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California's population growth is slowing dramatically, study finds

April 24, 2012 | 10:32 am

Downtown L.A.

California’s population will grow much more slowly in the next few decades -- and that is good news for the state’s still-struggling economy, according to new population projections by USC.

The report by USC researchers John Pitkin and Dowell Myers says that through 2050, at least, the state’s population growth will not reach the boom rates of recent decades, especially the 1980s. But California's population, now about 37 million, will still grow at "manageable" rate for years to come, Myers said.

The report, the third in a series of population projections by the Population Dynamics Research Group in USC’s public policy school, says the slowdown is mainly the result of a dramatic drop in immigration to the state, part of a nationwide trend.

The report expects the California population to grow at less than 10% for each of the next several decades. By comparison, the population surged 26% -- more than 6 million people -- in the 1980s, a decade the researchers now say was an anomaly. The growth rate was 14% in the 1990s and 10% in the decade just ended.

The new predictions differ significantly from California’s official population projections. For example, the state projections, issued in 2007, anticipate the population to reach 44 million by 2020, a level USC’s researchers now say will not be reached until 2028. The state’s figures are expected to be revised later this year.

The lowered population expectations are expected to have significant implications on planning for infrastructure, roads, development, schools and many other areas.


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Photo: Downtown L.A. Credit: Los Angeles Times