Bay Watch – Population Loss

Bay Watch: A Weekly Look into the Bay Area Economy

May 5th, 2023

The Bay Area sees population loss for the third straight year, losing 34,000 people across 2022.

New data released this week by the California Department of Finance shows a continuation of population losses in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area during 2022. For the third straight year, the region and the state experienced a decline in population. The Bay Area and California each lost 0.4% of their populations during 2022, 34,000 people and 138,000 people, respectively. This number represents a slowing pace of population loss compared to 2020 and 2021, which is attributable to increases in international immigration and reduced outflows from net domestic migration across the state 

Marin and Napa counties in the North Bay experienced the largest percentage losses of 2022 in the region, both falling in population by 1.0%. In terms of overall population numbers, Alameda, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties saw the greatest population losses, with 8,054, 5,333, and 4,888 residents leaving the respective counties. 

Despite the Bay Area’s continuing population loss, it is occurring at a slower rate than the previous two years. 

With high costs of living and more options for remote work, there continues to be a net movement of population out of the Bay Area to other parts of the state. While the data released this week does not include county-to-county migration flows, neighboring counties such San Joaquin, Merced, and San Benito did register population gains. Only 12 of the state’s 58 counties produced a population increase in 2022. 

The Bay Area’s population now sits at an estimated 7,549,000, down a full 200,000 people from the January 2020 estimate of 7,749,000.