Santa Cruz, California Population 2023

63,859

Santa Cruz is a city located in Santa Cruz County California. It is also the county seat of Santa Cruz County. With a 2023 population of 63,859, it is the 146th largest city in California and the 664th largest city in the United States.Santa Cruz is currently growing at a rate of 0.47% annually and its population has increased by 1.43% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 62,956 in 2020. Spanning over 16 miles, Santa Cruz has a population density of 5,012 people per square mile.

The average household income in Santa Cruz is $109,733 with a poverty rate of 19%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in Santa Cruz is 28.1 years, 28.2 years for males, and 27.8 years for females.

Santa Cruz is a city located in the state of California. It serves as the county seat for Santa Cruz County, and it is also the most populous city within the county. The city has developed a reputation for its alternative lifestyles and socially liberal way of life.

Santa Cruz Population Statistics

Santa Cruz’s top employer is the University of California at Santa Cruz, which provides jobs to over 7,600 people. The County of Santa Cruz, City of Santa Cruz, Plantronics and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk are other top employers in the city.

Santa Cruz Population Growth

Santa Cruz’s population has experienced steady growth since it was founded. The population during the 19th century rose to over 5,500 people. This number doubled in 1910. A slight population decline occurred in 1920, but by the next census, the population was on the upswing once again. The population grew to over 25,000 according to the 1960 poll and had more than doubled by the year 2000. The most recent estimates show that the community has risen by 7.5% since the 2010 census, indicating that more growth is in this city’s future.

The area that is now Santa Cruz was first inhabited by the Awaswas Natives. Many tribes resided within this area, and the Europeans called them the Costanoan people. The Europeans first came to Santa Cruz in 1602 during an expedition. It was only in the late 18th century when Father Fermin Lasuen established La Mision de la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz – or Mission Santa Cruz – as the 12th mission to be found in California. Later, Governor Diego de Borica established Villa de Branciforte at what is now Santa Cruz. This town was only one of three towns built in the state through the Spanish colonial period.

Mexico assumed control of the mission in the 1820s, and the government tried to change the name to Pueblo de Figueroa. However, this didn’t stick, and the name remained Santa Cruz. Mission lands were broken into land grants during the 1830s and 1840s. It was also during the 1840s when immigrants began coming to Santa Cruz. When the territory was ceded to the United States following the Mexican-American War, California became a state in 1850. That year, Santa Cruz County was established, and Santa Cruz was incorporated as a town 16 years later.

During the 19th century, Elihu Anthony came to the area and helped the city grow and thrive with the establishment of a Protestant church, commercial blocks, and a blacksmith foundry. In the latter half of the 19th century, the railroad lines helped boost industry and population. During the Civil War, a powder mill was an essential part of the economy. They are located along the San Lorenzo River, this mill manufactured smokeless powder used by the U.S. military. The mill was in operation through 1914.

In the 20th century, Santa Cruz began to build a reputation as being a city of social activism. The Resource Center for Nonviolence was established in 1976. In the 1990s, Santa Cruz designated itself as a nuclear-free zone, and its city council was the first to denounce the Iraq War in 2003. The city also has progressive views and supports alternative lifestyles. It was one of the first cities in the country to approve medicinal marijuana, and it has the site of many protests, rallies, and even riots in 2010 that resulted in property damages of more than $100,000.

The city is home to the University of California Santa Cruz. It is also a popular tourist destination, with people coming from all over to view such sites as the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and the redwood forests. The city’s economy primarily centers on tourism, education, technology, and agriculture.

Santa Cruz Demographics

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

  • White: 72.58%
  • Asian: 10.34%
  • Two or more races: 7.74%
  • Other race: 6.45%
  • Black or African American: 2.12%
  • Native American: 0.7%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.07%
The current population of Santa Cruz, California is 63,859 based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates.The last official US Census in 2020 recorded the population at 62,956.

Santa Cruz, California Population 2023

Santa Cruz Metro Area Population by Year

Population by Race

White

Asian

Two or more races

Other race

Black or African American

Native American

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

Santa Cruz Population by Race

Santa Cruz Population Pyramid 2023

Santa Cruz Median Age

28.1

Total

28.2

Male

27.8

Female

Santa Cruz Adults

There are 56,773 adults, (8,117 of whom are seniors) in Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz Age Dependency

33.6

Age Dependency Ratio

16.7

Old Age Dependency Ratio

16.9

Child Dependency Ratio

Santa Cruz Sex Ratio

Female32,88850.59%
Male32,12349.41%

Santa Cruz Population by Age

Santa Cruz Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

2.96

Average Family Size

2.41

Average Household Size

46.3%

Rate of Home Ownership

Married

Male

Female

NonFamily

owner

renter

Santa Cruz Households and Families

Male

Female

Less Than 9th Grade

9th to 12th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Associates Degree

Bachelors Degree

Graduate Degree

Santa Cruz Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Santa Cruz 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 69.19%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among white people with a rate of 41.82%.

Santa Cruz Educational Attainment by Race

All

Male

Female

$52,836

Average Earnings

$64,099

Average Male

$42,295

Average Female

Santa Cruz Earnings by Educational Attainment

Santa Cruz Language by Age

Only English

Spanish

Other Indo-European Languages

Asian and Pacific Island Languages

Other Languages

Santa Cruz Language

73.28% of Santa Cruz residents speak only English, while 26.72% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 14.31% of the population.

Santa Cruz Language

Santa Cruz Poverty by Race

rate

19%

Overall Poverty Rate

17.57%

Male Poverty Rate

22.66%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Santa Cruz

The race most likely to be in poverty in Santa Cruz is Other, with 34.88% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Santa Cruz is Islander, with 6.25% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 2.86%. Among those working part-time, it was 32.5%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 32.23%.

Santa Cruz Poverty

Santa Cruz Poverty Rate by Education

Santa Cruz Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Santa Cruz Income by Household Type

Households

Families

MarriedFamilies

NonFamilies

mean

median

Income by Household Type

Santa Cruz Marital Status

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

Marriage Rates

29.4%

Overall Marriage Rate

31.1%

Male Marriage Rate

27.8%

Female Marriage Rate

Santa Cruz Married by Age and Sex

male

female

Santa Cruz 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.

Santa Cruz Marital Status by Race

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

Santa Cruz Marital Status

Second Gulf War

First Gulf War

Vietnam

Korea

World War II

1,831

Number of Veterans

1,654

Male Veterans

177

Female Veterans

Santa Cruz Veterans by War

Santa Cruz Veterans by Age

count

Santa Cruz Veterans by Race

Santa Cruz Veterans by Education

Less Than 9th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Bachelors or Greater

13.56%

Veteran Poverty Rate

34.14%

Veteran Disability Rate

Santa Cruz Veterans by Education

LaborForceParticipation

63%

Labor Force Participation

58.6%

Employment Rate

6.9%

Unemployment Rate

Santa Cruz Employment by Age

LaborForceParticipation

Santa Cruz Employment by Race

LaborForceParticipation

Santa Cruz 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

63.93%

Born in Santa Cruz

89.12%

Native Born

14.14%

Foreign Born

8.04%

Non Citizen

6.1%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

89.12% of Santa Cruz residents were born in the United States, with 63.93% having been born in California. 8.04% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Asia.

Santa Cruz Place of Birth

Note: data after 2020 is projected based on recent growth

Santa Cruz Population by Year