California Population 2023

40,223,504

California is a large state on the west coast of the United States that is home to one of the world's most diverse populations. At the last official United States census carried out in 2010, the population of California was declared at 37,253,956 which makes the state the most populous by a wide margin over 2nd place Texas (28 million).

Much of the population is centered in several large cities. California contains the second largest city (Los Angeles), 3 of the largest 10 cities (Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose), and the largest county (Los Angeles County) in the United States.

California is projected to surpass 40 million residents by 2019, and represents approximately 1 out of every 8 US citizens. By 2050, the population is projected to surpass 50 million.

California Area and Population Density

California is the 3rd largest state by area, putting its population density at 251.3 per square mile, which ranks 11th in the country. It is currently the 21st fastest growing state with a yearly growth rate of .61%. This growth rate has slowed somewhat in recent years however.

California Gender and Religion Statistics

The median age in California is 36 years, with 50.3% of the population being female and 49.6% being male.

In religious terms, 63% of Californians associate with a Christian based faith, 9% are affiliated with non-Christian faiths, and have a rate of 27% unaffiliated individuals.

California Boundary, Census and Statehood History

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 for the California population 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 approximately 6.3% of California’s population is made up of illegal immigrants.

California is larger than all but 35 countries in the world. It is also the second most populous national sub-entity, behind only Sao Paulo of Brazil.

California was the 31st in line to be admitted as a State in 1850. The historical first census of this state is noted because California also conducted a state census in 1852 in addition to the federal census of 1850. Both results are included in the 1850 census publications. The federal census of 1850 is missing Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties. They are included in the 1852 state census however.

California Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of California was:

  • White: 56.05%
  • Asian: 14.83%
  • Other race: 14.29%
  • Two or more races: 7.93%
  • Black or African American: 5.72%
  • Native American: 0.79%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.38%

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 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.

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 had changed significantly by 2016, with estimates 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.

California Population 2023

California Facts

Population

1M

2M

3M

4M

5M

6M

7M

8M

9M

10M

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 neighboring 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%.

California Population by County

Population by Race

White

Asian

Other race

Two or more races

Black or African American

Native American

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

California Population by Race

California Population Pyramid 2023

California Median Age

36.7

Total

35.6

Male

37.9

Female

California Adults

There are 30,389,382 adults, (5,644,497 of whom are seniors) in California.

California Age Dependency

59

Age Dependency Ratio

22.8

Old Age Dependency Ratio

36.2

Child Dependency Ratio

California Sex Ratio

Female19,783,14150.28%
Male19,562,88249.72%

California Population by Age

California Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

3.52

Average Family Size

2.94

Average Household Size

55.3%

Rate of Home Ownership

Married

Male

Female

NonFamily

owner

renter

California Households and Families

Male

Female

Less Than 9th Grade

9th to 12th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Associates Degree

Bachelors Degree

Graduate Degree

California Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

California Educational Attainment by Race

High School Graduation Rate

Bachelors Rate

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 95.12%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 53.63%.

California Educational Attainment by Race

All

Male

Female

$44,077

Average Earnings

$50,627

Average Male

$38,012

Average Female

California Earnings by Educational Attainment

California Language by Age

Only English

Spanish

Other Indo-European Languages

Asian and Pacific Island Languages

Other Languages

California Language

56.11% of California residents speak only English, while 43.89% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 28.33% of the population.

California Language

California Poverty by Race

rate

12.58%

Overall Poverty Rate

11.50%

Male Poverty Rate

13.63%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in California

The race most likely to be in poverty in California is Hispanic, with 27.42% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in California is White, with 11.13% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 2.53%. Among those working part-time, it was 13.80%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 20.97%.

California Poverty

California Poverty Rate by Education

California Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

California Income by Household Type

Households

Families

MarriedFamilies

NonFamilies

mean

median

Income by Household Type

California Marital Status

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

Marriage Rates

46.8%

Overall Marriage Rate

48.2%

Male Marriage Rate

45.5%

Female Marriage Rate

California Married by Age and Sex

male

female

California Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45-54.

California Marital Status by Race

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

California Marital Status

Second Gulf War

First Gulf War

Vietnam

Korea

World War II

1,525,746

Number of Veterans

1,397,619

Male Veterans

128,127

Female Veterans

California Veterans by War

California Veterans by Age

count

California Veterans by Race

California Veterans by Education

Less Than 9th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Bachelors or Greater

7.30%

Veteran Poverty Rate

29.47%

Veteran Disability Rate

California Veterans by Education

LaborForceParticipation

63.7%

Labor Force Participation

59.4%

Employment Rate

6.2%

Unemployment Rate

California Employment by Age

LaborForceParticipation

California Employment by Race

LaborForceParticipation

California Employment by Education

Origin of Non-Citizens

Europe

Asia

Africa

Oceania

Latin America

North America

Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

Europe

Asia

Africa

Oceania

Latin America

North America

55.71%

Born in California

73.05%

Native Born

26.47%

Foreign Born

12.47%

Non Citizen

14.00%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

73.05% of California residents were born in the United States, with 55.71% having been born in California. 12.47% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.

California Place of Birth

  1. California State Demographics
  2. California's Population
  3. US Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  4. US Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  5. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  6. Census QuickFacts
  7. Historical Populations of States and Counties (1790 - 1990)

Sources