Count shows small population changes

The population has fallen slightly in Glendale and risen slightly in Burbank, according to 2010 U.S. Census figures released on Tuesday. Those variations could play an important role in how government funding gets divvied up among cities for years to come, according to city officials.

The census, done every 10 years, showed 191,719 residents in Glendale, down 2% from 194,973 in 2000, while Burbank experienced a 3% bump over the same period, from 100,316 to 103,340, according to the data posted through state Department of Finance.

While Glendale managed to retain its rank as the third largest city in Los Angeles County, Jeff Hamilton — a city planner who headed up the Glendale’s Complete Count committee — said the results seemed low and were discouraging after months of efforts to ensure an accurate count.

The figures come amid a 3% population increase in Los Angeles County, which remains the largest county in the state with 9.8 million people counted, according to the data.

“I’m skeptical of this total,” Hamilton said. “I find it a little hard to imagine that compared to Burbank and Pasadena, we have dropped.”

City officials have been anxiously awaiting the figures for months, since the numbers play a significant role in determining the amount of government funding a city receives.

“It’s just the basis for a lot of local return funds that we rely on for various purposes,” said Burbank Community Development Director Greg Herrmann.

While Burbank and Glendale’s populations remained relatively static, some Los Angeles County cities — particularly Santa Clarita, Palmdale and Lancaster — saw their populations jump by as much as 31%.

Unlike Glendale and Burbank — which have been essentially built out for decades — each of the three rapidly growing cities saw the addition of roughly 10,000 housing units, according to the census figures.

“Places like Palmdale and Santa Clarita are able to add to their housing stock,” Herrmann said. “We are pretty much redeveloping.”

The census figures for Burbank and Glendale also reflect a continued increase in ethnic diversity. In Glendale, the percentage of white residents dropped to 61.5% compared to 2000. That figure dropped to 58% in Burbank, according to the data.

City officials are awaiting the release of more detailed age and socio-economic data, which they use to determine the slate of social service programs.

“It’s just another variable that we look at in validating our local needs and priorities,” said Jess Duran, interim director of Glendale’s Community Services & Parks Department. “So if the senior population continues do increase, it would make sense that we would continue to see greater demand for senior services.”

The data will be especially useful in planning for the allocation of federal block grant funding, which is expected to become increasingly limited in the coming years, officials said.

“I’ve been looking forward to the numbers for some time,” Herrmann said. “I’m sure they will be instructive once we are able to sit down with them and see what they say.”

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