According to recent census data, about 775,000 people left California in a two-year span.
The population of California decreased by over 500,000 between April of 2020 and July of 2022, with almost 700,000 inhabitants departing the state, according to the most recent census data. One of California’s largest cities, Los Angeles, is to blame for almost half of the state’s population decrease.
Paul Ong, director of the Neighborhood Knowledge Center at UCLA, described the net population loss in Los Angeles as “a quick, unambiguous, and abrupt surge during the pandemic.”
Ong cited a number of causes for the flight from Los Angeles, including rising housing costs and working from home. People relocated “away from urban areas, where COVID-19 risk was believed to be higher,” he added, as a result of the epidemic.
California lost almost 211,000 individuals between July 2021 and July 2022, with over half of those losses—113,048—coming from Los Angeles County, according to the state Department of Finance. According to records, Los Angeles lost over 160,000 residents the year before.
The COVID pandemic has made the population fall in California, which has been ongoing for several years, worse. The only state that lost more people than California did was New York, which lost an additional 15,000 people. But compared to other states, California has the biggest net migration, with New York coming in second.
The high expense of living in the state, particularly when it comes to housing, as well as the long commutes and crowded urban regions, according to experts, are to blame for the flight. Additionally mentioned reasons why residents are fleeing the state are pollution, crime, and congestion. Also, the difficulty of living near homeless camps in Los Angeles has grown. The city’s homeless situation was formally declared a state of emergency by newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass in December 2022.
According to the data, other states have seen population growth while California’s population is declining. States like Utah have issued warnings to Californians about relocating there. Last Thursday, Utah Governor Spencer Cox advised Californians to “remain in California.”
Between April 2020 and July 2022, Texas and Florida saw the biggest population growth, with 884,000 and 707,000 new residents, respectively.
“While wages are lower in other states and regions, housing costs are considerably lower,” according to Ong. “Due to their greater level of living and/or increased likelihood of owning a home, they must have more disposable money.”