California is a state in the Western United States with a population of 39,148,760 and land area of 155,779 square miles. It ranks as the largest state by population and the 3rd largest state by area.
Race and Ethnicity
According to the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, 37.50% of state residents identify as white, 5.50% as Black or African American, 0.40% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 14.10% as Asian, 0.40% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 38.90% as Hispanic or Latino, and 3.20% 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.
Census respondents are also asked to report ancestry. Some of the most commonly reported ancestries in California include German, Irish, English, Italian, and American. Measured by location quotient -- comparing the state share to the national share -- some of the most highly concentrated ancestries in California are Armenian, Iranian, and Afghan.
Native and foreign-born population
An estimated 73.10% of California 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 26.90% of the population that is foreign-born, 50.80% 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, 48.8% have become naturalized U.S. citizens.
The population of California is younger than the United States as a whole. The median age in the state is 36.3 years old, 1.6 years less than the national median age of 37.9 years. An estimated 13.60% 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 California, 49.70% of households are occupied by married-couple families, compared to the 48.3% national figure. Some 6.00% of households are occupied by single male householders, 13.10% by single female householders, and 31.20% 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 54.60% of heads of household own their homes, compared to the national homeownership rate of 63.8%.
As is the case across the United States, English is the most commonly spoken language in California. Of the 36,668,100 people aged 5 and up living in California, 81.9% speak English exclusively, or, if they are multilingual, speak English very well. Though English is the predominantly spoken language in the state, its usage is not as common as it is nationwide, where an average of 91.5% of the 5 and older population only speaks English, or speak it very well.
Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the United States. In California, 28.7% of the population aged 5 and older speaks Spanish, the 2nd largest share among all states. Nationwide, 13.3% of all Americans in the same age group speak Spanish.
Residents of California are less likely to be married than the typical American. Of the 31.6 million California residents aged 15 and older, 46.8% are currently married, compared to 48.1% of Americans nationwide in the same age group. Divorceis also less common in the state than it is nationwide. In California, 9.3% of the 15 and older population is divorced, compared to the 10.8% share of the same age group across the U.S. as a whole.
An estimated 36.9% of California residents 15 and older have never married, compared to one-third of Americans in the same age group.
In California, 5.4% of the 18 and over population are veterans -- below the 7.5% of adult civilians who have served in the military nationwide. Compared to other states, California is home to the 3rd smallest share of military veterans.
As is the case nationwide, the largest share of veterans living in the state served in the Vietnam era. Of California’s 1,618,900 resident veterans, 5% served in World War II, 35.6% served in the Vietnam War, 17.6% served in the period between the beginning of the Gulf War and 2001, and 18.4% served since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. An additional 160,200 men and women served during the Korean War.
In California, adults are less likely to have a high school education than the typical American adult, but more likely to have a four-year college education. Among California residents 25 and older, 82.9% have a high school diploma or equivalent, and 33.3% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 87.7% and 31.5% of adults nationwide, respectively.
Though it is not always the case, incomes tend to rise with educational attainment rates across broad populations -- and California is no exception. With a higher than average bachelor’s degree attainment rate, the state also has a higher than average median income. The typical household in California earns $71,228 a year, about $10,900 more than the national median household income of $60,293.
Additionally, California has a higher than average concentration of wealthy residents. An estimated 11% of households in the state earn $200,000 or more annually, compared to 7.0% of households nationwide.
Despite the higher than average median household income, serious financial hardship is slightly more common in the state than it is nationwide. The poverty rate in California stands at 14.3%, while the national poverty rate is 14.1%.
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