California population closing in on 40 million

As of Jan. 1, the state of California has slightly fewer than 40 million residents, according to figures released by the California Department of Finance.

The Department of Finance estimates that, at the beginning of 2018, California had a population of 39,810,000. If the population continues to grow as it has in recent years, California will surpass 40 million residents in 2018.

Last year, the total number of state residents increased by 309,000, or .78 percent. The growth rate was slightly lower than the .86 percent annualized growth rate since the 2010 census.

In 2010, California’s population was 37,253,965. Since then, the state has averaged an annual population growth of 330,000.

Population growth in San Luis Obispo County has not been keeping up with the state average. In 2017, SLO County grew by .3 percent, increasing from 279,210 to 280,101 residents.

Much of the growth in 2017 occurred in unincorporated areas of the county. Last year, the population of unincorporated SLO County grew by .6 percent, rising from 119,897 to 120,639 residents.

Among the cities in the county, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo had the highest growth rates — .3 percent. San Luis Obispo has the highest population among cities in the county — 46,548.

Meanwhile, Grover Beach and Morro Bay lost small numbers of residents in 2017, declining in population by .2 percent and .1 percent respectively.

The populations of Atascadero and Paso Robles were virtually unchanged. Both North County cities have populations of between 31,000 and 32,000 residents.

Arroyo Grande grew slightly in 2017. Its population increased by .2 percent.