The population of one small town recovering from a devastating wildfire swelled by more than 24% even as California’s largest city shed nearly 37,000 people.
New estimates from the California Department of Finance provide the first look at the 2023 population in cities both large and small across the state. The figures show that while California’s overall population decreased by about 0.4% last year, the contraction wasn’t evenly distributed.
The population increased in 125 California localities and shrank in 356. And in one lone town of 3,903 residents—Del Mar—the population was exactly the same on New Year’s Day 2022 as it was in 2023, according to the new data.
Paradise, near Chico, has been rebuilding after a 2018 fire decimated the town and added 1,775 residents in 2022. The increase makes it the fastest-growing town in California—even though its population is still shy of 10,000 people.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles saw the largest exodus in the state. But the nearly 37,000 departures were just a 1% drop in the bucket for the state’s most populous city. Neighboring Anaheim saw the largest rate of contraction among cities with more than 100,000 people, while Susanville, a small NorCal town near the Nevada border took the crown for the largest rate of population loss overall: The number of residents dropped nearly 10% in 2022, leaving a population of 11,600.
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Noah Baustin can be reached at [email protected]