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SF adds 6,500 residents, 2,200 homes in 2018

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Department of finance says SF, California populations still growing despite housing crisis

An aerial photo of Sunset homes. Photo by SnapASkyline

Last week the California Department of Finance [DOF] released new state population estimates showing that between July 2017 and July 2018, California added over 200,000 new residents, while San Francisco County added more than 6,500.

DOF reports that despite a constant drumbeat of stories claiming that Californians are fleeing en masse, the population continues to grow, principally because of birth rates, although net migration is still a growth sector as well:

California’s population grew by 215,000 people between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018 to total 39.8 million.

[...] Natural increase— births minus deaths— remains the primary source of the state’s population growth, with 466,000 births minus 272,000 deaths. Net migration added 21,000 persons to California. Net migration is the total number of legal and unauthorized immigrants, and movers to California from other U.S. states, less the number of Californians who moved to another state or abroad.

DOF bases its annual population estimates on “birth and death counts provided by the Department of Public Health, number of driver’s licenses and driver’s license address change data from the Department of Motor Vehicles, housing unit data from local governments, school enrollment data from the Department of Education, and federal income tax return data.”

According to the new data, San Francisco saw a net gain of 6,885 new residents between 2017 and 2018, bringing the estimated total population to 887,540.

That’s down a bit from the previous 2016-2017 gain of 8,079 and from the 2015-2016 spike of 7,934, which themselves were fairly modest compared to five-figure increases in previous years.

Overall, San Francisco grew by 77,812 since 2010.

These figures come less than a week after the San Francisco Business Times reported that for 2018 the city added just 2,263 new units of housing. The US Census holds that San Francisco has a median household size of about 2.26 persons.

Earlier this year the US Census estimated SF’s population at more than 884,000. However, note that these DOF figures are preliminary estimates and will be revised to provide a more precise estimate sometime in 2019. In past years the revised figure has usually been higher than the initial projection.