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California's population rate growth hit an all-time low in 2018

Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California neared 40 million people but had the slowest recorded growth rate in its history last year, the AP reports.

The big picture: The country's most populous state was hit by a slowdown in immigration and a sharp decline of births.

  • 40 million people is a milestone for a state that began as a frontier outpost and now boasts the world's fifth largest economy.
  • Despite the slowdown, California remains by far the country's most populous state. Texas at No. 2 is still shy of 30 million people.

What's next: State officials expect California to continue to grow, predicting the state's population could top 50 million by 2055. By 2051, officials project the state will join Japan and other European countries by having more deaths than births.

Go deeper: A look at the scale of California's economy