The Ethnic Composition Of The Population Of California

People walk the sidewalks in Venice Beach, California. Editorial credit: MattLphotography /
People walk the sidewalks in Venice Beach, California. Editorial credit: MattLphotography /

California is a state in the western USA. It has a population of around 39 million, which makes it the most populated state in the country. Societies have made their home within California's borders for close to 10,000 years. Native Americans were the first communities to live in California, and they had a vast array of political systems. California attracted large numbers of European explorers with Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo and Francis Drake leading expeditions into the region. For a time, California was under Mexican rule which significantly impacted its culture and the demographics. The present-day Californian society is a diverse multi-ethnic community.

Demographics of California

Caucasian - 72.7%

Caucasians make up the most significant portion of California's population at around 72.7%. The Caucasians living in California claim a wide array of descents with the most significant community being from Mexico. People of German ancestry make up the most significant number of individuals of European descent at approximately 9%. California's population also has a substantial number of people who claim descent from several European communities such as the English, the Irish, and the Italians. California's Hispanic community is one of America's largest. The Caucasian population of California significantly influenced the state's culture, particularly concerning the religion and the language.

Asian - 15%

Individuals of Asian origin make up close to 15% of the total population. The history of Asians in California dates back to at least 1587 when sailors from the Philippines set foot in the area from Spanish ships. The number of Asians within California's territory has been increasing since 1970s when they made up 2.8% of the population. Besides being the first people of Asian descent in California, Filipinos make up the largest population of Asians in the state. People from China and Vietnam also make up significant portions of California's Asian community. The city of Milpitas has the highest number of Asians in California as they constitute roughly 67% of the town's population.

Black - 6.2%

Individuals of African ancestry initially arrived in California from Mexico as a result of the conquest of the Spanish. In 1850, California's African American population consisted of about 962 people and in the next ten years increased to more than 4,080 people. According to the census carried out in 1970, individuals of African American descent made up 7% of the population a number which gradually reduced over subsequent years to 6.2% in 2010. The city of Inglewood has the most significant proportion of African Americans as they make up nearly 42% of the population.

Race Relations in California

California is one of America's most diverse states. However, race relations in the state are not perfect. The state also has a great history of racism since public facilities such as schools were segregated.


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