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Manteca gains 2,519 in population to become California’s 93rd largest city
brock elliott
A pre-pandemic photo shows an assembly at Brock Elliott School.

The Northern San Joaquin Valley is leading California in growth.

Based on data released Friday by the state Department of Finance:

*Manteca and Tracy tied for the No. 3 spot on the agency’s 10 fastest growing cities with populations over 30,000. Both cities grew at 2.9 percent in 2020. As of Jan. 1, 2021 Tracy had 98,601 residents by adding 2,740 to its population. Manteca had 87,319 by adding 2,519 to its population.

*Lathrop is the fastest growing city of any size in the state with a population gain of 6.3 percent thanks to 1,697 new residents to reach 28,503.

*Ripon is the sixth fastest growing city of any size in California with a population gain of 3.0 percent thanks to 480 new residents to reach 16,292.

*Four of the 10 fastest growing cities with more than 30,000 residents are in the 209. Besides Manteca and Tracy that includes Merced that grew 3.1 percent to 90,971 and Los Banos that grew 2.4 percent to 42,869.

*The overall population of the three counties that make up the 209 — San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced – grew by 12,561. The vast majority of that was in San Joaquin County that added 10,029 residents to reach 783,534 residents.

The reason the Department of Finance only points out cities over 30,000 in listing the state’s fastest growing cities are aberrations that can occur with smaller cities.
As an example Paradise crew by 31.2 percent to 6,046. But it is still not even a quarter of the 26,218 residents that lived there before the November 2018 wildfire started by PG&E power line obliterated most of the town and killed 85 people.

Another example is Sand City on Monterey County that added 12 residents for a population of 385 and grew 3.2 percent.  By comparison Merced had to add 2,710 residents but grew at 3.1 percent or 0.1 percent less than Sand City to reach 90,971 residents.

Lathrop is likely to break the 30,000 barrier due to robust growth this year.

Last year in 2019, Lathrop based on growth percentage was the third fastest growing city in California adding 1,432 residents to reach 26,835 for a 5.64 percent annual growth rate. Lathrop in 2018 grew by 5.17 percent when they added 1,255 residents when it was the state’s 7th fastest growing city.


Manteca goes from 146th

largest city to 93rd  in 21 years

Twenty-one years ago Manteca was the 146th largest out of 482 cities in California with a population of 62,698.

Last year based on State Department of Finance Manteca was California’s 100th largest city with a population of 84,800. It was the 103rd largest city in 2018 and 116th largest in 2017.

Manteca is now the 93rd largest city in the state.

Manteca is also tied with Tracy as the third fastest growing city in California.

Manteca was the 23rd fastest growing city in California in 2019 down from being the 18th fastest in 2018.

Manteca’s population has more than doubled in the past 30 years. The city had 40,773 residents in 1990. Manteca is almost seven times larger than it was in 1970 when it had 13,284 residents — 3,018 less residents than Ripon’s current population of 16,292 residents.

The fastest growing area in the Northern San Joaquin Valley is the South County and the four cities whose economies are becoming more tied into the Bay Area via freeway umbilical cords with each passing year.

The cities of Manteca, Tracy, Lathrop, and Ripon added 6,936 residents in 2020, 4,440 residents in 2019, 6,275 residents in 2018, and 4,464 people in 2017. That means the South County has added basically population the size of Oakdale in four years. Oakdale now has 23,237 residents while the four cities combined grew by 22,075 people in four years.

The four cities have a combined population of 229,466 or 9,152 more than Modesto’s 229,466 residents that ranks it as California’s 18th largest city, down from 17th in 2019. Stockton is the largest city in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and 13th statewide with 320,876 people.


The 209 population-wise

would be 41st largest state

The three-county 209 region has a combined population of 1,624,338.  If the Northern San Joaquin Valley were a separate state it would rank 41st based on population. It would be ahead of Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming plus the District of Columbia.

California as a whole is still by far the most populous state in the union with 39,466,855 residents. The state dropped population for the first time ever by declining 0.46 percent in 2020 as California lost 182,083 residents.

*Stockton is the largest city in the 209 at 320,876 followed by Modesto at 219,294, Tracy at 98,601, Merced at 90,971, Manteca fifth at 87,319, Turlock at 74,820, and Lodi at 68,751.

*Manteca at is current growth rate will top 100,000 residents in 2025. If that happens, Manteca will have quadrupled in size in 49 years. The city’s population in 1980 was 23,150 residents or 5,355 less residents than Lathrop is at today at 28,505.

*Lathrop at its current growth rate will top 40,000 residents in 2025.

*Ripon at its current growth rate will top 20,000 residents in 2030.

*The top 10 cities in the entire 209 region including valley and foothill cities are, in descending order, Stockton, Modesto, Tracy, Merced, Manteca, Turlock, Lodi, Ceres, Los Banos, and Atwater.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email