When you think about the Golden State, the first thing that likely comes to mind is the gold rush. The Gold Rush brought a large number of people to the area, and the population grew more than 300%. From that point on, California continued to grow steadily, with population increases exceeding 50%. In the 1950 census, the state's population was 10,586,223, and by the time of the 2010 Census, the population had reached 19,953,134.
The state is home to eight of the top fifty largest cities in the country. Los Angeles, for example, is the second largest city in the country. Los Angeles County is the country's most populous county, with more people living in it than in 42 states combined. This makes California the third most populous state in the nation. However, the population of the state is not evenly spread among its cities and counties. For the sake of comparison, Los Angeles is home to one of the largest metropolises in the world: San Francisco.
The state is home to a diverse ethnic community. The state's non-Hispanic white population has declined by nearly forty percent from 1970 to 2006. Minorities, including African Americans, make up the largest percentage of the population. In fact, it is home to nearly 40 percent of the world's Hindus. The state is also home to the largest population of Buddhists, and it is growing in size. Despite its diversity, California has traditionally drawn people who don't fit the conventional mold.