California Population 2017

39,849,872

Our current estimate for California's population is nearly 39.5 million. At the last official United States 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.

However, the vast area that California encompasses means that in terms of population density, with 251.3 people for every square mile, it ranks only 11th in the nation.

It is currently the 17th fastest growing state with a yearly growth rate of .90%.

Influences of California Population

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 been estimated that up to approxmiately 6.3% 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 only Sao Paulo of Brazil.

California Population Chart

California Population Growth

The population of California in 2016 is growing at an above-average rate and an estimate carried out in 2015 suggests that there has been an increase from the 2010 Census figure of 37,253,956 to numbers in the region of 39,144,818.

In 1850 there were just 92,597 people living in California, 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 World War II, 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 seen growth in every 10 year period of its history, and was officially determined to be most populous state at the 1970 Census, claiming the mantle from New York. It has remained the biggest state for nearly a half-century by posting consistenly high growth rates from year to year.

Population of California Projections

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? If the current rate of growth continues, California's population may even approach 41 million by 2020.

Population Data via US Census

California Growth Rate

California State Rank

Year Pop % Change
202040,907,4530.87%
201940,554,9260.88%
201840,202,3990.88%
201739,849,8720.89%
201639,497,3450.90%
201539,144,8180.91%
201438,792,2910.98%
201338,414,1280.94%
201238,056,0550.94%
201137,700,0341.20%
201037,253,9560.96%
200033,871,6481.30%
199029,760,0212.32%
198023,667,9021.72%
197019,953,1342.42%
196015,717,2044.03%
195010,586,2234.36%
19406,907,3871.98%
19305,677,2515.18%
19203,426,8613.72%
19102,377,5494.82%
19001,485,0532.04%
18901,213,3983.45%
1880864,6944.44%
1870560,2473.96%
1860379,99415.16%
185092,5970.00%

California Facts

undefined Population in 2017Source: BDS2006 (talk).

  • California has hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics and is the only state that is able to claim this achievement.
  • All of the banks in San Francisco survived the 1929 stock market crash.
  • The first McDonald's fast foodd restaurant was opened in San Bernardino, California, in 1940.
  • The world's largest landlocked harbor is the San Francisco Bay.
  • The hottest temperature on Earth was recorded at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley in 1913. The temperature was 134 derees Fahrenheit.
  • Over half of the acreage used to grow fruit in the United States is located in California, which is a leader in growing strawberries, grapes, peaches, plums, nectarines and other produce.
  • The tallest living tree -- which measures an astounding 379.1 feet -- is a redwood tree located in Redwood National Park.
  • California has a total of 58 counties.
  • Approximately 8% of Californians are vegetarians.

California Population Density by County

Los Angeles County

  • Population10,170,292
  • Density2506.17 per sq km
  • Growth Since 20103.5%
  • State Rank1
  • % of State25.98%

California Population Growth Rate by County

With so many counties, it's no surprise that California has seen significant increases and decreases in its population across the state. Between the 2010 Census and estimates taken in 2015, the largest increase in population in a California county was recorded in Alameda County, which grew by 8.22%. Many of its neighborin counties, including Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and San Francisco County were just a few that posted significant population gains. Other notable counties that saw growth during this 5-year period include the southern counties of Riverside, Orange, and San Diego, which posted rates of 7.21%, 5.03%, and 6.29%, respectively.

The counties that saw the biggest declines are located along the eastern border, with Lassen County seeing a decrease in population by 10.03%. Trailing behind are Plumas County, Modoc County, and Sierra County. Trinity County, located in northwestern California, also saw one of the highest declines with 5.05%.

Population Pyramid

0k50k100k150k200k250k300k350kCalifornia Male Population0k50k100k150k200k250k300k350kCalifornia Female Population

To compare California to other states, click here.

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White28,535,27372.9%
Black or African American2,552,8586.52%
American Indian and Alaska Native648,1721.66%
Asian5,736,98814.66%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander196,6520.5%
Two or More Races1,474,8753.77%

With so many counties, it's no surprise that California has seen significant increases and decreases in its population across the state. Between the 2010 Census and estimates taken in 2015, the largest increase in population in a California county was recorded in Alameda County, which grew by 8.22%. Many of its neighborin counties, including Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and San Francisco County were just a few that posted significant population gains. Other notable counties that saw growth during this 5-year period include the southern counties of Riverside, Orange, and San Diego, which posted rates of 7.21%, 5.03%, and 6.29%, respectively.

The counties that saw the biggest declines are located along the eastern border, with Lassen County seeing a decrease in population by 10.03%. Trailing behind are Plumas County, Modoc County, and Sierra County. Trinity County, located in northwestern California, also saw one of the highest declines with 5.05%.

Languages Spoken in California

Language Population Percentage
Population 5 years and over35,131,429100
English22,922,43065.25
Spanish10,105,38528.76
Chinese574,0751.63
Cantonese234,7750.67
Mandarin213,8400.61
French124,9800.36
Panjabi118,8700.34
German110,5450.31
Portuguese79,5500.23

This chart shows the top 10 non-English languages that are spoken at home in California. The data comes from the most recent release of the American Community Survey (ACS).

California Economy

Indicator Value
HighSchoolGraduate81.5
BachelorsDegree31
Disabled6.7
NoHealthInsurance14
LaborForceTotal63.4
LaborForceFemale57.4
FoodServiceSales90,830,372
HealthCareRevenue248,953,592
ManufacturerShipments512,303,164
MerchantWholesalesSales666,652,186
RetailSales481,800,461
RetailSalesPerCapita12,665
MeanWorkTravelTime27.6
MedianHouseholdIncome61,489
PerCapitaIncome29,906
PovertyPercentage16.4

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in California for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 6.2% and the labor force participation rate is 63.6%.

California Business

Indicator Value
NonemployerEstablishments3,117,591
AllFirms3,548,449
MenOwnedFirms1,852,580
WomenOwnedFirms1,320,085
MinorityOwnedFirms1,619,857
NonminorityOwnedFirms1,819,107
VeteranOwnedFirms252,377
NonveteranOwn3,176,341

California Housing

Indicator Value
HousingUnits13,987,625
HousingUnits13,680,081
OwnerOccupiedRate54.8
OwnerOccupiedMedianValue371,400
MonthlyOwnerCostsMortage2,214
MonthlyOwnerCostsNoMortage493
MedianGrossRent1,243
BuildingPermits98,188
Households12,617,280
PersonsPerHousehold2.95
SameHouseOneYearAgo84.6
NonEnglishAtHome43.8
Data Sources
  1. Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program - released 6/23/2016
  2. Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program - released 6/23/2016
  3. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  4. Census QuickFacts