In recent years, many cities in the Bay Area have either stagnated or decreased in population due to high home prices, declining birth rates, and out-migration. However, one city has bucked this trend – Dublin. From 2010 to 2020, Dublin grew its population by a staggering 58%, from 46,000 to nearly 73,000. This makes it not only the fastest-growing city in the Bay Area during that time period, but the fastest-growing city in all of California, and the 12th fastest-growing city of 50,000 people or more in the U.S. While the rest of the region’s population declined in 2021, Dublin’s population growth remained essentially flat.
To local business people and government officials, this growth isn’t surprising. One significant factor is that unlike most other Bay Area and California towns, Dublin has built a large amount of housing. From 2010 to 2020, the city permitted almost 1,800 new housing units per 10,000 existing residents as of 2010. This is nearly double the rate of Milpitas, the city that approved the second-most permits, and more than four times the rate of San Francisco.
The city has followed through on ambitious, planned development projects created in the 1990s and 2010s, including infrastructure to support transit-accessible housing, commercial districts, and parks, according to Shari Jackman, communications manager for the city of Dublin.
Jackman added that Dublin’s rapid growth has also been enabled by an efficient building permit process that allows developers to move quickly through environmental review, a process that often stalls construction in other Bay Area cities. Additionally, the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station, which opened in 1997, and the West Dublin Station, which opened in 2011, have contributed to the city’s growth.
In the 2010s, Dublin’s relatively affordable homes, often larger single-family units, were also a draw compared to nearby cities such as Walnut Creek and San Francisco. Today, the median price for a home in Dublin is $1.2 million, which is expensive, but still below $1.3 million in San Francisco and $1.4 million in Berkeley. Despite the high cost of living, the city’s households have a higher earning power than the Bay Area on average, with an average household income of $170,000, compared to San Francisco’s median household income of $126,000. Dublin’s public schools are also highly rated, with the Dublin Unified School District ranking among the best in Alameda County and 33rd out of 438 California school districts, according to a recent survey by influential school data analytics company Niche.
These factors may explain why Dublin not only grew the most overall, but also had the only sizable Bay Area city whose under-18 population grew a share of the total population from 2010 to 2020. As of 2020, about one in four Dublin residents was under 18, compared to just over one in ten San Franciscans.