Estimates from the California Department of Finance show growth in city size last year
The city of Davis grew in population by a roughly single percentage point in 2018, outpacing surrounding Yolo County cities by a significant rate, according to a press release by the California Department of Finance.
In a press release on May 1, the department released data of its most recent estimates of California city and county populations. The Davis population grew from 68,999 on Jan. 1 of 2018 to 69,761 on the same date in 2019. That means that 762 new residents were added to the city in 2018, a population growth of 1.1%. Yolo County itself has grown in population by 0.6%, according to the data, and much of that growth appears to come from Davis.
These numbers don’t account for population growth on campus or in nearby neighborhoods outside city limits, however. The balance of the unincorporated county as a whole, which would include some neighborhoods near Davis, also grew by 1% from 30,878 residents in 2018 to 31,200 in 2019. The department’s data specifically excludes most student housing on or near campus, according to its website.
Ashley Feeney, the assistant city manager for the city of Davis, said that the recent population growth is consistent with the city’s projected growth rate alongside the construction of new housing in Davis. The Regional Housing Needs Allocation, the state process for regulating the production and affordability of housing in California, allocated Davis 1,066 new housing units between January of 2013 and October of 2021. According to Feeney, the city adopted a corresponding resolution in 2008 that accounted for an expected 1% growth rate in population.
“I’d say that growth in the city has been consistent with what the anticipated growth rate was through our RHNA cycle, coupled with what we’ve seen in the market trends,” Feeney said. “Certainly, we’ve had a number of different housing opportunities available across the city, whether it be for-sale housing, rental housing projects that have been improved — starting construction or nearing construction.”
In other words, the city has not been caught unaware by the growing size of its population. But expected or not, Davis’ 2018 growth has eclipsed nearby Yolo cities by a factor of nearly double.
Compare Davis’ growth to nearby West Sacramento, which only grew 0.4% in population the same year — according to the Department of Finance — or Woodland, which grew by 0.2%. Winters actually lost residents, with a population decrease of 0.1% — though this only represents a loss of 10 residents, due to the city’s small size.
To estimate the population of Davis and other California cities, the California Department of Finance uses a system called HUM, or the Housing Unit Method. This number takes data from added or lost housing — construction of new buildings, demolition and annexations, for example — and adding it to already existing Census data from in 2010. The department adjusts that number based on data on vacancy rates from the Census and American Community Survey.
“Occupied housing units are estimated by applying a derived civilian vacancy rate to the estimated civilian housing units,” according to the department’s website. “Vacancy rates are based on 2010 Census benchmark data, adjusted to incorporate the directional changes described by the latest available ACS data.”
The state of California will use these numbers to determine the distribution of state funds, as well as uphold state codes, but the new population data will also prove useful to California local agencies, businesses and academia.
“The State Controller’s Office uses Finance’s estimates to update their population figures for distribution of state subventions to cities and counties, and to comply with various state codes,” the press release reads. “Additionally, estimates are used for research and planning purposes by federal, state, and local agencies, the academic community, and the private sector.”
Written by: Tim Lalonde — firstname.lastname@example.org