SF notches biggest population decline in nation : US Census

Other Bay Area cities see losses tied to remote work; San Jose dips below 1M residents

(U.S. Census Bureau, iStock) Population, population loss
(U.S. Census Bureau, iStock)

San Francisco’s population has fallen 6.3 percent during the pandemic–– the most of any U.S. city, according to the latest census data.

The Bay City lost 54,813 people between July 2020 and 2021 as residents bailed out for remote work, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. In July, the city had 815,201 people, the lowest since 2010.

The low point erased a decade-long population run-up fueled by the tech and social media sectors.

Other Bay Area cities saw losses. Daly City dropped 3.2 percent, the third highest in the nation, while Redwood City was down 3 percent. San Mateo, Cupertino and South San Francisco also fell almost 3 percent.

San Jose, the Bay Area’s largest city, saw its population fall 2.7 percent, dropping below 1 million people for the first time since 2013. It remained the 10th most populated city in the U.S., with 983,489 people.

The region’s high housing costs and remote work policies in industries such as tech spurred out-migration during the pandemic as residents sought cheaper homes with more space, experts say.

Almost all California coastal cities lost population, while the more affordable Central Valley and Inland Empire saw gains.

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Census data released in March showed domestic out-migration was the biggest reason for San Francisco’s population drop, with 56,000 people moving out.

More recent indicators suggest that fewer residents are leaving San Francisco now, and some are coming back. Postal service change of address requests fell last summer, and apartment rents are rebounding as companies bring people back to the office. State population estimates, which differ in methodology from the U.S. Census Bureau, put San Francisco’s population at 842,754 people at the beginning of 2022, down 0.8 percent from the prior year.

In 2021, New York had the second-highest percentage drop, losing 3.5 percent of residents, or more than 305,000 people. Manhattan was the hardest hit New York borough, losing 6.6 percent of its population.

The 15 fastest growing cities across the nation were in West and South, in Arizona, Texas, Florida and Idaho.
Housing construction in Central Texas outpaced Los Angeles County, with Travis County, which includes Austin, adding 25,693 housing units, more than the 22,925 in L.A. County, which has almost eight times as many people, according to census data.

The nation’s population grew only 0.1 percent between July 2020 and 2021, the slowest pace on record as births fell, deaths rose and international immigration plunged. California’s population fell slightly for the second year in a row in 2021, according to state figures.

[San Francisco Chronicle] – Dana Bartholomew

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