San Luis Obispo, California Population 2020

47,572

San Luis Obispo is a city located in California. With a 2020 population of 47,572, it is the 189th largest city in California and the 831st largest city in the United States. San Luis Obispo is currently growing at a rate of 0.13% annually and its population has increased by 5.44% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 45,119 in 2010. Spanning over 13 miles, San Luis Obispo has a population density of 3,570 people per square mile.

The average household income in San Luis Obispo is $77,952 with a poverty rate of 31.84%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $1,461 per month, and the median house value is $617,200. The median age in San Luis Obispo is 26.2 years, 26 years for males, and 26.6 years for females. For every 100 females there are 104.1 males.

San Luis Obispo is a city located in the state of California. It is located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles in San Luis Obispo County. This city is one of the oldest in California, as it was founded in 1772.

San Luis Obispo Population Statistics

San Luis Obispo has a very diverse economy. Its top employer is California Polytechnic State University, which employs over 2,600 people. Other major employers include the County of San Luis Obispo, California Men’s Colony, Pacific Gas, and Electric and the Cal Poly Corporation.

San Luis Obispo Population Growth

San Luis Obispo’s population has continually grown since it was first established. In 1880, the city’s population was over 2,000. This number had more than doubled to over 5,000 when the 1910 census was taken. By 1950, the population exceeded 14,000 and at the time of the next census, had grown to over 20,000.

The city’s population experienced growth in the double-digit percentages until 2000, when it slowed slightly. However, it is continuing to grow at a steady and slow rate, with recent estimates showing that the population is up 5.3% since the last census was taken in 2010.

The Chumash people were the original inhabitants of the area that is now San Luis Obispo. In the 18th century, Gaspar de Portola's expedition entered the city. The name at the time was recorded as Canada de Los Osos. During the 1770s, missions were established throughout California, and it was decided that the area known as La Canada de Los Osos would become the fifth mission. In 1772, the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was built, and this would later become San Luis Obispo.

During its earliest history, the mission included a church, storerooms, barracks, the priests’ home, a mill, tannery and land for farming. After the Mexican War of Independence, there was a call for the secularization of California’s missions, although this didn’t occur until the 1830s. In 1834, the mission became a parish, and the land holdings were broken into land grants known as ranchos. Despite the land grants, the community remained in the same place and is now the center of the modern city of San Luis Obispo.

When California was annexed to the U.S. following the Mexican-American War, San Luis Obispo was incorporated as a town and was the first town in San Luis Obispo County. The town quickly earned a reputation of violence because of the robberies and murders that occurred and became known as Tiger-Town.

The town’s economy was thriving in the 1850s as the price of beef rose after gold was discovered. Cattle was a primary driver of the economy until a drought occurred in the 1860s. At that point, more of a focus was put on mined goods, agriculture and dairies.

The city continued to grow with the construction of the Pacific Coast Railway and roads. Growth continued through the 20th century with the addition of many new homes, businesses, and other establishments, although many historic buildings remain intact today. The Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa has been restored, and it is the city center, which is surrounded by shops, boutiques, and restaurants. The city is very appealing to visitors and residents of all ages particularly for its outdoor activities including hiking, diving, sailing, and surfing.

San Luis Obispo Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of San Luis Obispo was:

  • White: 84.19%
  • Asian: 5.80%
  • Other race: 3.80%
  • Two or more races: 3.62%
  • Black or African American: 2.20%
  • Native American: 0.40%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.00%
The current population of San Luis Obispo, California is 47,572, based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates. The US Census estimates the 2018 population at 47,446.The last official US Census in 2010 recorded the population at 45,119.

San Luis Obispo, California Population 2020

Year Total Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2020286,3541,1720.41%
2019285,1821,1720.41%
2018284,0101,1720.41%
2017282,8388800.31%
2016281,9581,7870.63%
2015280,1711,8750.67%
2014278,2962,5450.91%
2013275,7511,5670.57%
2012274,1843,1341.14%
2011271,0501,2450.46%
2010269,8050.00%

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White39,70284.19%
Asian2,7365.80%
Some Other Race1,7933.80%
Two or More Races1,7053.62%
Black or African American1,0372.20%
American Indian and Alaska Native1870.40%

San Luis Obispo Population Pyramid 2020

San Luis Obispo Median Age

26.2


Total

26


Male

26.6


Female

San Luis Obispo Adults

There are 40,989 adults, (5,896 of whom are seniors) in San Luis Obispo.

San Luis Obispo Age Dependency

34.4

Age Dependency Ratio

16.8

Old Age Dependency Ratio

17.6

Child Dependency Ratio

San Luis Obispo Sex Ratio

Female

23,102

48.99%

Male

24,058

51.01%

San Luis Obispo Households and Families

San Luis Obispo Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

San Luis Obispo Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married67.1%32.9%
Female46.1%53.9%
All38%62%
Male29.2%70.8%
Non Family23.2%76.8%

38.0%

Rate of Home Ownership

Type Count Average Size Owned
All18,7082.4538
Non Family11,1822.0423.2
Married5,6553.0367.1
Female1,0743.0946.1
Male7973.3929.2

2.93

Average Family Size

2.45

Average Household Size

7.1%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.4%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

San Luis Obispo Education

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade9663.94%
9th to 12th Grade8343.40%
High School Graduate2,85811.65%
Some College5,31621.67%
Associates Degree2,3849.72%
Bachelors Degree7,25529.57%
Graduate Degree4,91820.05%

San Luis Obispo Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White18,45617,9779,814
Hispanic3,9992,9701,174
Asian1,1621,017852
Other Race822613223
Black51439871
Multiple Races504468294
Native American1159732

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 97.40%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 73.32%.

Name Average Male Female
Overall$41,624$49,913$32,957
Less Than High School$18,074$23,382$11,696
High School Grad$28,451$30,417$23,052
Some College$33,515$36,787$29,273
Bachelors Degree$51,867$63,735$38,980
Graduate Degree$69,063$83,427$55,143

$41,624

Average Earnings

$49,913

Average Male

$32,957

Average Female

San Luis Obispo Language

San Luis Obispo Language by Age

San Luis Obispo Language

83.03% of San Luis Obispo residents speak only English, while 16.97% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 11.29% of the population.

San Luis Obispo Poverty

San Luis Obispo Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White32,52310,63532.70%
Hispanic8,5092,20825.95%
Asian2,63998537.32%
Multiple1,67557034.03%
Other1,76853730.37%
Black1,00132332.27%
Native1872111.23%

31.84%

Overall Poverty Rate

31.16%

Male Poverty Rate

32.55%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in San Luis Obispo

The race most likely to be in poverty in San Luis Obispo is Asian, with 37.32% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in San Luis Obispo is Native, with 11.23% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.02%. Among those working part-time, it was 53.49%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 41.55%.

Name Poverty
Less Than High School18.81%
Some College14.43%
High School10.68%
Bachelors or Greater5.68%
Name Poverty
Male Unemployed63.41%
Female Unemployed46.19%
Female Employed28.68%
Male Employed20.03%

San Luis Obispo Income

San Luis Obispo Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$52,740$77,952
Families$94,222$119,482
Married Families$112,565$136,729
Non Families$30,487$48,094

San Luis Obispo Marital Status

San Luis Obispo Marital Status

Marriage Rates

29.5%

Overall Marriage Rate

29.0%

Male Marriage Rate

29.9%

Female Marriage Rate

San Luis Obispo Married by Age and Sex

San Luis Obispo Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is 55-64, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35-44.

San Luis Obispo Marital Status by Race

San Luis Obispo Veterans

1,631

Number of Veterans

1,535

Male Veterans

96

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam600
Korea288
Second Gulf War221
First Gulf War163
World War II113
Name Veterans % of Total
White1,4994.27%
Hispanic741.13%
Black395.22%
Asian321.34%
Other292.11%
2 or More181.50%
Indian149.79%

$San Luis Obispo Veterans by Education

8.30%

Veteran Poverty Rate

34.96%

Veteran Disability Rate

San Luis Obispo Employment Status

61.6%

Labor Force Participation

59.2%

Employment Rate

3.8%

Unemployment Rate

San Luis Obispo Place of Birth

Origin of Non-Citizens

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

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

66.41%

Born in California

90.64%

Native Born

9.36%

Foreign Born

4.93%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

90.64% of San Luis Obispo residents were born in the United States, with 66.41% having been born in California. 4.93% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.

Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
202047,572630.13%
201947,509630.13%
201847,44650.01%
201747,441630.13%
201647,3783090.66%
201547,0695381.16%
201446,5312410.52%
201346,2905161.13%
201245,7743860.85%
201145,3881870.41%
201045,2011,0270.23%
200044,1742,2160.52%
199041,9587,7062.05%
198034,2526,2162.02%
197028,0367,5993.21%
196020,4376,2573.72%
195014,1805,2994.79%
19408,8816050.71%
19308,2762,3813.45%
19205,8957381.35%
19105,1572,1365.49%
19003,021260.09%
18902,9957522.93%
18802,2430.00%