White Americans in California

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White Californians
Total population
28,611,160 (71.9%) whites
14,696,754 (36.5%) non-Hispanic whites (2019)
Regions with significant populations
Los Angeles County28% white
American English, American Spanish, Persian, Armenian, Russian, German, French, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, other European languages,[1] Arabic, California English, Hebrew, Australian English, Turkish
Christianity, Judaism, atheism, Islam[2]
Related ethnic groups
White Americans, white Hispanic and Latino Americans, white non-Hispanic white Americans, Middle Eastern Americans, Arab Americans, Jewish Americans, Iranian Americans, Armenian Americans
Greek line dancers in Belmont, California.

White Californians are white Americans living in California who currently make up 71.9% of the state's population.

As of 2015, California has the third-largest minority population in the United States.[3] Non-Hispanic whites decreased from about 76.3–78% of the state's population in 1970[4] to 36.5% in 2019.[5] It was estimated in 2015 that Hispanic and Latino Americans became more numerous than non-Hispanic White Americans for the first time.[6] Since 2000 (the US Census), California has been known as the second state in US history (after Hawaii since its statehood in 1959) to have a non-white majority. The most common European ancestries in California are German, Irish, English, Italian, French, Scottish, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, and Portuguese.[7] Arabs, Afghans, Armenians and Persians are counted as white in California.[8] Most people who identify as white in California say their heritage is Mexican, German, Irish, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Scottish, Polish, Salvadoran, Swedish, Portuguese, Dutch, or Armenian. There is also a sizable Iranian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Greek, Hungarian, Austrian, Danish, Lithuanian, Finnish, Lebanese, Ukrainian, white Australian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovak and Albanian population in California.[9][10] California is also home to a large Jewish community.[11]


The first White people to come to the modern-day State of California were the Spanish people. The area that became California was a part of the Spanish Empire, and after 1821, part of Mexico. [12] While under Spanish and Mexican rule, California's population was a diverse mix of people with White, Mestizo, African and Indigenous ancestry, with Native people being the largest population. [13] By 1846, more White Americans had begun to enter California from other parts of the United States, making up 10% of the non-Native population. [14]

The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. [15] In 1848, there were 7,000 persons of Mexican and Spanish descent, 700 Americans, 200 Europeans, and 110,000 Native Americans.[16] The news of gold brought some 300,000 people throughout the Gold Rush to California from the rest of the United States and abroad.[17] Two-thirds of these new arrivals were Americans, mostly from the Atlantic Seaboard. [14] In 1850, a year after California's admission to the United States, the first state census showed California's entire non-Native population at 92,597. [16][14]

As a result of new arrivals from the American Midwest and continued immigration to the United States from other countries, California's White population grew, and by 1940, 90% of the state self-identified as White. [14] By 1990, following increased arrivals into the state of people of other races and nationalities, the White non-hispanic population had decreased, with 43% of the state population claiming Asian, African, Latin American or Native American ancestry. [18]

By region[edit]

Blue areas are predominately non-Hispanic white

San Francisco Bay Area[edit]

In 2000 the racial makeup of the nine-county Bay Area was 3,941,687 (58.1%) white and 3,392,204 (50.0%) non-Hispanic white.

In 2010 the Bay Area was 3,755,823 (52.5%) White, and 3,032,903 (42.4%) non-Hispanic white.

The percentage of non-Hispanic white people in the overall Bay Area is projected to decrease, while the percentage of non-Hispanic white people in the city of San Francisco is projected to increase.[19]

Central Valley[edit]

White Americans are the majority of the population in the Central Valley.

Los Angeles metropolitan area[edit]

54.6% White, 32.2% white alone. Malibu, Hidden Hills, Manhattan Beach, Agua Dulce, Calabasas and Agoura Hills have the highest percentage of whites in Los Angeles County.[20] Whites in the Los Angeles area are also concentrated in Hollywood Hills, Bel Air and North San Gabriel Valley.[21]

By county[edit]

Colusa County has the highest white percentage of any county in California.[22]


Non-Hispanic whites make up 60% of registered voters in California.[23]

47% of Californian whites voted for Donald Trump and 51% of whites voted for Joe Biden in 2020.[24]

50% of whites in California voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 while 45% voted for Trump in 2016. White men in California showed a slightly more preference for Trump. 50% of white men in California voted for Trump and 57% of white women voted for Clinton.[25]


The non-Hispanic white population as a percentage of the whole is projected to decrease in California.[26]


Ancestry by origin[27] Number %
Albania Albanians 2,204
Austria Austrians 10977
Belgium Belgians 7452
Bulgaria Bulgarians 10,158
Czech Republic Czechs 17866
Denmark Danes 30879
Netherlands Dutch 69,112
England English 455,396
Estonia Estonians 1,421
France French 91,701
Finland Finns 12888
Germany Germans 587,486
Greece Greeks 50, 673
Hungary Hungarians 30, 971
Republic of Ireland Irish 489015
Italy Italians 425,772
Latvia Latvians 3382
Lithuania Lithuanians 12324
North Macedonia Macedonians 1,208
Norway Norwegians 105797
Poland Polish 472,869
Portugal Portuguese 118,856
Romania Romanians 30,685
Russia Russians 137259
Serbia Serbians 8993
Slovakia Slovaks 7376
Slovenia Slovenes 3538
Sweden Swedish 19,581
Turkey Turkish 18,701
Ukraine Ukrainians 64,985

Notable people[edit]

Kylie Jenner was born and raised in California and is of English, Dutch, Irish, German, Scottish and Welsh descent.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "State Language Data - CA". migrationpolicy.org.
  2. ^ "Religion in America: U.S. Religious Data, Demographics and Statistics". Pew Research Center.
  3. ^ Panzar, Javier (8 July 2015). "It's official: Latinos now outnumber whites in California". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, California". Census.gov. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Census". Census.gov. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  6. ^ Panzar, Javier (8 July 2015). "It's official: Latinos now outnumber whites in California". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  7. ^ Area, Metro (2020-10-07). "The Demographic Statistical Atlas of the United States". Statistical Atlas (in Kinyarwanda). Retrieved 2021-04-24.
  8. ^ "Are Arabs and Iranians white? Census says yes, but many disagree". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ "Explore Census Data".
  11. ^ What Is The Jewish Population In California?
  12. ^ Building 201, Mailing Address: Golden Gate National Recreation Area; Francisco, Fort Mason San; Us, CA 94123-0022 Phone:561-4700 Contact. "The Spanish and Mexican period, 1776 to 1846 - Golden Gate National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov.
  13. ^ Chan, Sucheng (2000). "A People of Exceptional Character: Ethnic Diversity, Nativism, and Racism in the California Gold Rush". California History. 79 (2): 44–85. doi:10.2307/25463688. JSTOR 25463688.
  14. ^ a b c d "Shaping California History". Faculty.washington.edu. Retrieved 2021-05-22.
  15. ^ "The Gold Rush of California: A Bibliography of Periodical Articles". California State University, Stanislaus. 2002. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  16. ^ a b "Changing Demographics: El Dorado County". El Dorado: Land Use in California's Mother Lode. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  17. ^ "California Gold Rush, 1848–1864". Learn California.org, a site designed for the California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  18. ^ "Shaping California History". Faculty.washington.edu. Retrieved 2021-05-22.
  19. ^ "S.F. Could Be Much Whiter in 25 Years, While the Rest of Region Gets More Diverse". 2.kqed.org. 26 October 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  20. ^ "White Ranking - Mapping L.A. - Los Angeles Times". maps.latimes.com.
  21. ^ White Population of Los Angeles
  22. ^ California White Population Percentage by County - IndexMundi
  23. ^ "Race and Voting in California - PPIC". Ppic.org. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  24. ^ Exit poll results and analysis from California
  25. ^ "California Results 2016". NBC News. 28 November 2016.
  26. ^ Badger, Emily (1 February 2017). "Immigrant Shock: Can California Predict the Nation's Future?" – via NYTimes.com.
  27. ^ "Explore Census Data".
  28. ^ Bios, Fame Life (2022). Kylie Jenner A Short Unauthorized Biography. p. 1999. ISBN 9781634975926.


  • Maharidge, Dale, The Coming White Minority: California's Eruptions and America's Future, 1996, Times Books, ISBN 9780812922899
  • Sherburne Friend Cook, The Conflict Between the California Indian and White Civilization, 1943, University of California Press, ISBN 9780520031425