California vs. United States
Comparative Trends Analysis:
Population Growth and Change, 1958-2023
Introduction
California vs. United States
California:
2023 Population = 38,965,193
2023 Percent of U.S. = 11.63%
U.S.:
2023 Population = 334,914,895
Attracting and retaining people to live, work, raise a family, and retire underlies the economic vitality of any region. Population growth is both a cause--and a consequence--of economic growth. Patterns of population growth and change reflect differences among regions to attract and retain people both as producers and consumers in their economy.
The following graphs offer a broad overview of trends in the pattern of population growth and change of California with comparisons to the nation at large. The data used are those compiled by the Regional Income and Product Divisions of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce.
Population, 1958-2023
Population, 1958-2023
Figure 1.
Figure 1 traces California's annual population for the period 1958-2023 to illustrate population patterns over time. During this 66-year period, California's population rose from 14,880,000 in 1958 to 38,965,193 in 2023, for a net gain of 24,085,193, or 161.86%.
NOTE: The state population totals reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) are from the Bureau of Census midyear (July 1) estimates. These estimates may differ from those prepared independently in some states by various agencies and/or universities.
Population Indices (1958=100): 1958-2023
Population Indices (1958=100): 1958-2023
Figure 2.
Figure 2 portrays California's population growth in a broader context by offering direct comparisons across time with the United States. The growth indices shown here express each region's population in 1958 as a base figure of 100, and the populations in later years as a percentage of the 1958 base figure. This method allows for more direct comparison of differences in population growth between regions that may differ vastly in size.
California's overall population growth was 161.86% over 1958-2023 outpaced the United States' increase of 92.31%.
Population as a Percent of the United States Total: 1958-2023
Population as a Percent of the United States Total: 1958-2023
Figure 3.
Another interesting and insightful way of comparing the population growth of California is to compare its individual percentage contributions to the United States' total population over time, as shown in Figure 3. A rising share means a region's population grew faster, or declined less, than the United States' population, while a declining share shows it grew more slowly.
In 1958, California's population totaled 8.54% of the United States' population, while in 2023 it totaled 11.63% thereby yielding a +3.09% share-shift.
   
 
Population Share-Shift
2023 vs. 1958
 
Share-
Shift*
 
2023
vs.
1958
+3.09%
=
11.63%
-
8.54%
 
   
California Population:
Annual Percent Change, 1959-2023
California Population:
Annual Percent Change, 1959-2023
Figure 4.
Figure 4 displays the short-run pattern of California's population growth by tracking the year-to-year percent change over 1959-2023. The average annual percent change for the entire 65-year period is also traced on this chart to provide a benchmark for gauging periods of relative high--and relative low--growth against the backdrop of the long-term average.
On average, California's population grew at an annual rate of 1.50% over 1959-2023. The state recorded its highest growth in 1961 (3.95%) and recorded its lowest growth in 2021 (-0.91%). In 2023, California's population declined by -0.19%
California Population:
Annual Percent Change and Decade Averages Over 1959-2023
California Population:
Annual Percent Change and Decade Averages Over 1959-2023
Figure 5.
Over the past six decades some states have experienced extreme swings in growth, and often such swings have tended to coincide with the decades themselves. Figure 5 again depicts the annual percent change in California's population since 1959, but this time they are overlayed with average growth rates for the decade of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020-2023.
During the 1960s, California's annual population growth rate averaged 2.46%. It averaged 1.67% in the 1970s, 2.31% in the 1980s, 1.38% in the 1990s, 0.99% during the 2000s, 0.68% throughout the 2010s, -0.37% thus far this decade (2020-2023).
Population Growth:
Average Annual Percent Change by Decade
Population Growth:
Average Annual Percent Change by Decade
Figure 6.
Figure 6 compares the decade average growth rates for California noted in the previous graph with the corresponding decade averages for the nation.
Relative to nationwide population growth trends, California registered above the nation during the 1960s (2.46% vs. 1.29%), topped the nation over the 1970s (1.67% vs. 1.10%), outpaced the nation during the 1980s (2.31% vs. 0.95%), outgained the nation throughout the 1990s (1.38% vs. 1.23%), recorded above the nation in the 2000s (0.99% vs. 0.95%), lagged the nation throughout the 2010s (0.68% vs. 0.74%), and recorded underneath the nation over 2020-2023 (-0.37% vs. 0.35%).
   
 
Population Growth:
Average Annual Percent Change
 
 
 
1.50
2.46
1.67
2.31
1.38
0.99
0.68
-0.37
-0.19
 
1.01
1.29
1.10
0.95
1.23
0.95
0.74
0.35
0.49
 
   

Interactive TableTip: To augment your analysis click on the column headers in the following table to rank and/or sort the data.

   
 
California:
Population, 1958-2023
 
1958
 
14,880,000
100.0
N
8.54
1959
 
15,467,000
103.9
3.94
8.73
1960
 
15,870,000
106.7
2.61
8.82
1961
 
16,497,000
110.9
3.95
9.02
1962
 
17,072,000
114.7
3.49
9.19
1963
 
17,668,000
118.7
3.49
9.38
1964
 
18,151,000
122.0
2.73
9.50
1965
 
18,585,000
124.9
2.39
9.61
1966
 
18,858,000
126.7
1.47
9.65
1967
 
19,176,000
128.9
1.69
9.72
1968
 
19,394,000
130.3
1.14
9.73
1969
 
19,711,000
132.5
1.63
9.79
1970
 
20,023,181
134.6
1.58
9.82
1971
 
20,345,575
136.7
1.61
9.84
1972
 
20,584,794
138.3
1.18
9.84
1973
 
20,867,737
140.2
1.37
9.87
1974
 
21,172,548
142.3
1.46
9.92
1975
 
21,536,715
144.7
1.72
10.00
1976
 
21,934,505
147.4
1.85
10.08
1977
 
22,350,247
150.2
1.90
10.17
1978
 
22,838,960
153.5
2.19
10.28
1979
 
23,255,069
156.3
1.82
10.36
1980
 
23,800,800
160.0
2.35
10.47
1981
 
24,285,933
163.2
2.04
10.58
1982
 
24,820,007
166.8
2.20
10.71
1983
 
25,360,023
170.4
2.18
10.85
1984
 
25,844,397
173.7
1.91
10.96
1985
 
26,441,107
177.7
2.31
11.11
1986
 
27,102,238
182.1
2.50
11.29
1987
 
27,777,160
186.7
2.49
11.46
1988
 
28,464,250
191.3
2.47
11.64
1989
 
29,218,165
196.4
2.65
11.84
1990
 
29,959,515
201.3
2.54
12.00
1991
 
30,470,736
204.8
1.71
12.04
1992
 
30,974,659
208.2
1.65
12.08
1993
 
31,274,928
210.2
0.97
12.03
1994
 
31,484,435
211.6
0.67
11.97
1995
 
31,696,582
213.0
0.67
11.90
1996
 
32,018,834
215.2
1.02
11.89
1997
 
32,486,010
218.3
1.46
11.92
1998
 
32,987,675
221.7
1.54
11.96
1999
 
33,499,204
225.1
1.55
12.01
2000
 
33,987,977
228.4
1.46
12.05
2001
 
34,479,458
231.7
1.45
12.10
2002
 
34,871,843
234.4
1.14
12.12
2003
 
35,253,159
236.9
1.09
12.15
2004
 
35,574,576
239.1
0.91
12.15
2005
 
35,827,943
240.8
0.71
12.12
2006
 
36,021,202
242.1
0.54
12.07
2007
 
36,250,311
243.6
0.64
12.03
2008
 
36,604,337
246.0
0.98
12.04
2009
 
36,961,229
248.4
0.97
12.05
2010
 
37,322,360
250.8
0.98
12.06
2011
 
37,650,514
253.0
0.88
12.07
2012
 
37,970,368
255.2
0.85
12.08
2013
 
38,291,358
257.3
0.85
12.09
2014
 
38,636,290
259.7
0.90
12.10
2015
 
38,966,055
261.9
0.85
12.11
2016
 
39,223,210
263.6
0.66
12.09
2017
 
39,424,071
264.9
0.51
12.07
2018
 
39,535,906
265.7
0.28
12.03
2019
 
39,547,996
265.8
0.03
11.98
2020
 
39,503,200
265.5
-0.11
11.92
2021
 
39,145,060
263.1
-0.91
11.79
2022
 
39,040,616
262.4
-0.27
11.71
2023
 
38,965,193
261.9
-0.19
11.63
Source: Calculations by the United States Regional Economic Analysis Project (US-REAP)
with data provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis
April 2024
REAP_PI_SA1400_100_PN
 
   

Interactive TableTip: To augment your analysis click on the column headers in the following table to rank and/or sort the data.

   
 
United States:
Population, 1958-2023
 
1958
 
174,153,000
100.0
N
1959
 
177,136,000
101.7
1.71
1960
 
179,972,000
103.3
1.60
1961
 
182,976,000
105.1
1.67
1962
 
185,739,000
106.7
1.51
1963
 
188,434,000
108.2
1.45
1964
 
191,085,000
109.7
1.41
1965
 
193,460,000
111.1
1.24
1966
 
195,499,000
112.3
1.05
1967
 
197,375,000
113.3
0.96
1968
 
199,312,000
114.4
0.98
1969
 
201,298,000
115.6
1.00
1970
 
203,798,722
117.0
1.24
1971
 
206,817,509
118.8
1.48
1972
 
209,274,882
120.2
1.19
1973
 
211,349,205
121.4
0.99
1974
 
213,333,635
122.5
0.94
1975
 
215,456,585
123.7
1.00
1976
 
217,553,859
124.9
0.97
1977
 
219,760,875
126.2
1.01
1978
 
222,098,244
127.5
1.06
1979
 
224,568,579
128.9
1.11
1980
 
227,224,719
130.5
1.18
1981
 
229,465,744
131.8
0.99
1982
 
231,664,432
133.0
0.96
1983
 
233,792,014
134.2
0.92
1984
 
235,824,907
135.4
0.87
1985
 
237,923,734
136.6
0.89
1986
 
240,132,831
137.9
0.93
1987
 
242,288,936
139.1
0.90
1988
 
244,499,004
140.4
0.91
1989
 
246,819,222
141.7
0.95
1990
 
249,622,814
143.3
1.14
1991
 
252,980,941
145.3
1.35
1992
 
256,514,224
147.3
1.40
1993
 
259,918,588
149.2
1.33
1994
 
263,125,821
151.1
1.23
1995
 
266,278,393
152.9
1.20
1996
 
269,394,284
154.7
1.17
1997
 
272,646,925
156.6
1.21
1998
 
275,854,104
158.4
1.18
1999
 
279,040,168
160.2
1.15
2000
 
282,162,411
162.0
1.12
2001
 
284,968,955
163.6
0.99
2002
 
287,625,193
165.2
0.93
2003
 
290,107,933
166.6
0.86
2004
 
292,805,298
168.1
0.93
2005
 
295,516,599
169.7
0.93
2006
 
298,379,912
171.3
0.97
2007
 
301,231,207
173.0
0.96
2008
 
304,093,966
174.6
0.95
2009
 
306,771,529
176.2
0.88
2010
 
309,378,433
177.6
0.85
2011
 
311,841,632
179.1
0.80
2012
 
314,344,331
180.5
0.80
2013
 
316,735,375
181.9
0.76
2014
 
319,270,047
183.3
0.80
2015
 
321,829,327
184.8
0.80
2016
 
324,367,742
186.3
0.79
2017
 
326,623,063
187.5
0.70
2018
 
328,542,157
188.7
0.59
2019
 
330,233,102
189.6
0.51
2020
 
331,526,933
190.4
0.39
2021
 
332,048,977
190.7
0.16
2022
 
333,271,411
191.4
0.37
2023
 
334,914,895
192.3
0.49
Source: Calculations by the United States Regional Economic Analysis Project (US-REAP)
with data provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis
April 2024
REAP_PI_SA1400_100_PN
 
   
Copyright © 2024. Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Analysis Project (PNREAP). All Rights Reserved.

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