Population grows in California after three years of decline

The state’s population trend is headed back in a positive direction after going down for three years.

California has halted its population decline that lasted three years, with 2023 numbers finally showing an increase. 

California’s population increased by 0.17 percent last year, adding 67,000 people to the 39 million or so that live in the state. 


The big picture: California still experienced a net loss of residents to other states than moved to the Golden State in 2023. 

  • The California Department of Finance released population data on Tuesday, showing that the number of people leaving for other states has returned to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. 
  • Republicans, notably Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, used California’s population decline to criticize Democrats and Gov. Gavin Newsom in recent years

Go deeper: The trend of coastal workers moving to landlocked parts of California appears to have slowed, suggesting a return to in-person or hybrid work is attracting employees back to major cities.

  • California’s heavy reliance on immigration was affected by the slowdown in professional visa processing under the Trump administration, but legal immigration processing has since sped up.
  • Construction of housing remained steady, with California adding 116,000 units, which helped with affordability and may have contributed to population retention.
  • The Department of Finance projects slow, positive growth in the coming years, but it may take more for California to regain a House seat after losing one in the latest redistricting cycle. 

A local look: Fresno County added over 6,000 people in 2023, growing by 0.64 percent. 

  • San Joaquin County had the greatest growth in the Central Valley, rising by 0.96 percent, followed by Madera County at 0.9 percent and Tulare County at 0.89 percent. 
  • Kern County grew by 0.46 percent, Kings County grew by 0.66 percent, Merced County grew by 0.74 percent and Stanislaus County grew by 0.55 percent. 
Related Posts