One in a series on the census and the changing complexion of the High Desert.
March 12, 2011 5:40 PM
Brooke Edwards

The Victor Valley has grown much more rapidly over the past decade than San Bernardino County or California overall, according to 2010 U.S. Census data released this week.

The local population has also gotten much more diverse, the census reports show, with the percentage of residents identifying themselves as white declining in every local city other than Wrightwood.

Victorville saw the most dramatic local growth, nearly doubling its population since 2000 to 115,903 residents.

Adelanto saw a 75 percent increase, followed by Hesperia at 44 percent and Apple Valley — which has exhibited the most marked attempt to hang onto its rural township quality — at 27 percent.

Meanwhile, the county grew by 19 percent over the same time period and the state grew by just 10 percent.

“I think probably the biggest driving factor would be affordable housing,” Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron said, when asked about his city’s remarkable growth.

The larger population has certainly added to the sales and property tax Victorville takes in, McEachron said, helping to offset some of the loss local cities have seen in these revenue streams due to the economic collapse.

“That growth has also caused a lot of commercial development to occur,” McEachron said, drawing many of the shopping, dining and other entertainment opportunities that all Victor Valley residents now enjoy.

It’s also forced a delicate balancing act, he added, as local cities try to keep up with the increasing demand for public safety, road improvements and other service needs that larger population requires, all amid decreasing revenue and support from strapped state and federal government sources.

The Victor Valley’s ever-increasing diversity could trigger a political shift, with populations who traditionally vote Democrat now outnumbering their counterparts in an area that’s been a lock in the past for Republican candidates.

Hesperia saw a 19.5 percent rise in its Hispanic population during the past 10 years. That’s nearly double the countywide increase but significantly below the statewide figure of 28 percent.

There were 7.4 percent more Adelanto residents who identified themselves as black in 2010 than in 2000, while the county’s black population declined slightly by 0.2 percent and the statewide figure dropped by 1 percent.

Adelanto is the only local city where Hispanics were the majority last year, with more than 58 percent of residents claiming Hispanic or Latino heritage.

Hesperia and Victorville are approaching the 50 percent mark. If the Hispanic population continues to grow at the same rate, it will be the majority race in Hesperia within a year and in Victorville within two years.

California saw a huge surge in its Asian population — up 38 percent over the last decade. While every Victor Valley city registered growth in its Asian population, the rise was much more measured, ranging from a 0.3 percent increase in Adelanto and Wrightwood to 1.2 percent in Hesperia.

The census data is being released in waves, with later reports to include statistics on income levels, marital status and other socioeconomic figures.

Brooke Edwards may be reached at (760) 955-5358 or at