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Yep. SF’s Pandemic Population Decline Was Dramatic

Written by Maryann Jones ThompsonPublished Mar. 24, 2022 • 5:20pm
Union Square was nearly empty on August 13, 2020 in San Francisco, California. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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The numbers are in—and they ain’t pretty.

San Francisco lost more than 1 out of 20 residents during the first year of the pandemic.

Between April 2020 and July 2021, the city’s population declined by 58,764 residents, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau

SF’s drop represents a 6.7% drop in population and places the city second only to  New York County (better known as Manhattan) as the county with the greatest drop nationwide.

In terms of overall population decline, SF’s loss was sixth in the nation behind Los Angeles, three counties in New York City and Chicago’s Cook County.

The data comes on the heels of a release of the Census Bureau’s 2021 five-year dataset, which delivered in-depth analysis of San Francisco’s demographic profile right before the pandemic hit.

Which metro areas grew in population during the pandemic? St. George, Utah, grew by the largest percentage, with cities in Idaho, South Carolina and two towns in Florida making up the rest of the top five. 

Dallas-Ft. Worth, Phoenix and Houston grew the most in terms of headcount. 

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Maryann Jones Thompson can be reached at [email protected]


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