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The Nevada Independent


Is California losing population, including among those with high incomes?

By Todd Butterworth on 03/30/2023


After its population peaked at 39.6 million in January 2020, by July 2022 California lost 600,000 residents because of an increase in deaths and residents moving to other states, along with a decline in international migration.

Each year since 2018, California also experienced a net loss of high-income (five times the poverty level) working-age adults to interstate migration. The pace of this loss is accelerating, with a mild decline in 2018 and 2019, a moderate decline in 2020 and a steep decline in 2021.

These migrations are enabled by expanded opportunities to work online, and appear motivated by California’s high taxes and cost of living. The state has one of the most expensive median prices of a home in the nation and the highest top income tax rate. Nevada and other states with no income tax are leading destinations for departing Californians. California was one of seven states to lose population in the 2020 census.

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