Now it isn't surprising that Texas is doing better than California since their populations are not too far apart and considering that Texas isn't trying to run their state into the ground. I also don't want it to look like this is simply blue state bashing because even though there are plenty of blue states that are sucking fumes, there are some performing pretty well. Just look at Washington, which is considered a blue state, but outside of the Seattle area it is had a healthy red core. Washington, a state with about 20% of the population of California boasts 1 MSA (the Tri-Cities as it is known in Washington) in the top 25, which California doesn't have, and another in the top 50, which California also doesn't have.
Clearly California, and Illinois for that matter, are doing something wrong. Yes Chicago is clean, on the north side at least, and is bustling; though the city has hemorrhaged about a third of its population form its peak almost 50 years ago, but its easy to confuse the health of a single city with that of a state or larger body. The Soviets, and now the Chinese and many other developing nations, did this well. Construct gleaming modern metropolises that give the appearance of a healthy and vibrant state; all the while the countryside sits in near abject poverty. I haven't been to the suburbs of Illinois but I have seen them in California around LA, and let me tell you, it isn't pretty.
It should also be interesting to note that of all the states I have thought about moving too outside of my own, New Hampshire, Texas, North Carolina, Colorado and the like, all seem to be doing pretty well according to the milkeninstitute.