Are Angelenos changing the landscape of Phoenix, Austin, and Atlanta? Local reporters say maybe

By Jackie Sedley

The airport in Phoenix, Arizona is seen at sunset. Many Californians are moving to Phoenix, and that’s contributing to sky-high rent prices, says Katherine Davis-Young, senior field correspondent for KJZZ in Phoenix. Photo by Shutterstock.

Around 10% of LA County residents plan to move out within the next year, according to a survey that USC conducted a few months ago.

Katherine Davis-Young is the senior field correspondent for KJZZ, an NPR station in Phoenix, and she says that a lot of people in her area are coming from California, and that it’s contributing to sky-high rent prices.

“When I talk to sources here, I hear a lot of people say things like, ‘Arizona’s housing crisis isn’t as bad as California, but we’re getting there.’ So I think there is this fear that California has been in this boat for a long time, and now right next door in Arizona, we’re starting to see that spillover.”

Rent in cities like Phoenix and Georgia may seem cheaper to LA natives migrating over, but that’s because prices in LA are some of the highest in the nation.

Rickey Bevington, the afternoon host at Georgia Public Radio in Atlanta, echoes some of Davis-Young’s sentiments. She says people come to Atlanta for work, but often stay for the lifestyle.

“A lot of Angelenos, particularly in the film industry, make their way to Georgia. They do so much work here that many people have actually ended up simply moving. They like the lower cost of living, they like that it's a slightly easier pace of life,” says Bevington.

Bevington also says that people in Atlanta are used to meeting people from elsewhere in the country and the world, so her community is not all that phased about LA people moving over.

David Leffler, on the other hand, has noticed a different atmosphere in his city of Austin. He is a former senior editor at the Austin Monthly and has reported on the “Californication” of his city in the past. Pre-pandemic, Leffler says fears about Austin becoming altered by Angelenos were somewhat unbased. Now, according to Leffler, those narratives have begun to manifest into reality as the population grows.

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