California's population is estimated by the US Census Bureau at 36,756,666 for the year 2008, making it the most populous state. This includes a natural increase of 2,549,081 since the last census (4,498,700 births minus 1,949,619 deaths). During this time period, international migration produced a net increase of 1,825,697 people while domestic migration produced a net decrease of 1,378,706, resulting in a net in-migration of 446,991 people. The state of California's own statistics show a population of 38,292,687 for January 1, 2009.

California is the second-most-populous sub-national entity of the Western Hemisphere, exceeded only by São Paulo, Brazil. California's population is greater than that of all but 34 countries of the world. Also, Los Angeles County has held the title of most populous U.S. county for decades, and it alone is more populous than 42 U.S. states. The center of population of California is at the town of Buttonwillow in Kern County.

California has eight of the top 50 U.S. cities in terms of population. Los Angeles is the nation's second-largest city with a population of 3,849,378 people, followed by San Diego (8th), San Jose (10th), San Francisco, California (12th), Fresno (35th), Sacramento (36th), Long Beach (37th), and Oakland (44th). Additionally, the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Sacramento are the 2nd, 6th, 17th, and 23rd largest in the United States, respectively.

Racial and ancestral makeup
According to the 2005–2007 American Community Survey, California's population is:

• 59.7% White (including White Hispanic)
• 36.6% are Hispanic or Latino (of any race)
• 12.5% Asian
• 6.7% Black or African American
• 2.6% Multiracial
• 1.2% American Indian

With regard to demographics, California has the largest population of White Americans in the U.S., an estimated 21,892,718 residents, although most demographic surveys do not measure actual genetic ancestry. The state has the fifth-largest population of African Americans in the U.S., an estimated 2,273,292 residents. California's Asian American population is estimated at 4.6 million, approximately one-third of the nation's 15.2 million Asian Americans. California's Native American population of 375,093 is the most of any state.

According to estimates from 2005, California has the largest minority population in the United States, making up 57 percent of the state population. Non-Hispanic whites decreased from 80% of the state's population in 1970 to 43% in 2006. While the population of minorities accounts for 100.7 million of 300 million U.S. residents, 21% of the national total live in California.

Luciano Mende

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