Although California’s overall population declined last year, Santa Barbara added to the number of people in the county.
A new report from the California Department of Finance found the state’s population dipped by more than 117,000 people last year. Its estimated total population as of Jan. 1 was 39,185,605 people, according to the report released Monday.
The Department of Finance pointed to a slowdown in a natural increase in population — meaning, more people have died and fewer younger people are having children — as a reason for the decrease in population. It said population totals were also impacted by COVID-19 deaths, federal policies restricting immigration and more domestic out-migration.
The report said every coastal county except Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz saw population decreases. The Department of Finance attributed the return of college students to campus for the growth seen in those three counties.
An estimated 445,164 people lived in Santa Barbara County as of Jan. 1, according to data from the Finance Department. That’s a 0.3% increase from 443,674 from Jan. 1, 2021.
However, the cities of Buellton, Carpinteria, Goleta, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Solvang all saw decreases in population from 2021 to 2022.
Buellton and Solvang clocked the greatest decreases at 2.5% each. Carpinteria and the city of Santa Barbara followed at 2.3% and 2.2% respectively.
Unincorporated Santa Barbara County increased in population by 4.5%.
San Luis Obispo County had a 0.4% increase in population from 2021 to 2022 with an estimated 280,721 people living in the county as of Jan. 1.
The city of San Luis Obispo reported a 0.2% increase in population, but Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, El Paso de Robles, Grover Beach, Morro Bay and Pismo Beach reported slight population decreases.
Ventura County had a 0.8% decrease in population from 2021 to 2022 with an estimated 833,652 people living in the county as of Jan. 1.
Santa Paula had a 0.9% increase in population from the previous year, but Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, San Buenaventura, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks all reported population decreases.
The 10 largest cities in California are: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Bakersfield and Anaheim.
Only San Diego, Fresno, Long Beach and Bakersfield saw population increases in 2022 from 2021.
The 10 fastest-growing cities are Santa Cruz, Lathrop, Seaside, Irvine, Menifee, Berkeley, Stanton, Delano, Chino and Manteca. Santa Cruz’s population increased in 2022 from the prior year by 11.3%, according to the report.
Yolo and San Benito were the only two counties to have growth above 1%. Yolo’s population increased 1.8% due to increases in college group quarters, and San Benito increased 1.1% because of housing gains.