First published in the Dec. 18 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
Glendale posted a 2.52% population growth throughout the past decade, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, reflecting a larger growth rate than Los Angeles County as a whole.
As of 2020, census data said there were 196,543 residents in Glendale, up from 191,719 in 2010. This more than makes up for the population loss recorded in 2010, when Glendale’s population had dropped more than 3,200 from the 2000 census.
L.A. County now has more than 10 million residents, up from 9.82 million in 2010.
The City Council reviewed the basic findings of the census this week, which were released earlier this year to allow political entities with geographic districts to undergo their required redistricting in time for next year’s elections. More specific breakdowns, such as household compositions, are expected to be released around springtime.
Broken down by race, there were 128,248 respondents identifying as white, representing around 65.2% of the city’s population. There were 3,573 Black residents (1.8%); 1,101 Native American or Native Alaskan residents (0.56%) and 29,870 Asian residents (15.2%). There were 15,871 residents (8.1%) who reported being another race, and 17,735 (around 9%) who identified as being two or more races. Additionally, 145 residents said they were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
Of those respondents, there were 33,575 who identified as being Hispanic or Latino, representing 17.1% of the city’s population.
Christine Powers, a senior executive analyst with the city, explained that the 2020 census questionnaire asked respondents to fill in unlisted ethnicities and races by hand, as it applies, and that data will be part of the later release. This will give some indication of how many residents filled in “Armenian” when completing their form.
Neighborhoods with the largest growth, in excess of 10%, tended to cluster around the 134 Freeway and the outskirts of downtown. Most of the foothill neighborhoods around the Verdugo Mountains and on the east side of the city had smaller growth, anywhere from 1-4%, mostly attributable to accessory dwelling units, according to Powers.
The Pacific-Edison and Mariposa neighborhoods just south of downtown posted population drops of around 5%, while other neighborhoods in southeast Glendale and west Glendale had 1-4% drops. Powers attributed these to undercounts or vacancies since there was no housing unit loss there.
And then there was “an anomaly we’ve been trying to figure out,” Powers said — Sparr Heights and its 10.94% growth.
“There hasn’t been any significant development to accommodate this increase,” Powers said. “Some things that could attribute to this is previous underreporting. We will be looking into this percentage increase, because it is a little odd for the area, given no development.”
In terms of housing units, there were 76,860 occupied homes in Glendale in 2020, while 3,333 were listed as vacant. Councilman Ardy Kassakhian said he was concerned at the raw number of supposedly vacant units, giving the housing crisis throughout the region, but Powers speculated that it might be in part because of a number of large complexes that went online in 2020 and had not yet filled all of its units.
“I believe that would just be apartments that were unoccupied,” she said. “There are homes that are vacant throughout the city. It seems to track with the county numbers.”
Among the 48,000 multifamily units such as apartments in the city, there were 6.8% vacant, according to Community Services Director Philip Lanzafame, which can either be attributed to underreporting or natural turnover. (Census counts are dependent on individual respondents, which means if there are five apartment tenants who do not return a questionnaire, their units will be considered vacant.) Including single-family homes into the equation produces a much smaller vacancy rate, he said, indicating that fourplexes, apartments and condos make up the bulk of empty units.
“We typically will figure, in a multifamily project, a 5-10% vacancy rate,” he said, noting that turnover in between tenants is typically the reason.
Nevertheless, Kassakhian said it behooved the city to try to fill those vacancies as much as possible, even if to justify the city’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment figure and produce an acceptable Housing Element to the state.
“Inasmuch as we can [give incentives to] folks to have those units occupied,” he said, “I think it’s to our overall benefit.”