Last week, California released its annual estimates for each city’s 2016 population growth. On the surface, the numbers look good for the state, especially for San Diego, which grew faster than the rest of California and the rest of the country.
But there is a long-term threat facing the county within its population growth trends. Rich suburbs have no more room and are experiencing low population growth. Meanwhile, the highest growth in San Diego County is in lower middle-income Vista. Viewed together, these two trends show how poor transportation and growth-restricting zoning limit the county’s access to good jobs.
The biggest cities in the state have outgrown their counties. Los Angeles grew 1.1 percent in 2016, while Los Angeles County grew just 0.6 percent. San Diego grew 1.1 percent as well, compared with only 0.9 percent for the entire county. San Jose grew 0.9 percent, compared with 0.8 percent for Santa Clara County. San Francisco is a consolidated city-county, but we can compare it with San Mateo County: San Francisco grew 1.1 percent, San Mateo County grew 0.6 percent.
In recent years, urbanist writers and advocates have posited a “back to the city” trend, in which jobs move back to city centers, cities undergo gentrification instead of white flight and central cities see significant population growth.
This is not exactly what happened in California last year.
The four largest cities in the state all posted strong population growth, but most nearby cities, relatively dense and urban ones, didn’t. In San Diego, El Cajon is actually the county’s densest city, at 6,900 people per square mile; it grew 0.5 percent. The two richest cities, Solana Beach and Del Mar, grew 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
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Why does every 'journalist' sing the praises of population growth? Would it not be better to encourage improved education and economic opportunities for a stable population to achieve economic growth in a sustainable manner?
Whoever in the County of San Diego wants to live in a region completely covered with freeways and tract houses with a population of 5 million, please raise your hand now.
When are the powers that be going to overcome their apparently insatiable desire to overpopulate the nation?
This is the worst article I've ever read at VOSD. The author is based in Paris? And jumps to faulty conclusions based on demographics alone? I'm sure you've never been to Vista, and you didn't bother to talk to anybody in Vista - no quotes from residents or mayor or anybody. Vista may appear to be low-income on your stat sheet, but the affluent are buying up the real estate and forcing the less-fortunate to go elsewhere.
I give this op ed piece a D- for a complete lack of knowledge of the history of the area. When he wrote that Vista did not even exist until the 1950s I knew that he was just quoting statistics and then giving his interpretation. Just for his information, Vista (in terms of European settlement) dates to 1798 when the nearby San Luis Rey Mission was established and the area around Vista was divided into Ranchos and land grants. Vista's post office was established in 1882 and the area was agricultural for decades before farm land became developed into housing tracts.