San Francisco Bay Area counties saw significant population declines last year

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Counties in California's Bay Area saw significant population declines over the past year, according to the state's Department of Finance. 

While population growth remained strong in the Central Valley's interior counties and the Inland Empire, every coastal county saw a decline except for San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.

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Thirty-four of the state's 58 counties lost population, with the 10 largest percentage decreases in Plumas, Lassen, Butte, Del Norte, Napa, San Mateo, Marin, Shasta, San Francisco and Ventura.

In addition, of California's 10 largest cities, San Francisco saw a decline between 2021 and 2022 of 0.8%, Oakland had a 1.3% decrease and San Jose had a 1.5% loss. 

A group sits at Dolores Park during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco on Sept. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu / AP Newsroom)

According to SFGate, U.S. Census Bureau data issued in March said the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley metro area saw the third-highest number of residents in the country packing up and moving between July 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021.

The state’s three most populous counties all experienced population loss; Los Angeles declined by 70,114 people, San Diego by 1,197 and Orange by 7,297.

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Only two counties saw population gains above 1%. 

Yolo experienced 1.8% gains due to increases in college dorms and San Benito had 1.1% due to housing gains.

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The Golden State lost 117,552 residents, a 0.3% decline, bringing its total population to 39,185,605 people as of Jan. 1, 2022. 

"The 0.3% decline represents a slowing compared to the 0.59% decline over the nine-month period between the April 2020 Census date and the year’s end," the department said Monday. 

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The state cited declining fertility as Baby Boomers age, COVID-19-related deaths, federal policies restricting immigration and an increase in people leaving the state. 

"Overall growth was also affected by continuing federal delays in processing foreign migration: while last year saw positive immigration (43,300), the level was below the average annual rate of 140,000 before the pandemic," it noted.

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