Friday, May 7, 2021

The 2020 Census resulted in California losing a House seat. Yes, it is still the nation's largest state.

One in eight US residents lives in California. Nonetheless, reading the news recently one might believe California lost its status.

The 2020 Census Data was released and California still had the largest population - by 35.61%. Our official population for April 2020 was 39,576,757.

California's population growth was 2,322,238 - more than the total population in each of the 15 smallest states and more than the total population of the three smallest states.

California had 10,393,467 more people than Texas, the second most populous state. That 10,393,467 was more than the total population of the 10 least populous states.

Texas is the largest state by area in the lower 48. California is second. As of April 2020 Texas had 108.65 people per square mile. California had 241.77 people per square mile, roughly 2¼ times the population density of Texas.

California does have significant problems.

We have housing cost problems because around the year 2000 we effectively put a freeze on incorporating new cities. Hence we now regularly read of folks bidding $1 million more than the asking price for homes in the East Bay.

We have a drought that isn't likely to go away soon. That's because it isn't a drought, but a shift in long term climate to hotter and dryer. So we have wildfire problems because we permitted new construction in areas that have wildfires. We have water supply problems which were evident before the year 2000.

But we have the world's 5th largest economy sustained in no small way by technology companies. We have the largest imports value in the nation. Our exports include 100 percent of the almonds, artichokes, dates, dried plums, figs, garlic, kiwifruit, olives, pistachios, raisins and walnuts, plus 60 other agricultural products. California accounts for roughly 13.5% of agricultural cash receipts in the United States, at $50.1 billion of $370.6 billion.

While it's not something to brag about, in terms of our economy in 2019 we did have the third highest ranking of housing starts in market value. And the problem for local contractors after Covid is the shortage of wood which combines to exacerbate our housing shortage.

The headline issue was the result of the Census in California. In 2022 California will have one less seat in the House of Representatives. In 1990 California's population grew by 25.7% giving it 52 representatives in the 1992 election. It gained one more as the result of the 2000 Census which it retained as a result the 2010 Census, but lost in 2020.

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