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By Steve Levy

Bay Area Population Growth Leads State

Uploaded: Dec 19, 2015

The California Department of Finance (DOF) released new and revised county population estimates for July 2010—July 2015. Their press release and accompanying documents can be found here under the July Population Estimates section.

web link

The Bay Area highlights are:

--The Bay Area was the fastest growing region in California
--Santa Clara County was the fastest growing county in California and four of the five fastest growing counties were in the Bay Area
--About half of the region’s population growth came from natural increase (births minus deaths) and half from immigration and migration from other states and parts of California
--Prior year population growth estimates were revised up as the amount of domestic outmigration from the region was revised downward

The details include:

--In the past five years the region has added 438,500 residents for a 6.1% gain compared to the state (+4.6%) and nation (+3.8%).
--Santa Clara County added 126,200 residents for a 7.1% increase. The second fastest growing county since 2010 was Alameda (+6.9%) followed by San Francisco (+6.7%). San Mateo County added 42,300 residents for a 5.9% increase.
--Average regional population growth of 87,700 was split between natural increase of 41,700 and net migration of 46,000 per year.
--Net migration was split between immigration of nearly 36,000 per year and domestic in migration of just over 10,000 per year.
--Santa Clara County had an average population increase of 25,200 per year split between natural increase of 14,400 and migration of 10,800 all but 900 per year from immigration
DOF estimated that population growth between 2010 and 2014 was more than 200,000 above previous estimates with most of the increase in Southern California and the Bay Area. The major change was in estimates of migration between the Bay Area and other areas. Last year DOF estimated average domestic migration was 1,400 per year while the 2015 estimates show an average of 10,400 per year.

The implications deserve a blog by themselves but a couple of points are worth noting.
Previous estimates of the accumulated regional housing shortfall need to be revised upward as 1) the region grew by more than previously reported and 2) growth is continuing to outpace housing production.

Also the idea that people are leaving the region in large numbers is not supported by this data. Since 2010 more than 10,000 people a year have moved here from the rest of the nation than left.

One probable explanation for what is happening in the housing market is that some residents are doubling up (roommates, moving in with parents, families sharing housing) in response to high prices/rents and moving to less expensive parts of the region.