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U.S. Census: AmCan doubled in size, Upvalley cities lost population

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Napa County population

The first local numbers from the 2010 federal census are in;

• American Canyon was by far the Napa County’s fastest growing city, doubling in population between 2000 and 2010.

• Napa and Yountville grew a little

• the Upvalley cities of St. Helena and Calistoga actually lost population.

American Canyon’s official population is 19,454, a 99 percent jump from 9,774 in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which released a treasure trove of information early Tuesday afternoon.

Rich Ramirez, city manager for American Canyon, was slightly surprised by Tuesday’s figures, saying that most estimates suggested the population would be around 18,000.

American Canyon’s explosive growth will likely be slowed by current economic conditions, Ramirez said, keeping the population at or near its current level over the next decade.

“I think this recession is going to average this out,” he said, noting that, since the city incorporated in 1992, the general plan has always called for a community population of roughly 20,000 people. 

Napa grew from 72,585 in 2000 to 76,915, a 6 percent increase that was less than the city’s targeted growth rate of 1 percent annually.

Yountville saw minor growth over the last decade — 17 people — going from 2,916 population in 2000 to 2,933.

Meanwhile, St. Helena’s population decreased by 136. According to the 2010 figures, the self-proclaimed “heart of the Napa Valley” is now home to 5,814 residents, down from the 5,950 figure recorded a decade earlier.

“It’s a little puzzling, actually,” Mary Neilan, St. Helena’s city manager, said of the decline. A slight dip in population, however, was consistent with what the city had seen in way of new development over the past decade, she said.

Financially, shrinking populations causes little concern for St. Helena and other Upvalley towns, where economies depend more on tourism dollars than activity spurred by permanent residents.

Calistoga also saw a slight reduction, moving from 5,190 in 2000 to 5,155 in 2010.

Growth in American Canyon and the city of Napa accounted for almost the entire increase experienced by Napa County as a whole. According to Tuesday’s figures, the county now has a population of 136,484, up nearly 10 percent from what was seen in 2000.

The Census Bureau released California’s local numbers at mid-day Tuesday, posting a massive data package that includes population summaries, as well as figures on age and race for local jurisdictions — such as cites, counties and school districts — across the state.

Tuesday’s data will be used to redraw districts for Congressional and statewide offices, a practice which — for the first time in state history — will be done by an independent, 14-person commission rather than the Legislature.

John Tuteur, the county’s registrar of voters, will be working with the county’s Board of Supervisors to conduct a local redistricting using the newly available data — carving out new districts for the Napa County Board of Supervisors, the Napa Valley College Board of Trustees and the county’s Board of Education in the coming months.

Tuteur’s office will present information and proposals, but the final decision on where to draw the lines will rest with the board, he said. 

With the majority of the county’s growth inside American Canyon’s city limits, Tuteur expects the 5th Supervisorial District in the south county to shrink in land size, while the Upvalley 3rd District will increase its area to keep population consistent with the four other districts.

Census officials expect to have California’s local information posted to their “fact finder” website within 24 hours of Tuesday’s release.

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