Bay Area Leads California Growth

Having trouble affording housing in the Bay Area? That’s not likely to end soon: The Bay Area led the state in population growth, according to a new report by the California Department of Finance.

Overall, California’s population grew by almost 298,000 residents in 2012 to 37,966,000 as of Jan. 1, 2013, the department found.

That works out to a 0.8 percent growth rate, which is slower than the state’s boom periods, the Sacramento Bee notes:

Numerically, that’s about half the annual growth California experienced during the 1980s, when high immigration and birth rates hit the state, and proportionately it’s scarcely a third of the 1980s rate.

Four out of the five fastest-growing counties are in the Bay Area. Santa Clara County took the lead with 1.6 percent growth. Alameda, San Mateo, and San Francisco counties all had growth rates over 1 percent.

california cities by populationLos Angeles, California’s largest city, grew by almost 37,000 to reach 3,863,839.

San Diego, California’s second-largest city, now has a population of 1,326,238 after adding more than 11,000 during the year.

In third place among cities, San Jose came in at 984,299, having added more than 14,000.

Here are the 10 largest cities, along with the percent change in population between Jan. 1, 2012, and Jan. 1, 2013:

1. Los Angeles 3,863,839 (1.0) 2. San Diego 1,326,238 (0.8) 3. San Jose 984,299 (1.5) 4. San Francisco 825,111 (1.1) 5. Fresno 508,453 (0.9) 6. Sacramento 473,509 (0.7) 7. Long Beach 467,646 (0.6) 8. Oakland 399,326 (1.1) 9. Bakersfield 359,221 (1.3) 10. Anaheim 346,161 (0.6)

Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County was the fastest-growing city in California, increasing by 15.4 percent, but most of that growth came from the annexation of neighboring communities.

The next four fastest-growing cities were Dublin in Alameda County (6.8 percent), Lake Elsinore in Riverside County (4.2 percent), Imperial in Imperial County (4.1 percent) and Indio in Riverside County (4.0 percent).

Dublin and Imperial added residents by building housing. Lake Elsinore and Indio added a large number of housing units and also had considerable growth from annexation activity.

The 2013 report lists 482 California cities, of which 444 had gains in population, 37 lost population, and one (Amador) experienced no change.

While still at historically low levels, California’s statewide housing growth, as measured by net unit growth in 2012, was up 27 percent over last year, adding 45,309 housing units compared with the 2011 net increase of 35,638 units.

For the first time, multiple-family housing units surpassed single-family homes in new construction throughout the state.

In 2012, local jurisdictions reported 23,801 multiple-family housing units and only 20,883 single-family homes statewide. In addition, 625 mobile homes were added.

Group quarters — such as college dorms, prisons and military barracks — account for only slightly more than 2 percent of California’s population. Last year, group quarters declined by 1.2 percent statewide, led by the continued reduction in state prison populations.

Prison declines caused some smaller cities, such as Calipatria in Imperial County and Ione in Amador County, to experience large proportional population losses in 2012. Other cities, such as Folsom in Sacramento County that typically add population, saw a population decline last year due to a loss of group quarters population. Federal prison population remained steady, while college dormitory population showed an increase.

Related population reports are available on the department’s website.

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