Los Angeles and San Francisco both experienced steep population declines during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Los Angeles Times reports.
California lost almost 262,000 residents from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, according to data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Los Angeles County, which has about 10 million residents, lost roughly 160,000 residents or a little over 1% of its population during that time. San Francisco lost about 6.7% of its population, just under the amount that New York lost in that same time span. New York lost the most residents in the country with 111,000, followed by Los Angeles with 159,621.
"We are in this new demographic era for California of very slow or maybe even negative growth," Hans Johnson, a demographer who works with the Public Policy Institute of California, told the newspaper.
"And it does have implications for everything in our state — from how we live our lives to which schools are getting closed down to how much capacity we might need for transportation networks, and eventually to housing."
"This loss that both California is experiencing and Los Angeles County is experiencing are kind of the perfect storm from a demographic perspective, and all the components that lead to population change are all trending in a downward direction for both the state and Los Angeles," he added.
Johnson noted that although California saw a net gain in international migration, that number was much lower than it has been in previous years.
"We’ve had periods with large domestic out-migration, but not at the same time that we saw this big decline in foreign immigration and a slowdown in natural increase," he said. "So when you add all those things together, that adds up to population losses both for the state and for Los Angeles that are very, very unusual demographically."
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