Tulare among fastest growing cities in the state

City grows by over 1,300 people in 2019, ranking it 29th in percent change from 2018 to 2019

CENTRAL VALLEY – California’s growth rate was nearly stagnant in 2019, with over two-thirds of counties seeing a dip in population, but not in inland areas like the Central Valley, where nearly every county saw an increase in population.

The Central Valley and the Inland Empire regions maintained strong growth compared to growth that slowed to nearly zero, and in many cases negative, along the coast, according to population estimates released by California’s Department of Finance earlier this month. Tulare ranked 29th on the state’s list of fastest growing cities with a more than 2% growth last year. That means an additional 1,300 residents moved into Tulare County’s second largest city bringing its total population to 67,834. Two other Tulare County cities were among the top 100 fastest growing cities in the state. Dinuba ranked 64th on the list with a 1.19% increase and Woodlake came in at No. 74 with a 1.07% increase. The county’s largest city, Visalia, is now the 44th largest city in the state with 138,649 residents, an increase of nearly 1,000 people in 2019.

Lindsay and Farmersville had the least amount of growth last year with just one and three new residents, respectively. Exeter increased by 21 people and Porterville by 165. Overall, Tulare County grew faster than the state with a modest increase of 3,389 people for a new population estimate of 479,977 and is now the 18th largest county in the state. Nearby San Luis Obispo shrunk by a few hundred residents.

Growth in California’s cities was nearly split between those with increases (256) and those with decreases (225). Of the ten largest cities in California, Bakersfield had the largest percentage gain in population (1.4 percent, or 5,500) with Sacramento (1.1 percent, or 5,700) a distant second while Fresno came in 5th place for largest numeric change (3,757, or 0.69%). Fastest growing, many inland, cities include Guadalupe that grew by 4.1%, Wasco 4.85%, Shafter 2.98%,Kingsburg 2.65%,Clovis 2.24%,Merced  2.37%, Tulare 2.07%, Manteca 1,68%, Coalinga 1.50%, Parlier 1.48% and Bakersfield 1.43%.

People wanting more space are turning to inland areas with the cost of living, and the real estate, are more affordable. Cities with a high ratio of single family to multi-family growth include: Sacramento (73.2 percent single family), Bakersfield (99.0 percent single family), Fresno (81.1 percent single family), and Menifee (99.8 percent single family) in Riverside County.

Some of the population dips in Valley cities were disproportionately affected by prison populations. State prisons are generally located in remote areas; as a result, increases or decreases in this population can account for significant changes in their respective counties. State prison declines led to population decreases in McFarland, Taft, and California City in Kern County, while driving population increases in Norco in Riverside County, Victorville in San Bernardino County, Soledad in Monterey County, and Vacaville in Solano County.

Wasco in Kern County and Lathrop in San Joaquin County were among the top cities for housing growth in areas that did not experience devastating wildfires. Near the top of the fastest growing communities statewide is wildfire-devastated Paradise in Butte County that recorded a population increase of 3.26% in 2019 from 4485 in 2018 to 4631.

The city was destroyed by the Camp Fire in November 8, 2018 when eighty-six people died, tens of thousands displaced and 18,804 buildings were destroyed. It was the deadliest and most destructive fire in California. Before the fire the small city had a population of 26,800. After the Camp Fire a door-to-door count in April 2019 found just 2,034 people left. Now there is a modest comeback, according to the state count, to 4631 persons as the community slowly rebuilds.

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