15:13 GMT16 June 2021
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    The population growth of the United States' most populous state has slowed significantly in recent years as people and businesses flee high taxes and property costs.

    The population of the State of California has dropped, according to the state’s officials, for the first time in its recorded history.

    The state Department of Finance has released data that revealed a 0.46 percent decline between January 2020 and January 2021, with California losing 180,000 people.

    According to H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the California Department of Finance, this is the first time California experienced an actual annual drop since 1900, when the state began measuring such annual data.

    The decline is believed to be due to COVID-19 deaths, federal immigration restrictions, and a declining birth rate.

    "In recent years, the slowdown in natural increase — a nationwide trend affecting California more than other states — has contributed to the state’s population growth slowing and plateauing. The addition of 2020’s COVID-19-related deaths, combined with immigration restrictions in the past year, tipped population change to an annual loss," the Department of Finance said in a statement.

    The officials also said that in 28 of the last 30 years, more people have been moving out of the state than moving in.

    Meanwhile, the Public Policy Institute of California stated in its own report that the migration out of California has the power to “reshape the state.”

    The reports come amid an initiative to recall California Democrat governor Gavin Newsom, with the required minimum of 1.5 million valid signatures already submitted to push the effort to the next stage of the recall election. The public discontent is largely linked to the governor's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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