California's population growth has slowed dramatically over the past several years, meaning the state likely won't reach 50 million residents until 2046 -14 years later than previously expected, according to a USC study released this week.
According to the study, the reduced growth rate is largely caused by slowing immigration rates.
Researchers found that the percentage of Californians who were born out of the country is expected to remain at 27 percent through 2030. That's an abrupt change from the 1980s and 1990s, when the rate was increasing sharply, the report found.
Researchers said the slow-down in population growth should be viewed as a positive sign by policy-makers struggling to balance budgets.
"This is surely good news for local governments and taxpayers who are struggling to keep up with the costs of growth,'' according to study co-author Dowell Myers, professor of urban planning and democracy at the USC Price School of Public Policy.
"These projections suggest there is more time to plan a much better future for California.''
The study also found that growth among residents aged 65 and older will quadruple over the next 20 years, thanks to the aging "Baby-Boomer'' population.
"In less than 20 years, the Baby Boom generation will all be senior citizens, and these projections show their replacements in the workforce will be the children of immigrants,'' according to the study's lead author, John Pitkin, a senior research associate in the Population Dynamics Research Group.
The study also found that native Californians represent an ever-growing majority of the state's population. In 2010, more than 90 percent of children under 10 were native Californians, the report found. By 2030, 57.2 percent of adults aged 35 to 44 will be native Californians, up from 38.5 percent in 2010, the report found.