FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – California has always been one of the most populated states in the U.S. and continues to be, but after the pandemic, state growth has slowed, according to the California Department of Finance.  

According to the Department of Finance’s new state demographic report from May 2023, it states that due to stable births, fewer deaths and a rebound in foreign immigration slowed California’s recent population decline in 2022.

But there are areas in California, like the Central Valley, where the population has grown and will continue to grow.

The report states that as population growth slowed, it remained positive in the interior counties of the Central Valley and the Inland Empire, while most counties saw declines, including every coastal county except San Benito. These estimates are based on information through January 1, 2023.

Only Madera and Yuba had growth above a half percent due to housing gains. The next largest in percentage growth were San Joaquin, Merced and Imperial counties, according to the report.

The top five cities where housing production drove population growth include Paradise, in Butte County, Lathrop in San Joaquin County, Duarte in Los Angeles County, Wheatland in Yuba County and Shafter in Kern County.

The report states that of the ten largest cities in California, only Sacramento at 0.2%, Bakersfield at 0.2% and Fresno at 0.1% had the largest percentage gain in population.

The California Department of Finance also projects birth rates until 2040 to continue growing each year in Fresno and inland counties.

Population growth is expected to rise as the California Department of Finance estimates the Central Valley and other inland counties are projected to have the fastest population growth through 2060.