Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Recession factors into California’s modest population growth

Pool photo by Jeff Gritchen/Los Angeles Newspaper Group

A typically Californian crowd cheers the arrival of the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the Forum in Inglewood earlier this year. New figures from the state indicate that the economic recession and lower birth rates have kept the rate of population growth below one percent.

California’s population grew to 37.8 million—a quarter of a million more people than the year before. That’s based on official population projections out Thursday from the state’s Department of Finance. The gain of less than one percent gainrepresents modest growth for a  state that was growing at more than 1 percent a year—before the recession.

Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside were among the counties that gained the greatest number of people.

Los Angeles—home to more than a quarter of Californians—added another 50,000 people to top out at 9.9 million people. Orange added 24,0000 and Riverside gained 23,000. 

Most of the growth in the counties and throughout the state results from more people being born here than dying here.  That’s been the trend for the last decade.

The Department of Finance’s John Malson says the recession’s driven birth rates lower now than they were 5 years ago,  almost exclusively among Hispanics.  Malson says the sluggish economy  also deterred migration to the state.   In the last year, 14,000 more people left California than moved here.

Orange and Riverside resisted that trend. Each gained more people  from other states and countries.

Riverside was the fastest growing county in Southern California—and the 4th fastest growing in the state.    Most  counties in that category were coastal areas, including a number of Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area counties where economic growth outpaces the rest of California.




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