San Luis Obispo, California Population 2024

49,757

San Luis Obispo is a city located in San Luis Obispo County California. San Luis Obispo has a 2024 population of 49,757. It is also the county seat of San Luis Obispo County.San Luis Obispo is currently growing at a rate of 1.44% annually and its population has increased by 5.52% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 47,152 in 2020.

The average household income in San Luis Obispo is $102,391 with a poverty rate of 31.47%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in San Luis Obispo is 25.2 years, 24.5 years for males, and 27.2 years for females.

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: 79.13%
  • Two or more races: 10.29%
  • Asian: 5.5%
  • Other race: 3.2%
  • Black or African American: 1.32%
  • Native American: 0.5%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.06%
Land Area (mi²)
13.3 sq mi
Density (mi²)
3,733.60/sq mi
Growth Since 2020
5.52% (2,605)
The current population of San Luis Obispo, California is 49,757 based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates.The last official US Census in 2020 recorded the population at 47,152.

San Luis Obispo, California Population 2024

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San Luis Obispo Metro Area Population by Year

Population by Race

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Race
Population
Percentage (of total)
White37,60879.13%
Two or more races4,89210.29%
Asian2,6135.5%
Other race1,5203.2%
Black or African American6271.32%
Native American2400.5%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander290.06%
showing: 7 rows

White

Two or more races

Asian

Other race

Black or African American

Native American

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

San Luis Obispo Population by Race

San Luis Obispo Population Pyramid 2024

San Luis Obispo Median Age

25.2

Total

24.5

Male

27.2

Female

San Luis Obispo Adults

There are 42,514 adults, (6,397 of whom are seniors) in San Luis Obispo.

San Luis Obispo Age Dependency

31.6

Age Dependency Ratio

17.7

Old Age Dependency Ratio

13.9

Child Dependency Ratio

San Luis Obispo Sex Ratio

Female23,43049.3%
Male24,09950.7%

San Luis Obispo Population by Age

San Luis Obispo Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Household Type
Count
Average Size
Owner
Renter
All19,2542.393862
Non Family11,4822.0720.679.4
Married5,7562.8873.826.2
Female1,2372.774258
Male7792.9723.976.1
showing: 5 rows

2.74

Average Family Size

2.39

Average Household Size

38.0%

Rate of Home Ownership

Married

Male

Female

NonFamily

owner

renter

San Luis Obispo Households and Families

Male

Female

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Less Than 9th Grade

9th to 12th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Associates Degree

Bachelors Degree

Graduate Degree

San Luis Obispo Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

San Luis Obispo Educational Attainment by Race

High School Graduation Rate

Bachelors Rate

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The highest rate of high school graduation is among islander people with a rate of 100%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 67.57%.

San Luis Obispo Educational Attainment by Race

All

Male

Female

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$56,620

Average Earnings

$68,645

Average Male

$51,124

Average Female

San Luis Obispo Earnings by Educational Attainment

San Luis Obispo Language by Age

Only English

Spanish

Other Indo-European Languages

Asian and Pacific Island Languages

Other Languages

San Luis Obispo Language

82.6% of San Luis Obispo residents speak only English, while 17.4% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 10.06% of the population.

San Luis Obispo Language

San Luis Obispo Poverty by Race

rate

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Name
Total
In Poverty
Poverty Rate
White32,5929,46929.05%
Hispanic8,2702,66632.24%
Multiple4,7731,66634.9%
Asian2,5651,22247.64%
Other1,50653635.59%
Black62538661.76%
Native239218.79%
showing: 7 rows

31.47%

Overall Poverty Rate

32.48%

Male Poverty Rate

30.43%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in San Luis Obispo

The race most likely to be in poverty in San Luis Obispo is Black, with 61.76% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in San Luis Obispo is Native, with 8.79% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 6.43%. Among those working part-time, it was 51.99%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 35.29%.

San Luis Obispo Poverty

rate

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Rate
Poverty
Less Than 9th Grade31.89%
High School19.99%
Some College6.89%
Bachelors or Greater4.51%
showing: 4 rows

San Luis Obispo Poverty Rate by Education

rate

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Rate
Poverty
Male Unemployed63.51%
Female Unemployed36.75%
Female Employed27.99%
Male Employed20.91%
showing: 4 rows

San Luis Obispo Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

San Luis Obispo Income by Household Type

Households

Families

MarriedFamilies

NonFamilies

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mean

median

Income by Household Type

San Luis Obispo Marital Status

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

Marriage Rates

28.0%

Overall Marriage Rate

28.0%

Male Marriage Rate

28.0%

Female Marriage Rate

San Luis Obispo Married by Age and Sex

male

female

San Luis Obispo Marriage

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

San Luis Obispo Marital Status by Race

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

San Luis Obispo Marital Status

Second Gulf War

First Gulf War

Vietnam

Korea

World War II

1,548

Number of Veterans

1,396

Male Veterans

152

Female Veterans

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San Luis Obispo Veterans by War

count

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San Luis Obispo Veterans by Age

count

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San Luis Obispo Veterans by Race

San Luis Obispo Veterans by Education

Less Than 9th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Bachelors or Greater

5.32%

Veteran Poverty Rate

34.59%

Veteran Disability Rate

San Luis Obispo Veterans by Education

LaborForceParticipation

62.5%

Labor Force Participation

58.2%

Employment Rate

6.9%

Unemployment Rate

San Luis Obispo Employment by Age

LaborForceParticipation

San Luis Obispo Employment by Race

LaborForceParticipation

San Luis Obispo 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

68.2%

Born in San Luis Obispo

91.95%

Native Born

8.05%

Foreign Born

3.87%

Non Citizen

4.18%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

91.95% of San Luis Obispo residents were born in the United States, with 68.2% having been born in California. 3.87% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.

San Luis Obispo Place of Birth

Note: data after 2022 is projected based on recent change

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Year
Population
Growth
Growth Rate
202953,2977081.35%
202852,5897081.36%
202751,8817081.38%
202651,1737081.4%
202550,4657081.42%
202449,7577081.44%
202349,0497081.46%
202248,3417081.49%
202147,6334811.02%
202047,152-256-0.54%
201947,408-13-0.03%
201847,421-21-0.04%
201747,4422200.47%
201647,2223160.67%
201546,9064200.9%
201446,4863540.77%
201346,1323890.85%
201245,7433540.78%
201145,3891960.43%
201045,1931,0192.31%
200044,1742,2165.28%
199041,9587,70622.5%
198034,2526,21622.17%
197028,0367,59937.18%
196020,4376,25744.13%
195014,1805,29959.67%
19408,8816057.31%
19308,2762,38140.39%
19205,89573814.31%
19105,1572,13670.71%
19003,021260.87%
18902,99575233.53%
18802,243
showing: 33 rows

San Luis Obispo Population by Year