More than half of the decline — a loss of about 100,000 residents — was attributed to federal immigration restrictions, the report said, while deaths stemming from the Covid-19 pandemics accounted for the loss of about 51,000 residents, about 19% above the average death rate for the preceding three years.
The remainder, a loss of about 24,000 residents, was credited to fewer births, a nationwide trend that has impacted California more than other states, according to the report.
Additionally, 2020 was the third consecutive year that Los Angeles County, the state’s most populous, lost population. L.A. County dropped 0.3 percent in 2018 and 2019 and 0.9 percent in 2020.
However, population growth remains strong in the interior counties of the Sacramento Valley, the Central Valley and the Inland Empire, while coastal and northern counties saw population losses, according to the report.
However, the report indicated experts anticipated annual growth would resume this year.
“As pandemic-related deaths decline and with changes in federal policy, California is expected to return to a slightly positive annual growth when calendar year 2021 population estimates are released in May 2022,” the report said.