California's Fastest Growing City: Paradise

Paradise, California—devastated by the deadly Camp Fire of 2018—is attracting new and returning residents as the city rebuilds its housing stock.

May 11, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Butte County, California

Sharon Hahn Darlin / Flickr

California’s latest population estimates show that Paradise—the Northern California town ravaged by the Camp Fire in 2018, which destroyed 10,000 buildings and killed 85 people—has seen the fastest population growth in the state in the last year.

According to estimates from the California Department of Finance, "the population of Paradise rose from 4,608 people as of Jan. 1, 2020, up to 6,046 a year later," reports Vincent Moleski.

"The town’s 31.2% leap in population outpaces the rest of the state, much of which reflected a decrease in population amid low birth rates and slower immigration," adds Moleski. The figure are even more of any outlier compared next to the totals for the entire state, which dropped in 2020 for the first time in recorded state history, as documented in an article yesterday by Planetizen correspondent Irvin Dawid.

Moleski takes the additional step of naming the cause of Paradise's influx or population: new housing construction rising from the ashes of the Camp Fire. In addition to outpacing the rest of the state in population growth, Paradise has also been outpacing the state on housing construction. "Department of Finance data show that the town increased its total housing by 32.1% in 2020, the fastest rate in the state. Much of this construction has been in single-family homes. The town’s number of single-family homes rose by nearly 40.7%, while its multi-family homes increased by 11.5%."

As documented in an article by Natalie Hanson for the Chico Enterprise-Record in December 2020, the bulk of the city's building permits have been issued to residents looking to rebuild homes lost in the Camp Fire.

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