County’s population continues to grow at modest rate

Does it feel crowded? Expect more of the same as Yolo County continues to grow, albeit slower than some neighboring counties. Sue Cockrell/McNaughton file photo

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By Jeff Hudson McNaughton Media Yolo County added an estimated 814 residents in 2019 — an annual growth rate of 0.56 percent — according to figures released by the California Department of Finance on Dec. 20. This put Yolo pretty much in the middle of the pack among California’s 58 counties (No. 28). Yolo County posted more modest rate of population growth than several adjacent counties to the north and east, including Sacramento County (15,867 new residents, an increase of 1.03 percent), Colusa County (223 new residents, +1 percent) and Sutter County (2,243 new residents, +2.21 percent). However, Yolo County grew at a somewhat faster rate than Coast Range counties to the west, including Lake County (-131 residents, -0.20 percent) and Napa County (-511 residents, -0.36 percent). Solano County, to the south of Yolo County, added residents at a virtually identical rate, with Solano County adding 2,170 new residents, +0.57 percent. California’s most populous county — by far — continues to be Los Angeles County, with 10,260,237 residents, accounting for just over 25 percent of California’s population as a whole. Los Angeles County, by itself, has more residents than 41 of the 50 states in the United States of America. California’s least populous county continues to be Alpine County, hugging the Nevada border on the east side of the crest of the Sierra Nevada to the southwest of Lake Tahoe, with just 1,128 residents in a county that covers 743 square miles. (To express this statistic in more local terms, Alpine County has significantly fewer residents than the communities of Dunnigan or Esparto in Yolo County.) Several coastal counties — generally noted for higher-than-average home prices — actually lost population in the past year, according to the California Department of Finance figures, including Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, Marin, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Los Angeles county down by less than 1 percent. Other coastal counties — including Del Norte, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Orange and San Diego counties — added residents at modest rate of +0.50 percent or less. Several of the state’s more thinly populated interior “mountain counties” likewise lost residents, including Modoc, Nevada, Shasta, Siskiyou, Mariposa, Inyo, Calaveras, Sierra, Tuolumne and Alpine, which were down by as much as 0.53 percent. Hardest-hit in terms of population losses were in the state’s northeast corner, including Lassen County (-647 residents, -2.12 percent) and Butte County (-10,388, -4.57 percent). The steep population decline in Butte County was largely attributed to the 2018 Camp Fire, which destroyed about 95 percent of the structures in the community of Paradise, most of which were consumed by flames in the fire’s first four hours. And s it turned out, the California county that added the highest percentage of new residents (Sutter, +2.21 percent) and the California county that lost the most residents (Butte, -4.57 percent) were adjacent — likely related to the Camp Fire as well. Glenn County, likewise adjacent to Butte County, likewise experienced an increase of +1.54 percent, likewise also related to the Camp Fire. California as a whole experienced the lowest growth rate in percentage terms since 1900 — +0.35 percent, reflecting an overall increase of 141,300 residents. The California Department of Finance referenced a declining birth rate (425,200 births) and a negative net migration rate (-39,500 residents, with more people leaving the state than moving in from abroad and other states), as factors in this trend. Other interesting statistics from the California Department of Finance’s population estimates: * Counties that are home to a growing number of commuters into the San Francisco Bay Area (but not historically considered a statistical part of the San Francisco Bay Area) recorded some of the highest population growth rates in percentage terms, including Sacramento County (15,867 new residents, +1.03 percent), San Joaquin County (11,390 new resident, +1.50 percent) and San Benito County (1,345 new residents, +2.19 percent). * Interior counties adjacent to the Los Angeles area likewise experienced population growth, including Riverside County (22,740 new residents, +0.94 percent), San Bernardino County (18,710 new residents, +0.86 percent) and Kern County(10,324 new residents, +1.14 percent). * The 10 most populous counties — Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Alameda, Sacramento, Contra Costa and Fresno — each had over 1 million residents and together these 10 counties accounted for 72 percent of California’s population. * Counties in the San Joaquin Valley continued to add residents, including San Joaquin County (11,390 new residents, +1.50 percent), Stanislaus County (3,779 new residents, +0.68 percent), Merced County (3,975 new residents, +1.43 percent), Fresno County (11,123 new residents, +1.10 percent), Tulare County (4,143 new residents, +0.87 percent). * Counties in the northern Sacramento Valley likewise continued to add residents as well (albeit fewer new residents than counties in the San Joaquin Valley), including Colusa County (233 new residents, +1 percent), Glenn County (442 new residents, +1.54 percent) and Tehama County (725 new residents, +1.12 percent).]]>

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