Visalia, Dinuba, Tulare and Woodlake are among the 100 fastest growing cities in the state; housing growth outpaces population growth but not by enough to solve the existing shortage
TULARE COUNTY – Four Tulare County cities were among the fastest growing in the state in 2022.
Visalia ranked 25th in the state for population increases adding 965 residents in the last year, while Dinuba ranked 68th adding 247 people, followed by Tulare (220 people) at No. 74 and Woodlake (102 people), which ranked 102 of the state’s 482 incorporated cities. As a percent of population, Dinuba and Woodlake outpaced Visalia and Tulare with .98% and .84% increases, small gains but far larger than the state’s overall loss of 0.2% of the population. The numbers were announced May 1 as part of the state’s annual demographics report from the California Department of Finance.
Delano and Kingsburg, which both have a small portion of their cities in Tulare County, saw even larger increases. Kingsburg was the 9th fastest growing city, with an increase of 3.48% to 12,865. Delano was just shy of Visalia’s mark with an additional 945 residents despite being about one third the size, 51,727 people compared with Visalia’s 143,031. As a percentage of population, Delano was the 23rd fastest growing city with a 1.86% increase.
In general, only counties in the Central Valley and Imperial Valley saw increases in population while every coastal county except San Benito (0.2%) saw declines. Of the ten largest cities in California, only three gained population: Sacramento had the largest percentage gain in population (0.2 percent, or 1,203) followed by Bakersfield (0.2 percent, or 882) and Fresno (0.1 percent, or 599). San Joaquin County, Kern County, Butte County and Yuba County all had cities where housing production drove population growth.
In Tulare County, five of the eight cities and the unincorporated areas increased housing at a rate faster than the population growth. Visalia increased housing units by 1.4% compared with 0.7% in population growth; however, that is not enough to solve the housing shortage for the population that is already here.
And things won’t be getting better any time soon based on preliminary permit numbers so far this year. Visalia has permitted 73% fewer new homes in the first four months of the year compared to the same period in 2022. Builders permitted only two new homes in April, according to the latest City of Visalia figures. Home builders had permitted 245 new homes by May 1 of 2022, but so far this year, the city has issued only 66 new single family residential permits. The trend puts Visalia on pace for the slowest new home construction year in decades. Overall, the total value of all permits is also down by 62% although residential remodels for the year to date are up .High interest rates have slowed building plans as well as the sale of existing homes in the city.
Stable births, fewer deaths, and a rebound in foreign immigration slowed California’s recent population decline in 2022, with the state’s population estimated at 38,940,231 people as of Jan. 1, 2023.
The 0.35-percent population decline for 2022, roughly 138,400 persons, marks a slowdown compared to the recent decline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2021 and 2022, California’s population decreased 0.53% or 207,800 persons, due mainly to sharp declines in natural increase and foreign immigration. For 2022, natural increase – the net amount of births minus deaths – increased from 87,400 in 2021 to 106,900 in 2022. Births decreased slightly from 420,800 in 2021 to 418,800 in 2022, while deaths declined gradually from 333,300 persons in 2021 to 311,900 persons in 2022.
Foreign immigration nearly tripled in 2022 compared to the prior year, with a net gain of 90,300 persons in 2022 compared to 31,300 in 2021. While foreign immigration to California has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, natural increase has not rebounded. Total births remain low due to fertility declines; while deaths have eased gradually from their pandemic peak, they remain elevated. With slower domestic in-migration and increased domestic out-migration, likely the result of work- from-home changes, declines in net domestic migration offset the population gains from natural increase and international migration.
Ten Counties with the largest percentage decreases
Statewide, 46 of the state’s 58 counties lost population. The ten largest percentage decreases were: Lassen (-4.3 percent), Del Norte (-1.3 percent), Plumas (-1.2 percent), Santa Cruz (-1.0 percent), Marin (-1.0 percent), Tehama (-1.0 percent), Napa (-1.0 percent), Lake (-0.9 percent), Monterey (-0.8 percent), and Los Angeles (-0.8 percent). The state’s three most populous counties all experienced population loss: Los Angeles declined by 73,293 persons (-0.75 percent), San Diego by 5,680 persons (-0.2 percent), and Orange by 14,782 persons (-0.5 percent).
In the state, Larthrop in San Joaquin County was the fastest growing city adding 3,505 new residents and bringing their population to 35,080. Paradise in Butte County was the fastest growing city as a percentage of the population, with an increase of 24.09% or 1,775 people. Both were on the list of the top five cities where housing production drove population growth: Paradise (24.1%), Lathrop (11.1%), Duarte (6.6 percent) in Los Angeles County, Wheatland (4.6%) in Yuba County, and Shafter (4.3%) in Kern County.