California Is No Longer a Destination

A State Once Famous for Offering Escape and Lucky Breaks Is Now Just a Place Where People Aspire to Stick Around and Settle In

Today’s California dream is not your grandfather’s California dream.

So why do we keep telling ourselves that we’re still seeking the same California dream? “California dream” has become a verbal tic in speeches, a graffiti we scrawl on signs and headlines, without thinking about its meaning. Democrats and Republicans alike, as they assumed new offices this month, pledged to defend the supposedly enduring California dream. In his inaugural address, Gov. Jerry Brown even suggested that the aspirations of today’s California were much the same as those of his 19th century …

More In: California dream

The California Dream Has Become the California Struggle

Today’s Golden State Feels Like the Island in ‘Survivor,’ Says Zócalo’s Joe Mathews

What is the historic “California dream”—the one people still talk about today? How does California’s 21st-century reality differ from that dream? And what is the California dream of today and …

A Humbler California Dream

Previous Generations Fantasized About Gold and Cheap Land. A New Generation of Californians Wants Upward Mobility, Environmental Responsibility, and Better Schools.

California has long been seen as a beautiful land of opportunity—a place where the sun is always shining and anything is possible. For many generations, people have flocked here to …