Exodus of the educated

STATE ISSUES: Studies on California’s economic situation show little positive change. Will college graduates stay in such a state?

Data released Tuesday shows that to cover only the most basic needs, a family of four in California requires an average of more than $63,000 a year, or an income level almost triple that of the federal poverty level. While this statistic reveals an incongruence between the federal standard and the reality in California, we also recognize a unique variety of brain drain that could stem from such a high cost — the potential flight of the state’s young and educated contingent.

The report, produced by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, comes on the heels of other recent indicators of our state’s flagging economic situation: census data released last month revealed that in 2010 the state’s poverty rate soared while the median household income fell.

The most recent cost of living statistics reveal even more implications for California college graduates. Once students leave their campuses, they will inevitably encounter California’s high price tag to simply meet their basic needs. When planning to settle down and start their own families, will our young, educated populace feel that an average of $63,000 needed to support each family of four is worth staying instate?

A possible consequence of this reality would be a unique brand of brain drain — the state’s college-degree wielding youth choosing to seek employment elsewhere once they face the realities of the state’s financial situation post-graduation. If such an exodus were to occur, it would further serve to undermine our already struggling industries and economy. Without college graduates, our state will lose talented citizens who could be helping to fuel the economy and pioneer new enterprises.

As a whole, California has almost always maintained a higher cost of living than the rest of the country. But because our state is so distinct, we would hope to see state legislators doing more to mitigate the great expense that comes with living in California, especially when paired with the still-lagging economy. Our state desperately needs a transformation, or before we know it, valuable citizens will be tempted to leave, seeking residence where the most basic necessities are not weighed as expensively.

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  • Anonymous

    Californians denies admission to University of California under the disguise of diversity and affirmative action.

    Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau ($450,000 salary) displaces Californians
    qualified for public university education at Cal. for a $50,600 payment by a foreign
    student. The need for transparency at UC Berkeley has never been so clear.


    UC Berkeley, # 70 Forbes ranking, is not increasing
    enrollment.  Birgeneau accepts $50,600
    FOREIGN students at the expense of qualified instate Californians.


    UC Regent Chairwoman Lansing and President Yudof both agree to
    discriminate against Californians for the admission of foreigners. Birgeneau,
    Yudof, Lansing
    need to answer to Californians.


    Opinions make a difference; email UC Board of Regents   [email protected]


  • Somebody

    Has the writer been living in a non-WIFI cave?  What brain drain?    
    Ever heard of Facebook, Google, Craigslist, Twitter, and Apple?  I hear they’re in California and make some good scratch.  
    And Chatsworth, an industry so seXXXy it’s California’s biggest export.  
    And Hollywood, the only people immune to their charms are Amish.  Gouging the rest of the country $11 for sequels and remakes and re-releases.  
    And Silicon Valley, they gave us Halo, Grand Theft Auto, Modern Warfare and more totaling over a Billion dollars.
    California is experiencing a second gold rush, but instead of panning for gold, people are staking their claim on intellectual property.
    So the bay area cost of living is up 18%, did the high gas prices not tip you off?  The writer reminds me of a vapid Palin stumped by softball questions or a young Miss Teen South Carolina.If you look at the housing market alone, it provides slam dunk clues as to where the jobs are.  Home values from Marin County clockwise down to Alameda County, it’s decreasing.  From Santa Clara  up to Palo Alto it’s increasing.
    Does this writer have anything intellectual to contribute to academia, I only ask because the article just rehashes the obvious.

    • Anonymous

      Damn you Lion King!  We had a deal Disney- no more re-releases especially during a RECESSION!  If you re-release another classic, I’m afraid I will have no choice but to kidnap Minnie Mouse and mail it to Mickey in very tiny boxes.  And I will roast Donald Duck until he’s Peking Duck and put it on YouTube.

  • Joe

    If you had researched your article, you would notice that there is almost no change in the number of highly educated and/or well-to-do people in the state. The high cost-of-living is disproportionately affecting the poorer members of our communities, and they are the ones who are fleeing to minimum-wage job centers like Texas. We’re not soaking the rich, we’re soaking the poor.

  • Guest

    “When planning to settle down and start their own families, will our
    young, educated populace feel that an average of $63,000 needed to
    support each family of four is worth staying instate?”

    This sentence is incoherent  What does it mean to feel that $63,000 is worth staying instate?  And note that many young families have two wage-earners.

    • Rights_They_Do_A_Body_Good

      It means that if the cost of living is lower elsewhere in the country, people will move to areas with lower cost of living, provided there is employment in that new location and that the benefit from the lower cost of living is not fully offset by lower salaries/wages in that area.

      The median HOUSEHOLD income in the western US was $54,000/year in 2008, and has gone down by a few thousand since then.
      The cost of living in CA for a family of four exceeds the median HOUSEHOLD income in this region by ~ 18%.

      Also, are you retarded?

      • Guest

        “are you retarded?”
        No, but I speak grammatical English, unlike the writer of this article.

  • Guest

    “As a whole, California has almost always maintained a higher cost of living than the rest of the country.”
    Not exactly, a major attraction of California post WWII to around the mid 1970’s was the low cost of living compared to  the New England, Mid Atlantic and Midwestern states.  Everything was less in California:  housing, the price of energy and the decreased need due to the mild climate, fresh fruits and vegetables, taxes, great public schools decreased the need to pay for private schools, taxes were much lower overall. The sales tax in 1970 was 5%.   The low cost public university system was a major draw for  middle class families.
    Even now,  the main high cost item in California is housing in the coastal areas. The cost of housing is around the national average  in Sacramento and even less in other central valley communities. The other high cost item is taxes. Sales tax, income tax and property tax are all at very high levels. Property tax is capped at 1% but due to the high cost of housing in the coastal areas that the majority of the population lives, most families in California pay more in property tax than in other states that have higher levels. In other words 1% assessed on a $700,000 house is more than 2% on the same house at the national $200,000 average cost of that house,  $7,000 v $4,000 annually. California collects more tax revenue than any other state per capita. The reason California is in a fiscal crisis is due to the enormous social costs associated with millions of illegal aliens and their, for the moment,  legal anchor children. Two million illegals and anchors in k-12 at $10,000 per child amounts to twenty billion per year, the entire California budget deficit, and k-12 is only one cost associated with this population.  k-12 is about 40% of the California budget. The prisons are 7% of the budget,  approaching the percent of higher education and illegals are a significant percentage of those costs. The issue is the cost imposed on California due to the federal government not enforcing the immigration laws and then dictating to the states through Plyler that the states must bear the  costs that result from the federal government’s abdication of its claimed area of responsibility. The costs of the illegal population in California and other border states is and should be paid by the federal government. California’s voters amended the California Constitution to address the looming fiscal crisis fifteen years ago but implementation has so far been blocked by the federal courts.

  • Anonymous

    Soon Cali will be populated by the uneducated/illegal. Then watch as the tax base shrinks and UCB becomes rinky dink U.

  • You know where people are moving to? States with low taxes and favorable regulatory climates, like Utah. Things that the Daily Cal rabidly opposes.

    California is rapidly becoming a state of well-off government employees, social welfare recipients, unskilled immigrants, and yuppies. If it wasn’t for its beauty and terrific weather–things liberals can’t screw up–there wouldn’t be an ordinary American family left here.