Santa Barbara Population 2017

The city proper has a population density of 2,100 people per square mile (810/square kilometer). The larger urban area, which includes Carpinteria and Goleta as well as many unincorporated areas, has a population of 220,000. All of Santa Barbara County has a population of more than 425,000.

Santa Barbara Demographics

According to the 2010 census, the racial composition of Santa Barbara was 75% white, 3.5% Asian (1% Chinese, 0.6% Filipino, 0.5% Japanese, 0.4% Korean, 0.4% Indian, 0.2% Vietnamese), 1.6% African American, 1% Native American, 14.7% other races, and 3.9% two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race account for 38% of the population of Santa Barbara while non-Hispanic whites account for 52%.

Santa Barbara History

The Santa Barbara area has been inhabited for at least 13,000 years with evidence of Paleoindians, Chumash people, and several villages, including Amolomol, Mispu, and Swetete. The first European to reach the area was João Cabrilho, a Portuguese explorer who sailed through the Santa Barbara channel in 1542. It was Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino who named the channel Santa Barbara in 1602. The first land expedition was led by Gaspar de Portola in 1769.

The first permanent European residents in the region were Spanish soldiers and missionaries who were sent to fortify the region and convert native peoples to Christianity. The Santa Barbara Mission was established in 1786. As the native Chumash people were converted, a village was built on the grounds of the mission, although many died from smallpox and other diseases. Spain's claim on the area ended not long after when the Mexican War of Independence ended in 1822, effectively ending 300 years of colonial rule.

The flag of Mexico flew over the area for another 24 years. Santa Barbara fell to American soldiers in 1846 during the Mexican-American War and became part of the United States. Between 1850 and 1860, the population of Santa Barbara doubled. It was during this time that a land surveyor named Haley designed the city's famous street grid, complete with misaligned streets and poor measurements.

Just prior to the turn of the 20th century, oil was discovered nearby and the beach outside Santa Barbara became the first offshore oil development in the world. Most of the downtown region was destroyed by a large earthquake in 1925, although the city rebuild around the Spanish Colonial style. Later during WWII, many service members chose to stay in the city with the population surging by more than 10,000 between the war's end and 1950. Santa Barbara has continued its steady growth since.

Santa Barbara Population Growth

Santa Barbara's population declined 1,200 or 4.2% between 2000 and 2010. This was the only time the census has reported negative growth in the city as far back as the record goes (1880). Santa Barbara has since bounced back and its population is now growing slowly but steadily.

Year Population Change
2015 91,842 3.90%
2010 88,410 -4.20%
2000 92,325 7.90%
1990 85,571 15.00%
1980 74,414 6.00%
1970 70,215 19.50%
1960 58,768 30.80%
1950 44,913 28.50%
1940 34,958 4.00%
1930 33,613 72.90%
1920 19,441 66.70%
1910 11,659 77.00%
1900 6,587 12.30%
1890 5,864 69.50%
1880 3,460 -18.70%
1870 4,255 81.00%
1860 2,351 0.00%

Santa Barbara Population in 2017 Source: Spyder Monkey

Santa Barbara Race Data

Race Population Percentage
White 67,020 74.74%
Black or African American 1,161 1.29%
American Indian and Alaska Native 446 0.50%
Asian 3,021 3.37%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 129 0.14%
Some Other Race 14,719 16.41%
Two or More Races 3,173 3.54%

Population Pyramid