California’s Population Growth Slowest in 120 Years
California’s population grew by just 0.35%, or 141,300 people, between July 1, 2018 and July 1, 2019. That’s the slowest growth the state has seen since 1900. The state’s total population is now 39.96 million.
The demographic crawl was led by fewer births, increased deaths among the aging population, and changing migration patterns. Californians continue to leave for neighboring states at a time when fewer immigrants are arriving in California from other countries.
“In Los Angeles County, the region saw overall outmigration even when counting the influx of immigrants,” according to the Los Angeles Times. “Orange, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and San Diego counties also had negative net migration, even with gains from immigration.”
Many of the counties that saw the highest population growth — Colusa, Glenn, Plumas, Sutter, Tehama, and Yuba, for instance — had received an influx of residents displaced by wildfire.
USC demographic expert Dowell Myers said housing is a major reason for the decline. It’s not only pushing people to leave, but it’s discouraging young people here from having children.
“We better get our act together pretty darn quick,” he told the Times. “This is as good as it’s going to get. People should be flourishing. The fact that the number of babies is going down is really worrisome.”
The declining growth could be felt sooner rather than later. California is now poised to lose a congressional seat for the first time in its history based on the latest U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.