California Reports Population Decline of 182,000, First in State’s History

SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 06: Rows of houses stand in front of the San Francisco skyline June 6, 2007 in San Francisco, California. The National Association of Realtors announced today that it is lowering its forecast of the U.S. housing market as home sales continue to be weak. The NAR …
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California’s population declined by more than 182,000 people last year, marking the first time in the state’s history that it has experienced a year-over-year loss.

State officials said Friday that California’s population slid 0.46 percent to slightly under 39.5 million people between January 2020 and January 2021, the Associated Press reported.

“The numbers don’t lie. People are leaving our state because it’s not affordable to live here,” tweeted Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego and one of the Republican candidates hoping to unseat Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom in this year’s expected recall election.

The news of California’s population shrinkage comes as the U.S. Census Bureau announced California would lose a congressional seat for the first time ever because it grew more slowly than other states have over the past ten years.

Some of California’s largest cities — Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego, San Francisco, Anaheim, and Long Beach — all saw their populations shrink.

Meanwhile, cities like Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno, and Oakland gained residents.

State officials chalk off the declining population over the past year to a declining birth rate, reductions in international immigration, and deaths from the coronavirus.

In 2020 alone, 51,000 Californians died from the coronavirus.

But California’s Department of Finance expects the state to return to a slightly positive growth next year.

“Assuming we get back to normal immigration perspective, we might actually see higher than the last couple of years growth. I would almost expect that to a certain extent as people catch up to some of the pausing,” Walter Schwarm, the chief demographer for California’s Department of Finance, told KGO.


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