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.
9 Bakersfield 347,483 Kern Bakersfield sits at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, an especially petroleum-rich area of California. It has quickly become the fastest growing city in California. Bakersfield is known for its musical achievements such as its own genre called the "Bakersfield Sound". Bakersfield is also in close proximity with The Sequoia National Forest.
10 Anaheim 336,265 Orange Located in Orange County, California, Anaheim is the most populous city in the county and second largest in terms of land area; it is known for its theme parks, sports teams, and convention center.
11 Santa Ana 324,528 Orange County Seat of Orange County. Home to the famous Bowers museum, Discovery Science Center, and John Wayne Airport.
12 Riverside 303,871 Riverside Riverside is the most populous city of Southern California's Inland Empire region. Riverside is the birthplace of California's citrus industry and home to the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Its downtown is home to the Mission Inn, one of the two historic landmark hotels in California. The Mission Inn Festival of Lights is said to be the 3rd largest Christmas lights display in the nation.
13 Stockton 291,707 San Joaquin San Joaquin River Delta and is sometimes considered the divider between the Sacramento Valley and the San Joaquin Valley. For much of the later 19th century, starting with the Gold Rush, Stockton was one of the largest cities in the state, for a while the third largest city. With a sea port on the San Joaquin River, it was an important agricultural and shipping center, roles which it continues to fulfill.
14 Chula Vista 243,916 San Diego A South Bay suburban city of San Diego, Chula Vista is just seven miles (11 km) from the Mexican border. One of the most economically and culturally diverse cities in Southern California.
15 Fremont 214,089 Alameda Fremont was created as a single city in 1956, from the unification of several unincorporated communities that had historically been small but grew rapidly in the years after World War II.
16 Irvine 212,375 Orange Irvine is a planned city in Orange County, California, mainly developed by the Irvine Company since the 1960s. Irvine is home to the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and to a number of corporations, particularly in the technology sector. It is regarded for its good schools, jobs and housing by CNNMoney.com, for low crime by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Census Bureau ranks Irvine highly in median income.
17 San Bernardino 209,924 San Bernardino San Bernardino is the second largest city in the Inland Empire area of California, and the county seat of San Bernardino County, the largest county in geographic area in the 48 contiguous states.
18 Modesto 201,165 Stanislaus Modesto is in the center of the Central Valley east of San Francisco and south of the capital Sacramento. The city is surrounded by fertile farmland. Its population is growing fast due to affordable housing in the area and is quickly becoming a bedroom community for commuters to Sacramento, Fresno, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
19 Oxnard 197,899 Ventura One of only a handful of cities in the state that is the largest in its county, but not the county seat.
20 Fontana 196,069 San Bernardino Home of the California Speedway.
21 Moreno Valley 193,365 Riverside Incorporated in 1984, the city lies 65 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Moreno Valley is also home to the March Air Reserve Base.
22 Glendale 191,719 Los Angeles Glendale is the focal point of the Verdugo Mountains subregion and is well-known for hosting a large Armenian-American community.
23 Huntington Beach 189,992 Orange This Orange county coastal city is best known for its 8.5-mile (13.7 km) beach. It is often referred to as "Surf City" due to its long association with the sport of surfing. It often hosts surfing contests.
24 Santa Clarita 176,320 Los Angeles Home to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Incorporated in 1987 as the union of several previously existing communities, including Canyon Country, Newhall, Saugus, and Valencia.
25 Garden Grove 170,883 Orange Crystal Cathedral with Spire
26 Santa Rosa 167,815 Sonoma Santa Rosa is the largest city in California's Wine Country and the Redwood Empire. The county seat of Sonoma County since 1854, it also grew as a center of agriculture, shipping, and industry. It is today still an important local center of business and tourism. The city actually suffered the most destruction of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which destroyed Santa Rosa's entire downtown. Notable residents have included famed horticulturalist Luther Burbank, and Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz.
27 Oceanside 167,086 San Diego The largest city in San Diego's North County, Oceanside is home to the longest wooden pier on the west coast and is directly south of Camp Pendleton, the busiest military base in the United States.
28 Rancho Cucamonga 165,269 San Bernardino One of the newer cities in the state, Rancho Cucamonga was until the late 1970s a small, unincorporated rural area that incorporated as a city only in 1977.
29 Ontario 163,924 San Bernardino Ontario City Library05apr2006
Ontario is the third principal city of the Inland Empire area of California and home to the area's international airport and the region's largest shopping mall, Ontario Mills.
30 Lancaster 156,663 Los Angeles Largest city of the California deserts.
31 Elk Grove 153,015 Sacramento Elk Grove was a sleepy suburb of Sacramento until the housing boom of the 1990s and 2000s. Between the decades, the population has nearly tripled from around 50,000 to more than 150,000 inhabitants. The population has grown so much that Elk Grove has surpassed all of the other suburbs in size and inhabitants. in fact, the city was rated the fasted growing city in the United States in 2006. About 15 miles (24 km) from Downtown Sacramento, Elk Grove has emerged as a popular place for young families to live and commute to the job centers of the area.
32 Palmdale 152,750 Los Angeles Commonly referred to as the Aerospace Capital of America. The city is the birthplace of the Space Shuttle, X-15, B-2 Spirit, F-117 Nighthawk, F-35 Lightning II, SR-71 Blackbird, Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, and many other aircraft that have been used in the United States Air Force, NASA and air forces and airlines around the world. It is the sixth largest city in Los Angeles County and one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.
33 Corona 152,374 Riverside CoronaCA
34 Salinas 150,441 Monterey Salinas is known for being an agricultural center as well as being the hometown of famed writer and Nobel prize laureate John Steinbeck.
35 Pomona 149,058 Los Angeles Home of the Los Angeles County Fair, the largest county fair in the United States.
36 Torrance 145,438 Los Angeles Torrance, 21 square miles (54 km2), is situated 11 miles (18 km) south of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), 8 miles (13 km) north of the Port of Los Angeles, 30 miles (48 km) west of Disneyland and bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west with 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of beach. Incorporated in 1921, it is the eighth largest city in Los Angeles County and the 36th largest city in California. Torrance averages 12.55 inches of rainfall per year.
37 Hayward 144,186 Alameda Hayward was an historic salt and agricultural processing center and is the home of California State University, East Bay.
38 Escondido 143,911 San Diego Situated in San Diego's north county, Escondido is home to the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
39 Sunnyvale 140,081 Santa Clara Murphystreetsunnyvale
40 Pasadena 137,122 Los Angeles Pasadena City Hall 2 Premier City of the San Gabriel Valley subregion; home of the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the California Institute of Technology.
41 Orange 136,416 Orange Former ATSF Station in Orange CA 7-14-04
42 Fullerton 135,161 Orange Fullerton city hall
43 Thousand Oaks 126,683 Ventura ThousandOaksCA typical street
44 Visalia 124,442 Tulare Visalia Acequia Ave. Visalia is the oldest city between Stockton and Los Angeles. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in California.
45 Simi Valley 124,327 Ventura Simi Valley surroundings Home of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
46 Concord 122,067 Contra Costa Don Francisco Galindo House (Concord, CA)
47 Roseville 118,788 Placer Roseville - City Civic Center Roseville is a suburb of Sacramento. It is very family oriented with many parks and bike trails. The average income of this city is one of the highest in California, however, this city is known throughout California for being very affordable. Roseville holds the Galleria mall, which is the second biggest in Northern California, and has many stores for those of the higher class.
48 Santa Clara 116,468 Santa Clara Santaclaraconventioncenter Santa Clara is located in the center of Silicon Valley, and is home to the headquarters of Intel, Applied Materials, Sun Microsystems, NVIDIA, Agilent Technologies, and many other high-tech companies.
49 Vallejo 115,942 Solano Vallejo Ferry Terminal Vallejo was home of the Mare Island U.S. Naval Shipyard, one of the most important naval shipyards in the country, from the 1850s until its closure in the 1990s. It was also very briefly the capital of California in the early 1850s. It is the largest city in Solano County.
50 Victorville 115,903 San Bernardino Route 66 Motel Sign - Victorville, CA
51 El Monte 113,475 Los Angeles Friendly El Monte
52 Berkeley 112,580 Alameda Berkeleyfromclaremont800x600
Home to the University of California, Berkeley.
53 Downey 111,772 Los Angeles Downey City Hall
Hometown of Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria.
54 Costa Mesa 109,960 Orange OC-Performing-Arts-Center
55 Inglewood 109,673 Los Angeles 2008-0914-RandysDonuts Home of Randy's Donuts
56 San Buenaventura (Ventura) 106,433 Ventura Mission San Buenaventura
57 West Covina 106,098 Los Angeles Wcovina
58 Norwalk 105,549 Los Angeles Norwalk Transit Bus and Bee
59 Carlsbad 105,328 San Diego Calsbad-late-night
60 Fairfield 105,321 Solano Fairfield is the county seat of Solano County, but not the largest city in the county, which is Vallejo.
61 Richmond 103,701 Contra Costa Point Richmond, Richmond, California
62 Murrieta 103,466 Riverside Murrieta01 Formerly just a small town outside of Temecula, Murrieta has become one of the fastest growing cities in the state.
63 Burbank 103,340 Los Angeles Burbankeast
Media Capital of the World.
64 Antioch 102,372 Contra Costa Elcampanilthratre
65 Daly City 101,123 San Mateo Daly City San Francisco's southern neighbor, Daly City houses the famous Cow Palace (which many people mistakenly believe is in San Francisco), as well as the largest Filipino population outside of the Philippines.
66 Temecula 100,097 Riverside Old Town Temecula
The heart of Southern California Wine Country. Goes by the motto of "Old Traditions, New Encounters".
67 Santa Maria 99,553 Santa Barbara Foxen
68 El Cajon 99,478 San Diego Cuyamacacollegesign
69 Rialto 99,171 San Bernardino 1907 First Christian Church
70 Clovis 97,218 Fresno Pollasky Ave. Clovis
71 San Mateo 97,207 San Mateo MCB-san-mateo-aerial
72 Compton 96,455 Los Angeles Compton martin luther king monument An inner-suburb of Los Angeles, Compton is home to Richland Farms, one of the last urban farming communities in the Los Angeles metro area. Richland Farms is often caught in the battle between Compton's rich agricultural past and ideas for a brighter future than the crime-ridden image Compton has attained. This brighter future includes shopping centers with big box retailers, lofts, and a landscape that resembles the suburban communities to which many former city residents have moved.
73 South Gate 94,396 Los Angeles South Gate CIty Hall
74 Vista 93,834 San Diego View of South Santa Fe
75 Mission Viejo 93,305 Orange Snow at Lake Mission Viejo 005
76 Vacaville 92,428 Solano Aerial view of Vacaville, California
77 Carson 91,714 Los Angeles HomeDepotCenter Location of the Home Depot Center, housing both of the Major League Soccer teams for Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA.
78 Hesperia 90,173 San Bernardino HesperiaCA
79 Redding 89,861 Shasta Sundialbridge1.png Located on the banks of the Sacramento River, Redding is the largest city in California north of Sacramento. It is the gateway to numerous recreation areas including Shasta Lake, the Trinity Alps, and Mount Shasta. It is also home to the Sundial Bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava, which is also the world's largest sundial.
80 Santa Monica 89,736 Los Angeles Santa monica beach dehk
Home of the world famous Santa Monica Pier.
81 Westminster 89,701 Orange Asian Garden Little Saigon
82 Santa Barbara 88,410 Santa Barbara Santa Barbara mission CA1 One of the oldest and most noted cities in California and the original site of one of four Alta California Spanish Presidios, Santa Barbara is now home to the most visited ecclesiastical structures in the Western United States, Mission Santa Barbara. It is also widely considered to be one of the most desirable spots to live in, due to its downtown Moorish-Spanish style architecture, coastal weather, beautiful mountain backdrops and numerous sandy beaches.
83 Chico 86,187 Butte Bidwell Mansion
Chico is the retail hub of the mid-Sacramento Valley and is home to institutions such as Bidwell Park, California State University Chico, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
84 Whittier 85,331 Los Angeles Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, Whittier
85 Newport Beach 85,186 Orange Balboa-beach Newport Beach is one of the most affluent cities in the United States. The city is one of the largest and most influential in Orange County.
86 San Leandro 84,950 Alameda San
Historically a town with dozens of huge cherry farms and a Spanish missionary ranch, San Leandro today is a rapidly growing city of worldwide industries and a suburb of Oakland. Founded in 1872, it is one of the oldest cities in California.
87 Hawthorne 84,293 Los Angeles Hawthorne is known to rock and roll fans as the home of Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. The Wilson brothers' boyhood home was demolished in the late 1980s during the construction of the Century Freeway, although it was honored by the dedication of the Beach Boys Historic Landmark (California Landmark 1041) in May 2005.
88 San Marcos 83,781 San Diego SanMarcospan
89 Citrus Heights 83,301 Sacramento Sunrise Mall - inside
90 Alhambra 83,089 Los Angeles Alhambra, CA
91 Tracy 82,922 San Joaquin 11th and Central Tracy California 14-May-2006
92 Livermore 80,968 Alameda LLNL Aerial View
Home of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
93 Buena Park 80,530 Orange Buena Park Sign Home of Knott's Berry Farm.
94 Lakewood 80,048 Los Angeles Lakewood ca city hall
95 Merced 78,958 Merced Bob Hart Square clock1
96 Hemet 78,657 Riverside Hemet City Hall
97 Chino 77,983 San Bernardino Mama's--Chino, California
98 Menifee 77,519 Riverside 99 Lake Forest 77,264 Orange LakeForestCA photo D Ramey Logan
100 Napa 76,915 Napa Napa River floodwall USACE