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Census: Los Angeles population drops as San Francisco ends decline

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(The Center Square) – The population of the City of Los Angeles continued to plummet as San Francisco noted a slight turnaround in 2023 compared to 2022, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

While Los Angeles’ population was an estimated 3.9 million in 2020, it dropped by 75,000 through 2023, including a much improved loss of just 2,000 from 2022 to 2023. San Francisco experienced an even more pronounced decline relative to its 2020 base population of 874,000, dropping to 808,000 by 2022. In 2023, its population slightly grew to 809,000, suggesting the city’s population could continue growing as more pro-business, pro-public safety, and pro-housing policies take effect.

California’s overall population relative to others is projected to be in decline, with California likely to lose four congressional seats in the 2030 Census as other states grow.

However, this doesn’t mean the state’s population isn’t growing. According to the California Department of Finance, California’s overall population ended years of decline due to greater migration to the state, and deaths declining faster than declining births; California newcomers tend to be of lower income and education than those leaving, suggesting these population changes could worsen the state’s budget woes.

California faces an up to $80 billion deficit for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. While the governor has proposed $15.2 billion in cuts and already cut $3.6 billion in spending, adopted and pending spending deferrals and efficiency gains may not be sufficient to meet the state’s requirement for passing a balanced budget in June for legislators to continue receiving their paychecks.

Because the state relies on a small number of higher-income households to pay its taxes, the state is especially vulnerable to population changes that result in these households seeking lower costs of living and better ease of doing business in states such as Texas and Arizona.

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