Capitol Weekly Podcast: Population in decline

Beacon Portraits all 2018

For the second year in a row, California has seen its population decline – After generations of growth, the state is losing more people than it gains every year.

What does that mean for a state that has nearly 40 million people already? How many can we afford to lose? And, who is leaving?

For this episode of the Capitol Weekly Podcast, John Howard and Tim Foster welcome Adam Fowler, Director of Research for Beacon Economics, an independent research and consulting firm based in Los Angeles.

While many are bearish on the Golden State’s prospects, Fowler sees a net positive: “I’m still the California optimist.”

Fowler notes that California led the country out of the Great Recession less than a decade ago, recovering more quickly than most states labeled ‘business friendly.’ Our default setting is “grow, grow, grow.” he says.

One reason for that is that the state has served as an incubator for new businesses. A massive investment into research and development has paid dividends in the form of high-end jobs. The problem, he says, is housing. “Jobs need to go home to a bed at night.”

“Where we have been creating jobs… we have not been creating housing to go along with that job growth.”

Fowler discusses the research into who is leaving the state, and what policy changes would help stem the tide.

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