California’s population falls for the first time in its history

State officials blamed a curb in immigration and deaths from the coronavirus for the decline

Graig Graziosi
Friday 07 May 2021 21:57
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California Population Loss
California Population Loss
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California's population has fallen for the first time in the state's history.

The state's population fell by more than 182,000 people in 2020, the first time the country's most populous state has recorded a decline since it began recording residents.

State officials announced the findings on Friday, noting that the population declined by 0.46 per cent to 39.5m people between January 2020 to January 2021.

The news came a week after it was revealed that California would lose a congressional seat due to its low population growth.

ABC News reported a decline of a combined 88,000 people was recorded in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco, the state's most populous cities.

The population loss was most noticeable in Los Angeles, with a decline of 52,000.

In total, the city has lost 75,000 people in the last three years, dropping its population to slightly more than 3.9 million.

State officials blamed the loss on a decline in international immigration and coronavirus deaths.

In 2020, the state noted negative growth from international migration, which officials blame on Donald Trump's policy to stop issuing new visas during that year.

The coronavirus also played a role in the decline, as restrictions resulted in a 29 per cent decline in international students studying in California – which amounts to approximately 53,000 people – and another 51,000 died in the state due to the pandemic.

The state's death rate was 19 per cent higher than California's average death rate for the three previous years.

That state's notoriously high tax rate was not noted as a cause of the decline, but may be a contributing factor to the exodus from the state.

Republicans blamed the state's taxes as a reason for the state's declining population.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, between 2010 and 2020 approximately 6.1 million people left the state as compared to the 4.9 million who moved into the state.

Another impediment to population growth in the state is its exceptionally expensive housing market.

In California, the average home costs $440,000, more than two-and-a-half times the national average. The average rent in the state is $1,240, which is 50 per cent higher than the national average.

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