A Brookings Institution study of America's migration patterns from 2000-2008 notes that 1.2 million people — roughly the population of the city of San Diego — moved away from Los Angeles during that time, but more than 815,000 immigrants, mostly from Mexico, stepped in to fill the vacancies.
During that eight-year time frame, California and New York were the recipients of one out of four immigrants who came to the United States. And, as they were coming, many local folks were also going. The height of the housing bubble, around 2005 and 2006, was also the peak of the exodus from L.A., according to Brookings, and many people moved to Phoenix, Las Vegas and, closer to home, Riverside — mainly to escape skyrocketing housing prices.
“During the middle part of the decade, younger couples and singles with moderate education levels dominated the groups leaving California for lower-cost housing and job opportunities in surrounding states,” states the Brookings report, titled “The Great American Migration Slowdown.”
Because of the recession and subsequent housing bust, however, California as a whole is retaining more younger white and Latino people than it had during the bubble.
“Migration away from areas stretching from San Francisco to San Diego, where high housing prices fueled 'middle-class flight' to the interior West, has now retrenched … ,” states the report. California “seems to be retaining many of these same groups, particularly younger whites and Hispanics who are married couples or singles, as housing cost pressures ease.”