In recent years, high costs have contributed to an exodus of residents from California.
But the Central Valley is booming, making it one of the few areas with sustained growth.
San Joaquin County has attracted Bay Area residents looking for cheaper housing.
For generations, California's climate, its economic strength, and an attraction to the West buoyed the appeal of California living, which made it the most populous state in the country.
But the 2020 Census revealed a stunning statistic: California's population growth had slowed in the prior decade, which resulted in the state's first-ever loss of a congressional district.
Many of those residents left population centers such as Los Angeles and San Francisco because of their skyrocketing housing costs, which strained working- and middle-class families.
But California's Central Valley's population is booming, with higher birth rates and substantial migration from more expensive coastal counties driving the growth, according to The Economist.
According to estimates from the California Department of Finance, the Central Valley — the heart of the state's agricultural industry — and other inland counties are projected to have the fastest population growth in the Golden State through 2060.
The Economist reported that more San Francisco residents migrated to nearby Alameda County — which includes the cities of Berkeley and Oakland — than any other destination during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, during that same period, nearly a quarter of former Alameda residents found new homes in two neighboring counties further away from the coast.
The phenomenon is not limited to the Bay Area.
In Southern California, roughly a quarter of transplants from Los Angeles County moved to nearby Riverside and San Bernardino counties — in the Inland Empire region — during the first year of the pandemic.
In Northern California's Central Valley, San Joaquin County is poised to become a primary beneficiary of this inward migration. The state is projecting that the Northern California county will have almost 1 million residents by 2060, up from its current population of about 780,000.
Housing construction, which has drawn swaths of Bay Area residents looking for a more affordable place to live, is driving the boom in San Joaquin County.
While some conservatives have blamed the overall population slowdown on California's largely liberal-leaning politics, the numbers show that while hundreds of thousands of residents are leaving the Golden State, the high cost of living is mostly driving them out. And a sizable number of residents aren't leaving the state at all.
Read the original article on Business Insider