Stable births, fewer deaths, and a rebound in foreign immigration slowed California’s recent population decline in 2022, with the state’s population estimated at 38,940,231 people as of January 1, 2023, according to new data released today by the California Department of Finance.
Over the same period, statewide housing growth increased to 0.85 percent – its highest level since 2008. California added 123,350 housing units on net, including 20,683 accessory dwelling units (ADUs), to bring total housing in the state to 14,707,698 units. New construction represents 116,683 housing units with 63,423 single family housing units, 51,787 multi-family housing units, and 1,473 mobile homes.
The 0.35-percent population decline for 2022, roughly 138,400 persons, marks a slowdown compared to the recent decline during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Between 2021 and 2022, California’s population decreased 0.53 percent or 207,800 persons, due mainly to sharp declines in natural increase and foreign immigration.
For 2022, natural increase – the net amount of births minus deaths -- increased from 87,400 in 2021 to 106,900 in 2022. Births decreased slightly from 420,800 in 2021 to 418,800 in 2022, while deaths declined gradually from 333,300 persons in 2021 to 311,900 persons in 2022, respectively.
Foreign immigration nearly tripled in 2022 compared to the prior year, with a net gain of 90,300 persons in 2022 compared to 31,300 in 2021. While foreign immigration to California has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, natural increase has not rebounded. Total births remain low due to fertility declines; while deaths have eased gradually from their pandemic peak, they remain elevated.
With slower domestic in-migration and increased domestic out-migration likely the result of workfrom-home changes, declines in net domestic migration offset the population gains from natural increase and international migration..