Fact Check

Yes, U-Haul Ran Out of Trucks for People Moving Out of California

California's population boom came to a screeching halt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published Jan 19, 2022

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U-Haul ran out of moving equipment for Californians leaving the state.

A Jan. 3, 2022, news release published by moving company U-Haul reported that it had rented out so many trucks to Californians moving out of the state that it ran out of inventory.

"California remained the top state for out-migration, but its net loss of U-Haul trucks wasn’t as severe as in 2020," the U-Haul news release stated. "That can be partially attributed to the fact that U-Haul simply ran out of inventory to meet customer demand for outbound equipment."

The top destination for its equipment? Texas, according to U-Haul.

The Golden State is the most populous in the U.S., with an estimated population of close to 40 million residents, owing in large part to it being an historical destination for migration, both domestic and international, since the Gold Rush. But that historic trend seemed to crash into the wall of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, out-migration from California has picked up, doubling since the beginning of pandemic, but most importantly, far fewer people have moved to California than in the past, per the California Policy Lab study:

"At the end of September 2021, entrances to California were 38% lower than at the end of March 2020. Exits, following a dip early in the pandemic, have rebounded and are now 12% higher than pre-COVID levels — on pace with pre-pandemic trends."

In 2021, California lost a congressional seat due to its population contraction for the first time.

But The New York Times reported that the demographic shift in California has been long in the making and the result of broader forces, including strict limits on immigration during the pandemic, declining birth rates, and COVID-19 deaths.


Christopher, Ben. “California Loses Congressional Seat for First Time.” CalMatters, 26 Apr. 2021. calmatters.org, https://calmatters.org/politics/2021/04/california-congress-census/.

Cowan, Jill. “Who’s Really Leaving California?” The New York Times, 10 May 2021. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/10/us/california-population-loss.html.

"Pandemic Patterns: California Is Seeing Fewer Entrances and More Exits." California Policy Lab, 15 Dec. 2021, https://www.capolicylab.org/pandemic-patterns-california-is-seeing-fewer-entrances-and-more-exits/.

Parvini, Sarah. “Fewer People Moving to California, More Leaving during the Pandemic, Study Shows.” Los Angeles Times, 15 Dec. 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-12-15/california-exodus-pandemic.

“U-Haul Growth Index: Texas Is the No. 1 Growth State of 2021.” U-Haul International, 3 Jan. 2022, https://www.uhaul.com/Articles/About/U-Haul-Growth-Index-Texas-Is-The-No-1-Growth-State-Of-2021-26380/. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more