State’s Population Growth Continues Sluggish Pace

California’s population has grown to an estimated 39.6 million to 39.8 million, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Census Bureau and the state’s Department of Finance. That represents an annual growth rate of 0.4% in 2017-2018, down from 0.9% in 2010-2011. Since 2010, the state has added just 2.3 million people, placing its overall growth rate (6.1%) virtually on par on with that of the nation’s (5.96%).

According to the latest figures, Riverside County saw the largest population gain statewide. Its population now stands at 27,386. Los Angeles County saw its population drop by two-thirds to 10.28 million, but it remains the most populous county in California. 

California’s population growth has been steadily slowing since the 1990’s thanks to declining immigration, increasing outmigration, plummeting birth rates, and an aging populace. While slower population growth could relieve pressures on housing and demands for public services, it also means a smaller pool of workers, fewer taxpayers, and the possible loss of a congressional seat.

As CalMatters’ Dan Walters notes, that last concern has been heightened by the Trump administration’s proposal to include a question about immigration status on the 2020 census — a move that could dissuade immigrants from participating — as well as fewer census outreach efforts.