California

Economist: Calif. May Begin to Lose Population

Gold Rush may reverse itself due to state's lack of opportunities

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California Lutheran University economist Bill Watkins told the Senate, California's once-vigorous population growth has slowed to a crawl, the state's population is likely to begin dropping in the next couple of decades due to out-migration and a dropping birthrate, and it's mostly losing middle-class families "because of a lack of opportunity."

"We're losing the economic heart of our state," Watkins told the Senate from its podium in one of a series of lectures arranged by its leaders.

The result, Watkins continued, could be a state of mostly rich and poor residents in which "there is no middle class."