Letters to the Editor: Why California should welcome the end of unsustainable growth

Six freeway lanes full of traffic
Traffic moves along the frequently congested Sepulveda Pass section of the 405 Freeway in 2018.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: It is a shame that The Times Editorial Board puts money ahead of quality of life when it comes to the news of a slower U.S. population growth rate and a population decline in California last year. (“Declining U.S. birth rate adds urgency to the need for smart immigration reform,” editorial, May 10)

But even if the economy is your No. 1 issue, worrying that we won’t have enough people to do needed jobs is ridiculous. The U.S. population continues to go up as our economy continues to automate. There will be fewer jobs with more people, and that is not good for any economy.

Remember that the United States still grew by more than 1 million people in 2020. And if California loses some people? Maybe we won’t have to spend billions widening as many freeways.


I welcome this news because it means more available water, cleaner air, manageable classrooms, less destruction of nature and less traffic. There is a tradeoff for everything. The media need to start seeing the positives of slower growth.

A smaller population means a better quality of life for all Californians, even if the big corporations are unhappy because they cannot sell as much here.

Alexandra Paul, Pacific Palisades


To the editor: I for one am pleased to learn that California lost people last year.

This was a far more livable state when we had a population of 30 million rather than nearly 40 million. Our roads were not as congested, and we did not need as much water, natural gas or electricity. California is still by far the most populous state in the country. I believe we can do just fine with fewer people.

We should celebrate the decrease in population and not try to find more human beings to add to our already overburdened infrastructure.

Francine Oschin, Encino


To the editor: Previously, The Times reported on high housing costs, coastal cities planning retreats because of sea level rise and homes destroyed by wildfires.

The Earth is overpopulated. California is overpopulated. Our quality of life cannot be maintained with continued growth.

We have an accelerating age imbalance due to low birth rates, but climate change is a direct consequence of unconstrained growth and will worsen for the next several decades, degrading the quality of life for all people. Reversing population growth is essential for the sake of future generations.

As the saying goes, a journey of 1,000 steps requires making the first step. We should embrace our slowing growth.

Norman Rodewald, Moorpark