According to California’s Department of Finance (DOF), the state grew by “only” 141,300 over the last year, but that was only because of a net outflow of almost 200,000 Californians to other states. The official state estimate for July 1, 2019, puts California’s population at 39.96 million, a growth rate of 0.35 percent, the lowest recorded rate since 1900.
The DOF estimate indicates that the net domestic outmigration of 198,000 was offset by foreign immigration of 158,000 and natural increase (births minus deaths) of 181,000. Immigration drives population growth in the U.S., and even more so in California. According to the Pew Research Center, “Future immigrants and their descendants… are projected to account for 88 percent of the U.S. population increase,” between 2015 and 2065.
Californians for Population Stabilization Executive Director Ric Oberlink responded:
“It’s good news that California’s growth rate is slowing. Decades of unsustainable population growth have resulted in crumbling infrastructure, massive traffic jams, increased air pollution, and the destruction of large swathes of California’s precious ecosystems. The fact is, California is already overpopulated; it is why we’re seeing Californians leave the state in record numbers. Overpopulation leads to reduced quality of life.
“We think of Europe as the crowded Old World and think of America, especially the West, as the land of wide-open spaces, yet the population density of California already exceeds that of Europe by one-third… and is still increasing.
“Population growth drives up the cost of housing and increases the cost of living. These contribute to our crisis of homelessness.
“While this exodus slows our increase, it is a sad commentary on conditions in California. Where are the leaders who recognize that we should stabilize our population to regain the high quality of life that used to be the hallmark of California?”