Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend

California population declines for first time


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s population fell by more than 182,000 last year, the first yearly loss ever recorded for the nation’s most populous state, a growth streak that dated to its founding in 1850 on the heels of a gold rush that prompted a flood of people to seek their fortune in the West.

The figures released Friday followed last week’s announceme­nt from the U.S. Census Bureau that California would lose a congressio­nal seat for the first time because it grew more slowly than other states over the past decade. Still, California’s population of just under 39.5 million and soon-tobe 52-member congressio­nal delegation remain by far the largest.

California’s population has surged and slowed in the decades since its founding, with notable increases following World War II and the tech boom of the 1980s and ’90s that put Silicon Valley on the map.

But in recent years, more people have left California for other states than have moved there.

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