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Declining birth and migration rates have slowed California's population growth to a crawl and "it's only a matter of time before California's population declines," California Lutheran University economist Bill Watkins declares in a new report on the state's demographic and economic prospects.

Such a decline, Watkins says, would mean that "all of California's problems will be much harder to solve than they are today."

Although California appears to be adding jobs slowly as it recovers from the worst recession since the Great Depression, Watkins continues, the state's economic future is cloudy. Despite recent real estate price increases, he doubts whether they imply that a new real estate boom is coming, particularly with much-slower population growth.

Watkins, the least optimistic of the economists who chart California's finances, released his new report today during a meeting of the California Taxpayers Association in Sacramento today.



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