According to recently updated population projections from the state Department of Finance, Los Angeles County is expected to lose over 1.7 million people by 2060. This decrease represents a decline of more than 17% from the current population of around 10 million. The projections suggest that the county will experience a steeper decline in population than any other county in California.
The decline in population can be attributed to several factors, including a decrease in birth rates and net migration out of major cities. The data shows a significant drop in births in Los Angeles County from 2016 to 2021, indicating a decline in fertility rates that could impact future generations. It is worth noting that declining birth rates are not unique to California but are an international trend.
Net migration out of major cities like Los Angeles County is also contributing to the population decline. Factors such as high housing costs and the prevalence of remote work have led to an increase in people leaving major cities in search of more affordable housing and a higher quality of life.
In contrast to the population decline in Los Angeles County, the Central Valley region of California is expected to see growth. Cities like Stockton and Merced are projected to experience population growth, as the region has more available land for housing and a comparatively young population. However, the Central Valley also faces challenges, such as extreme heat waves and the potential impact of climate change, which could make the area less hospitable for human life in the future.
While the Department of Finance projections paint a more pessimistic picture of population decline, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) projects modest growth for the region. SCAG suggests that the addition of new housing units and job opportunities will contribute to population growth in Southern California.
Some residents see potential benefits to a future population decline. With fewer people, there could be less strain on infrastructure and housing competition may decrease, making it more affordable for the working class. Additionally, a decline in population could lead to reduced traffic congestion, a common problem in the Los Angeles area.
In sum, the projected population decline in Los Angeles County highlights the challenges and changes that may occur in the future. While the actual outcomes may differ from these projections, they provide valuable insights into the potential future of the region.