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Thinking About Leaving Your State? How To Know When It's Time To Move

By Sabrina Kosmas··  7 min read
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If you had told me just five years ago that Uhaul would literally run out of moving trucks in California because people would be leaving fast enough to make your head would spin, I never would’ve believed you.

Probably because I’m an obnoxious California native who blissfully thought that there would never be a better place to live than my home state, but oh, how things can change, and change quickly at that. In just a matter of a few years I’ve gone from wanting to be a working mom in a bustling city to buying a house out in the country where I can raise my kids, maybe a couple of chickens, and homeschool them if need be…the kids, not the chickens of course.

So Why Are People Leaving California and Other Once Popular States?

If you’ve followed the news over the past few years or just looked around at any major city in progressive states, you’ll notice that as taxes, housing prices, homelessness, and crime all skyrocket, so do the number of people leaving those states. The more prominent these issues become, the more difficult it is for people to provide for their families and keep them safe, especially for the poor and middle class. More often than not, only the middle class and up have the ability to pack up and go. 

This has led to a mass exodus taking place from blue states like California, New York, and Illinois to red states like Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. Over the last decade, those progressive states each lost an average of 1 million residents while those conservative states each gained an average of 1 million new residents.

There has been a mass exodus from states like California to states like Texas. 

You know things in blue states have gotten bad when even one of the most famous progressives of our time, Bill Maher, admits that “The red states are a joy and the blue states are a pain in the a**.”

Fewer business regulations, more affordable housing, more job opportunities, and no state income tax means that your money simply goes further in many of these conservative states, which often results in a better quality of life. Young people are able to buy houses, families that used to rely on two incomes may be able to live comfortably on one, some families can now afford to have more children, or at the very least, people may feel less financial stress because of these benefits.

For some, it may not even be about the money but just the sense of belonging in states where a majority of people share the same values. 

How the Pandemic Turned Everything Upside Down

While there is no such place as the perfect utopia, there are at least places to live that have lower taxes and better cost of living, more job opportunities, tough on crime policing, higher quality schools, and most importantly, more freedom. I don’t think many of us truly understood how important that last concept was until we saw nonsensical Covid regulations continue in progressive states while conservative states returned to normalcy. Ironically enough, the progressive states with stricter Covid-19 regulations that continued to require lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and mask mandates ended up having higher case and death rates than their conservative counterparts. 

In addition to these political and economic reasons, many people are moving out of their home states or even just out of cities in search of simpler lives. If the pandemic taught us anything it was that life outside of our homes can come to a screeching halt at any second so what truly matters is what’s inside our homes: our loved ones. 

Many people are moving out of their home states or even just out of cities in search of simpler lives.

When the pandemic hit and stayed longer than anyone expected, we saw droves of women leave the workforce to stay home with their families. For some, it was due to their industries struggling to bounce back from the recession or a lack of childcare, while others left because they realized how much they were missing not being home with their children. 

There’s No Place Like…Homeschooling and Homesteading?

Another group of women leaving the workforce that continues to grow is the brave mothers who are choosing to homeschool. Online learning exposed many parents to the truth about what their kids were actually being taught in school, and for many, it was enough to pull their kids out entirely. Basic core curricula such as language arts and even mathematics have been infiltrated by a social justice agenda in schools across the country, causing children to not only fall behind in their education but struggle with some of the world’s biggest problems that, quite frankly, don’t concern children.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the proportion of American families homeschooling at least one child more than doubled from spring 2020 to fall 2021. Homeschooling has become more popular than ever before. 

Many families across America have even taken things a step further and moved to the countryside to live a life of self-sufficiency, also known as “homesteading,” where they grow their own food, maybe even their own livestock, make their own textiles, and try to live off the land as much as possible. #Homestead has more than 3.1 million posts on Instagram to date! 

The proportion of families homeschooling more than doubled from spring 2020 to fall 2021.

Now I know what you’re thinking, how are Amish people even on social media? But like me, you’ll probably be surprised to see how many people of all different walks of life have chosen to live this way in recent years – from a Julliard-trained ballerina to a functional medicine doctor. Families are feeling more empowered to protect and provide for themselves and are acquiring the simpler lives they so crave.

I myself have even joked to my husband about how the crazier things get in the world, the further I want to live from any major city and the bigger my Zillow search perimeter gets. Homestead or bust!

So How Do You Know When It’s Time To Move? 

The answer is so complex yet also so simple: When your quality of life is better elsewhere, it’s time to go! Ultimately, you need to weigh the pros and cons and choose what’s best for you and your family. 

This is by no means an easy decision, trust me. Most of my family, close friends, even my dream job are all here in California. But you know what I love even more than all of those things? My son and my future children.

My husband and I sat down a few months back and had a very difficult conversation. While we’ve tolerated this state being overpopulated, overpriced, and not overtly safe over the years, we just couldn’t do it anymore. We’re both pretty successful in our careers and financially sound for our age, but we realistically can’t afford to have the family and house that we’ve always dreamed of here. While our California dream may be dead, for us the American dream is very much alive elsewhere.

Closing Thoughts

We’re currently in the process of buying our first home outside of Nashville in a much safer town with much better schools than where we live here in LA. This decision also makes it possible for us to live comfortably on a single income one day should we decide to homeschool our children. We will do whatever it takes to raise healthy and happy children and give them a sense of normalcy that we have not seen much of in a very long time here. This decision is not an easy one, but it’s ultimately the right one for us. 

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