Population of California 2012
At the last official US census carried out in 2010, the population of California was declared at 37,253,956 which made the state the most populous in the country by some distance (read our overview article on the US population to find out more).
However, the vast area that California encompasses means that in terms of population density, with 242 people for every square mile it ranks only 11th in the nation.
The population of California in 2012 is growing at an impressive rate and an estimate carried out in June 2011 suggests that there has been an increase from those 2010 Census figures to numbers in the region of 37,691,912.
In 1850 there were just 92,597 people living here but the gold rush of the mid 19th century was primarily responsible for a rise of over 300% to 379,994. The population of California continued to grow at a steadier rate but increases in excess of 50% between ten year censuses were not uncommon.
After the Second World War, the California Population in 1950 was declared at 10,586,223 and it has been growing exponentially ever since. Ten years later in 1960 it was 15,717,204 and in 1970 that had grown to 19,953,134. From there, the numbers have been increasing at similar rates.
California has a healthy natural growth rate and the gap between the birth rate and death rate is quite significant. Between 2000 and 2009, 5,058,440 births and 2,179,958 deaths resulted in a natural growth of 3,090,016.
Another significant factor is immigration: California had huge appeal in the days of the Gold Rush and that fact holds true today. Between those years of 2000 and 2009 the state enjoyed a net migration gain of 306,925 people. It’s also estimated that up to 7.3% of California’s population is made up of illegal aliens.
Putting population in perspective
The end result when taking all these figures into account is a population that is simply huge. Based on current estimates, California is larger than all but 34 countries in the world. It is also the second most populous national sub-entity, behind Sao Paulo of Brazil.
Increasing immigration has led to a diverse set of ethnic groups within California itself and at the 2010 Census, 57.6% of the population claimed to be white, while 40.1% were non-Hispanic white. 13% were Asian and 6.2% Black. The remaining ethnic groups consisted of Native American, Hispanic, Latino and others.
California is still growing and although it is difficult to track down any predictions, there is no reason to suggest that this growth will slow down. As such, could the population of California continue the trend and explode beyond the 40 million mark by the time of the next Census in 2020?