Photo by Sam Hodgson
A view of Market Creek Plaza and the Coronado Bridge from 56th Street near Mchugh Street in southeastern San Diego.
San Diego’s growing, and it’s expected to keep growing well into the future.
The projection is at the heart of most regional, citywide and local planning decisions. How are we going to provide for all these people?
The regional planning agency, SANDAG, puts together the most cited long-term forecast on changes to San Diego’s population.
The agency also has a nice, easy-to-use data library that lets users without any technical expertise sort through their projections.
You can break it down by jurisdictions (San Diego, Chula Vista, Solana Beach), community planning areas (Uptown, Encanto, Clairemont Mesa), “subregional areas” (central San Diego, mid-city, Del Mar-Mira Mesa) ZIP codes, census tracts and school districts.
It’s a pretty nifty tool.
Here’s what SANDAG expects to happen to the city of San Diego’s population from now until 2050. I’ve included the actual change in population since 1980, to give a sense of how the forecast compares with recent changes.
Reaching the projected 1.9 million people by 2050 would mean a 49 percent total change over the year 2000.
The fastest rate of change during that period, interestingly enough, comes during our current decade.
The forecast says the city’s population will increase from 1.3 million, taken during the 2010 census, to 1.5 million in 2020, for a growth rate of 18 percent.
The city’s population previously grew even faster, at a 27 percent rate, from 1980 until 1990.
If accurate, that means for all the talk of building transit, housing and employment centers for the expected 2050 population, we’re actually already in the midst of the most dramatic period of change we’ll see over the 40-year forecast period.
That’s a really broad look at how the city’s going to change, though. How much will demographics change within that growing population?
Here’s a racial and ethnic breakdown of San Diego’s population during the 2010 census, compared with what SANDAG forecasts for the city in 2050.
Toggling between the 2010 and 2050 breakdowns makes it easy to spot the most dramatic, though unsurprising, change coming to the way San Diego will look in the coming decades.
San Diego’s expected to be a white-minority city by 2050.
Actually, SANDAG’s forecast calls for San Diego’s Hispanic population to be larger than its white population for the first time in 2035, when it expects there to be 637,811 Hispanic people and 635,492 white people.
Here’s a look, in five-year increments, at the expected changes in the city’s white and Hispanic populations. You can see the lines cross right at 2035.
Overall, that means San Diego’s Hispanic population is expected to grow by 408,373 people over the 40-year period, a more than 100 percent increase from its size during the 2010 census.
That also means the city’s overall population increase of 645,567 people is more than 60 percent accounted for by the increase in the Hispanic population. The city’s white population, by comparison, effectively stops growing by 2015, and actually starts decreasing in size in 2035.
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