World Population Review: California’s Population ‘Simply Huge’

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

November 8, 2017
world population cartoon

The World Population Review (WPR) recently released its latest California analysis.

A few takeaways and forecasts the study made follow. Some facts are well-known to demographers, but other predictions underline the importance of stabilizing California’s population.

Since the 2010 Census when California had 37.2 million residents, the state has grown to around 39.5 million, and retains its position as the nation’s most populous.

As a result, WPR wrote that California’s population “is simply huge. Based on current estimates, California is larger than all but 34 countries in the world, and is also the second most populous national sub-entity, behind only Sao Paulo, Brazil.”

The demographers made an interesting historical comparison. California’s early appeal to 19th century Gold Rush prospectors looking to make their fortunes and to set down roots remains just as alluring today. In increasingly large numbers, economic migrants are drawn to California.

In 1850 there were 92,597 people living in California, but the Gold Rush was the primary driver behind a 300 percent increase during the next decade to 379,994. California’s population continued to grow steadily from 1870 on, but frequently with 50 percent increases between ten-year census counts: 1950, 10.6 million; in 1960, 15.7 million, in 1970, 22.0 million, 1980, 23.7 million, 1990, 29.8 million, 2000, 33.9 million, 2010, 37.2 million, and today, about 39.5 million.

WPR concluded that “There is no reason to suggest that this growth will slow down,” and predicted that the 40 million mark will be reached in 2018.

But California’s unsustainable population growth can be slowed. Family planning and sensible immigration would help save some of today’s California for tomorrow’s generations.

The RAISE Act would, over ten years, reduce legal immigration to about 500,000 per year, down from the current one million-plus level.

The legislation would also abolish the dangerous Diversity Visa lottery and return refugee admissions to their more traditional 50,000 annual cap, the average over the last 13 years.

Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to urge your Senator to cosponsor the RAISE Act.
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