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California Grows by 301,000 to 39.5 Million
While net domestic migration, a measure of residents moving to California from other states minus those leaving for other states, remained negative, as it has since 2000, the number was lower than in 2016. "The net number of people who left for other states dropped from 164,000 in 2016 to 105,000 this year," reports Melody Gutierrez for the San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 21. Only Riverside County, the fourth most populous county in the state after Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside, had positive domestic migration.
Net migration, on the other hand, which includes movement to and from abroad as well as domestically, added 80,000 people, accounting tor 27 percent of the state's population growth, with the remainder coming from natural increase, i.e., births minus deaths.
The fastest growing counties were inland, in the Central Valley or Inland Empire, according to to the California Department of Finance new release [pdf] on Dec. 21. The department is mandated by the state constitution to obtain the demographic data.
Placer, Stanislaus, Merced, San Joaquin, and Riverside counties had the largest percentage increases in population, each growing by 1.28 percent or more
The increase in population was greater than last year's addition of 295,000 people, a .75 percent increase.
The birth rate dropped to 12.3 births per 1,000 population, the fourth lowest since data collection began in 1905, from 12.42 births per 1,000 last year and 13.8 births per 1,000 population in 2010.
Conflicting data from Census Bureau
The U.S. Census Bureau released population data a day earlier, Dec. 20, highlighting Idaho as the nation's fastest growing state at 2.2 percent.
According to the Census report, the Golden State gained 240,177 from July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017, or 60,823 fewer people than the state estimate, amounting to a 0.61 percent growth rate. Considering the nation as a whole grew by an average of 0.72 percent last year, adding 2.3 million people, it's important to use the Census data, not state data when comparing California to the rest of the country. The current population of the U.S. is about 326.5 million.
While California is the most populous state, 39.53 million people on July 1 according to the Census (70,000 higher than state's figure), both Texas and Florida, the nation's second and third most populous states, added significantly more residents last year, with 399,734 and 327,811, respectively.