Population on the Rise, Biodiversity Falling Off

Published on March 31st, 2008

Re: Population on the Rise, Biodiversity Falling Off
Santa Barbara News-Press
April 22, 2008

To the Editor:

In responding to Leon Kolankiewicz’s observation that immigration-driven population growth is forcing California’s rare and endangered species to the brink of extinction, John W. Cotton (Opinion, April 20) perpetuates a myth about California’s population growth that hasn’t been true for 20 years. Cotton says that migration to California from other parts of the country is "the most intractable step in meeting biodiversity goals in this state." The truth is that domestic migration into California has not been significant since the 1980s.

Figures reported by the California Department of Finance show that net migration into California from other states was just 125,000 persons between April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2007, whereas net foreign immigration was 1,544,000. Domestic migration levels were just 8% of foreign immigration levels.

The Census Bureau reports an even greater imbalance. For the same period, the Census Bureau puts net foreign immigration into California at 1,807,000, and net domestic migration at -1,224,000; that is, a million and a quarter more people moved out of California to other states than into California from the rest of the country. For the 1990s, both agencies show a net domestic exodus that exceeded 1.5 million people. There simply has not been any significant net influx of people moving into California from other states for 20 years.

Cotton’s piece shows that he has carefully studied global overpopulation. He now needs to properly understand the California situation. And this is true for everyone who cares about the hundreds of species of California plants and animals occurring nowhere else on Earth whose very existence is at stake owing to our explosive population growth.

Richard Schneider
Oakland, California
Board Member, Californians for Population Stabilization

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