California Population 2017

39,506,094

Our current estimate for California's population in 2017 is 39.51 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 History

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 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 Population Rank

Year Pop % Change
202040,274,3250.64%
201940,018,2480.64%
201839,762,1710.65%
201739,506,0940.65%
201639,250,0170.66%
201538,993,9400.81%
201438,680,8100.90%
201338,335,2030.85%
201238,011,0740.89%
201137,676,8611.14%
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

California Population in 2018Source: 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

  • Population10,112,255
  • Density2491.87 per sq km
  • Growth Since 20102.92%
  • State Rank1
  • % of State25.93%

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

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. These numbers have changed significantly in 2016, with estmates putting 73.2% of the population as white, 38.5% as non-Hispanic white, 14.4% Asian, and 6.5% black.

In 2014, estimates showed that the Latino and Hispanic population surpassed the population of non-Hispanic Whites. According to those estimates, taken in June 2014, 14.99 million Latinos resided in the state, compared to 14.92 whites. California has the largest minority population and the largest Hispanic population in the country.

The most populous state is also one of the most racially diverse, boasting the largest population of whites in the US, the largest number of Native Americans, and the fifth largest population of African Americans. The Asian population, which is approaching 5 million, makes up about one-third of the nation's total Asian American population.

Languages Spoken in California

Language Population Percentage
Portuguese79,5500.23%
German110,5450.31%
Panjabi118,8700.34%
French124,9800.36%
Mandarin213,8400.61%
Cantonese234,7750.67%
Chinese574,0751.63%
Spanish10,105,38528.76%
English22,922,43065.25%
Population 5 years and over35,131,429100.00%

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

IndicatorValue
High school graduate or higher 81.5%
Bachelor's degree or higher 31%
With a Disability 6.7%
Persons Without Health Insurance 14%
In Civilian Labor Force 63.4%
In Civilian Labor Force (Female) 57.4%
Food Services Sales $90,830,372
Health Care Revenue $248,953,592,000
Manufacturers Shipments $512,303,164,000
Merchant Wholesaler Sales $666,652,186,000
Total Retail Sales $481,800,461,000
Total Retail Sales per Capita $12,665
Mean Travel Time to Work 27.6 minutes
Median Household Income $61,489
Per Capita Income (past 12 months) $29,906
Persons in Poverty 16.4%

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

IndicatorValue
Total Nonemployer Establishments 3,117,591
All firms 3,548,449
Men-owned Firms 1,852,580
Women-owned Firms 1,320,085
Minority-owned Firms 1,619,857
Nonminority-owned Firms 1,819,107
Veternan-owned Firms 252,377
Nonveteran-owned Firms 3,176,341

California Housing

IndicatorValue
Housing Units 13,680,081
Owner Occupied Housing Rate 54.8%
Median Value Owner Occupied Housing Units $371,400
Median Monthly Owner Costs (w/Mortgage) $2,214
Median Monthly Owner Costs (no mortgage) $493
Median Gross Rent $1,243
Building Permits 98,188
Households 12,617,280
Persons per Household 2.95 persons
Living in Same House 1 Year Ago 84.6%
Language Other than English Spoken at Home 43.8%
Data Sources
  1. US Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  2. US Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  3. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  4. Census QuickFacts
  5. Historical Populations of States and Counties (1790 - 1990)