Experts Explain What Behind Historic California Population Decline

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – In 2020, a year dominated by the pandemic, California’s population fell by 182,083. This is the first time in recorded California history that the state’s population has declined year over year.

On Friday, the state’s finance ministry announced a 0.46 percent drop in the population to just under 39.5 million people.

RELATED: Leaving Bay Area: Hundreds of Remote Workers Bite on Tulsa’s Offer to Pay Them $ 10,000 to Relocate

Randy White moved his family from Mountain View, CA to Tulsa, Oklahoma five months ago. “I just decided to take a risk and go to Oklahoma. I was really cramped in our two bedroom apartment.”

White says he found a grant program called Tulsa Remote that gave him $ 10,000 to move out and that he now has a four bedroom house, where he works remotely for the IT department at Stanford. “In my personal experience, actually moving, it was like the Old West, there were U-Hauls all over the place leaving the state.”

In Tulsa, White has room for a home office and can afford to send his daughter to daycare, which he said was too expensive in Mountain View.

RELATED: More People Leaving California Than Moving In: Is The California Dream Dead?

But the cost of living in California and the new work-related lifestyles at home aren’t the only factors in the population decline.

“2020 has been such a unique year. We have had no immigration or very little immigration, we have killed 50,000 Californians and we have not seen so many children born, so it is no wonder we’ve seen a small decline, “said State Senator Scott Wiener, who constantly points out that the lack of affordable housing in California continues to create problems, particularly in the Bay Area.

Of the ten largest cities in California, San Francisco and San Jose experienced some of the largest population declines, while Oakland made modest gains in 2020.

RELATED: Bay Area Exodus: Where Is Everyone Going & Why?

“These are middle-income, working-class people who don’t see a future for themselves here in terms of being able to afford a house. So we need to build a lot more housing in the bay area and in California in general. stop building sprawl and build more in places like San Francisco, Oakland and Walnut Creek, and Burlingame, and San Jose, Cupertino, where the jobs are, where the transit is, ”Senator Wiener said.

According to state data, immigration restrictions during the pandemic resulted in the loss of 100,000 people. But the California Department of Finance said the state is expected to return to slightly positive annual growth.

RELATED: California Reports First Annual Population Decline In History, Down More Than 182,000 People

“Assuming we go back to a normal immigration outlook, we might actually see higher growth than the past two years. I would almost expect people to some extent to catch up with some of the hiatus, ”said Walter Schwarm, the chief demographer. for the California Department of Finance.

As for White and his family …

Kate Larsen: “Is there something that would bring you back to California?”
Randy White: “Maybe family, even if they are planning to move too … It’s really hard to justify the return, especially in the South Bay, it’s so expensive.”

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