California's population grew less than 1 percent this past fiscal year, continuing a modest growth trend, according to new state estimates released yesterday.
The state added 350,174 residents between July 2009 and July 2010, bringing the total population to more than 38.8 million, the state Department of Finance said.
Most of the growth, 81 percent, was due to births; net migration contributed 19 percent. The current growth rate of 0.91 percent is up slightly from last year's 0.84 percent.
Since 2000, California has grown 14.6 percent, by nearly 5 million residents. But for the past six years, California has lost residents to other states, the Associated Press reported:
But fewer people moved out of California this year than the year before, most likely because the economy is hurting elsewhere, too, said Mary Heim, chief of the California's demographic research unit.
"Things are not good any place," Heim said. "Moving is an expensive proposition, so I think people are just settling in."
Three of California's 58 counties had more people moving out than in during the last fiscal year: Kings, Los Angeles and Madera. The biggest population increases, due mostly to more births, were in Riverside and Placer counties, each growing more than 1.5 percent.
Dylan Duvergé/FlickrMarkleeville is the county seat of Alpine, which with 1,186 residents is the smallest county in the state.
In October, the state projected the birth rate would climb 12 percent over the next decade.
But even with more newborns, the Department of Finance said the state's fertility rate is below replacement level – meaning Californians are not having enough babies to replace themselves as they age.
Currently, 11.3 percent of the state's population is age 65 or older. By 2050, seniors will represent nearly one in five Californians, the department said.
The number of residents in each county ranges from 1,186 in Alpine to nearly 10.5 million in Los Angeles. Seven out of 10 Californians live in the nine largest counties: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Alameda, Sacramento and Contra Costa.
The estimates are based on various state records – including birth, death, driver's licenses and housing – and will be revised when 2010 census data is released next year.