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E-2. California County Population Estimates and Components of Change by Year July 1, 2010–2013

December 2013



This report presents preliminary state and county population estimates for July 1, 2013, revised estimates for July 1, 2010, July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012, and components of population change.


California’s population grew less than one percent between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013 to total more than 38.2 million persons. This represents 332,000 more residents during the fiscal year. The current growth rate of 0.9 percent continues the pattern of moderate growth rates over the past few years.

As in the last decade, natural increase (births minus deaths) remains the primary source of the state’s growth. The natural increase of 266,000 in the past year is composed of approximately 507,000 births minus 241,000 deaths.  Births were slightly higher than last year and deaths also increased over the fiscal year. Net migration increased the population by 66,000 residents. Net migration includes all legal and unauthorized foreign immigrants, residents who left the state to live abroad, and the balance of hundreds of thousands of people moving within the United States both to and from California. During the fiscal year, the state gained about 169,000 net foreign immigrants.

Since the national census on April 1, 2010, the state has grown by 951,000 persons.


The state and county populations are independently estimated using population change models benchmarked on official decennial census counts. The state population is estimated using the Driver License Address Change method. County population proportions are estimated using the average of three separately estimated sets of proportions. The final distribution of proportions is applied to the independently estimated state control.

State Estimate. The state population is estimated using the Driver License Address Change (DLAC) Method. This composite method separately estimates the population under age 18, 18 through 64, and 65 years and older. Administrative records such as births, deaths, driver license address changes, tax return data, Medicare and Medi-Cal enrollment, immigration reports, elementary school enrollments, and group quarters population are among the data used in this method. All data used to develop these estimates are in summary tables and do not reveal the identity of any individual.

County Estimates. County population proportions result from averaging three methods.

DLAC Method. A modified version of the state Driver License Address Change (DLAC) method is used for counties. County proportions of the state total result from changes in county population values for births, deaths, school enrollment, foreign and domestic migration, medical aid enrollments, and group quarters population.

Ratio-Correlation Method. This method models change in household population as a function of changes in the distributions of driver licenses, school enrollments, and housing units. Estimates of county group quarters are added.

Tax Return Method. County proportions are derived by the U.S. Census Bureau using matched federal income tax returns to estimate inter-county migration along with vital statistics, group quarters, and other information for the population aged 65 and over.

Data Considerations

Sources. Data used in estimation models come from administrative records of numerous state and federal departments and agencies. Timeliness and coverage in these series vary.  Corrections, adjustments or estimates may be made while preparing the estimates.

Accuracy. In general, estimates become less precise as the time from the last census increases. Data and models used to produce population estimates are subject to both measurement and nonmeasurement errors. This results in imperfect correlation between the data used to estimate the population and actual population change. The data and estimating models have been thoroughly tested with decennial census results that provide benchmarks for the estimates series. Data and methods are further refined and modified throughout the decade.


Phuong Nguyen produced the state and county estimates and prepared this report. Walter Schwarm produced the birth projections. Douglas Kuczynski and Alex Alvarado collected and prepared the group quarters data. Evaon Schnagl and Alex Alvarado produced the school enrollment projections. Douglas Kuczynski validated input data, formulas, and methodologies used in the current state and county estimates series.

Suggested Citation

State of California, Department of Finance, California County Population Estimates and Components of Change by Year, July 1, 2010-2013. Sacramento, California, December 2013.


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