California Cities Lose Residents; San Jose Loses to Austin in Top 10

BY: JOEL B. POLLAK 4 May 2023

California’s major cities lost residents over the past year, as the steep cost of living, heavy taxes, and onerous regulations continue to push middle-class homeowners and entrepreneurs to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

San Jose, California — the largest city in Silicon Valley — also appears to have dropped out of the top ten U.S. cities by population, losing its place to Austin, Texas, which has welcomed many Californians in recent years.

The San Jose Mercury News, citing the state’s Department of Finance, reported:

California lost 138,400 residents and now has a population of 38.94 million, for a decline of 0.4%. The shrinkage was tempered by a rebound in foreign immigration and other factors, according to the state report that explores the ongoing exodus of residents from the nation’s largest state.

Still, the population decline engulfed seven of California’s 10 largest cities, including the four biggest — Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco. That means the decline isn’t merely isolated to certain pockets of the state, but extends to its major population centers in the Bay Area and Southern California that are plagued by high housing costs. Fresno, Sacramento and Bakersfield in the Central Valley each saw a slight uptick in residents, and many of the fastest growing cities in the state are located in more affordable locales like Lathrop and Manteca.

The report also suggests San Jose — which lost nearly 4,500 residents and now has a population of 959,300 — may no longer be the nation’s 10th-largest municipality. That top 10 placement might go to Austin, Texas, which, according to the World Population Review website, now has about 966,300 residents. Jacksonville, Florida also appears to have chugged past San Jose with about 963,000 residents.

The state is also losing wealthier residents: the San Francisco Chronicle reported that “people who exited the city [of San Francisco] in 2020 and 2021 made about $15 billion more than those who arrived.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has been traveling to conservative states in recent months to attack their social policies as he builds a national political profile. Many of these, however, are attracting net inflows of residents from other states.



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