The state's population fell by more than 182,000 people in 2020.
State officials announced on Friday, May 7, the population dipped by 0.46% to under 39.5 million people from January 2020 to January 2021.
San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Los Angeles (the state's four most populated cities) lost a combined total of 88,000 people.
L.A. saw the biggest drop, losing nearly 52,000 people.
For the past three decades, state officials say California has seen more people leave than move in from other states. But births and international immigration have made it so California continued to grow in population size.
In 2020 California had a negative international migration due to the Trump administration's move to stop issuing new visas for most of the year, reports the Associated Press.
In addition, 51,000 people died from COVID-19 in California in 2020, which is a 19% increase above the state's average death rate in pre-pandemic times.
“As the pandemic recedes and with changes in federal immigration policy, we expect to return to more normal immigration trends into California from other countries,” H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the Department of Finance told AP. “All of which means that by the time we do this same projection 12 months from now, we expect that 2021 will show a return to a slightly positive growth rate.”
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