Taxes and Net Migration in California

32 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2022

See all articles by Joshua D. Rauh

Joshua D. Rauh

Stanford Graduate School of Business; Hoover Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 17, 2022


This paper explores the migration patterns of California taxpayers and analyzes the potential economic and revenue implications of this movement using the universe of California individual income tax filings from 2000 to 2019. While departure rates have outweighed in-migration rates for most tax brackets over the time period, the highest earners are particularly mobile around tax policy changes such as Proposition 30 in 2012 and the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. Net outflows of taxable income in the year TCJA was implemented reached $3.8 billion. Taxpayers who would experience a larger increase under TCJA rules due to the limitation of the state and local tax deduction are more likely to leave. High-earning movers have been consistently more likely to leave California for zero-income tax states since 2012.

Keywords: income taxation, migration, high earners, state taxation, marginal tax rates, state and local fiscal policy

JEL Classification: H24, H31, H71, H73, J22, J61, R23

Suggested Citation

Rauh, Joshua D., Taxes and Net Migration in California (February 17, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Joshua D. Rauh (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Hoover Institution ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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