New data from the California Department of Finance indicates that California’s population growth has slowed down to levels last seen in the 1900s.
The Hayride, a news and commentary blog, notes that California’s population is slightly below 40 million and is not expected to increase in the near future.
Eddie Hunsinger, a demographer with the Department of Finance, informed the Los Angeles Times that 2019 was “the first time since the 2010 census that California has had more people leaving the state than moving in from abroad or other states.”
Last year, California’s population growth slowed to 1900 levels after it experienced a mass exodus of residents. From mid-2018 to mid-2019, California experienced a 0.35 percent growth rate, while recording a 0.57 percent growth rate in 2018. This one-year decline, from 2018 to 2019, marks “the two lowest recorded growth rates since 1900,” according to the agency’s report.
A recent census report indicated that 27 states and the District of Columbia witnessed population loss due to net domestic migration from 2018 to 2019. Six of those states had losses over 25,000. Of those six, three of them had losses above 100,000. California is the national leader in net migration loss, standing at 203,414 people. New York and Illinois followed with losses of 180,649 and 104,986 respectively. Further, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Louisiana had relatively substantial losses as well.
Since 1991, California has undergone net domestic out-migration. In other words, the state has lost more people to other states than it has been able to take in during the time observed. On another indicator, homelessness, California is also a national leader according to HUD’s recent annual report. While 29 states and the District of Columbia witnessed reductions in homelessness from 2018 to 2019, 21 states reported increases. In California’s case, homelessness increased by a staggering 16.4 percent or 21,306 people. This figure is more than the total increase of every other state put together.
What we’re seeing in California is no accident. It’s the outcome of a state becoming more hostile to basic political freedoms — from gun rights to economic freedom. Due to the U.S.’s federalist system, people have a menu of relocation options to choose from, should their state become oppressive in a certain manner. With California’s increasingly dysfunctional public policies and the deleterious socioeconomic consequences that result from them, Californians are beginning to vote with their feet.
Americans take their country’s jurisdictional competition for granted. This is how innovation between states occurs. When one state goes the wrong way —California in this case — other states like Arizona and Texas can position themselves as more business-friendly alternatives to attract outside talent. That dynamic also serves to keep California’s government in check. When the threat of exit is there, California legislators will have to think twice about passing anti-freedom legislation.