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City Of L.A.'s Population Tops 4 Million For The First Time Ever

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
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The population of the City of Los Angeles has topped four million for the first time ever. According to a new report from the California Department of Finance, L.A.'s population grew by more than 50,000 persons since last year, and now totals 4,031,000 people. The department's annual state population report, which was released Monday morning, includes data for all of California's cities, counties, and the state. The state's overall population grew by 0.9 percent in 2015, adding 348,000 residents to total 39,256,000 as of January 1, 2016. L.A. remains California's most populous city, as well as, objectively, California's best city.

San Joaquin County was the fastest growing county in the state (over 1.3 percent), closely followed by Yolo, Riverside, and Santa Clara counties all slightly below 1.3 percent.

Source: California Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit, 5/2016 (Graphic by Julia Wick)
California Department of Finance demographer Walter Schwarm told LAist that the renewed growth of inland cities reflects California's economic recovery: in the beginning of the decade most of California's growth was concentrated in the coast counties (the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County and to some degree, San Diego), but "as the recovery has continued, we find ourselves with more balanced growth. It's not just in the coastal communities, it's now in other parts of the state."

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"There's [now] a little bit [of growth] in the Central Valley, a little bit in Sacramento, and the Inland Empire is certainly back, in terms of housing growth as well as population growth," Schwarm told LAist. "In 2010 and 2011, Riverside and San Bernardino really didn't post much growth."

The report also analyzes housing growth, which has remained relatively flat even as the state's population has continued to grow at a moderate but consistent clip.

"The continued gap there helps to explain the rising housing prices and the rising rental rates in California," Schwarm told LAist, explaining that housing stock continues to lag significantly behind population in terms of growth. "If supply is not keeping up with the demand, then the prices are the ones to take up the slack," he said.

Of particular interest is the continued growth of multi-family housing over single-family housing in both the city and the county of L.A.

According to Schwarm, there has been more multi-family housing than single-family housing built in the area for the past four years, but prior to that—except for a single year in the 1970s—L.A has always seen a majority of single-family housing being built. Perhaps things are finally a-changing.

The population data is tabulated from births, deaths and net migration. The migration data is collected using two different methods: demographers look at the IRS migration file to look at the difference between two years tax returns to look at how many people have moved in and out, and they also get information from Homeland Security to look at visas, since those residents might not be included in IRS data.

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