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Manteca adds 17,838 residents
Census shows Manteca 119th largest city in state
Manteca had one traffic light, no McDonald’s, and 12,000 residents when a 23-year-old Willie Weatherford was hired as a police officer fresh out of the Air Force on Jan. 17, 1966.

Forty-four years later on April 1, 2010 Weatherford was mayor, there were more than 50 intersections with traffic signals, four McDonald’s, and Manteca had 67,096 residents.

The U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday released data that showed Manteca’s population grew by 36.2 percent since April 1, 2000 when the city had 49,258 residents.

“There were no McDonald’s back then but we did have Fundee’s Drive In and Foster’s Freeze,” Weatherford recalled.

The 67,096 number was a disappointment of sort for number gurus such as City Manager Steve Pinkerton. The state Department of Finance had estimated the city’s population at 68,847 as of Jan. 1, 2011.

“Del Webb is probably what threw them off,” Pinkerton said.

The state estimates population based on the number of housing units while using a housing occupancy average arrived at by mixing in school enrollment. Roughly a third of the homes built in Manteca during the past three years have been age-restricted homes for those 55 years and older in the Del Webb at Woodbridge community. Del Webb has a yield rate of about 1.9 residents per dwelling unit as opposed to the 3.5 average of the rest of the city.

Pinkerton noted Manteca currently is growing at about 1,000 residents a year which means Manteca could reach 70,000 residents by 2013.

“We thought we were going to hit that this year based on the state figures,” Pinkerton noted.

There was a time when population counts meant big money in terms of the impact on city budgets. Now appropriations based on population are roughly 2.5 percent of the overall budget according to Pinkerton. The main funding sources that still rely on  per capita formulas to determine funds cities receive is the state gasoline tax collection and the federal government’s Community Block Grant program.

Now the population numbers are more about “bragging rights” than anything else.

Manteca went from being the 146th largest city in California in 2000 based on the Census to the 119th today out of 480 municipalities. On making that jump, Manteca surpassed Lodi in both the state ranking and to become the third largest city in San Joaquin County.

Tracy also climbed the chart  going from 125th (56,929 residents in 2000) to 91st (82,922 residents in 2010) as did Lathrop going from 346th (10,445 residents in 2000) to 303rd (18,023 residents in 2010) and Ripon which went from 337th (10,146 residents in 2000) to 327th (14,297 residents in 2010).

Stockton remained as the 13th largest city in California as its population went from 243,771 to 291,707. Escalon was the only San Joaquin County city to drop in ranking. It went from 400th (5,963 residents in 2000) to 402nd (7,132 residents in 2010).