SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's population declined in 2020 for the first time since state officials have been measuring it.
State officials announced Friday that the nation's most populous state lost 182,083 people in 2020. California's population is now just under 39.5 million. It had shown only very small annual increases for the last several years.
Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the state would lose a congressional seat for the first time because it grew more slowly than other states during the past decade.
State officials blamed the loss on a declining birth rate, reductions in immigration and an increase in deaths because of the coronavirus.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, there is a difference between those moving into the state and those moving out.
People who move to California are different from those who move out. In general, those who move here are more likely to be working age, to be employed, and to earn high wages—and are less likely to be in poverty—than those who move away. Those who move to California also tend to have higher education levels than those who move out—an especially important factor given the state’s strong need for college graduates. Notably, this gain in educated residents is concentrated among young college graduates (generally, adults in their 20s) looking for opportunities as they start their careers.
In addition, those moving into the state tend to have a higher income than those moving out.
According to the Department of Finance's report released Friday, San Luis Obispo County's population declined by 2% and Santa Barbara County's declined by 2.1%.
The only city in San Luis Obispo County that saw population growth was San Luis Obispo at 0.3%.
In Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria grew by 0.2%, Goleta grew by 0.7%, and Guadalupe grew by 5%.
According to the report, Guadalupe's growth was fueled by the city's growth in housing, which increased by 8.3%. Guadalupe was second behind only Paradise, much of which was destroyed in the 2018 Camp Fire, for housing unit growth.
Meanwhile, of all cities on the Central Coast, Lompoc saw the largest population decline of -2.6%.