Its official: Latinos fueled much of Californias population growth during the past decade, including in San Diego County, where the Hispanic population increased by 32 percent, according 2010 Census results released Tuesday.
Californias population increased by 10 percent during the 2000s, according to the census. The countys population also rose by 10 percent.
Meanwhile, Californias Latino population jumped by 27.8 percent during the decade. In San Diego County, it grew by 32 percent, according to the 2010 census.
Californias 14 million Latinos now make up more than one third, or 37.6 percent, of the states 37.2 million people, up from 10.9 million, and 32.4 percent of the population, in 2000. In San Diego County, the number of Latinos grew from 750,965 in 2000 to 991,348 in 2010, a 32 percent increase.
The countys population increased from 2.8 million to 3.1 million, according to the census.
The city of San Diego grew 6.9 percent and remains the states second largest city, with 1.3 million residents. Latinos account for 28.7 percent of the citys population, according to the 2010 census.
Chula Vistas population increased by 40.5 percent and the city is now the 14th largest in the state, up from 19th in 2000. Latinos make up 58 percent of the Chula Vistas population.
"The level of growth of the Hispanic population was not a surprise. Latina women have a higher fertility rate than any other group. That's a big component in addition to migration," said Beth Jarosz, senior demographer at the San Diego Association of Governments.
Census data is used to help determine public policy, how public funds are distributed and is closely followed by government, business, social and political bodies.
The U.S. Census Bureau late last year released general population figures for the nation and states for congressional reapportionment purposes and did not include racial or ethnic breakdowns.
Census watchers at that time said that much of Californias population growth could be attributed to the Latino population, which has a higher birth rate than the general population, but were waiting for the 2010 racial and ethnic breakdowns for the state to make that official.