San Francisco Chronicle

Cal­i­for­nia’s pop­u­la­tion up to nearly 40 mil­lion

Num­ber of state res­i­dents has dou­bled since 1970

- By Melody Gu­tier­rez

SACRA­MENTO — If it seems more crowded in Cal­i­for­nia, that’s be­cause it is.

Cal­i­for­nia’s pop­u­la­tion is nearly 40 mil­lion, a num­ber that has steadily grown de­spite birth rates de­clin­ing to the fourth-low­est level in more than a cen­tury, ac­cord­ing to state es­ti­mates re­leased Thurs­day.

State De­part­ment of Fi­nance data showed that be­tween July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017, Cal­i­for­nia’s pop­u­la­tion grew by 301,000 peo­ple to 39.6 mil­lion, a growth rate of nearly 1 per­cent. That’s an in­crease of 2.4 mil­lion peo­ple since 2010 and dou­ble the num­ber of res­i­dents who lived in Cal­i­for­nia in 1970.

“The most im­por­tant fac­tor for the (pop­u­la­tion) in­crease is there are more births than deaths,” said Phuong Nguyen, a De­part­ment of Fi­nance re­searcher.

In the past year, the state wel­comed 486,000 ba­bies, while say­ing good­bye to 265,000 peo­ple who died, with the net in­crease ac­count­ing for most of the pop­u­la­tion growth.

The birth rate in the state de­clined from 13.8

births per 1,000 peo­ple in 2010 to 12.3 births per 1,000 peo­ple in 2017. At the same time, the num­ber of deaths per 1,000 peo­ple has in­creased from 6.2 in 2010 to 6.7 to­day due to the ag­ing Baby Boomer pop­u­la­tion.

In­ter­na­tional mi­gra­tion ac­counted for the sec­ond-largest source of the state’s pop­u­la­tion growth, Nguyen said. There was a net in­crease of 80,000 peo­ple who moved to Cal­i­for­nia — in­clud­ing peo­ple mov­ing from other coun­tries and other states.

Still, Cal­i­for­nia has seen more peo­ple move to other states than move in from other states since 2000, with that trend con­tin­u­ing last year but at a slower pace. The net num­ber of peo­ple who left for other states dropped from 164,000 in 2016 to 105,000 this year.

Other high­lights from the data in­clude:

Sev­enty per­cent of the state lives in nine of the 58 coun­ties: Los An­ge­les, San Diego, Or­ange, River­side, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Alameda, Sacra­mento and Con­tra Costa. Each of those coun­ties has more than 1 mil­lion res­i­dents.

Five South­ern Cal­i­for­nia coun­ties had the high­est pop­u­la­tion gains — Los An­ge­les, River­side, San Diego, Or­ange and San Bernardino — which each added at least 20,000 res­i­dents and made up half of the state’s growth.

Thir­teen coun­ties had more deaths than births. Those were Alpine, Amador, Calav­eras, Inyo, Lake, Mari­posa, Ne­vada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Trin­ity and Tuolumne.

A quar­ter of the state lives in Los An­ge­les County, which has 10.2 mil­lion peo­ple. The least pop­u­lous county is Alpine, which has 1,141 res­i­dents. Alpine had four births and 13 deaths in the past year.

Santa Clara, the most pop­u­lated of the nine Bay Area coun­ties, saw its pop­u­la­tion rise 0.65 per­cent to 1.9 mil­lion res­i­dents. San Fran­cisco grew 0.91 per­cent to 880,000 res­i­dents.

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