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The Census numbers are in

Census: Data reveals changes in SCV; city population up nearly 17 percent

Posted: March 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Job-seekers lined up last January outside Santa Clarita’s new Census Bureau office in hopes of landing one of the estimated 1,500 part-time and full-time positions created for the data gathering effort. U.S. Census data released Tuesday showed statewide population gains at their lowest point since the 1930s, despite a nearly 17-percent local inc...

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Fueled by an increase in Latino and Asian residents, Santa Clarita’s population grew at a faster rate than both California’s and Los Angeles County’s in the last 10 years, according to census data released Tuesday.

The city’s population, which reached 176,320 last year, has grown by 16.7 percent since 2000, according to the 2010 U.S. Census data.

During the same time, residents reporting Hispanic or Latino ancestry increased from 30,968 to 51,941, a 68 percent increase. Meanwhile, the city’s Asian population nearly doubled from 7,923 to 15,025.

People of Hispanic or Latino origin now make up more than a quarter of the city’s total population.

Santa Clarita’s growth follows a similar trend across California, which remains the nation’s most populous state.

In the last decade, the state’s Latino population grew by 28 percent, to 14 million.

The Asian population grew even faster, by 31 percent. Asians in California totaled 4.8 million last year.

In contrast, non-Hispanic whites decreased by 5 percent and the state’s African-American population slid by 1 percent.

Newhall School District Superintendent Marc Winger said he wasn’t surprised by the city’s changing demographics. The proportion of Hispanic and Asian students in the local school districts has been increasing during the last two decades, Winger said.

“We didn’t need to wait for the Census,” Winger said. “We’ve been seeing these changes for years.”

For the first time in the district’s history, students of Hispanic or Latino origin outnumber white students this year — 41 percent to 39.5 percent, respectively, according to district data.

“We are a Hispanic-dominant school district,” Winger said. “When I tell people that, it blows their minds. Back in the 1980s (the school district) was about 90 percent Anglo.”

Demographers say Latinos are growing faster than other groups because most Latinos are of child-bearing age, while the rest of the population tends to be older.

Los Angeles County, the most populated county in California, grew by 3.1 percent to about 9.8 million people.

California’s population grew 10 percent during the decade, to 37.3 million people.

But growth was at its slowest rate since the 1930s and lagged behind that of many other states, said Armando Mendoza, a Census data specialist.

California failed to pick up any additional congressional seats for the first time after a census, Mendoza said.

Arturo Vargas, the executive director for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, said the surge in the Latino and Asian populations helped maintain the state’s influence on Capitol Hill.

“If it weren’t for the Latinos and the Asians,” Vargas said, “California’s influence in D.C. would have decreased.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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