Irvine population up nearly 50% since 2000

Irvine's population increased considerably in the last decade, far outpacing other Orange County cities, according to U.S. Census data.

Thanks to plenty of new housing, some of it built by the Newport Beach-based Irvine Co., Irvine's population grew from 143,072 in 2000 to 212,375 in 2010 — an increase of 48.4%.

With a gain of 69,303 people, Irvine outpaced Anaheim in growth. The city with the Ducks and Disneyland recorded a total population of 336,265 in 2010 — an increase of 8,251 people in the same period that makes Anaheim, not Santa Ana, the county's most populous city.

Mayor Sukhee Kang attributed the growth to the city's public school system and its placement as one of America's safest cities in the last seven consecutive years, based on data from the FBI.

The success of the city is also due to planning from the day of its incorporation in 1971, he said.

"The master plan was the most important component of the Irvine success," Kang said. "We have an anchor tenant, UCI.

"They built the school here in the center of Orange County, and then the village was formed around the campus with the Irvine Co., Donald Bren and William Pereira, who designed UCI — all those so-called forefathers who really envisioned the city and planned and built the first phase of the city. It all started with a vision."

Other census data show that the city's Asian population saw the largest gain, up from 29.7% in 2000 to 39% in 2010.

Kang again attributed the gain to the city's high-performing schools.

"It's a school issue, not only for the Asian community, but for the community in general," he said. "School excellence is always on top of the list when considering where to live."

The city's white population declined from 57% to 45.1%; the Hispanic population increased from 7.4% to 9.2%; the black population increased from 1.4% to 1.6%; and those that listed two or more races increased from 4% to 4.6%.

Those populations that remained unchanged are the American Indian and Pacific Islander populations at 0.1%. Those listed as "other" remained at 0.3%.

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