Gilroy’s population surpasses 52,000; little impact on city

File photo taken from the western foothills looking east.

Gilroy’s population surpassed the 52,000 mark this year, though
city officials said it should not greatly impact city revenue.
Gilroy’s population surpassed the 52,000 mark this year, though city officials said it should not greatly impact city revenue.

Gilroy’s estimated population rose to 52,027 as of Jan. 1, up from 51,505 on Jan. 1, 2009 – a growth of about 1 percent – state officials announced last month.

Gilroy’s growth rate was the second slowest in the county behind Los Gatos. This a big change for Gilroy, which had the highest growth rate during the past decade.

“I don’t think (the increase in population) is significant enough to tip us over in terms of the services we provide,” City Administrator Tom Haglund said. “It does show that the city continues to grow, and as the city continues to grow, the city has to be vigilant in terms of the budget for the services that the city has to provide.”

While population growth places a higher demand on city services, it also increases the amount of revenue in town, City Finance Director Christina Turner said.

The increase in population will not have much of an impact on city finances, though population figures are used in grant applications, she said.

Despite Gilroy’s current rate of growth, its population has grown an average of 2.3 percent each year since 2000, Turner said. That compares to a 1.12 percent growth rate within the county and a 1.33 percent growth rate statewide during that same time period, she said. Gilroy has grown by about 25 percent – or 10,563 people – during the past decade.

The city with the highest growth rate in Santa Clara County last year was Los Altos Hills, which grew by 1.7 percent, climbing from 8,890 to 9,042, according to state data. The unincorporated population of the Santa Clara county decreased during that time period, dropping from 93,853 to 91,832.

Statewide, Los Angeles had the largest growth last year, climbing 44,037 people to 4,094,764, according to state data. The eastern foothills community of Colfax had the highest growth rate – 5.7 percent – reaching 1,993 residents.

The cities that experienced the most growth this past year tended to be small suburban communities, said Mary Heim, chief of the demographic research unit for the state Department of Finance. Less growth has occurred in communities that attracted a slew of commuters during the height of the building boom a few years ago, she said. Heim said most growth in California continues to come from natural growth and migration.

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