Ethan Roman and his father, Eliazar Cabrera, load boxes into a U-Haul truck as they prepare to move from Los Angeles.(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Big population drops in Los Angeles, San Francisco transforming urban California

A recent LA Times article reports that Los Angeles and San Francisco saw sizable declines in population during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, new census data show, underscoring how California’s housing crisis and other demographic forces are reshaping two of its largest cities.

“We are in this new demographic era for California of very slow or maybe even negative growth,” said Hans Johnson, a demographer with the Public Policy Institute of California. “And it does have implications for everything in our state — from how we live our lives to which schools are getting closed down to how much capacity we might need for transportation networks, and eventually to housing.” The data, published Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, show California as a whole saw a net loss of nearly 262,000 residents between July 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021, with the lion’s share of the losses coming from Los Angeles County: 159,621 people.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic probably played a role in less immigration, the number of international migrants has been steadily declining for several years, said CNK Director Paul Ong. “It’s a combination of those things, but certainly it was happening before the pandemic,” Ong said. “In some ways, it’s part of what we see historically in terms of immigrants — that they do settle and cluster in a few areas and cities, but over time they move away. And when they move away, they sponsor new relatives coming in further away from the original core.”As stated by Ong, shrinking population can ultimately have a negative effect on the local economy and can mean fewer skilled workers.

Read the LA Times article here: Big population drops in Los Angeles, San Francisco transforming urban California

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