Thursday, December 20, 2007

Solano County Grows Slightly

Solano County Grows Slightly
By SARA STROUD/Times-Herald staff writer
Article Launched: 12/20/2007 08:11:48 AM PST

Following a pattern seen in almost every other California county, Solano County's population increased slightly last year, according to a statewide demographic report released Wednesday.

But unlike most counties, Solano saw more people leave the county than move in, according to the report, which was released by the State Department of Finance.

Taking into account births, deaths, immigration and domestic migration, Solano County's population grew by 2,155 people - or .5 percent - from July 2006 to July 2007, for a total of 423,970 residents.

"The value of these studies is to show trends," Solano Association of Realtors president Jeff Dennis said of the report, which revealed that about 1,100 more people moved away from the county than to it.

State senior demographer Linda Gage said that in the eight counties statewide that saw more out-migration than in-migration, economic factors were often involved, including housing costs.

Dennis said he attributed the mini-exodus in part to a general housing market decline, coupled with the recent subprime mortgage crisis.

"We're the most affordable county in the Bay Area and the lower end of the spectrum has been impacted," Dennis said of the housing downturn. "The starter home market has been hurt by people's inability to finance."

Solano County Economic Development Corporation president Michael Ammann said he thought the numbers reflect a slight fluctuation in an long-term upward trend.

"I'm more concerned with birth numbers," Ammann said, adding that as long as Solano County is "internally generating growth," it's in good shape.

Napa County saw a one percent total population climb, with an increase in both domestic and international newcomers.

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