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Milpitas, Tracy Lead Bay Area Population Growth

In a top 20 list dominated by cities in Texas and Arizona, the Bay Area’s Milpitas makes a brave showing at 15th in a new U.S. Census Bureau ranking of the fastest-growing incorporated places in the country with more than 50,000 people. 

The new Milpitas Transit Center connects the city to the region.

It is the only Bay Area city to appear within the fastest-growing cohort. 

Situated to San Jose’s north and east, the town, whose name means “little cornfields” in Spanish, grew 5 percent from mid-2018 to the middle of last year, reaching not quite 85,000 residents. That’s slightly less than its rate of growth in 2014-15, when Milpitas also made a Census Bureau list of fast-growing U.S. cities. Its most current rate of growth compares to a 12 percent growth rate for the fastest growing city in the country: Leander, Texas, an exurb northwest of Austin that is near to Round Rock, the headquarters city of Dell Computer. Leander has 62,600 residents.

Milpitas’s growth was echoed to a lesser extent by its East Bay neighbor Fremont, a much larger city that saw its population rise by 1.4 percent during the year to more than 241,000. 

Looking southwest on Santa Clara Street as it enters downtown San Jose. The Richard Meier City Hall rises on the left. (Photo by Sharon Simonson)

The two cities’ growth contrasts with population losses in many of the more central Silicon Valley cities including the region’s largest major city, San José. Smaller places that have been among the region’s technology company darlings also lost, including Palo Alto, Cupertino, Mountain View and Sunnyvale, according to the same Census Bureau estimates.

Other Bay Area cities that lost population include the peninsula’s San Mateo, Redwood City and Daly City. In the East Bay, Berkeley, San Rafael, Pleasanton, Petaluma, Alameda, Livermore, Antioch, and San Leandro all lost population. So did Novato and Napa.

The movement of population from the more densely crowded and expensive heart of Silicon Valley to the East Bay is well-established. Of the region’s largest three urban cities—San José, San Francisco and Oakland—only Oakland in the East Bay saw its population rise notably. In San Jose, the outmigration of existing residents accounts for all of the population decline. Without international in-migration, the declines would be dramatically greater.

Estimated Population Change for Select Bay Area Cities of 50,000 or more; July 1, 2018-July 1, 2019. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division

Milpitas +5 percent 84,196 (2019 Pop. Est.)

Tracy +3.2 percent 94,740

Dublin +2.2 percent 64,826

Fremont +1.4 percent 241,110

Santa Clara +1.0 percent 130,365

Oakland +0.9 percent 433,031

Gilroy +0.8 percent 59,032

Walnut Creek +0.5 percent 70,166

South San Francisco +0.3 percent 67,789

San Ramon +0.2 percent 75,995

San Francisco +0.1 percent 881,549

Sunnyvale -0.1 percent 152,807

Livermore -0.1 percent 90,189

Redwood City -0.2 percent 85,925

Berkeley -0.2 percent 121,363

Hayward -0.3 percent 159,204

San Mateo -0.4 percent 104,430

Mountain View -0.5 percent 82,739

Daly City -0.6 percent 106,280

San José -0.6 percent 1,021,795

Union City -0.6 percent 74,107

Pleasanton -0.7 percent 81,777

Alameda -0.9 percent 77,624

Cupertino -1.2 percent 59,276

Palo Alto -1.3 percent 65,364

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