San Luis Obispo, California Population and Demographics

Population, Race and Ethnicity

San Luis Obispo is a city in San Luis Obispo County, California, with a population of 47,160. According to the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, 70.70% of residents identify as white, 2.00% as Black or African American, 0.30% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 5.60% as Asian, 0.00% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 18.30% as Hispanic or Latino, and 3.10% as some other race or combination of races.

Nationally, some 61.1% of Americans identify as white, 12.3% as Black or African American, 0.7% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 5.4% as Asian, 0.2% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 17.8% as Hispanic or Latino, and 2.6% as some other race or combination of races.

Ancestry

Census respondents are also asked to report ancestry. Some of the most commonly reported ancestries in San Luis Obispo include German, Irish, English, Italian, and European. Measured by location quotient — comparing the city share to the national share — some of the most highly concentrated ancestries in city are Basque, Ugandan, and Jordanian.

Native and foreign-born population

An estimated 90.60% of San Luis Obispo residents are native-born, meaning they were born in the United States, Puerto Rico, a U.S. Island Area, or abroad to a U.S. citizen. Of the 9.40% of the population that is foreign-born, 47.30% have become naturalized U.S. citizens. Nationwide, 86.5% of Americans are native-born. And of the 13.5% of Americans who are foreign-born, 48.5% have become naturalized U.S. citizens.

Age

The population of San Luis Obispo is younger than the United States as a whole. The median age is 26.2 years, 11.7 years less than the national median age of 37.9 years. An estimated 12.50% of the population is 65 years and over, compared to 15.2% of the U.S. population.

Family and household composition

Family and household composition also varies heavily across the United States. In San Luis Obispo, 30.20% of households are occupied by married-couple families, compared to the 48.3% national figure. Some 4.30% of households are occupied by single male householders, 5.70% by single female householders, and 59.80% by non-family occupants. Nationwide, 4.9% of households are occupied by single male householders, 12.6% by single female householders, and 34.3% by non-family occupants. An estimated 38.00% of heads of household own their homes, compared to the national homeownership rate of 63.8%.

Language spoken

English is by far the most commonly spoken language in California and across the U.S. as a whole. Similarly, in San Luis Obispo, 94.3% of local residents aged 5 and up speak English exclusively, or, if they are multilingual, speak English very well. For context, 81.9% of the 5 and older population across California only speaks English, or speak it very well, and 91.5% of the same age group nationwide do.

Marital status

Residents of San Luis Obispo are less likely than the typical American to be married. Of all local residents aged 15 and older, 29.5% are currently married, compared to 48.1% of Americans nationwide in the same age group. Across California as a whole, 46.8% of residents 15 and older are married.

Divorce is less common in San Luis Obispo than it is across the U.S. as a whole. According to Census estimates, 8% of residents 15 and older are divorced — compared to 10.8% of the U.S. population in the same age group. In California, 9.3% of the 15 and older population is divorced.

An estimated 57.3% of San Luis Obispo residents 15 and older have never married, compared to one-third of all Americans in the same age group.

Veterans

In San Luis Obispo, 4% of the 18 and older civilian population are veterans — compared to 7.5% of adult civilians nationwide and 5.4% of the civilian population in all of California.

Educational attainment

In San Luis Obispo, adults are more likely to have a high school education than the typical American adult, and are also more likely to have a four-year college education. Among San Luis Obispo residents 25 and older, 92.70% have a high school diploma or equivalent, and 49.60% have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 87.7% and 31.5% of adults nationwide, respectively. Across California, 82.9% of adults have graduated high school, and 33.3 have a bachelor’s degree.

Income

The typical household in San Luis Obispo earns $52,740 a year, about $7,600 less than the national median of $60,293 and $18,500 less than the median household income across the state of $71,228.

Poverty

Serious financial hardship is more common in San Luis Obispo than it is nationwide. The local poverty rate stands at 31.80%, while the national poverty rate is 14.1%. Across the state as a whole, 14.3% of the population lives below the poverty line.

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