California’s population declined last year, marking the first time the nation’s largest state has registered a drop since it joined the Union in 1850.
The state's Department of Finance said in a report Friday that California’s population stood at 39,466,855 as of Jan. 1, down 182,083 from the prior year, a growth rate of minus 0.46 percent.
More Californians died in 2020 than were born, even before factoring in the 51,000 Golden State residents who died from COVID-19.
The state also received 100,000 fewer immigrants than in 2019, a drop the Finance Department attributed to federal policy under the Trump administration.
“In recent years, the slowdown in natural increase — a nationwide trend affecting California more than other states — has contributed to the state’s population growth slowing and plateauing,” the department said in a statement. “The addition of 2020’s Covid-19-related deaths, combined with immigration restrictions in the past year, tipped population change to an annual loss.”
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