California’s Population Dropped for the First Time in State History—But Immigration Saved Two Congressional Seats

California has long been one of the fastest-growing large states in the entire country. However, the preliminary data suggests that California saw its first population decline in state history in 2020. It was a difficult year for many—and the early report suggests that California lost 186,000 people last year. No other population drop has been observed since the state started recording data in 1900.

Notably, the 2020 Census figures have also been released in recent data. Growth in California has slowed compared to some other states, but consistent immigration saved at least two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. In this blog post, our Los Angeles immigration attorney highlights the importance of California immigrant communities.

Without International Migration, California Would Have Lost Two More Congressional Seats

Every ten years, the United States House of Representatives is reapportioned based on the results of the census. Political observers always watch closely to see exactly what the federal government will report. According to National Public Radio (NPR), the following changes to state representation will occur based on the 2020 Census:

  • Losing One Seat: California, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Michigan, West Virginia, and Ohio.
  • Gaining One Seat: Florida, Oregon, Colorado, North Carolina, and Montana.
  • Gaining Two Seats: Texas.

After the release of the data, journalists at the San Francisco Chronicle dug deeper into California’s numbers. Their findings were clear: California would have likely lost two more congressional representatives without immigration. Our state has a significant net loss for domestic migration but remains extremely popular with immigrants.

2010-2020: California Lost Domestic Migrants, But Gained More than One Million Immigrants

Based on its research, the San Francisco Chronicle found that more native born Americans moved out of California between 2010 and 2020 than moved into the state. In fact, the net domestic migration over the decade was negative 2.4 percent. In other words, California lost about 900,000 people when only considering domestic migration. Of course, domestic migration is not the only type of migration.

California remains the most popular state to move to for immigrants to the United States. Over the last decades, more than one million international immigrants relocated to California. So many immigrants came to the state that it more than cancelled out the net-loss of domestic migration. As the San Francisco Chronicle stresses, the last decade of new immigrants to California literally saved the state two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

We Advocate for Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we strive to provide exceptional client service and professional representation. With experience handling the full spectrum of immigration matters, our attorney is ready to help you chart the best course of action. Contact us now for a confidential consultation. With a legal office location in Los Angeles, we provide immigration law services throughout Los Angeles, County, including in Glendale, Santa Clara, Long Beach, Pomona, Lancaster, and Palmdale.

Josh Goldstein
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