Population density map (scale is in inhabitants per square mile)
According to ACRONYMMONSTER.COM, California had a population of 39,557,045 in 2018. This makes California (since 1962) the largest state in the US in terms of population. Had California been an independent country, it would have taken 35th place in the world rankings. In addition, due to high natural population growth and high immigration from abroad (particularly from neighboring Mexico), the population continues to grow relatively rapidly (approximately half a million per year), compared to most other states. However, domestic immigration is lower than domestic emigration: more people move from California to other states than vice versa.
Eight of the fifty largest American cities are located in California: Los Angeles (4 million inhabitants, second largest city in the US), San Diego (1.4 million inhabitants, eighth), San Jose (1.0 million inhabitants, tenth), San Francisco (0.9 million inhabitants, twelfth), Fresno (0.5 million inhabitants), Sacramento (0.5 million inhabitants), Long Beach (0.5 million inhabitants) and Oakland (0.4 million inhabitants).
Multi-ethnic crowd surrounding a street performer displaying his break dancing skills, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco
The American Community Survey between 2006 and 2008 shows that during that period 58.8% of California residents were white Americans (nearly 22 million people, 42.3% without white Hispanics), 35.9% Hispanics, 12.3 % Asian Americans (about 4.5 million people), 6.2% African Americans (about 2.2 million people), and 0.7% Indians. In addition, there are several smaller population groups, including Filipinos, Iranians, Koreans, Japanese and Vietnamese.
California is one of four states where white Americans without Hispanics do not make up a majority of the population, although it is the state with the most white American residents. In 1994 Hispanics (Latinos) made up about 30% of the population, but only 12% of the citizens who exercised the right to vote in elections.
The state has a rapidly growing percentage of Hispanics thanks to migration from Mexico in particular. These migrants settled mainly in the south of the state, around the cities of San Diego and Los Angeles. Mariposa County still has a very small community of Californios, Hispanic residents descended from Mexican settlers before joining the United States. The Chinese population came to California around 1850, during the gold rush. California has about a third of all Asian Americans in the US and San Francisco and the Bay Area in particular have large Asian communities. In 2006, the state of California had a population of 696,600 who considered themselves one of the indigenous Indian groups. This makes it the state with the largest numbernative Americans.
Catholic Cathedral in San Jose
It is estimated that more than two hundred languages are spoken in the state of California, including many Native American languages. This makes it linguistically probably one of the most diverse areas in the world. English has been the official language of the California government since 1986, although virtually all official government documents are also available in Spanish. English is also the most common language: in 2005 it was the mother tongue of about 57.59% of the population. For 28.21% it was Spanish, a language that is common in everyday use, especially in southern California. In addition, in 2005 of the California population, 2.04% was Filipino, 1.4% Vietnamese, 1.05%Korean, 0.63% Cantonese and 0.43% Mandarin as native languages. It is estimated that originally twice as many indigenous languages existed in the state. The surviving indigenous languages all have endangered status, despite efforts to revive them.
English has only been widely present in California since the gold rush. In the beginning, accents will mainly be influenced by the immigrants’ native languages. Linguistic studies surrounding World War II have not yet revealed any difference between the English spoken in California and that of other parts of the western United States. Today, however, some linguists speak of their own dialect. Examples of typical Californian words include “awesome” (too crazy), “hapa” (a person of multi-ethnic descent), “totally” (totally), and “dude” (dude). Because of the dominance of the Hollywood media and film industry, Californian English has a major influence over that in the rest of the United States and even the rest of the world.
Interior of Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove (Reformed Church), an example of a California megachurch
About two-thirds of California residents are religious, making the state less religious than the average of all 50 states. The largest faith community in California is the Roman Catholic Church, with more than 10 million members, mainly among the Hispanic (Hispanics) population. Other Christian groups include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and the Southern Baptist Convention, both of which have more than half a million members in California. There are a number of Protestant Christian megachurches in California. For example, the Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, the headquarters of theInternational Church of the Foursquare Gospel, accommodates over 5,000 believers.
Christian groups played an important role in the American colonization of California, such as Mormon settlers founded the city of San Bernardino and settled the settlement of Yerba Buena, later San Francisco.
There are approximately one million Muslims and one million Jews in California. The city of Los Angeles has 550,000 Jewish residents, making it the second largest Jewish city in North America after New York.
California also has a large Buddhist community, especially among the Asian part of the population. The Hsi Lai Temple near Los Angeles and the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah are among the largest Buddhist temples outside of Asia.