By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
SJ Valley cities among top in population growth for state
Stanislaus County, Turlock record loss of residents
River Islands
Pictured is the Veranda community by Van Daele Homes at River Islands at Lathrop. The San Joaquin County city of Lathrop — powered by new home sales in the 15,001-home planned River Islands community — was California’s fastest growing city during 2022 based on new growth (Photo contributed).

The Northern San Joaquin Valley — San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties — continued to be one of the only two regions to grow collectively in population in California, although ever so slightly, according to a new report from the State Department of Finance. The other was the Inland Empire in Southern California consisting of Riverside and San Bernadino counties.

The Northern San Joaquín Valley was up 604 overall residents. It would have been more but Stanislaus County lost 2,780 residents that cut into a 3,384 gain in San Joaquin County and a 1,202 gain in Merced County.

Along with Stanislaus County as a whole, Turlock also saw a loss of residents in 2022 from 71,214 to 70,856.

SJ Valley cities that saw growth in 2022 include Tracy, Manteca, Lathrop, Patterson, Riverbank, Waterford, Hughson, Merced and Los Banos.

Valley cities that lost residents in 2022 include: Stockton, Lodi, Ripon, Escalon, Modesto, Turlock, Ceres, Oakdale, Newman, Atwater, Livingston, Gustine and Dos Palos.

The San Joaquin County city of Lathrop — powered by new home sales in the 15,001-home planned River Islands community — was California’s fastest growing city during 2022 based on new growth.

Lathrop’s estimated population soared past the 35,000 mark as of Jan. 1 to reach 35,080 residents. That reflects an 11.1 percent year to year gain.

It is important to note Lathrop’s population surge was based on new growth. Overall on the state’s list, Lathrop comes in at No. 2 for population growth at 11.1 percent.

Topping the list is Paradise with a 24.1 percent jump to 9,941 residents. To put that in perspective, before the 2018 wildfires wiped out much of the Butte County community killing 86 people in 2018, Paradise had 26,532  residents. Its population dropped to 4,719 in 2019.

In the Department of Finance’s list of cities over 30,000, Lathrop was first at 11.1 percent while Manteca was fifth at 2.3 percent. All cities combined, Lathrop would drop to second and Manteca to sixth due to the rebuilding  in Paradise.

In raw population gain, Lathrop added 3,505 residents for the top overall gain in the state.

In 2021, Lathrop had added 1,947 residents to be ranked as 13th largest numerical gain in the state that year. Right behind Lathrop at 14th in 2021 with 1,864 additional residents was Manteca.

But given Manteca is roughly three times larger in population, Lathrop’s additional residents translated into a 6.63 percent growth rate as opposed to Manteca’s 2.19 percent growth rate that made it California’s 25th fastest growing city in 2021.

Both Lathrop and Manteca are on pace to build roughly the same number of new housing units this year than they did in 2022.

Manteca added 1,094 housing units last year to bring the city’s total to 30,399.

Lathrop added 1,391 housing units last year to bring the city’s total to 10,388.


Overall population, housing trends in California

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.

Over the same period, statewide housing growth increased to 0.85 percent – its highest level since 2008.

California added 123,350 housing units on net, including 20,683 accessory dwelling units (ADUs), to bring total housing in the state to 14,707,698 units. New construction represents 116,683 housing units with 63,423 single family housing units, 51,787 multi-family housing units, and 1,473 mobile homes.

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 percent 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, respectively.

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.

Among the highlights of the population report:

*Of the 10 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).

*Accessory dwelling unit production increased by 60.6 percent, with the state adding 20,638 ADUs in 2022.

*Group quarters represent 2.4 percent (926,000) of the total state population. This population includes those living in college dormitories (269,000) and in correctional facilities (168,000). In 2022, California’s group quarters population increased by 11,000 people or 1.2 percent.

*The college dormitory population grew by 16,000 (6.2 percent). Correctional facilities declined in population in 2022 by 4,200 people (-2.5 percent) across federal, state and local facilities.

*As college dormitory populations continue to return to a post- pandemic normal, several jurisdictions saw significant gains in population due to this population. The City of Arcata in Humboldt County grew by 4.1 percent due to a 45.1 percent increase at Cal Poly Humboldt. The City of Marina in Monterey County grew by 2.5 percent due to a 12.6 percent increase at California State University at Monterey Bay.

*State prisons are generally located in remote areas; as a result, increases or decreases can account for significant changes in their respective area populations. For example, prison declines led to population decreases in Susanville (-9.5 percent) in Lassen County, Calipatria (-5.6 percent) in Imperial County, and Crescent City (-4.4 percent) in Del Norte County.

*Population growth slowed but remained positive in the interior counties of the Central Valley and the Inland Empire, while most counties saw declines, including every coastal county except San Benito (0.2 percent).

*Only two counties had growth above a half of a percent: Madera (0.6 percent) and Yuba (0.6 percent), due to housing gains.

*The next largest in percentage growth were San Joaquin (0.4 percent), Merced (0.4 percent), and Imperial (0.4 percent) counties.

*Forty-six of the state’s 58 counties lost population. The 10 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).