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Home / News / Politics / California population increases for first time since 2020

California population increases for first time since 2020

by Joe Taglieri
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The state’s population rose by 67,000 people to over 39.1 million, making 2024 the first annual increase since 2020, according to California Department of Finance data released Tuesday.

The governor’s office attributed the population growth to an more legal foreign immigration and natural population increasing.

“People from across the nation and the globe are coming to the Golden State to pursue the California Dream and experience the success of the world’s 5th largest economy,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “From the Inland Empire to the Bay Area, regions throughout California are growing — strengthening local communities and boosting our state’s future.”

The federal government’s reduction of immigration processing backlogs, rebounding legal immigration levels that don’t asylum seekers at the border and mortality rates returning to long-term trends have created a stable foundation that has allowed for population growth to resume, officials said.

“Net domestic migration has receded to its lower rates of the 2010s, and DOF estimates California is likely to experience continued positive population growth,” according to the governor’s office.

The population increased in 31 counties — mostly in the Bay Area, Central Valley and Inland Empire, the new figures show. The populations of Los Angeles and Orange counties expanded by 0.05% and 0.31%, respectively.

LA County has just over 10 million residents, Orange County has nearly 3.2 million, Riverside County totals over 2.4 million, San Bernardino County has nearly 2.2 million, and San Diego County has nearly 3.3 million inhabitants, the data shows.

Nine of the 10 counties with populations more than 1 million saw increases in population comprising 72% of California’s total population, officials said. Riverside County led with an increase of 13,800 people.

Five counties had growth higher than 1% percent — Sutter, 1.9%; Imperial, 1.8%; Glenn, 1.4%; Yuba, 1.1%; and San Benito, 1.1% that officials attributed to housing gains. The next largest growth rates for California counties were in San Joaquin, 0.96%; Madera, 0.9%; Tulare, 0.9%; Monterey, 0.8%; and Merced, 0.7%.

The top five cities where housing production drove population growth include: Paradise, 16.1%, in Butte County; Lathrop, 5.4%, in San Joaquin County; Emeryville 5.0%, in Alameda County; Orland, 4.9%, in Glenn County; and Shafter, 4.3%, in Kern County.

The report data is comprised of preliminary year-over-year January 2024 and revised January 2021 through January 2023 population figures for California cities, counties and the state, according to the governor’s office. Estimates were based on information through Jan. 1, 2024.

Officials also touted California’s No.-1-in-the-nation status for new business starts, access to venture capital funding, tourism spending, manufacturing, high-tech industries and agriculture.

Updated April 30, 2024, 1:56 p.m.

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