The welcome sign on the 10 Freeway may state that Alhambra’s population is 90,000, but that’s 6,011 more people than actually live in the city, according to 2010 Census figures released this week. Alhambra’s population is only 83,089 — and if current trends continue it will never reach 90,000. In the past decade, rather than growing, Alhambra’s population shrunk by three percent. Indicating more decreases to come, the youth population fell by 18 percent.
Alhambra is not alone. In the past decade growth in the Golden State decreased, especially in metropolitan areas. While the overall population grew by 10 percent, the under-18 residents stayed stagnant. Locally, other cities experienced similar drops: Monterey Park and San Gabriel's population had zero growth while South Pasadena’s dropped by 5 percent and El Monte's by 2 percent.
Latino and Asian increases fueled the growth that did occur for the state of California. But in the western San Gabriel Valley, Latinos as a group often declined and Asians saw less growth than in the 1990s.
In Alhambra, Asians were the only group that grew in numbers over the past decade, adding about 3,000 new residents — almost equivalent to the decrease in the white population. The increases tipped Asians over the halfway mark of Alhambra residents so they are now 53% of the city. However, even though Asians are still growing, the rate is lower than during the 1990s.
An explanation for the falling growth rate is a maturing population and decrease in new immigrants. "We know that immigration has slowed way down," said USC professor Dowell Myers, speaking of state-wide trends. "Asian immigration slowed way down as well. It’s still happening but a lot slower. And the new arrivals might not be coming to Alhambra."