Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 – 8:26 am

The legislative session that reconvened this month faces no shortage of big issues, but underlying all of them is demographic change that is dramatically altering the face of California.

New data frame the change:

• Recent reports from the U.S. Census Bureau and the state Department of Finance agree that our historically high population growth has dropped to under 1 percent a year, a third of what it was in the 1980s.

• The slowdown stems from a virtual halt to foreign migration, a net outflow to other states and a rapidly decreasing birthrate – factors which, if continued, could see California’s population start to decline in a few years.

• A new study by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health says that due to the declining migration and birthrates, the number of California children under 10 years old dropped by nearly 200,000 between 2000 and 2010 and is expected to decline by another 100,000 during the current decade.

“These trends are not yet widely recognized, but they should be a wake-up call for policymakers,” said report author Dowell Myers, a USC demographer.

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