SACRAMENTO December 13, 2012 – California's population grew by 256,000 between July 1, 2011 and July 1, 2012 to total more than 37.8 million persons, according to official population estimates released today by the Department of Finance. The current growth rate of 0.7 percent is about the same as last year's population growth, and continues the pattern of modest growth rates over the past few years.
As in the last decade, natural increase remains the primary source of the state's growth. The natural increase of 269,000 in the past year is composed of approximately 503,000 births minus 234,000 deaths. Births continued to decline statewide while deaths increased over the fiscal year. Net migration reduced the population by fewer than 14,000 residents. Net migration includes all legal and unauthorized foreign immigrants, residents who left the state to live abroad, and the balance of hundreds of thousands of people moving within the United States both to and from California. During the fiscal year, the state gained about 96,000 net foreign immigrants.
Since the national census on April 1, 2010, the state has grown by 572,000 persons. Much of the growth was concentrated in urban coastal counties, while most of the counties losing population were smaller counties located in more remote regions of the state.
Highlights of the July 1, 2012 county population report include:
- California has 58 counties ranging in size from Alpine County, with just over 1,100 residents to Los Angeles County with over 9.9 million residents.
- The state's nine largest counties, Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Alameda, Sacramento and Contra Costa each have over one million residents. These counties are home to about seven out of ten Californians.
- Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and Santa Clara counties posted the highest numeric population gains and accounted for over half of the state's growth. Growth in these counties was primarily due to natural increase with Orange, Riverside, and Santa Clara also posting gains in net migration.
- Placer, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Riverside, and San Benito counties had the largest percentage increases in population, each growing more than one percent. Population change ranged from the highest growth rate of 1.2 percent in Placer and Santa Clara to a -2.9 percent in Lassen.
- Natural increase was the primary source of growth in the state, however, 12 counties experienced natural decrease (more deaths than births during the year) – Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Lake, Mariposa, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Sierra, Siskiyou, Trinity, and Tuolumne.
Population estimates produced by the Department of Finance are mandated in the State Constitution and various codes. They are used by state agencies, California counties, academic institutions, private research organizations, the media, and the public. Primary uses include budgeting, needs assessment, program planning and evaluation, distribution of State funds, and the calculation of rates (such as birth, death, college-going, and incarceration).
Population estimates are made using aggregate data from a variety of sources, including birth and death counts provided by the Department of Public Health, number of driver's licenses and driver's license address change data from the Department of Motor Vehicles, housing unit data from local governments, school enrollment data from the Department of Education, and federal income tax return data from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. These statistical reports of administrative records do not disclose any information about individuals.
County ranking tables, maps, and the E-2 (California County Population Estimates and Components of Change by Year, July 1, 2010-2012) methodology and data tables are included. The E-2 and companion reports E-6 (Population Estimates and Components of Change by County, July 1, 2010- 2012) and E-7 (California Population Estimates, with Components of Change and Crude Rates, July 1, 1900-2012), are on the Department's website: http://www.dof.ca.gov/research/demographic/
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