SACRAMENTO (AP) — California’s population grew nearly 1 percent in 2013 to exceed 38.3 million, with the highest growth rate in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Finance.
California added 356,000 people last year, the most new people in a decade. A more detailed population report released in December said births outpacing deaths was one factor in speeding up a sluggish growth rate.
Wednesday’s report says San Jose, the state’s third-largest city behind Los Angeles and San Diego, hit 1 million residents for the first time.
Santa Clara County, which includes San Jose, was the fastest growing county at 1.5 percent, followed closely by Alameda County. In all, three of the five fastest-growing counties were in the Bay Area, where the economy is surging amid a tech boom.
Prison inmates account for the cities with the biggest growth. Topping the list with nine percent growth in 2013 is McFarland in Kern County. Its population hit 13,700 as the state moved prisoners to a local facility to reduce overcrowding. Tiny Calipatria and Chowchilla grew by hundreds as their prisons added inmates.
Dublin and Irvine added thousands of residents last year through more traditional means with new housing developments. Irvine had the fourth-biggest increase in residents with 11,000 new people, despite being California’s fifteenth-biggest city.
Despite the overall growth, rural counties such as Amador, Calaveras and Plumas, generally lost population.
The state estimates populations using data on housing occupancy, drivers’ licenses and other government records.
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