Woodland has grown significantly over the past decade to become a more diverse community and a leader in housing production amid a statewide housing crisis, US Census data shows. of 2020.
The United States Constitution requires a national census every ten years which provides data used to inform governments about their democratic representation.
Spencer Bowen, communications manager for Woodland, gave an informative presentation to Woodland City Council on some of the key census findings in the community.
“This tally provides the numbers that inform our democratic representation of the Woodland City Council in the United States House of Representatives,” Bowen explained. “The Decennial Census remains our best and most comprehensive data source and counts everyone here.”
However, he noted that counting everyone also creates a lot of challenges despite the valuable data it provides. Some of these challenges include the chronic undercount of certain populations.
“Things that tend to be associated with being hard to count include, but are not limited to, a large population of people who live in rental housing, a large population of people who don’t speak English, live in poverty and many more,” Bowen pointed out.
He said the reasons for this include lack of trust in institutions, transients, cognitive load, stress, and more.
“Many of the populations that tend to be underestimated are the same groups that benefit the most from federal programs that allocate funds based on population,” Bowen added. “You can think of SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program), food stamps, Medicaid, CHIP (children’s health insurance program).
Bowen explained that one in 10 young children aged zero to five were completely missed in the 2010 census, making them twice as likely to be missed as the closest age group.
“It is very important that the city council engages and supports what is often referred to as full count efforts and does our part to ensure that all members of our community are represented and counted,” he said. -He underlines. “We are at least very fortunate here in California that the state has taken a lead role in funding these efforts.”
Bowen also noted that vacancy rates are down slightly in the city, with 94.5% of the city’s units being occupied in 2010 dropping to 97% in 2020.
“It matches something we see across the state of California,” Bowen added.
The city’s population has increased by nearly 10% since the last census, to 61,032 from 55,468 in 2010. Housing units have grown almost identically by about 10%, to 21,647 from 19,806 in 2010 , which represents 35.9% of the growth of housing units in the county within the same period.
The census also used two questions on racial and ethnic identity, but city staff chose to focus on Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish data in their report given the city’s demographics.
“Overall, Woodlanders of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish descent were well represented in 2010 and remain well represented in 2020,” the city staff report noted.
New census data revealed that there were 29,614 people identifying as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish in Woodland, up from 26,289 in 2010, representing about half of the city’s population.
Mayor Mayra Vega is the one who requested this report and said she hopes the city uses this data to ensure it serves its diverse community.
“I look forward to using this information and these maps that target some of the communities or disadvantaged neighborhoods in our city and to really ensure that they are represented and that we are informed of their needs,” Vega emphasized.
Councilman Tom Stallard expressed similar sentiments noting his appreciation for the city’s slow growth as opposed to the rapid growth seen in other communities like Roseville.
“I came to Woodland when there were less than 20,000 people there,” Stallard said. “Woodland has always enjoyed incremental growth, and I think that’s to our advantage. It has allowed us to retain our community character, absorb population growth and basically maintain our stability,” Stallard pointed out.
The census data report was informational only and the council took no action on any item. To learn more about the census and to find data about Woodland, visit data.census.gov/cedsci.