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New data from moving truck and equipment company U-Haul reportedly showed that far more trucks left California than entered in 2020. According to the company’s list of migration growth for last year, the state ranked last behind Illinois, which formerly had the final spot in 2019.
Moreover, San Francisco departures specifically accounted for 58% of all one-way U-Haul traffic from March through June, which ultimately caused limited equipment supplies in the area. Via a video statement quoted by SFGate, area district vice president for U-Haul Victor Vanegas said: “For a good part of this year we’ve had far more customers than we’ve actually had equipment to serve these customers. We rely actually on inbound equipment to serve a lot of these customers so when the net is out, not in, it’s a little more difficult to serve these customers.”
In Sep. 2020, Business Insider reported that renting a U-Haul to move out of California was four times more expensive than moving in due to high demand. Back then, rates on a Los Angeles to Austin route ranged from $1,883 for a 10-foot truck to $3,964 for a 26-foot truck. These prices amounted to between a two- and fourfold difference from the other way around.
Mark J. Perry, a professor of finance and business economics at the University of Michigan-Flint, told Business Insider in an email that the rates leaving California have been much higher than the rates into California for many years, and that state-to-state migration patterns indicate California has been among the top outbound states “for at least several years.”
Additionally, on a Nov. 2019 blog post for the American Enterprise Institute, Perry wrote that California was the fourth-ranked top outbound state. He also told the publication that the trend didn’t necessarily relate to COVID or wildfires exclusively, but that “it reflects a trend of companies and households leaving CA for states like Texas, Arizona, and Nevada for lower taxes, lower housing costs, lower energy costs, and more business-friendly environments.”
For U-Haul customers leaving the Bay Area during the pandemic, the report showed they favored in-state moves. The most popular destinations included the Sacramento/Roseville corridor, San Diego, and Stockton. The top destinations for out-of-state moves were Reno, Nevada; Las Vegas; Portland, Oregon; Phoenix and Seattle.
Per the Desert Review’s reporting, the top-10 cities one-way trucks dispatched out of El Centro were San Diego (ranked first), Yuma, Chula Vista, Las Vegas (fourth), Phoenix, Indio, El Cajon, Los Angeles, Glendale, and Cathedral City (10th). The top-10 cities El Centro received one-way trucks were from San Diego, Yuma, Chula Vista, Las Vegas (fourth), El Cajon, Phoenix, National City, Cathedral City, Moreno Valley, and Escondido.
U-Haul trucks entering California have ranked 48th or lower since 2016. According to The Sac Bee, California’s new official population is 39.78 million, which is only 21,200 more residents than 2019. If migration trends hold as 2020 data is collected, the year of COVID-19 could turn out to be the first year California has lost pupation since records going back to 1900.