Watch CBS News

Lathrop one of the fastest-growing California cities as state population grows for first time since pandemic

This Central Valley city is one of the fastest-growing in California
This Central Valley city is one of the fastest-growing in California 02:34

LATHROP - For the first time since the pandemic, California is growing, and one of the fastest-growing cities is in the Central Valley.

Those two cities were Lathrop in San Joaquin County and the town of Paradise in Butte County.

Lathrop city officials believe its rise is due to how many homes are in the city and how many more they plan to build. However, the state said that fewer deaths after the COVID-19 pandemic, legal immigration and fewer people leaving are driving the population up.

California's Department of Finance showed the state added around 67,000 people to its total population. That's a small number when you think of California's 39 million residents, but it's the first time in three years that the state has seen population growth.

"Since I moved in, I've seen a lot of growing things. When I first got here, they weren't here, and now man, you see In-N-Out, I've seen Starbucks, a lot of things coming to Lathrop," said Lathrop resident Jose Guerra.

Guerra has lived there since 2019, when the city had just under 25,000 people. Now, Lathrop has gained 12,000 residents in five years to become one of the fastest-growing cities in the state.

According to the state population report, Lathrop is second in where housing production drove growth, behind only the town of Paradise.

"We're not only the fastest-growing city, but we're also one of the most fiscally healthy in the state of California, according to the state," said Stephen Salvatore.

Salvatore is the city manager for Lathrop.

"Infrastructure is booming right now. We've had two of the largest master plan communities in the area for a very long time," he said.

Salvatore credits the building of new communities like River Islands and Stanford Crossing, which aim to build more than 20,000 homes, as a huge reason for the boom.

"Only about 3,500 occupied right now, but we absorb 500 a year, which is about 1,300 residents. So it really impacts the population growth," said Susan Dellosso, the president of the River Islands Project.

Locals agreed with the state that legal immigration is also a driving force for the population increase.

"I do know that since the pandemic, we have lots of people moving to Lathrop," Salvatore said. "They can buy a bigger house with less money. They can buy it cash. They can work from home and a lot of people are choosing to do that."

City officials also mentioned the flood control project several Central Valley counties are working on. 

If the city wants to continue growing, Salvatore says there are roughly 50,000 people on one side of Lathrop that need to be protected. That project is ongoing.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.