City of Eureka, California


SECTION 5

POPULATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

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5.1 - Source of Population Growth
5.2 - Travel Time
5.3 - Distribution of Population Growth
5.4 - Age Distribution
5.5 - Education Levels
5.6 - Ethnic Makeup
5.7 - Income Levels


As of 1995, the population for the City of Eureka was 28,606 and the County of Humboldt was 128,920.

HISTORIC RATE OF INCREASE FOR POPULATION

In 1960, Eureka's population was 28,157 people. During the following two decades, the population declined. By 1980, Eureka had only 24,153 residents. In 1995, Eureka had an estimated population of 28,606. This represents a modest 11.8 growth rate between 1980 and 1995. (See Figures 5.1 and 5.2.)

Population growth in Eureka and Humboldt County has been slow historically, lagging well behind growth in the state as a whole. While the growth rate has recently increased, it remains well below the state growth rate. For the period between 1980 and 1993, the average annual compound population growth for the state was 2.2, while the growth rate for Eureka and Humboldt County was 1%.

Eureka is actually a much larger metropolitan area than suggested by this population. An estimated 12,000 persons live in the unincorporated surrounding area adjacent to Eureka. With a population of approximately 40,000, the greater Eureka area makes up the largest urban area on the Pacific Coast between San Francisco and Portland.

PROJECTED RATE OF INCREASE/COMPARISON TO THE STATE

The estimated population for Humboldt County for 1995 is 128,920, a 7.6% increase from 1990. County population is projected to grow 17% between 1990 and 2000 to 140,000. Most forecasts for the County foresee continued slow population growth. According to the California Department of Finance, Humboldt County is projected to grow at an annual average rate of less than 0.9 percent for the period 1990 through 2040 in contrast to the overall average annual state growth rate of over 1.5 percent for the same period.

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5.1 SOURCE OF POPULATION GROWTH

Immigration, as opposed to natural increases (births less deaths), will continue to be the primary source of population growth in Humboldt County. Recent economic and social conditions in the greater metropolitan areas have resulted in a population shift to the less urbanized regions of Northern California. Portions of the County are rapidly becoming suburbanized due to the influx of people.

Although employment is not as plentiful as in the places being left behind, people are attracted to the quality of life in the area and willingly accept decreased wages in order to live here. Conversely, many retired people move to the area because of the mild climate and because they find their retirement dollars go farther.

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