Population Growth Slows in the Valley
New demographic trends are beginning to show changes for both the San Joaquin Valley and State of California. The public policy, environmental and economic affects of reduced population projections will need to be analyzed and assessed. But in the most simple terms, fully 2 million less people are now projected to live in the San Joaquin Valley by 2050 than previously projected in 2007.
Throughout the region, the altered projections are being considered for their benefits and drawbacks. While Valley counties previously experienced growth rates as high as 4-6% in the last decade, cities are now growing at between 1.2-1.5% in Tulare County. Valley counties like San Joaquin, while continuing to sustain growth rates above other regions in California, are still confronted by difficult economic and social problems yet with less revenue to address them. In the City of Fresno, one of the largest cities in state, government services are being cut at precisely the moment when the need for them is increasing.
Overall, an in-flow of potential house buyers remains elusive despite an extensive inventory of affordable houses and these new demographic trends suggest an ongoing slow recovery in the housing market. For conservation, less people results in less conversion of prime farmland and open space; yet without adequate land use policies, this simply postpones the inevitable loss of a nationally important resource and an essential component of our local quality of life.