Rose Institute California population change map

California continues to lose population, according to recent estimates by the California Department of Finance (DOF).  After posting its first annual population loss in 2020 (down 182,083), the state lost another 117,552 in 2021.  California’s population has now fallen to 39,185,605.

This map, produced by Rose Institute researcher Thomas Short using DOF data, shows that the population loss is concentrated in the state’s highly populated coastal areas (metro Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area). Some rural and inland areas, including Riverside and San Bernardino Counties in the Inland Empire, saw modest population gains in 2021.  This map highlights the top population losers and gainers, by county. (Click on the image to view the interactive map.)

Top 10 CA Counties for Population Loss, 2021-22
County 2021 Population 2022 Population Population Change, Absolute Population Change, Percentage
Los Angeles 9,931,338 9,861,224 -70,114 -0.71%
Santa Clara 1,907,693 1,894,783 -12,910 -0.68%
Alameda 1,662,370 1,651,979 -10,391 -0.63%
Orange 3,169,542 3,162,245 -7,297 -0.23%
San Mateo 751,596 744,662 -6,934 -0.92%
San Francisco 849,475 842,754 -6,721 -0.79%
Ventura 840,093 833,652 -6,441 -0.77%
Butte 206,640 201,608 -5,032 -2.44%
Contra Costa 1,161,324 1,156,555 -4,769 -0.41%
Sacramento 1,580,624 1,576,618 -4,006 -0.25%
Top CA Counties for Population Gain, 2021-22
County 2021 Population 2022 Population Population Change, Absolute Population Change, Percentage
Riverside 2,424,587 2,435,525 10,938 0.45%
San Bernardino 2,182,343 2,187,665 5,322 0.24%
Yolo 217,237 221,165 3,928 1.81%
Kern 907,324 909,813 2,489 0.27%
Merced 281,874 284,338 2,464 0.87%
Fresno 1,009,231 1,011,273 2,042 0.20%
San Joaquin 782,372 784,298 1,926 0.25%
Placer 407,517 409,025 1,508 0.37%
Santa Barbara 443,674 445,164 1,490 0.34%
Madera 156,385 157,396 1,011 0.65%
Source: California Department of Finance

 

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