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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Population Growth in L.A. Actually Slows Down, Study says

L.A. growth slows as city hits 4 million; Expansion in city helps push county and state up as well, according to state Department of Finance.

By Harrison Sheppard, May 2, 2007, L.A. Daily Breeze
Staff writer

SACRAMENTO -- Los Angeles' continuing allure has sent its population surging past the 4 million mark for the first time, according to state figures released Tuesday.

While growth over the past year was less than 1 percent, it still propelled the city to an estimated 4,018,080 residents as of Jan. 1, according to the state Department of Finance.

Officials said the numbers show the city remains a magnet for people from all over the country and the world.

"Los Angeles is where the world comes together," said Janelle Erickson, a spokeswoman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "Los Angeles is a city of America's hope and promise, where the dreams of so many have come to life."

The city's growth helped boost Los Angeles County to 10,331,939 residents, and California to 37,662,518 -- up 1.3 percent.

Still, experts noted the growth of the city and county populations has slowed in recent years. While immigrants continue to converge in the region, the influx is overshadowed by residents fleeing expensive and congested metropolitan areas for the Inland Empire.

Riverside County, for example, was the fastest-growing large county in California: Its population topped 2 million -- up more than 3 percent. State demographic experts say the state's population growth also has been slowing as larger families leave for less-expensive states and are replaced by smaller, immigrant families.

"What we found with the decline in school enrollment is (larger) families are moving out of California and being replaced with families with less children," said Daniel Sheya, a Department of Finance demographic specialist.

"Your family size is going down. Areas with minimum housing growth tend to either stabilize or lose population."

The fastest-growing city in California last year was Beaumont, in Riverside County, which expanded by 21.2 percent to 28,250 residents.

In Los Angeles County, Santa Clarita was the fastest-growing larger city, increasing by 5.7 percent to 177,158, many drawn by new housing developments. Nationally, Los Angeles remains the country's second-largest city behind New York City, which has about 8.2 million people, and ahead of Chicago with about 2.8 million.

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