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California and the West

L.A. Growth Modest but Las Vegas, Phoenix Record Big Gains in 1990s

Population: Census Bureau estimates show smaller cities lead in rate of expansion nationwide. Corona, Palmdale are among 10 fastest-growing in their category.

July 01, 1999|RICHARD SIMON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — While Los Angeles experienced modest growth in the 1990s, some of its neighbors in the West--Las Vegas and Phoenix, in particular--recorded large population increases, according to federal population estimates released Wednesday.

Phoenix was the nation's fastest-growing big city, with a 21% increase that boosted its population to almost 1.2 million from 1990 to 1998, the Census Bureau reported. The city is now ranked as the nation's seventh-largest, up from ninth in 1990.

Among cities with populations above 100,000 but less than a million, Las Vegas was one of the fastest-growing, with a 56.2% increase that pushed its population to 404,288.

Across the country, smaller cities grew at a larger rate than the bigger ones, and the Southern California cities of Corona and Palmdale were among the nation's top 10 fastest-growing cities with populations of 100,000 or more.

Corona's population grew 48.6% to 112,815; Palmdale's swelled 36.6% to 100,157.

Henderson, Nev., had the largest growth among cities over 100,000--a 135% increase that pushed its population to 152,717.

San Diego, which has never wanted to be like traffic-clogged Los Angeles, became a bit more like it. Among cities of more than a million, San Diego was the third-fastest-growing, after Phoenix and San Antonio.

San Diego grew 9.9% between 1990 and 1998 and remained America's sixth-largest city, with an estimated population of a little over 1.2 million--just 22,602 more than Phoenix.

Los Angeles, with a 3.2% increase that boosted its population to about 3.6 million in 1998, remained the nation's second-largest city behind New York City, which has more than 7.4 million residents.

Rounding out the nation's 10 most populous cities were Chicago (3), Houston (4), Philadelphia (5), San Antonio (8), Dallas (9) and Detroit (10).

San Jose, with a 10.1% increase that expanded its population to 861,284, remained the nation's 11th-largest city.

San Francisco, with a 3% increase that put its population at 745,774, overtook Indianapolis and Baltimore to become the 12th-largest city.

Long Beach, which has worked hard to gain recognition, gained a scant 0.4% to reach a population of 430,905, and dropped from the 32nd-biggest city to 35th, surpassed by Tucson, Kansas City and Virginia Beach, Va.

But Long Beach remained California's fifth-largest city.

Other California cities that experienced significant population growth between 1990 and 1998 include Temecula, which grew 62.9% to a population of 44,271; Lake Forest, 42.6% to 79,923; Fontana, 25.4% to 109,777; Irvine, 23.7% to 136,446; Lancaster, 21.8% to 118,518; Moreno Valley, 21.7% to 144,613; and Mission Viejo, 20.1% to 95,440.

Among other Southern California cities, Rancho Cucamonga's population grew 18.4% to 120,047; Riverside, 15.7% to 262,140; Thousand Oaks, 12.3% to 117,199; Santa Ana, 4.1% to 305,955; Anaheim, 10.8% to 295,153; Huntington Beach, 7.6% to 195,316; and San Bernardino, 9.6% to 186,402;

Also, Glendale, 2.8% to 185,086; Oxnard, 8.5% to 154,622; Garden Grove, 5.8% to 151,264; Ontario, 10.5% to 147,188; Torrance, 3.3% to 137,533; Pomona, 3% to 135,659; and Pasadena, 2.3% to 134,587.

"While most large cities have held their own or gained people over the past decade, it is the smaller cities that have experienced the largest growth," said Census Bureau geographer Paul Mackun.

David Rain, another Census Bureau geographer, said that growth has continued in the West because of space available for development, particularly in communities near big cities.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Cities on the Rise

Phoenix and San Antonio were the nation's fastest-growing cities with populations of 1 million or more between 1990 and 1998, according to U.S. population estimates. Smaller cities generally grew at a faster rate than larger ones, the Census Bureau reported.

Fastest Growing U.S. Cities with Populations of 1 Million

or More in 1998, Ranked by Growth Rate

*--*

1998 estimate 1990 % increase 1. Phoenix 1,198,064 988,015 21.3 2. San Antonio 1,114,130 976,514 14.1 3. San Diego 1,220,666 1,110,623 9.9 4. Houston 1,786,691 1,654,348 8.0 5. Dallas 1,075,894 1,007,618 6.8

*--*

Fastest-Growing California Cities (more than 100,000 population)

*--*

1998 estimate 1990 % increase 1. Corona 112,815 75,943 48.6 2. Palmdale 100,157 73.314 36.6 3. Fontana 109,777 87,535 25.4 4. Irvine 136,446 110,330 23.7 5. Lancaster 118,518 97,300 21.8 6. Moreno Valley 144,613 118,779 21.7 7. Bakersfield 210,284 176,264 19.3 8. Oceanside 152,367 128,090 19.0 9. Chula Vista 160,553 135,160 18.8 10. Rancho Cucamonga 120,047 101,409 18.4

*--*

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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