Tulare County among fastest growing counties in state

(Rigo Moran)

A new report from the State of California indicates significant population growth in Tulare County

CENTRAL VALLEY – As the state of California unveils its population data, a significant boom has been observed in Tulare County, and as the data indicates, it’s one of the fastest-growing regions in the Golden State, which gained just 67,000 residents last fiscal year.

As it’s laid out in the report, only five counties in the state have experienced a population growth above 1%, and Tulare County fell right behind them with a 0.9% increase. The county has shown sustained population growth for each of the four years noted in the report, climbing from 473,117 in 2020 to 478,918 in 2024. This accounts for an increase of just over 5,800 people between the 2022-2023 fiscal years and 2023-2024.

Visalia in particular has seen a big jump in population, although it is overshadowed by the growth seen in the city of Tulare. According to the data from the state, Tulare grew by 1.77% in 2023-2024. As for Visalia, the city’s total population has increased by 1.09% after growing by just 0.58% in the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Data indicating where movers are coming from isn’t available, but indications from the available data show that Bay Area residents are fleeing the region. After two years of sustained declines in population, San Francisco County saw a minor growth in the most recent years. Other Bay Area counties like South San Francisco and Santa Clara Counties saw significant population declines.

Although these numbers indicate significant growth in Tulare County, experts say the population needs to expand further. According to a previous report on a recent presentation from Christopher Thornberg, the founding partner of research and consulting firm Beacon Economics, Tulare County needs to attract even more residents to fill the needs of an expanding workforce.

“This is what you need to get out there, get the word out here: ‘We have housing, we want to grow, we’re business-friendly, move here,’” Thornberg said. “Keep pushing this narrative; that’s what’s going to make this place continue to succeed.”

For California as a whole, the U.S. Census Bureau data shows the statewide population has declined in recent years; however, data released by the state of California indicates an uptick. The Census Bureau shows a population of 38.965 million residents in 2023, while California reports a population of 39.1 million.

“Nine of the 10 counties with populations over 1 million saw increases in population, comprising 72% of the state’s total population,” California’s report states. “Riverside County led with an increase of 13,800.”

The five counties that had population growth above 1% are Sutter, Imperial, Glenn, Yuba and San Benito. Aside from San Benito County, the four counties with population growth above 1% are all rural and semi-rural areas with lower costs of living and more affordable housing. Several, such as Yuba County, are also showing enhanced job growth above state averages.

Limitations to the data set provided by California include an inability to properly assess the number of people moving between counties and an inability to properly account for the impact of immigration. The California Budget and Policy Center reports that California is home to 11 million immigrants who make up about 28% of the population of the state. They report that just 45.3% of the state’s population are U.S.-born with U.S. -born parents, while 21.1% of the state’s population are the first-generation children of immigrants.

U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that the rising U.S. population since the pandemic is in part driven by immigration. According to the data, 65% of the increase in the U.S. population since the pandemic has been a result of immigration.

Patterns of immigration are shifting westward as states such as Texas, which is the fastest growing state in the nation, clamp down on unlawful migration.

Aside from that, there are many reasons that people from other states are moving to the Golden State. The report by the state claims that California has the most equitable tax structure in the nation, and is number one for new business start-ups, venture capital funding, tourism spending, manufacturing, high-tech and agriculture, which is driven by the communities of the Central Valley.

“People from across the nation and the globe are coming to the Golden State to pursue the California Dream and experience the success of the world’s fifth largest economy,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “From the Inland Empire to the Bay Area, regions throughout California are growing – strengthening local communities and boosting our state’s future.”

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