State report: California population dropped by 182,083 people in 2020

Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor


(The Center Square) – The California Department of Finance released estimates Friday reporting that the Golden State lost 0.46 percent of its population in 2020.

The population loss is the first the state has measured as an annual decline in the decades it has been tracking annual population data. In 2019, state demographers had estimated a population increase of 0.2 percent, or 87,494 people.

But in 2020, California saw a net loss of 182,083 people and a net exodus of 310,918 people.

The drop follows decades of slowing population growth as both the birth rate and migration into California consistently fell. Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that California grew by 6.1% over the past decade, a rate lower than the national average.

The state attributes the population decline to coronavirus-related deaths, low birth rates and lower levels of international immigration.

“Driven largely by a declining birthrate, the state’s population growth slowed in recent years and essentially hit a plateau,” said H.D. Palmer, the Department of Finance’s deputy director and chief spokesperson. “What’s temporarily tipped us into negative territory over the past year is deaths caused by covid, combined with the impact of immigration policy.”

California’s population growth rate peaked at 37% after the 1990 Census. By the 2020 Census, it was the first time in the state’s history that it lost a congressional seat.

Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who has sued California Gov. Gavin Newsom and is a leader in the recall effort against the governor, said California “would have lost two seats if Gavin Newsom and the Legislature hadn’t spent $182 million to juice the Census headcount.”

While California’s population loss last year reflects a decade-long pattern, a recent poll shows that 53% of California residents say they are considering leaving, citing high taxes and the high cost of living as reasons why, he notes.

Newsom’s office has dismissed the California exodus as “people with political axes to grind who want to put the hate on California.”

But the state Finance Department attributes the annual population decline to a lower-than-usual international immigration into California related to the state shutdown and the coronavirus, and lower than average birth rates.

Only twice in the past three decades has California reported an annual net increase in people arriving from other states – 1999 and 2000 – coinciding with the start of the tech boom when tens of thousands of people moved to Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Last year, notable high-level executives and billionaires from Silicon Valley announced they were leaving California and relocating to Texas and a handful of other states. California also continues to rank last, or near last, in best states for business rankings.


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C E Voigtsberger

“Newsom’s office has dismissed the California exodus as “people with political axes to grind who want to put the hate on California.””

That kind of comment reminds me of similar comments each time a major company moved out like Toyota moving to Tennessee, I believe. The idiots that write off a major company moving its headquarters out of state with the concomitant high paying jobs that go with that move are seeing the effects of such corporate actions.

After the Northridge earthquake a surprising number of my suppliers in the Valley moved to Arizona or Nevada. When I questioned them about it, they all responded, “Well, we had been thinking about moving and as long as everything was already loaded on moving vans, instead of moving 20 miles, it wasn’t that much more to move a couple of hundred to a state where they were happy to see us come; taxes were lower; working regulations were not as picayune; housing was cheaper. Living was just easier as was doing business.”

If the gubinador shuts down businesses with imperial decrees, what the heck, lots of time to explore doing business in Arizona, Nevada, Utah. It’s overnight by truck to LA markets from any of those locations.

Ventura County lost a major printing company and an ink manufacturing plant that was going to locate in Camarillo years ago with its regulatory folderol. The companies involved did open new plants — in Reno Nevada. Ventura County lost several hundred jobs that paid above average wages.

Look at how close Oxnard came to losing the Amazon shipping center.

It doesn’t take some kind of prescient foresight for the average working guy or gal to figure out that they are going to be making almost as much in some other state but housing for starters is 25% less than in California; that the schools are turning out students that aren’t in the bottom ten percentile; gasoline is a dollar a gallon cheaper than in the PDRK and car insurance is significantly lower too. Utilities are lower so having to use the A/C isn’t a big burden. The day time temps may not be as moderate but with the lack of rain, the water bill is rapidly replacing the cost of lower other utility bills.

With the water bill threatening to spiral ever higher due to some hare-brained ideation of the director of the water department about purifying sewer water at, of course, significant costs, any savings on natural gas and electricity for A/C, is lost due to ever escalating sewer and water costs.

Only fools or prisoners would continue to live in the PDRK.

Mike Smith

“Newsom’s office has dismissed the California exodus as “people with political axes to grind who want to put the hate on California.”

Meanwhile law-abiding California conservatives, sick of being mistreated and demonized, are escaping to free states where they can defend against the Marxist insurgents who want to put the hate on them and their families.

Gavin Newsom has no idea the favor he’s doing for Republican states.

Gayle Washburn

Population growth has been declining for twenty years. Fertility rates and generational demographics make that obvious. The majority of growth has been immigration. The state does not want to acknowledge this though because GROWTH has been written into the state housing code, promulgated by developers, finance, insurance and real estate lobbies.

George Pattone

The rats are abandoning the sinking ship!!!

C E Voigtsberger

No, the rats aren’t abandoning the sinking ship. The folks who are not represented in government; the folks who strongly disagree with the socialistic/communistic bent of the government; the folks who have no hope of ever having representation in the state government due to gerrymandering and the changes to the eligibility of candidates in the general election all have decided to go where democracy is still practiced. Who in the world ever heard of an election where both candidates are from the same party? What a travesty !!! Why not have the California Central Democratic Committee just announce who the winners are for each post without going to the bother and expense of having an election?

We are exercising that right that the Constitution gave us to move to a state where the principles of democracy have not been as abused as they have in Kallyforniya.

Personal circumstances keep me imprisoned here in what I call the PDRK (Peepuls Dimokratik Republic of Kallyforniya) Should those circumstances change all you will see is a flash of white, a cloud of dust and a hearty “We;re outa here” The white won’t be my horse, it will be a U-Haul truck, if I can rent one going one way.