California’s Population Growth Comes to Screeching Halt

The state added just 186,807 people in 2018, bringing California’s total population to 39,927,315. That may sound like a lot but it’s actually the slowest population growth ever witnessed in state history, with the overall growth rate falling from 0.78% in 2017 to 0.47% last year.

A lack of affordability and housing is driving people out of the state. Between 2007 and 2016, some 6 million people left while only about 5 million moved here. Out-migration hit 160,000 between July 2017 and July 2018.

But the state’s birth rate is also falling dramatically. There were 18,000 fewer babies born in 2018. The figure, which even surprised researchers, is being chalked up to a decline in immigration from Mexico coupled with an increase in Asian migration.

“The overall profile of immigrants to California is higher education, which correlates to lower fertility,” state demographer Ethan Sharygin told the Los Angeles Times.  “With native-born, we see a long-running trend throughout the U.S where fertility has been trending downward.”

Among the state’s 10 largest cities, population gains were greatest in Sacramento. It saw 7,400 new residents in 2018, representing 1.49% growth. Smaller cities like Chico and Oroville also saw a population explosion due displacement from the Camp Fire.

Read the full report from the Department of Finance here