San Francisco Loses Another 39,000 Taxpayers

Since the days of the Gold Rush, California has been a magnet for those seeking wealth. A backwater barely a century ago, with just over 3 million residents compared to nearly 40 million today, the Golden State established dominance over everything from agriculture and film to space travel and the internet.

But new data suggests that the tide may be turning, and a rich hegira is afoot.

Researchers found that 39,000 San Franciscans who had filed federal tax returns for 2018 had moved out of the city before filing 2019 returns, taking away a net of $7 billion in income in one year. A soon-to-be released report from the San Francisco Business Times, sources tell me, will see a similar phenomenon in Silicon Valley.

Once able to hold onto its rich, the Golden State seems to be following the course of high-tax places like New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut. For years, these cities and states have been oozing billions in tax revenues as wealthy residents fled to the likes of Texas, Florida, Arizona, the Carolinas and Tennessee. While California still lags behind New York State in the money-losing sweepstakes, it is catching up: in 2020 the state lost $17.8 billion in tax revenue, with the loss spreading into the Bay Area, whose tech-rich economy historically kept the state solvent.

Read the rest of this piece at UnHerd.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.