Population of the next largest cities certainly can change as evidenced when San Jose outpaced San Francisco to become the third most populated city in California. Another such example occurred when Fresno overtook Long Beach as the 5th most populated city in California. Sacramento is not far behind Long Beach and as of this writing, we feel confident Sacramento will overtake Long Beach, as well. Statistics for the previous year usually come out in the mid-year around May, and are issued by California Department of Finance.
City Population January 1, 2010 / Percent Change 2009-10
1. Los Angeles 4,094,764 1.1
Located in Southern California, the most populated city in California contains ocean frontage and mountains. It is the only city in the United States with a mountain range that separates portions of the city. Los Angeles has one of the largest ports in the United States for import / export trade, has a major airport and is considered the birthplace of the entertainment industry.
San Diego 1,376,173 1.3
San Diego is located near the Mexico border and is known for having some of the finest weather in the world. San Diego beaches are one of the top tourist attractions but there are also several theme parks - Sea World, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and an amazing Balboa Park filled with 13 museums.
San Jose 1,023,083 1.6
Located south of San Francisco in Northern California, San Jose is an inland city that grew and expanded, attracting high tech business when there was ample land and a pro-business policy. San Jose continues to lead the way with high-tech industries finding the weather and business climate favorable.
San Francisco 856,095 1.1
San Francisco is one of the most popular tourist attractions with the best natural branding around the globe. Golden Gate Park, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz tours, cable car rides, and Pier 39 are a few of the icons that attract newcomers to one of the most dense cities, population-wise, in California.
Fresno 502,303 1.4
Fresno has grown because of the affordability factor. While many other cities have seen job loss, Fresno has attracted high-tech and professional companies and jobs, making it a desirable place to relocate.
Long Beach 494,709 0.8
Long Beach has a thriving port next to Port of Los Angeles. The port brings many jobs and revenue to the city. It is located in Los Angeles County and has also had many jobs tied to the aeronautical industry.
Sacramento 486,189 1.0
Sacramento is the state's capitol and has expanded, along with the government and industries surrounding it--nonprofit organizations, lobbyists, marketing companies, etc. Sacramento also has strong tourist appeal as one of the state's most historic cities and the best place for students to take trips tied to lessons about California history and politics.
Oakland 430,666 1.2
Oakland's great bay location across the bay and overlooking San Francisco makes it a popular attraction. Oakland Airport is considered a better option for many travelers because it has less fog than San Francisco Airport, and Oakland provides a gateway with its airport and roads that connect to San Francisco, San Jose and Napa.
Santa Ana 357,754 0.7
Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County, the densest county in California. Poised to grow with plans on the slate to build high-rise mixed use projects, Santa Ana is poised to increase its population.
Anaheim 353,643 1.6
Anaheim's growth continues, as does Disneyland and surrounding hotels, shopping and businesses. With the state's top theme park by the numbers (around 15 million visit Disneyland Resort in a year) attracting such a large influx, one problem has been finding a supply of housing for workers servicing the tourism industry. Anaheim is the only city of the Top 10 without an airport.