Population figures document what longtime Bay Area residents have long observed: the region's population has grown dramatically. Since the post-World War II population boom, the Bay Area has added millions of new residents; we now number almost 7 million. This growing population increases demands on natural resources and creates additional traffic, pollution, and garbage. In the years ahead, the Bay Area must better manage this growth -- growth that is expected to continue -- in order to meet the critical environmental challenge it presents.
NRDC experts analyzed population data published by the California Department of Finance for the nine Bay Area counties from 1950 to 2000. The figures show huge increases over the last 50 years. Since 1950, the Bay Area's population has grown by more than 4 million people. In the last decade alone, the population grew by 760,183 people, or 12.6 percent.