We saw a couple sets of statistics this past week that made us stop and think a bit about our communities. One was the latest county-by-county population estimates, which showed growth in our area. The other was a report on real gross domestic product, listed county by county, and more growth.

With the population estimates, it makes you wonder what all those additional people are doing for housing ... how a tight market is getting even tighter, and how some people voiced their enthusiasm for not developing more housing (how does that work?).

Percentage-wise, Sutter County had the most growth of any county in the sate. 

The California Dept. of Finance report showed the county increased by 2.21 percent, or by 2,243 people, from July 2018 to July 2019. Yuba County ranked ninth with 1.12 percent or 866 additional people. Colusa was 12th with 1 percent or another 223 people.

Where did the new people come from? It seems mostly from the Paradise area – that is people left homeless by the massive 2018 Camp Fire. Butte County, by the way, where the fire occurred, lost more population than any other county with a 4.57 decline or 10,388 people.

The Dept. of Finance is required to update population estimates annually. The data is used by agencies for budgeting, needs assessments, distribution of funding, etc.

The state had an overall increase of just 0.35 percent, down from 0.57 percent last year – the lowest couple of years of growth rates since 1900. There were fewer births, increased deaths, lower migration in and higher migration out.

In a story last week about the local increase in population, Sutter County Administrator Steve Smith said it was significant, but not an  “extreme” change. But he worries about the homeless population and people moving to the county who can’t afford local housing. And he cited a lack of low- to moderate-priced housing, Section 8 housing, and shelter beds. He worried that the increase in population could further drive up housing prices.

And Dale Eyeler of the Yuba City Planning Commission noted that some Sutter County residents attended a recent meeting voicing displeasure with the possibility of additional housing.

He doesn’t see an alternative to additional housing to handle an increasing population.

Still, we wonder about that sometimes. No growth as part of an economic model? Our economy and our government revenue are based to some degree on endless growth; but how long can we sustain that? How do you function without growth?


When it comes to gross domestic product, Sutter County is no slouch, statewide. And we wonder how economic developments in the latter half of 2019 will affect Yuba County’s rating.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis provided county-by-county economic performance stats (to check the latest statistics, go to www.bea.gov).

The BEA definition of “real gross domestic product” is the value of goods produced and services provided, adjusted for inflation.

A table provided by BEA showed:

– California saw growth of 4.3 percent in 2018 over the year before.

– As far as growth by percentage, Sutter County was ranked 12th in the state with an increase of 4.8 percent. Based on total GDP of $3,486,115,000, Sutter County is ranked 38th in the state in terms of total dollars.

– Yuba County was ranked 47th in the state with an increase of 1.2 percent. But on actual dollars, the county is ranked 39th with $3,020,233,000.

– Colusa County was ranked first in the state with an increase of 13.6 percent (after two years of more than 6 percent decline ... no explanation was readily available). In actual dollars, Colusa is ranked 45th of 58 counties in the state with a total GDP in 2018 of $1,673,234,000.

Recommended for you