The state of California lost more than 182,000 people in the last decade, the first such drop in the recorded history of the state. The data, released by the Department of Finance, shows a 0.46 decline and is attributed to coronavirus deaths, declining birth rates, slowing immigration, and the high cost of living.
Population growth in the state has slowed considerably in recent years and the pandemic appears to have tipped the scales. “Much has been made of the California exodus, and rightly so. This migration, over the decades, has the power to reshape the state,” states a report by the Public Policy Institute of California released Thursday.
One more nail in Governor Gavin Newsom’s coffin.
Opponents of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is facing a recall election, are sure to use the historic decline as proof of California’s woes. Republicans have long assailed the state’s regulations and tax rates as reasons to leave for red states, a point punctuated by the departure of Tesla CEO Elon Musk for Texas last year. Newsom critics in the past year have pointed to California’s pandemic restrictions and school closures as additional reasons to flee.
But state officials insisted Friday that the population decline is likely a blip due to the unprecedented pandemic, and that California is projected to return to “slight annual positive growth” when estimates are released next year.
Illegal immigration had been fueling California’s growth for decades, which is why state Democrats have been doing everything they can to encourage it.
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