By Kenneth Harwood
Economist for the Solvang Chamber of Commerce
Solvang and Buellton grew by more than 5 percent in recent years. Here are rates of population growth from 2010 to 2019, as reported by the Census Bureau.
Solvang had an estimated population of 5,838 as of July 1, 2019, up from 5,245 in the census of 2010. Buellton’s estimated population in 2019 was 5,102, up from 4,849 in 2010. These were the two incorporated cities in the Santa Ynez Valley.
You can see three levels of growth in the graph shown. The United States and California grew less rapidly than Solvang. Santa Barbara County and Buellton each grew more than 5 percent.
Both cities had high average density of population in 2019. Buellton’s average density was 3,052 people per square mile in its land area of 1.58 square miles. Solvang’s average density was 2,163 per square mile in its 2.43 square miles. Santa Barbara County, by comparison, had an average density of 164 people per square mile in 2,735 square miles of land area.
High population density tends to save money in providing miles of streets and sewers, for example, while complicating public health considerations such as hospital capacity.
Central location in Santa Barbara County was an advantage of both cities. Communities tend to grow when residents find suitable work nearby. Many residents commuted to work in larger cities such as Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc.
Population growth rates tend to vary from year to year, depending upon economic conditions. In times of economic recession, the positive growth of population may slow, disappear or turn negative. Slight loss of population is in some forecasts for this year and next.
Please go online for details of population in Census Bureau QuickFacts. Thanks to Elizabeth Jensen for identifying an error in data from the Census Bureau.