Watch CBS News

California Reports Population Loss For Second Straight Year

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) - The state of California reported its first ever population decline in 2020, stating that it lost 182,083 people over the 2019-2020 year from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2020.

On Friday, for the second straight year, the Golden State has once again reported a loss in population. This time, approximately 173,000 people.

It was also the first time that the state has ever reported loss from both Los Angeles County, and the nine counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area - Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

According to the Associated Press, California estimates their population twice a year, with the first report determining numbers from the previous calendar year, while the second report determines the previous fiscal year.

California has 10 counties with a population of over one million people, seven of which lost population, including San Diego, which reported the its first annual loss as well, with over 15,000 people leaving.

Experts suggest that most of the reason could lie with the high market prices of homes in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, that account for nearly half of the state's population - 44% or 40 million people. As always, rent prices follow suit, another factor that could point to why residents could be moving from the state.

One popular theory suggests that the year-after-year reign of Democratic government overseeing the state is causing a mass exodus from California. But a study performed by the California Policy Lab at the University of California indicated that the main problem is that less people are moving into California than are moving away from it.

However, this downward trend as recent as it seems. The growth of California has slowed over the years following a period of population boom that began in the late 1800's and continued through much of the 2000's and 2010's, until 2017.

"The public's attention has been focused on the so-called 'CalExodus' phenomenon, but the reality is that the dramatic drop in 'CalEntrances' since the pandemic began has been a bigger driver of recent population changes in the state," said Natalie Holmes, a research fellow at the California Policy Lab and co-author of its recent report.

Records show the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as the starting point for less migration, with 38% less people moving to California over the last two years. Those same records show a 12% increase in residents moving out of California for other states.

For Los Angeles County specifically, over 67,500 people left, bringing the population total to less than 10 million.

California also lost a congressional seat for the first time in state history, dropping their total from 53 to 52. It is still the highest total throughout the United States, with Texas checking in with the next highest total - 38.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.