Alameda's population bests census high
Alameda's population bests census high
Updated at 9:47 a.m. Thursday, May 14 to reflect new data, in BOLD
Nearly 77,000 people now call Alameda home, new state data show.
That's more than U.S. Census takers have ever counted on the Island before and a fresh increase in the Island's first real population rise in more than a decade.
Newly released data from the California Department of Finance show that Alameda’s population grew 0.9 percent over the past year, to 76,638. That’s more than the 76,459 people who lived in Alameda when the Naval Air Station was in full operation in 1990, the previous high population point, decennial U.S. Census decennial data collected that year show, though not as many as the 78,515 the state said were here in 1994, Alameda's population high water mark.
Alameda’s growth rate tracked with that of the state as a whole, which also grew by 0.9 percent between January 1, 2014 and January 1 of this year, to 38.7 million. But it was less than Alameda County’s growth rate of 1.3 percent over the year. Alameda County was one of the fastest growing counties in the state this past year, the data show.
Alameda’s population has grown by about 3.8 percent or 2,800 people since the last decennial census, collected in April 2010, the data the state released show. Alameda’s population dropped between 1990 and 2000 – the decennial census taken after the Alameda Naval Air Station closed – but has been rising since then. The data are calculated using home building, birth, death, driver’s license and other data.
Alameda's population rose between 1990 and 1994, reaching 78,515 that year, the state's data show, but then dropped to 71,230 in 1998. Alameda's population was essentially flat from that point until 2009, when it exceeded 73,000, per the state's data.
The Bay Area’s rising economy is driving its rising population growth, said Cynthia Kroll, chief economist for the Association of Bay Area Governments, a quasi-governmental regional planning body. The Bay Area as a whole saw employment increase by nearly 10 percent between 2010 and 2013, according to the association’s State of the Region 2015 report.
State unemployment data released in March listed Alameda County’s unemployment rate at 4.8 percent, down from 10.9 percent in 2010, which was a 24-year high; the unemployment rate in nearby San Francisco is 3.6 percent. That’s compared to a statewide unemployment rate of 6.5 percent, data from California’s Employment Development Department show.
“We are seeing a reversal in migration trends with working aged adults moving into the region at higher rates than they are leaving,” Kroll wrote in an e-mail response to a reporter’s questions.
Kroll confirmed what many in the Bay Area have already long observed: That its population growth is particularly strong among young adults working in the tech sector.
She said Alameda County is seeing spillover in the form of single San Franciscans and young couples migrating to the East Bay for both cheaper and more family-friendly digs.
But here on the Island, there’s not much housing available for them to choose from.
Data provided in earlier stories on The Alamedan show that the Island’s rental housing stock is at 97 percent occupancy, which is full by industry standards. And the head of the local Realtors' association said that housing availability isn't keeping up with Alameda's growing population. An association study found that Alameda saw development of just 6 percent of the housing it needed to keep up with population growth between 2007 and 2014.
Just 33 homes and condominiums were listed for sale as of Tuesday, with prices ranging from $379,000 for a two-bedroom, one bathroom condominium in the Island’s Woodstock co-op to nearly $3 million for a 4,500-square-foot home in the heart of the Gold Coast.
In its Plan Bay Area long-range transportation, housing and land use plan, the association estimated that 2.1 million more people will call the Bay Area home in 2040 than did in 2010. The plan calls for development of new housing in “priority development areas,” a list that includes Alameda Point and the Island’s Northern Waterfront, to help accommodate the newcomers.
The Planning Board offered approvals Monday for development of the Point’s Site A, a 68-acre waterfront site expected to hold 800 homes, 600,000 square feet of commercial space and 15 acres of parks, and the City Council is expected to consider final approvals for the development on June 16.
Meanwhile, development on the Northern Waterfront is set to include conversion of the Del Monte warehouse and its environs into 380 new homes and the in-progress construction of the 89-home Marina Shores development.
Overall, the city’s planners estimate that some 1,841 new homes are either under construction or proposed to be built between now and 2023, numbers that include all three of those developments.