“Mike Reilly spent his lifetime chasing the California dream. This year he’s going to look for it in Colorado. With a house purchase near Denver in the works, the 38-year-old engineering contractor plans to move his family 1,200 miles away from his home state’s lemon groves, sunshine and beaches. For him, years of rising taxes, dead-end schools, unchecked illegal immigration and clogged traffic have robbed the Golden State of its allure.
Is there something left of the California dream? ‘If you are a Hollywood actor,’ Reilly says, ‘but not for us.’
Since the days of the Gold Rush, California has represented the Promised Land, an image celebrated in the songs of the Beach Boys and embodied by Silicon Valley’s instant millionaires and the young men and women who achieve stardom in Hollywood. But for many California families last year, tomorrow started somewhere else.
The number of people leaving California for another state outstripped the number moving in from another state during the year ending on July 1, 2008. California lost a net total of 144,000 people during that period — more than any other state, according to census estimates. That is about equal to the population of Syracuse, N.Y. The state with the next-highest net loss through migration between states was New York, which lost about 125,000 residents. “