Kern-Bakersfield Leads in U.S. Population Growth

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Increasingly, Americans are living in cities, those cities are becoming more densely populated, and California is a major factor in both trends, a new U.S. Census Bureau report indicates. And Kern County”s Bakersfield MSA area, the report confirms, is among the fastest-growing.

 40.6% The percentage by which the City of Bakersfield”s population increased between 2000 and 2010, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report.

Nearly two-thirds of the nation”s population live in incorporated cities, with the highest proportion, 76.4 percent, found in Western states, somewhat surprisingly. California cities, both large and small, are prominently found in the report”s lists of the nation”s fastest-growing, as well as those seeing ever-greater population density. Three California cities — Fontana (52.1 percent), Irvine (48.4 percent) and Bakersfield (40.6 percent) — are among the 10 cities of 100,000 or more population that saw the greatest gains between 2000 and 2010. Gilbert, Ariz., topped the list at 90 percent. Another capital suburb, Lincoln, was the nation”s fastest-growing small city at 282.1 percent. During that decade, California”s overall population growth was well under 10 percent, the slowest rate of recent history.

With California cities generally growing faster than the state as a whole, and the expansion of city limits often blocked by geography, they are becoming more densely populated, the report also shows. San Francisco is the nation”s second most densely populated large city at 17,858.9 people per square mile, with New York City first at 27,781.2. And with the city hemmed in by water and the San Mateo County line, it cannot expand its 61 square miles, so it is becoming denser every year. Between 2010 and 2013, San Francisco”s density increased by 679.7 people per square mile, adding to its legendary traffic and parking squeezes and a shortage of housing that has driven rents and home prices sky-high. That was the nation”s third largest increase in density behind New York City and Washington, D.C.

Several other California cities are featured prominently in the Census Bureau”s calculation of density. Daly City, just south of San Francisco in San Mateo County, is the nation”s sixth densest city at 13,708.6 people per square mile. Others on the list include Santa Ana, Inglewood, Berkeley, Norwalk, Garden Grove and Long Beach.

Luckily, space isn”t an issue for Kern County. Over the next 25 years, growth in the Kern County could vary widely based on a host of factors, including spillover from Southern California, water availability, employment opportunities, housing costs, interest rates, high-speed rail, air quality regulations, and land availability. The combined general plans within the Kern region designate sufficient land to absorb growth online casino at twice the rate forecasted by 2035.

Past growth in Kern, and in Southern California as a whole, would indicate that the question is not “if” but “when” Kern County’s population will double. At current growth rates that will likely happen by 2050.

Fastest Growing U.S. Cities

Incorporated Place

Population

Change 2000 to 2010

April 1, 2000 Census

April 1, 2010 Census

Number

Percent

Gilbert, Arizona

109,697

208,453

98,756

90.0

North Las Vegas, Nevada

115,488

216,961

101,473

87.9

Fayetteville, North Carolina

121,015

200,564

79,549

65.7

Fontana, California

128,929

196,069

67,140

52.1

Cape Coral, Florida

102,286

154,305

52,019

50.9

Irvine, California

143,072

212,375

69,303

48.4

Henderson, Nevada

175,381

257,729

82,348

47.0

Raleigh, North Carolina

276,093

403,892

127,799

46.3

Peoria, Arizona

108,364

154,065

45,701

42.2

Bakersfield, California

247,057

347,483

100,426

40.6

Source: U.S. Census Bureau 


Kern County: 11th Largest County in California

Rank

County

Population

1

Los Angeles

10,041,797

2

San Diego

3,194,362

3

Orange

3,113,991

4

Riverside

2,279,967

5

San Bernardino

2,085,669

6

Santa Clara

1,868,558

7

Alameda

1,573,254

8

Sacramento

1,454,406

9

Contra Costa

1,087,008

10

Fresno

964,040

11

Kern

873,092

12

Ventura

842,967

Source: State of California, Department of Finance

Data collected by Kern EDC with additional resources from The Sacramento Bee and Kern Council of Governments.

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