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California population growth slowest in more than a decade

December 17, 2009 | 10:46 am
Me-population18 California's population grew less than 1% in the last year, the slowest growth rate in more than a decade as migration to the state barely kept up with the significant number of people leaving, according to state Department of Finance data released today.

Across the state, natural increases rather than migration accounted for the largest source of population growth. Los Angeles County, for instance, lost more people than it gained through migration but grew slightly to 10.4 million people from July 2008 to July 2009 because births outstripped deaths.

Los Angeles County gained 89,361 people through natural increases (147,319 births minus 57,958 deaths) but lost a net 21,736 people through migration.

Other Southern California counties also recorded slow rates of growth. Orange county's population grew to 3.1 million, San Bernardino County to 2 million, Riverside County to 2.1 million and Ventura County to 841,000.

The state's largest growth came in Imperial County, where both immigration and natural increases boosted the population by 2.2% to 181,772. 

Overall, California's population grew to 38,487,889, with 141,865 people leaving the state and 179,493 arriving. Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside and Santa Clara counties posted the highest population gains and account for more than half of the state's growth.

The state's population estimates were based on birth and death counts and data on driver's licenses, housing, school enrollment and federal income taxes.

-- Teresa Watanabe