Growth rate in city on decline

GLENDALE — People are moving to Glendale at a less rapid rate than in the 1980s and 1990s, and several lower-income families are leaving the city, according to the city of Glendale and the U.S. Census Bureau.

But the declining growth rate is more complicated than just lower-income families leaving, said Jeff Hamilton, senior city planner.

“It’s a complex mix,” Hamilton said. “I think the growth rate [includes] more births, some of it is immigrants coming for opportunities, I think we’re seeing some of the retiree folks moving away and some of the poorer families seeking better homes.”

In the 1990 U.S. Census, a concentration of lower-income families was in south Glendale, but in 2000 and the years following, some of these neighborhoods became smaller, he said.

Hamilton said this is a pattern throughout Southern California.

“To me the best explanation is people are being driven out of higher-priced housing,” he said. “I think people are being priced out of the market — especially in coastal areas that are gaining and losing population and moving to Moreno Valley, Lancaster or Bakersfield. People with fewer kids are moving in, or they’re simply just having smaller families, and that helps them.”

U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday show that several Southland cities have increased in population. In Victorville, the population increased from 9.5 percent to 107,221. Irvine, Rancho Cucamonga, Moreno Valley, Bakersfield and Fontana are included in the census as some of the top 25 cities to increase rapidly in population from 2000 to 2007.

Hamilton said the data he has studied does not show that the immigrant or minority populations in Glendale have changed dramatically, he said.

“[The population] is continuing to grow, but much slower than in the ’80s or the ’90s,” he said. “In the ’80s we added about 40,000 people; in the ’90s we added about 15,000. In the 2000s, so far we’ve added about 10,000.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Glendale’s population reached 139,060 in 1980, 180,083 in 1990 and 194, 973 in 2000. The latest report shows that Glendale has increased by 2,000 people since the year 2000, which surprises Hamilton.

“It seems low to me,” he said.

The census’ statistical sampling accounts for only a portion of the population — not the entire city — and Hamilton is unsure whether this number is accurate.

“Just like I’m suspicious of the state’s number,” he said. “Based on my experience, what my gut says is that [the population number] is somewhere between the state and the census bureau’s estimates.”

The only changes Hamilton has seen in census research that relates to the decline in California’s population are fewer less births and lower enrollment in schools.

“Immigrant groups are having smaller families,” he said. “Latino mothers are also having fewer children. The enrollment figures for the Glendale school district are another indication that with people with fewer kids, or smaller families, are moving to Glendale.”

Hamilton is also curious about new data that will be available in 2010 on the Armenian population in Glendale.

“Until new data comes out in 2010 we don’t really know about the Armenian population,” Hamilton said.

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