California Lost More Than 200,000 People to Other States in 2019: Report

December 31, 2019 Updated: December 31, 2019
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California lost more than 200,000 people to other states and 180,000 people left New York state to live in other parts of the United States in 2019, according to new Census figures.

“Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia lost population through net domestic migration between 2018 and 2019, six of which had losses over 25,000, and three of which experienced losses greater than 100,000,” the Census report said.

The top states with “net domestic migration loss” were California at 203,414, New York with 80,649, Illinois with 104,986, New Jersey with 48,946, Massachusetts with 30,274, and Louisiana with 26,045.

It was not enough to reduce California’s total population, which is nearly 40 million, but it contributed to a population slowdown. California’s Finance Department said its population grew at around 0.35 percent over the last year, which is the lowest in more than 100 years.

“While natural increase is the biggest contributor to the U.S. population increase, it has been slowing over the last five years,” said Dr. Sandra Johnson, who is a demographer/statistician in the Population Division of the Census Bureau. “Natural increase, or when the number of births is greater than the number of deaths, dropped below 1 million in 2019 for the first time in decades.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Golden State’s decrease in population was the “result of the state’s shifting migration patterns and economic strains that are making it harder to afford living here.”

An expert with the Brookings Institution noted that the population shift means that California could lose a seat in Congress, dropping the number of seats in the House from 53 to 52.

“It’s got a lot to do with dispersion from California to the rest of the west,” William Frey, a senior fellow, told the LA Times. “Arizona, Texas and Colorado are all big destinations for California migrants, and they all are gaining seats.”

Frey said that Texas will likely gain three seats after 2020. Meanwhile, Arizona, Oregon, and Colorado could gain a seat, he said.

California officials have linked the migration to other states to a shortage in housing.

“Our failure to build enough housing is at the heart of CA’s challenges: It’s exploding housing costs; It’s fueling homelessness & poverty; It’s creating sprawl, increasing traffic, commutes & wildfire risk,” Democratic California state Sen. Scott Wiener wrote on Twitter.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom also noted the state’s housing pitfalls in a Twitter post last week.

“The cost of housing is the defining quality-of-life concern for people across this state. That’s why California passed the nation’s strongest statewide renter protection legislation to combat the housing crisis. #CaliforniaForAll,” he wrote.