California Housing Crisis Deepens as Population Grows in Most Cities

State figures show the number of new housing units in California declined a year ago for the first time since the start of the economic recovery, due mostly to wildfires that scorched more than 2,000 homes.

According to a new report from the California Department of Finance, L.A.'s population grew by more than 50,000 persons since previous year, and now totals 4,031,000 people.

California's housing supply rose by 67,110 units previous year, compared with an increase of 69,435 units in 2014. Demographers at the California Department of Finance say the number of new units would have been about equal to the year before if the destructive wildfires in Lake and Calaveras counties had not hit.

Overall, the state of California's population increased by 0.9 percent in 2015 and added over 348,000 residents to its general population.

Most of the state's 482 cities saw population gains; Los Angeles surpassed 4 million.

More than 50,000 people moved to the nation's second-largest city past year, increasing its population by 1.3 percent. The largest city in the state was followed by San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego.

• Multi-family housing comprised more than 50 percent of all new units in 93 of the 482 cities in California. Los Angeles led the state with 12,224 new multi-family units, followed by San Francisco (2,893), San Jose (2,024), and San Diego (1,746).

San Joaquin County, home to Stockton, grew faster than any other, up 1.3 percent to 733,000 people.

Vernon in Los Angeles County had the largest percentage growth in California, increasing by 72 percent because of a new housing development.

• The largest numeric increases, consistent with their higher population base, occurred in the state's largest cities.

Those who live in college dorms, prisons and military barracks make up about 2 percent of California's population.

Prison declines caused some smaller cities, such as Avenal in Kings County, Tehachapi in Kern County, Susanville in Lassen County, Crescent City in Del Norte County, and California City in Kern County to experience significant proportional population losses in 2015. While the state continues to see an inflow of immigrants from other countries, legal and illegal, it loses more people to other states than it gains.

The state's population estimates are produced each year to help the state know how to allocate funding.