Demographics of California
- 1 Population
- 2 National origin
- 3 Birth data
- 4 Languages
- 5 Religion
- 6 Income and socioeconomic factors
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
California is the most populated sub-national entity in North America. If it were an independent country, California would rank 34th in population in the world, it has a larger population than either Canada or Australia. Its population is one third larger than that of the next largest state, Texas. California surpassed New York to become the most populous state in 1962. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, California's population growth has slowed dramatically in the 21st century. In 2010, the state's five most populous counties were Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County, with Riverside County having the largest percentage increase in population; the largest metro areas in California, as of 2010, are Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, San Diego, Riverside-San Bernardino, and Sacramento. From 2006 until 2016, the state lost a net population of about 1 million people from domestic emigration; the plurality of whom moved to Texas, yet the population of the state continued to grow due to immigration from overseas.
As of 2006, California had an estimated population of 37,172,015, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 1,557,112 people ( i.e. 2,781,539 births minus 1,224,427 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 751,419 people. Immigration resulted in a net increase of 1,415,879 people, and migration from within the U.S. resulted in a net decrease of 564,100 people. California is the 13th fastest-growing state; as of 2008, the total fertility rate was 2.15. The most recent census reports the population of California as 39,144,818.
No single ethnic group forms a majority of California's population, making the state a minority-majority state. Hispanics (of any race) are the largest single ethnic group in the state. Spanish is the state's second most widely spoken language. Areas with especially large Spanish speaking populations include the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the California-Mexico border counties of San Diego and Imperial, and the San Joaquin Valley. Nearly 43% of Californian residents speak a language other than English at home, a proportion far higher than any other state.
California is home to almost 25% of the country's undocumented population, making up 6% of California's residents overall. Two-thirds of California's undocumented population have lived in the state for more than 10 years.
About 26% of California's public school students in the 2011–12 school year identified themselves as white (non-Hispanic), and 52% of the state's students identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino; the following ethnic groups that made up the statewide public school student body were Asians (11%), African Americans (7%), Native Americans (0.7%), and Pacific Islanders (0.6%). Students of mixed race made up about 2% of the public schools. Hispanics made up the majority of the state's public schools since 2010. Los Angeles Unified School District, the largest school district in California and second largest in the nation, is 73% Hispanic, 10% African American, 9% non-Hispanic Caucasian, 6% Asian, 0.5% Native American, and 0.4% Pacific Islander.
According to 2015 US Census Bureau estimates, California's population was 72.9% White, 14.7% Asian, 6.5% Black or African American, 1.7% Native Americans, 0.5% Pacific Islander and 3.8% from two or more races. By ethnicity, 38.8% of the total population is Hispanic-Latino (of any race) and 61.4% Non-Hispanic (of any race). Hispanics are the largest ethnic group in California.
In 2015, California had the largest ethnic/racial minority population in the United States. Non-Hispanic whites decreased from about 76.3 - 78% of the state's population in 1970 to 38.0% in 2015. While the population of minorities accounts for 100.7 million of 300 million U.S. residents, 20% of the national total live in California.
California has the highest number, and second highest percentage, of Asian Americans by state. Only Hawaii has a higher Asian American percentage than California. While New Mexico and Texas have higher percentages of Hispanics, California has the highest total number of Hispanics of any U.S. state. Hispanics are the largest single ethnic group in the state.
The largest named ancestries in California are Mexican (25%), German (9%), Irish (7.7%), English (7.4%) and Italian(5.8%); there are 65 other ethnicities with sizable populations in California including Albanians, Australians, Canadians, Haitians, and Somalis as examples. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco have large numbers of residents with English, French, Italian, German, Russian and Scandinavian ancestry.
California has the largest population of White Americans in the U.S., totaling 21,453,934 residents as of the 2010 census. The state has the fifth largest population of African Americans in the U.S., an estimated 2,299,072 residents. California's Asian population is estimated at 4.9 million, approximately one-third of the nation's estimated 15 million Asian Americans. California's Native American population of 285,512 is the third-largest of any state, behind Arizona and Oklahoma. Other estimates place the Native American population of California at one million.
|2000 (total population)||79.75%||7.65%||1.99%||12.39%||0.69%|
|2000 (Hispanic only)||30.79%||0.61%||0.85%||0.45%||0.13%|
|2005 (total population)||79.07%||7.45%||1.93%||13.47%||0.71%|
|2005 (Hispanic only)||33.59%||0.67%||0.84%||0.47%||0.13%|
|Growth 2000–05 (total population)||5.76%||3.90%||3.58%||16.01%||10.13%|
|Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only)||-0.91%||2.80%||1.87%||16.18%||9.65%|
|Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only)||16.36%||16.48%||5.87%||11.68%||12.29%|
|* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander|
Since the 2000 U.S. Census, California has been known as the second state in US history (after Hawaii since its statehood in 1959) to have a non-white majority, and since 2014, the first state to have a Latino plurality surpass other racial/ethnic groups. The media discussed the possibility of Latinos becoming a majority in the 21st century, for the first time since statehood (1850) when massive immigration of Anglo-Americans during the California Gold Rush of 1848-49 reduced Spanish speakers to 20 percent of the population.
California has the largest population of European Americans of any state. For example, in 2000 California had more Bulgarian Americans, Romanian Americans and Hungarian Americans than any other U.S. state. Los Angeles and San Francisco have large Russian American or Russian populations, as well Ukrainian Americans; and a long history of English, Irish, Italian, German, and Polish communities established by immigrants in the late 19th century. There are also many English Americans, Irish Americans, and French Americans whose ancestors were the original 49ers, also known as the California Gold Rush immigrants. There are also immigrant communities from the former Yugoslavia such as Bosnians, Croatians, Serbians and Macedonians.
California has over one million residents each with Spanish or Portuguese ancestry, with communities along coastal parts of the state such as San Diego, Long Beach, Camarillo, Santa Clara Valley (including Cupertino, Gilroy and San Jose), Salinas Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and San Joaquin Valley. A small wave of Danish, Dutch and Swedish immigrants founded towns like Lathrop near Stockton, Artesia near Los Angeles, Kingsburg south of Fresno, Solvang north of Santa Barbara in the late 1800s and the private community of Sveadal located 15 miles south of San Jose and populated entirely by members of the Swedish American Patriotic League. Small colonies of early 19th century Russian settlement under the Russian American Company are in Fort Ross, Calistoga and the Russian River Valley in Sonoma and Napa counties. Small Amish/Mennonite colonies exist in an area bordered by the towns Oakdale, Riverbank and Ripon near Modesto and in Reedley, Sanger and Orange Cove near Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley; and in the outer Salinas Valley.
The most important Italian community in California is in North Beach District at San Francisco; the 60% of californian italo-americans are from northern Italy. Others numerous groups are from Tuscany and Sicily.
Main Article: Hispanics and Latinos in California
Latinos, mainly Mexican Americans, form major portions of the population of Southern California, especially in Los Angeles, as well as the San Joaquin Valley; the city of Los Angeles is often said to be the largest Mexican community in the United States. Census records kept track of the growth since 1850, but Mexicans and Mexican-Americans have lived in California since Spanish Colonial times. However, the number and percentage population of Latinos living in California increased rapidly in the late 20th century; the result is that, today, Latinos are the largest ethnic group in Los Angeles County, at over 40 percent of the county's population. Latinos are predominantly concentrated in the older eastern and southern suburbs surrounding downtown Los Angeles and northern Long Beach, the southern/eastern San Fernando Valley, and the San Gabriel/Pomona Valleys, they also comprise sizable communities in Arvin, Bakersfield, Delano, El Monte, Fontana, Fresno, Indio, La Puente, Ontario, Oxnard, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San José, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Stockton, Vallejo, Watsonville and Yuba City. In Santa Ana in Orange County, Latinos comprise 75 percent of the population. Nearby Anaheim is over half Latino, and Orange County's population is 30-35 percent Latino.
The Imperial Valley on the U.S.-Mexican border is about 70–75% Latino; communities with many Latinos can also be found in Riverside County, especially at its eastern end, and the Coachella Valley. The Central Valley has many Mexican American migrant farm workers. Latinos are the majority in 14 counties: Colusa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Tulare and Yolo counties.
Latinos make up at least 20% of the San Francisco Bay Area. Many live in San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties, as well in San Francisco; the Napa Valley and Salinas Valley have predominantly Latino communities established by migrant farm workers. San Jose is about 30-35 percent Latino, the largest Latino community in northern California, while the Mission District, San Francisco and Lower/West Oakland has barrios established by Mexican and Latin American immigrants; the Mexican American communities of East Los Angeles and Logan Heights, San Diego, as well the San Joaquin Valley are centers of historic Chicano and Latino cultures.
California also has the largest populations of Hispanics/Latinos in the country. Most of the state's Latinos have Mexican ancestry, having the largest Mexican population in the United States, making up about 31 percent of the state population. California has a large and diverse population, having the largest Central American, especially Salvadorans population in the United States. Guatemalan Americans are spread out in Southern California after previously being centered in Los Angeles between 1970 and 2010. California also has many Cuban Americans, Puerto Ricans, Honduran Americans, and Nicaraguan Americans, along with people of Brazilian, Chilean, Colombian, Peruvian and other South American ancestry. Los Angeles has had the United States' largest Central American community, as well as the largest Mexican American community, since the 1910s. In fact, the 1900 census record finds 319 to 619 out of 100,000 residents in the city of Los Angeles were "Spanish" or "Mexican". (see Demographics of Los Angeles). Nearly 31 percent of Los Angeles itself is of Mexican descent, having the largest Mexican population of any city in the United States.
In Mariposa County, there is a very small community of Californios or Spanish American people as they identify themselves, that dates back before the U.S. annexation of California. Hornitos is home to an estimated 1,000 people and many are "Californios"; the community's "Spanish" Californio culture is closely linked with Mexico and other Latin American nations. Spanish colonial/Mexican/Latino influences was always a major part of California after it became part of the U.S. since 1848 and its statehood in 1850.
The state has a long history of established Asian American communities, including Chinese since the 1850s, Japanese since the 1880s, and Filipinos for over a century. A large wave of Asian immigration since 1965 brought in more Chinese along with Koreans and Southeast Asians after the Vietnam war ended in the late 1970s. South Asians are also a fast-growing group.
As of the 2010 Census there were a total of 17,941,286 respondents who claimed to be Asian American and Asian. Out of these respondents in the United States, 30.9% live in California, with 5,556,592 Asian Americans being counted by the 2010 Census. This is a 1.5 million growth in population from the 2000 census, making Asian Americans 14.9 percent of the state's population. Out of those almost 5.6 million Asian Americans in California there are 1,474,707 Filipinos, 1,349,111 Chinese, 647,589 Vietnamese, 590,445 Indians, 505,225 Koreans, 428,140 Japanese, 109,928 Taiwanese, 102,317 Cambodians, 91,224 Hmong, 69,303 Laotians, 67,707 Thais, 53,474 Pakistanis, 39,506 Borneons, Sumatrans, and Indonesians, 17,978 Burmese, 11,929 Sri Lankans, 10,494 Bangladeshis, 6,231 Nepalese, 5,595 Malaysians, 4,993 Mongolians, 1,513 Singaporeans, 1,377 Okinawans, and 750 Bhutanese.
Filipino Americans are particularly numerous in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego, San Mateo and Solano counties, and in southern California communities such as Artesia, Baldwin Park, Carson, Cerritos, Covina, West Covina, and the Eagle Rock district of Los Angeles. Around San Diego, many Filipinos live in the communities of Mira Mesa, National City, and Chula Vista. Delano near Bakersfield, other towns in the San Joaquin Valley, the Inland Empire of Riverside-San Bernardino, Coachella Valley-Imperial Valley region , Salinas, Stockton and Lathrop, and the Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo area also have large Filipino American populations. Daly City south of San Francisco has a large Filipino population and is the largest percentage wise in the United States; as of the 1980s, Filipinos have been the largest population of Asians in California. Twenty percent of registered nurses, in 2013, in California are Filipino.
Chinese Americans are numerous in San Francisco, Oakland, the East Bay, South Bay, the Central Coast of California, Sacramento, San Diego, and the San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County; the San Francisco Bay Area has a greater concentration of Cantonese-speaking Chinese than any other region in the United States. The Mexican border community of Calexico, California in addition to Mexicali has large numbers of Chinese Mexican Americans, that is, Mexican Americans of Chinese ancestry. Smaller Chinese communities can also be found in San Jacinto Valley, Lake Elsinore, and Victorville.
Southern California has perhaps the largest Taiwan-born Chinese American community in the U.S., particularly in the San Gabriel Valley (i.e. Walnut and Diamond Bar), Buena Park, Cerritos, West Covina, Irvine, communities in the South Bay, Los Angeles and southern Orange County. Many minority groups from China also live in California, for example, there are Tibetan, Mongolian and Uyghur Americans concentrated in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Orange County, and the Los Angeles/Long Beach area.
Large Korean American communities exist in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles, the eastern San Gabriel Valley, the San Fernando Valley, Cerritos/Long Beach, South Bay, Los Angeles, northern Orange County and San Diego area. There is another large Korean American population in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Koreans are growing in number in the suburban Inland Empire region, in cities such as Chino Hills, Corona, Desert Hot Springs and Loma Linda south of San Bernardino. Since 1990, the Korean American and African American populations relocated westward and northward in the Los Angeles area.
The South Bay area and Little Tokyo have a large Japanese American community. Japanese Americans, however, are also concentrated in San Francisco and across the Bay Area, San Jose, the Salinas Valley and Santa Cruz County; and smaller communities in the Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, Anaheim, San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Stockton areas. Despite the presence of Japanese goods stores, media outlets and restaurants in the state, most "Little Tokyos" and "Japantowns" were evacuated during the forced relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II (see Japanese American Internment); as a result, most Japanese Americans in urban areas do not reside in historical Japanese communities.
California has the largest American population of Southeast Asians, concentrated in the Los Angeles-Long Beach, Sacramento, and Fresno areas; this includes the Hmong and Vietnamese, including Chinese Vietnamese. Long Beach has one of the largest Cambodian American communities in the United States; the neighboring cities of Westminster and Garden Grove have the largest Vietnamese American community outside of Vietnam and are often dubbed "Little Saigon". Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants also settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, as well across the San Joaquin Valley and in San Diego.
Over 6,000 Laotian Americans live in the Fresno area, including an even larger Hmong American community, the second-largest of its kind. Other Hmong colonies in the Central Valley of California and Northern California developed since the end of the Vietnam war (1975–79).
California also has a Thai American community of over 250,000, concentrated in Southern California, with small Thai and Southeast Asian communities in Perris and Banning in the Inland Empire region. Los Angeles has the largest Thai population outside of Thailand and is also home to the world's first Thai Town. About 150,000 Indonesians live in Southern California, primarily the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.
California has the largest Indian American population in the U.S. Many live in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area; the Los Angeles suburbs of Artesia and Cerritos have large Indian American communities. San Jose, Fremont, and other Silicon Valley cities have many Indian Americans who are employed in the high-tech industry. Many Indian Americans are in Central Valley cities such as Stockton, Bakersfield, Fresno, Yuba City, and the Imperial Valley. Most South Asians in California are Indian American, but there are also Pakistani Americans, Bangladeshi Americans, and Sri Lankan Americans (see Sinhalese and Tamils) esp. concentrated in the San Gabriel Valley (Covina Valley) of the Los Angeles area.
Over 50,000 Afghan Americans are concentrated in the East Bay primarily in Alameda County and its communities of Fremont and Hayward; Afghans also live throughout the state (esp. Orange County and Ventura County).
The state has 150,000 residents with Pacific Islander ancestry. Most, 80,000, are Native Hawaiians of measurable Polynesian ancestry; many also have Asian, European, or other ancestries. There are also 25,000 Samoan Americans originally from American Samoa or Western Samoa. Most live in Long Beach and the Los Angeles suburbs of Carson, Artesia, Cerritos, and Redondo Beach, Oceanside, and Upland. About 10,000 Chamorros from Guam and Northern Mariana Islands live in northern California, the largest Micronesian community in the mainland United States. An estimated 10,000 Tahitians from French Polynesia live in southern California.
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There are also many Palauans in southern California, specifically in the San Diego area, including Vista. Only 677 in Vista alone in the 2010 US Census. Members of the Palauan community often also have Malay, Indonesian, Micronesian, Melanesian, Japanese, and other east Asian ancestries. Many Chuukese or Trukese live in San Diego, while the original settlers on Truk Island are Spanish and German but most Truukese now are Japanese and Korean, then Filipino and some Chinese, and finally the arrival of American expatriates. Many came to the Oceanside area due to the military installations around the city, which has the oldest Polynesian or Pacific Islander community.
Middle Eastern/North African Americans
The state also has over 715,000 Arab Americans, with large communities in Alameda, Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles (most in the state), Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, Sacramento and Stanislaus counties, they represent all Arab and Middle Eastern nationalities, the most numerous being of Gaza and West Bank (see Palestinian Americans) followed by those from Syria (see Syrian Americans) and Lebanon (about half- 1.5 out of 3.1 million estimated- (see Lebanese Americans) live in California), Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Arabs have resided in California since the 1920s, most notably in Orange County in the section of Little Arabia (Anaheim, California) and the San Diego area.
About 500,000 Iranian Americans live throughout Southern California, including about 20% of the population of Beverly Hills. Iranian American communities also flourish in the San Fernando Valley, Orange County, San Diego and the San Joaquin Valley; the majority of Iranian Americans immigrated after the ouster of the pro-U.S. Shah regime of Iran in the late 1970s.
There is also large population of Assyrian/Chaldean descent living in the Central Valley, with large communities in Modesto, Ceres and Turlock, as well as throughout the Central Coast and the California Desert (i.e. the Coachella and Imperial valleys). San Diego has one of the largest concentrations of Chaldean immigrants in the United States.
California is also home to 600,000 Armenian Americans, with many in Glendale north of Los Angeles, as well as a large community in Fresno; as of 1988 California had about 500,000 ethnic Armenians with over half of them living in Greater Los Angeles.
California has 2.3 million African Americans as of 2010, the largest population of Black or African Americans in the western U.S, and the 5th largest Black population in the United States. Cities that have the largest share of African Americans and have historically been Black cultural centers include (11 largest in the state): Compton, Inglewood, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Richmond, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego and Vallejo.
There are many other cities and towns in the state with sizeable African American populations; these include:
Southern: Adelanto, Altadena, Apple Valley, California City, Carson, Corona, Desert Hot Springs, Fontana, Gardena, Hawthorne, Lakewood, Lancaster, Lynwood, Moreno Valley, National City, Oceanside, Palmdale, Palm Springs, Pasadena, Perris, Pomona, Rialto, Twentynine Palms, and Victorville.
African Americans are approximately 7 percent of the state population; the state percentage of African Americans has dropped in the 1990s and 2000s, though the state's overall number of African-Americans has increased in that time period. The black population in East and West Oakland and South Central Los Angeles - places where they held the majority for decades - has greatly decreased as the black middle class has relocated to nearby suburbs, including those in the Inland Empire and Antelope Valley in Southern California and the Sacramento metropolitan area in Northern California. Many African Americans have also moved to the South, where their grandparents may have come from in the "Great Migration" of the mid-20th century.
African Americans have made a contribution to the state's hip-hop and R&B music culture. African-American musical artists born and/or raised in California include: Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, E-40, Nate Dogg, En Vogue, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Too Short, Eazy-E, N.W.A, Keyshia Cole, Digital Underground, JJ Fad, Barry White, The Pointer Sisters and Kendrick Lamar.
Also noted is California has small West Indian (Afro-Caribbean American) and African immigration from countries such as Cape Verde, Eritrea and Ethiopia (i.e. Little Ethiopia in West Los Angeles), Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa (including White South Africans), Tanzania and Yemen across from the Horn of Africa, they established communities in Los Angeles known for a large Ethiopian community and Oakland/Berkeley (East Bay) as well Nuer refugees from South Sudan migrated to the Sacramento area; and the Cape Verdean community in Solano County and the Santa Clara Valley, and the San Diego area.
Native American Indians
As of 2010, California's Native American population of 362,801 was the most of any state, it also has the most Native American tribes, indigenous to the state or not, but the majority of known Californian Indian tribes became extinct in the late 19th century. The U.S. Census includes Latin American Indian, especially immigrants who belonged to indigenous peoples or who have Amerindian heritage from North and South America.
The Cherokee Nation is the largest tribe in the state with a population of 110,000, although the number of Cherokee descendants may surpass 600,000 according to demographers, they are often descendants of Dust Bowl refugees in the 1930s and 1940s who migrated to the state's farming counties and urban areas for jobs. The largest urban American Indian communities are Los Angeles/Long Beach, San Francisco/Oakland, Sacramento, and San Diego areas.
California also has significant populations of the Apache, Choctaw, Creek, Hopi, Zuni, Navajo, Blackfeet, Shoshone, Paiute, Pueblos, Cahuilla and Chumash tribes; the Cahuilla in the Coachella Valley have profited from real estate land leases, and much of Indio and Palm Springs are tribal-owned lands under legal tribal jurisdiction.
|Census 1960||Census 1970||Census 1980||Census 1990||Census 2000||Census 2010|
|American Indians and Alaska Natives||39,014||0.2||91,018||0.5||201,369||0.9||242,164||0.8||333,346||1.0||372,539||1.0|
|Average population||Crude birth rate
|Crude death rate
|Non-Hispanic White||143,531 (29.0%)||144,318 (28.7%)||141,592 (28.8%)||132,780 (27.2%)||127,822 (27.1%)|
|Asian||76,424 (15.4%)||84,224 (16.7%)||80,269 (16.3%)||73,843 (15.1%)||72,049 (15.2%)|
|African||31,977 (6.5%)||31,654 (6.3%)||30,546 (6.2%)||23,936 (4.9%)||23,441 (5.0%)|
|Pacific Islander||...||...||...||1,851 (0.4%)||1,809 (0.4%)|
|American Indian||3,590 (0.7%)||3,509 (0.7%)||3,510 (0.7%)||1,447 (0.3%)||1,411 (0.3%)|
|Hispanic||238,496 (48.2%)||237,539 (47.2%)||234,237 (47.6%)||228,982 (46.8%)||220,122 (46.7%)|
|Total California||494,705 (100%)||502,879 (100%)||491,748 (100%)||488,827 (100%)||471,658 (100%)|
Note: Births in table do not add up, because Hispanics are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.
- Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
|Language||Percentage of population|
|Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin)||2.80%|
|Armenian and Persian (tied)||0.52% (each)|
|Hindi and Arabic (tied)||0.38% (each)|
As of 2010, 20,379,282 of California residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a primary language, while 10,672,610 spoke Spanish, 1,231,425 Chinese (which includes Cantonese and Mandarin), 796,451 Tagalog, 559,932 Vietnamese, 367,523 Korean, 192,980 Armenian, and Persian was spoken as a main language by 203,770 of the population over the age of five. In total, 14,644,136 of California's population age 5 and older spoke a mother language other than English.
Comparatively, according to the 2007 American Community Survey, 42.6 percent of California's population older than five spoke a language other than English at home, with 73 percent of those also speaking English well or very well, while 9.8 did not speak English at all.
California had the highest concentration of Vietnamese or Chinese speakers in the United States, second highest concentration of Korean or Spanish speakers in the United States, and third highest concentration of Tagalog speakers in the United States. California was historically one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world, and is home to more than 70 indigenous languages derived from 64 root languages in 6 language families. A survey conducted between 2007 and 2009 identified 23 different indigenous languages of Mexico that are spoken among California farmworkers.
Over 200 languages are known to be spoken and read in California, with Spanish used as the state's "alternative" language. California has more than 100 indigenous languages, making California one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world. All of California's indigenous languages are endangered, although there are now efforts toward language revitalization.[note 1]
The official language of California has been English since the passage of Proposition 63 in 1986. However, many state, city, and local government agencies still continue to print official public documents in numerous languages. For example, the California Department of Motor Vehicles offers the written exam for the standard C Class driver's license in 31 languages along with English, and the audio exam in 11 languages; the politics of language is a major political issue in the state, especially in regard to language policy controlling the teaching and official use of immigrant languages.
As a result of the state's increasing diversity and migration from other areas across the country and around the globe, linguists began noticing a noteworthy set of emerging characteristics of spoken English in California since the late 20th Century; this dialect, known as California English, has a vowel shift and several other phonological processes that are different from the dialects used in other regions of the country.
California has the most Roman Catholics in the United States, ahead of New York State, as well as large Protestant, non-religious, Jewish, and Muslim populations, it also has the largest Latter-day Saint population outside of Utah. The state also has a large American Jewish community, the largest in the western U.S., mainly concentrated in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento and Palm Springs. It also has large Muslim communities in west Los Angeles, San Diego, Beverly Hills, Orange County, Santa Clara County, and the Modesto area. Religions indigenous to California includes LaVeyan Satanism.
Most Roman Catholics in California are of Mexican, other Hispanic, Spanish, Irish, Italian and Filipino ancestry; the population of Catholic Californians is rapidly growing due to the influx of Latin American and Filipino immigrants. In the state, Roman Catholicism is highly represented among non-Hispanic European-Americans, but less represented among non-Hispanic African-Americans. Protestantism is the majority Christian denomination in non-Hispanic black and white groups.
The largest Christian denominations in California in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 10,079,310; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 529,575; and the Southern Baptist Convention with 471,119. Jewish congregations had 994,000 adherents, or 3% of the Californian population.
Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintō, Sikhism, and Taoism were introduced in part by Asian immigrants; as the twentieth century came to a close, forty percent of all Buddhists in America resided in Southern California. The Los Angeles metropolitan area has become unique in the Buddhist world as the only place where representative organizations of every major school of Buddhism can be found in a single urban center.[verification needed] The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Northern California and Hsi Lai Temple in Southern California are two of the largest Buddhist temples in the Western Hemisphere.
California has the highest Hindu population in the United States, most of them Indian Americans. Many of the prominent Hindu temples including the Malibu Hindu Temple are located in California.
With almost one million Jews, California has the highest number of Jews of any state except Florida and New York. Many Jews live in the West Los Angeles and (esp. west) San Fernando Valley regions of Los Angeles.  At the present time, one of California's Senators, Dianne Feinstein, is Jewish. Historic synagogues include Beth Jacob Congregation (Beverly Hills, California), Congregation B'nai Israel (Sacramento, California), and Temple Israel (Stockton, California). Chabad, The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, and Aish HaTorah are active in California.
California also has the largest Muslim community in the United States, an estimated one percent of the population, mostly residing in Southern California. Approximately 100,000 Muslims reside in San Diego.
California has more members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Temples than any state except Utah. Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have played important roles in the settlement of California throughout the state's history. For example, a group of a few hundred Latter-day Saint converts from the Northeastern United States and Europe arrived at what would become San Francisco in the 1840s aboard the ship Brooklyn, more than doubling the population of the small town. A group of Latter-day Saints also established the city of San Bernardino in Southern California in 1851. According to the LDS Church 2014 statistics, 780,200 Latter-day Saints reside in the state of California, attending almost 1400 congregations statewide.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is headquartered in Loma Linda in San Bernardino county 60 miles east of Los Angeles, where the church members form the majority of the town's population; the SDA church there has a university, a free hospital and a TV station (3ABN or the 3 Angels Broadcasting Network). The town is known for a large number of centenarians who live over 100 years of age.
A Pew Research Center survey revealed, however, that California is less religious than the rest of the United States: 62% of Californians say they are "absolutely certain" of the belief "in God or a universal spirit", while in the nation 71% say so; the survey also revealed that 48% of Californians say religion is "very important", while the figure for the U.S. in general is 56%.
South Indian style Malibu Hindu Temple
North Indian style BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills
Income and socioeconomic factors
California's income distribution is quite broad compared to the country's as a whole; its proportions of residents with no income and of residents with income over $100,000 are both higher than the national average; this broad distribution combined with high housing and living costs give California an abnormally high poverty rate. The Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, calculated by comparing household income to a locally-adjusted poverty threshold, reports that 20.7% of California's population has income insufficient for their basic needs, as compared to 12.9% for the U.S. as a whole. This calculation of income includes the benefits of California welfare programs such as food stamps and earned income tax credits — without these, the state's poverty rate would be 28%.
The trends of low income in California are complex; from 1975 to 2014, real (inflation-adjusted) incomes have alternated between rises and sharp declines; these incomes have decreased overall for those outside the top 20th percentile, with the bottom 20th percentile seeing an average decline of 1% per year during that period. Correspondingly, the percent of Californians with income below their poverty threshold has risen and fallen, but has on average increased by a tenth of a percentage point per year.
Increasing income inequality has had many effects on Californians' lives, including on life expectancy, which can be taken as a proxy for health or even general welfare. A study conducted by Clarke et al. related life expectancy to socioeconomic status (SES, an index including income and other related factors), finding that Californians in the top 20% by SES live on average six years longer than those in the bottom 20% (81 years, compared to 75). This disparity becomes even more pronounced when intersected with race: White males in the top 20% live 14 years longer than African American males in the bottom 20% (for females, the difference is 10 years).
The complexity of the state's low-income trends were visible when, in response to growing Chinese and Spanish-speaking populations, the city of Oakland implemented the nation's first policy of recruiting bilingual applicants for public-facing city jobs in 2001; this increased the employment of Hispanic and Chinese bilinguals throughout the public workforce, but also lowered (monolingual) Black employment.
Media related to Demographics of California at Wikimedia Commons
- The following are a list of the indigenous languages: Root languages of California: Athabaskan Family: Hupa, Mattole, Lassik, Wailaki, Sinkyone, Cahto, Tolowa, Nongatl, Wiyot, Chilula; Hokan Family: Pomo, Shasta, Karok, Chimiriko; Algonquian Family: Whilkut, Yurok; Yukian Family: Wappo; Penutian Family: Modok, Wintu, Nomlaki, Konkow, Maidu, Patwin, Nisenan, Miwok, Coast Miwok, Lake Miwok, Ohlone, Northern Valley Yokuts, Southern Valley Yokuts, Foothill Yokuts; Hokan Family: Esselen, Salinan, Chumash, Ipai, Tipai, Yuma, Halchichoma, Mohave; Uto-Aztecan Family: Mono Paiute, Monache, Owens Valley Paiute, Tubatulabal, Panamint Shoshone, Kawaisu, Kitanemuk, Tataviam, Gabrielino, Juaneno, Luiseno, Cuipeno, Cahuilla, Serrano, Chemehuevi
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