California Population Fell by More Than 180,000 in 2020, State’s First Ever Yearly Drop

San Francisco, Calif., March 20, 2020 (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

California’s population dropped in 2020 for the first time in the state’s recorded history.

The Golden State lost 182,083 people in 2020, according to data from the state Department of Finance. State officials attributed the decline to a combination of COVID-19 deaths, a decreasing birth rate, and a reduction in immigration while announcing the figure on Friday.

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced California would lose a congressional seat because of the unprecedented low growth rate.

The state Department of Finance said that it anticipates California will experience an increase in population next year.

California has experienced an exodus of residents leaving for other states in the last three decades. The high tax burden, regulation, cost of living, housing prices, and homelessness have been cited as the problems motivating many to flee the state. Until now, California’s population outflow was offset by immigration and births.

The top tax rate for California’s highest earners sits at 13.3 percent, the highest state rate in the country. Moving company U-Haul ranked California last by a wide margin on its list of state migration growth in 2020.

California’s population has raised political questions as a state movement gained traction this year to recall Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. Those in support of the recall have blamed high taxation and the governor’s policies for people exiting the state.

Republican candidate for governor of California Caitlyn Jenner is challenging Newsom in the upcoming special gubernatorial election likely to be held in November. Jenner commented on the issues prompting the departures in the state in a Fox News interview with host Sean Hannity Wednesday.

“My friends are leaving California,” Jenner said.

She mentioned that she spoke with a man who used the jet hangar next to hers who was leaving the state for Arizona, a common destination for fed up Californians.

“I said, ‘Where are you going?’ And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona, I can’t take it here anymore. I can’t walk down the street and see the homeless,’ ” Jenner said.

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