California was part of the region acquired from Mexico in 1848, and was admitted as a State on September 9, 1850 with essentially its present boundaries.
Although the 1850 census covered the whole State, the 1850 returns are incomplete; those for Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties were lost before reaching Washington, and those for San Francisco County were destroyed by fire.
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 ten-year period of its history, and was officially determined to be most populous state in the 1970 Census, claiming the mantle from New York. It has remained the biggest state for nearly a half-century by posting consistently high growth rates from year to year.
California Population 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.