More than 100,000 people are leaving our sunshine state each year. We’re now seeing the migration up close and personal. A couple from our home Bible study has packed up and headed for Montana. One lady moved to Nevada, another to Florida. My brother and his family are planning a move to Oregon. After eighteen years of having all our children living close, our daughter’s family has joined the exodus out of California.
The west coast is no longer the promised land. Several schools are closing in our area because there aren’t enough children to fill classrooms. Is it “zero population control”? No. The truth is young families can’t afford to buy homes here. Many retirees are selling property for top dollar and heading to Arizona or New Mexico, Nevada or Oregon, Washington State or Arkansas where housing is affordable and quality of life available.
What’s the problem? It’s complicated. Before Rick retired and closed the doors of Rivers Aviation Services, the tax burden was the equivalent of working from January to June to pay corporate taxes, then out of what’s left, pay federal and state income taxes, along with high property taxes, higher sales taxes. Sadly, we see lots of empty shops, restaurants, offices and buildings, notices of bankruptcy, everyone representing dreams that have died. Corporations are moving to business-friendly states and taking thousands of jobs with them.
People move for different reason: better opportunities, better climate for improved health, to be closer to family, to find affordable housing. People are pouring over our borders to escape tumultuous times in other countries, to find a safer place to live and work, to assure good education and future for their children. Rick’s grandparents and mine moved from Sweden, Germany and Switzerland, knowing they would have better opportunities here. The reasons people moved in the past still apply today.
Thousands are leaving California. Thousands are moving north from Central America and Mexico. Ten of thousands are moving from the Middle East into Europe. A tide of people pouring onto new shores. A human migration. God is sovereign, and His hand is in this. What will the shifting populations bring? He knows. We don’t.
Will Rick and I move? I say no now, but I don’t know. What I do know is this: Home isn’t a plot of land or a house. It isn’t a country, state or city. It’s relationship with our Creator, the One who has laid out the plan for our lives. When we are in His will, geography doesn’t matter. Wherever we are, He is, and we are home.