything. 

Last but not least, the state is primed to lose corporate tax revenue if businesses keep leaving. It inevitably means there will be less money for public services and infrastructure development. 

All in all, corporate companies leaving the state of California is not a good look for the economy. For you, it's important to stay updated on these trends to make the best choices for your career. Even if it includes considering a move to somewhere with more job stability and better economic opportunities.

Factors to Consider Before Moving Out of California

Moving out of California and moving into another state is no joke. If anything, it’s a big and exciting step for the later parts of your life. But have you given it enough thought? Let us cover the most important aspects to make sure you don’t miss anything.

First, you should look into the job market in the new state. You already know why. The idea is to make sure there are enough opportunities in your field. Researching the area's economic health and growth can also give you a sense of your career's long-term prospects there.

Next, compare the cost of living between California and the new state. If you’re leaving due to the high cost of living in the first place, this should be the most important criterion for you. 

This evaluation includes checking and comparing housing costs and taxes. Beyond just income tax, consider other taxes like property tax, sales tax, and any state-specific taxes that might affect your finances. 

California has its unique tax structure, and moving to a state with lower taxes could potentially save you money. It’s best if you have the option to visit a tax-free state. 

Then there are everyday expenses. And lastly, you can’t ignore any changes in your salary or job benefits too.

Of course, think about what your life would be like in the new state. Have you ever been there before? How much do you know about it? Do you like the climate? What about the culture, entertainment options, schools, and healthcare? 

Before you pull the trigger, we highly recommend that you find answers to these questions. 

The social and political environment can also greatly affect your quality of life. Investigate and ask around whether the state's social values and political leanings align with yours. This could influence your sense of belonging and overall happiness. Last but not least, don't forget to consider the safety, diversity, and community feel of the area you’re moving into. 

These aspects are crucial for ensuring you'll enjoy your new home and that it fits your lifestyle and preferences.

The Logistics of Moving Out of State California

Logistics are always there, no matter what you want to do or achieve in life. Of course, it comes into play when you plan a move from California to any other state in the country. Let’s discuss the logistics in this section. 

Choosing the right moving company

It's important to choose a good moving company for a smooth move to another state. Make sure to get several price estimates, look at customer feedback, and confirm the mover's qualifications. Ask about their knowledge of long-distance moves and extra services like packing, storing items, or moving your car.

Preparing for the move

Begin preparing and getting organized soon to prevent stress later on. Make a list of moving tasks and when they need to be done. Organize, get rid of unnecessary items, and pack your things in order, making sure to label boxes for easy unpacking later. Use this chance to give away or sell things you don't use anymore. Remember to switch over your utilities, change your address with different places, and get any permits or licenses you might need for your new location.

Managing moving expenses

When you're moving to a different state, it can cost a lot, so plan your budget carefully. You can cut costs by reducing the number of things you own, packing your own stuff, and looking into tax breaks for moving costs. 

Also, think about extra expenses for your new place. Common expenses include security deposits, furniture, and renovation work. A good rule of thumb is to have some extra money saved for any surprise costs that might come up while you're moving.

Top Destinations for People Moving Out of California

If you’ve made up your mind about leaving California and starting a new life somewhere else, we’re not going to judge it. We’re happy for you and we want you to achieve the life you want. So, in this section, let us list the states we believe are great alternatives to California. 


Moving to Texas from California can be a great decision for several reasons. Firstly, Texas generally offers a lower cost of living compared to California, especially in terms of housing prices. 

Secondly, Texas boasts a strong job market, with opportunities in various sectors like technology, energy, and healthcare, attracting professionals and entrepreneurs. The best thing is that Texas has no state income tax! Lastly, the state's warm climate is a bonus for those who prefer sunny weather year-round.


Arizona is known for its significantly lower cost of living major draw for many Californians. The state's economy is growing thanks to sectors such as technology, healthcare, and manufacturing.

Arizona's tax structure is also favorable, with lower personal income tax rates than California. The state's landscape, characterized by stunning desert scenery, offers unique outdoor recreational activities like hiking and visiting national parks. Arizona's climate, with hot summers and mild winters, appeals to those who enjoy a warmer, drier environment. 


A key benefit is Nevada's absence of state income tax. It can significantly enhance financial savings for potential movers. It’s also relatively close to California compared to the other destinations. A 5-hour road trip doesn’t sound so bad, does it? 

The state's vibrant entertainment and hospitality industry, particularly in Las Vegas and Reno, offers unique job opportunities not found elsewhere. Nevada's real estate market is diverse, providing options from lively urban apartments to peaceful, scenic homes near natural wonders like Lake Tahoe.


Moving to Washington from California offers lush natural beauty, with abundant greenery and outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking. It has a strong job market, especially in tech, and no state income tax. The diverse cultural scene and progressive values in cities like Seattle and Tacoma are also appealing.


In conclusion, moving out of California could be a life-changing decision influenced by various factors. They can range from personal reasons to even economic considerations. 

While contemplating this move, make sure you weigh the pros and cons, understand the financial and emotional implications, and meticulously plan the logistics. 

Whether you're seeking a lower cost of living or a simple change of scenery, preparing thoroughly ensures a smoother transition. Remember, every move is a chance for a fresh start and a new adventure. Safe travels on your journey to a new beginning!

Moving Out of California FAQs

Is moving out of state California a good idea?

It can be a very good idea and a very bad idea at the same time. It comes down to what your motivations are to move. Are you looking to improve your quality of life with the same amount of money you make? Then yes, moving out of California is a good idea.

What are the tax implications of moving out of state California?

California has one of the most intense tax structures in all of the US. You don’t have to move to a state with even more tax implications, do you? So, when you’re moving out, make sure you study the tax laws carefully. The best part is that you may be able to get tax deductions based on your moving expenses. It’s best to consult a lawyer before pulling the trigger.

How do I transfer my driver's license and vehicle registration when moving out of state California?

Transferring a driver’s license and vehicle registration can be tricky. After you’re certain about where you want to move, pay a visit to the local DMV to gather all the data. You can also research online to figure out what you need to do.

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