Santa Barbara County is growing slower than the state average, housing production is still not keeping pace with growth, and Hispanics and Latinos now make up the largest percentage of the county’s population, according to a summary report on 2020 census data.
The report was released last week by the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments and compare the numbers from the last U.S. census to those collected in the 2010 count.
“Information from the 2020 census helps policymakers better understand the population of the region, how to plan for housing, jobs, schools and how much state and federal funding the area will receive for essential community services, ”said Marjie Kirn, Executive Director of SBCAG.
For example, the summary report notes that although the population of Santa Barbara County has increased by 24,334 people, or 5.7%, to 448,229 since 2010, its population as a percentage of the state’s population has decreased, a trend dating back to 1970.
This lower percentage means the county will receive a smaller proportion of population-based funding for essential programs and services, according to the report.
As the affiliate center of state census data, SBCAG prepared the report based on the information contained in the census district file which is limited to the population of towns and unincorporated areas. , housing units and race.
The census district file numbers are used by the Santa Barbara County Independent District Citizens Commission to redraw the boundaries of the five surveillance districts, which will remain in effect until the next census in 2030.
The summary report shows that North County’s population growth continues to outpace that of South County, now accounting for 54% of the county’s total population with 239,868 people. In 2010, it was home to 52% of the county’s residents.
Santa Maria had the strongest population growth in the county, increasing by 10,154 people, or 10%, from its total of 99,553 in 2010, when it represented 24% of the county’s total population.
The city now holds 25% of the county’s population, just behind the unincorporated area, where 31% of the population lives.
Goleta saw the largest increase in the South Coast region, with an increase of 2,802 people, while Summerland and Montecito saw population declines between 2010 and 2020.
But in percentage terms, Solvang and Guadalupe posted the largest increase over the 10-year period, with Solvang’s population increasing by 16.8% and Guadalupe’s by 13.8%.
The city of Santa Barbara recorded the smallest percentage increase, at just 0.3%.
Housing continued to lag behind population growth, according to the summary, with just one new housing unit built for 4½ new residents – not enough to house the average number of people per household.
The highest average number of people per household in the county is 3.91 in Guadalupe; the lowest is 2.34 in Solvang.
A total of 5,445 new housing units were added across the county from 2010 to 2020, an increase of just 3.6% from the county’s population growth of 5.7% during this period.
Santa Maria provided the most new housing units with 1,666, followed by Goleta with 1,170.
The proportion of the county’s population made up of Hispanics and Latinos increased from 42.9% in 2010 to 47% in 2020, while the proportion of whites increased from 47.9% in 2010 to 41.2% in 2020
Individuals who identify as Asian have also increased in proportion, from 4.6% of the population in 2010 to 5.7% in 2020, as have those claiming a heritage of two or more races, who have gone from 2 , 1% to 3.7% of the total over the 10- year period.
The proportion of black and African American individuals in the population rose from 1.7% to 1.4%, as did Pacific Islanders, whose proportion fell from 0.2% to 0.1%.
The proportion of American Indians and Alaska Natives remained stable at 0.4% of the county’s population.
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