The Fastest-Growing City in California Isn't Where You Think

The Fastest-Growing City in California Isn't Where You Think

By Mackenzie Hutson February 24, 2020

As communities across the world and in California mitigate health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are shifting our content strategy and will not encourage any travel or social activities during this time.  We will, however, continue to shine a light on and celebrate the many beautiful aspects of our State with the intention of being a source of inspiration and joy during this difficult period. We will also be providing tips and resources specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic safety measures in the coming weeks. Thank you for reading, and stay safe!

According to the Census Bureau's most recent population estimates for cities and towns, only one place in California broke into the country’s 15 top-growing cities: Dublin. But this data reflects population changes that occured between 2017 and 2018; the most recent numbers from the California Department of Finance show that the 2018–2019 winner lies approximately 165 miles to the north.

Yes, Chico has beaten out Dublin to take the top spot on the list of California’s fastest-growing cities, proving the college town has a lot to offer. Experiencing a 20.7 percent increase in population between 2018 and 2019, Chico grew nearly five times faster than Dublin. While this data only represents cities with populations between 30,000 and 300,000, this huge percentage blows even the largest cities (including Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco) out of the water. 

Here are California’s other fastest-growing cities, determined by the biggest percent change in population between January 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019.

The Top 10 Growing Cities in California

Experiencing a 20.7 percent increase in population between 2018 and 2019, Chico is the fastest-growing city in the state.

1. Chico 

Percent change: 20.7

Population: 112,111 

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2. Dublin 

Percent change: 4.4

Population:  64,577

3. Beaumont 

Percent change: 4.0

Population: 48,401 

4. Rocklin 

Percent change: 3.8

Population: 69,249

5. Manteca 

Percent change: 3.4

Population: 83,781

6. Newark 

Percent change:  3.3

Population: 48,712

7. Menifee 

Percent change: 3.0

Population: 93,452

8. Clovis 

Percent change: 2.7

Population: 117,003

9. Hollister 

Percent change: 2.7

Population: 40,149

10. Santa Clarita 

Percent change: 2.7

Population: 218,103

Many people are flocking to the Southern California city of Santa Clarita, where the population rose nearly 3 percent in one year.

The Top 10 Fastest-Growing Cities in California

In addition to seeing high percentage changes in population, many California cities also experienced significant numeric changes in population. In the top 10 cities alone, the Golden State saw a 50,000-plus increase in population. 

The following cities saw the greatest numeric change in population between January 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019. 

1. Chico 

Numeric change: 19,250

Population: 112,111 

2. Irvine 

Numeric change: 6,147

Population: 280,202 

3. Santa Clarita  

Numeric change: 5,725

Population: 218,103

Merely miles from the coast, the Orange County town of Irvine welcomed more than 6,000 new residents in 2018.

4. Ontario 

Numeric change: 4,024

Population: 178,268

5. Oroville 

Numeric change: 3,682

Population: 21,773

6. Roseville 

Numeric change: 3,383

Population: 139,643

7. Chula Vista 

Numeric change: 3,351

Population: 271,411

8. Clovis

Numeric change: 3,108

Population: 117,003 

9. Manteca 

Numeric change: 2,759

Population: 83,78110. Dublin 

Numeric change: 2,703

Population: 64,577 

Note: Population data represents totals documented on January 1, 2019.

Did you recently move to Chico or one of the other fastest-growing cities in California? Tell us about your favorite local spots in the comments below.


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