Moving (Fleeing?) Inland

Census stories fascinate me. This one, from today’s Associated Press wire, shows that San Francisco County lost more residents in 2002-2003 than any other California county (Steve and I left the month after the July 2003 cutoff point).

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County gained the most residents (which is ironic, considering that people used to flee LA to move to SF), and the fastest-growing county was Riverside.

The long-predicted flow of people from the coastal counties, which are fast becoming unaffordable except for the wealthiest, to the inland and mountain counties is taking place. When I was a kid, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties were weeds, wildflowers, and wide-open spaces, with sleepy towns and military bases interspersed along stretches of Highway 10. Now they are booming exurb factories, with no end in sight to the sprawl. When Steve and I visited last year, that sprawl was in evidence everywhere, from the wide, spacious, pedestrian-free boulevards of Ontario to the gleaming sparkly bustle of Palm Springs International Airport to the spooky, walled-off “gated community” enclaves of Rancho Mirage.

I find myself wondering where in California anymore would be a tolerable (and affordable) place to live.