The U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday that California lost more residents than any other state this year, with over 300,000 people fleeing the state, marking the third consecutive year that California’s population declined.
California joined 17 other states this year that experienced a population decline, compared to 15 and D.C. in 2021. The bureau reported that California’s 39,029,342 population lost 343,230 residents primarily due to net domestic outmigration. However, the 0.3% population decrease did not match the 0.9% fall between 2020 and 2021.
According to the Bureau, the Population Estimates Program uses current data on births, deaths, and migration to calculate population change since the most recent decennial census date and produces a time series of estimates of population, demographic components of change, and housing units.
H.D. Palmer, deputy director of external affairs at the California Department of Finance, told The Sacramento Bee the state had seen a historical trend of net loss of residents to “domestic migration” for years.
“Some people — for reasons other than demographics and more politics — try to jump on some of the outmigration numbers,” Palmer said.
Residents across the state have been escaping Governor Gavin Newsom’s rule of California in droves, especially since 2020, when the Democratic leader and the primarily left-wing legislature shut down the state in response to COVID.
Amid high taxes already killing the middle-class, skyrocketing crime rates, rampant homelessness, and an unaffordable housing crisis, the one-party system on the West Coast essentially turned California into a feudal state, or as some conservative leaders called it, a socialist nightmare.
“If you talk to demographers, they’ll say that one of the factors is the cost of housing,” Palmer said. “And that’s continued to be a challenging issue for the state.”
The Hoover Institution at Stanford University published a report in October showing that California business headquarters left the state in 2021 “at twice their rate in both 2020 and 2019, and at three times their rate in 2018.”
“In the last three years, California lost eleven Fortune 1000 companies, whose exits negatively affect California’s economy today,” the report reads.
Such companies include aerospace, financial services, real estate, health care, and manufacturing businesses.
“Policies have driven business and housing costs so high that companies and people are leaving the state for more affordable, less regulated, and less taxed locations,” the report further noted. “This process will continue until the state’s political leaders make very different policy choices that create a different future for California—one that honors its remarkable past.”
Aside from the Golden State, the biggest population losses in the U.S. were in New York (-299,557) and Illinois (-141,656), according to the Bureau.
The Bureau also reported that Florida was the fastest-growing state in 2022, with an annual population increase of 1.9%, resulting in a total resident population of 22,244,823.
“While Florida has often been among the largest-gaining states,” Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Population Division at the Census Bureau, said in a news release, “this was the first time since 1957 that Florida has been the state with the largest percent increase in population.”
Trailing behind the Sunshine State, the second largest-gaining state was Texas, with 230,961 new residents, and in third was North Carolina, which took in a population increase of 99,796 people.
“All 50 states and the District of Columbia saw positive net international migration with California (125,715), Florida (125,629) and Texas (118,614) having the largest gains,” the Census reported.