By now you’ve probably heard that California, while still by far the most populous state in the country, isn’t growing as fast as the rest of the country. The reversal of a decades-long boom, which will take California’s first congressional seat, was initially documented in a preview of census data this spring.
But when the US Census Bureau released its 2020 survey data in full last week, it revealed a more complicated, nuanced picture of how California — and the 39.5 million of us who call the state home — has changed over the past decade.
Here are five key takeaways:
White people are no longer the largest group
In 2020, more than 39 percent of Californians identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino, compared to the roughly 35 percent who said they were white and not Hispanic, my colleague Jill Cowan reported.
The shift makes California one of only five states or territories where whites are not the largest group. The others are Hawaii, New Mexico, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.
Asians are among the fastest growing ethnic groups
The percentage of Californians who identify as Asian or part Asian grew by more than 27 percent between 2010 and 2020, one of the largest increases among ethnic groups.
By comparison, the proportion of Californians who identified as black or partially black rose 5 percent.
California has long been home to a higher proportion of Asian residents than the rest of the nation. In 2020, about 18 percent of Californians identified as Asian or part Asian, compared to 7 percent nationwide.
Most stunning are four of the top five rural counties with the highest proportion of Asian residents in California: Santa Clara, San Francisco, Alameda, and San Mateo.
The state did not grow equally
California grew by 2.3 million residents over the past decade — an increase of about 6 percent — but that increase was not evenly distributed across the state.
Los Angeles County, which is still the most populous with more than 10 million residents, saw a 2 percent increase, while many other rural counties grew more than 10 percent.
Here are some of the winners and losers, in terms of population changes:
Counties with the greatest percentage population growth: Trinity (17 percent increase), San Benito, Placer, San Joaquin, Yuba
Counties with the greatest numerical population growth: Riverside (additional 228,544 people), San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange, Alameda
Counties with the greatest percentage population decline: Modoc (10 percent decline), Mono, Lassen, Mariposa, Butte
Counties with the largest numerical population decline: Butte (8,368 fewer people), Lassen, Mariposa, Mono, Modoc
San Francisco is the most childless city in the US
Of the 100 most populous cities in the country, San Francisco has the smallest proportion of residents under the age of 18, as first reported by The San Francisco Chronicle.
Thirteen percent of San Francisco’s population is under the age of 18, compared to 22 percent in the state as a whole and nationwide. The long-standing trend in San Francisco is often attributed to the region’s extremely high cost of living, the paper reports.
California is the second most diverse state in the country
There is about a 70 percent chance that two randomly selected California residents would be of different ethnic or racial backgrounds, according to census data. When it comes to this statistic, known as the Diversity Index, California ranks second in the country after Hawaii.
Both Solano and Alameda provinces are among the 10 most diverse provinces in the country. Find out how California’s counties are doing.
what we eat
Tejal Rao, California restaurant critic for The Times, has started a newsletter devoted to the joys of vegetarian cooking. The pasta with kale sauce in the first edition is delicious.
Where we are traveling
Today’s California travel tip comes from John Le Pouvoir, a reader who lives in Pollock Pines. John writes:
In this era of climate change, here’s a ‘see it before it’s gone’ idea. Jot Dean Ice Cave. All the way north, in the Medicine Lake Highlands volcanic area.
Tell us about the best places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected] We will share more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or student, I’d love to hear from you about the first day of school.
Please send me a few sentences about your (or your child’s) return to class, including your name, school, age and class if applicable. Your response may be published in a subsequent edition of the newsletter.
Joy, anger, fear, boredom – I want to hear it all. Email me at [email protected].
And before you go, good news
A new ice rink in East Oakland offers opportunities for fun while the neighborhood is rejuvenated, reports The Oaklandside news site.
On a recent Sunday at the rink, where songs from Beyoncé and E-40 were booming, “everyone in attendance seemed to be feeling the vibes.”