Editors Note Part of a series of stories on California’s Hispanic population, which will surpass whites next year as the largest racial or ethnic group in the state. With BC-US–California Hispanics-Settling Down; BC-CA–California Hispanics-Achievement Gap; BC-CA–California Hispanics-Isolated; BC-CA–California Hispanics-Elusive Elections.

The Associated Press

California’s racial and ethnic composition has evolved significantly since 1970. The following list shows how the percentage of the white population has shrunken while the Hispanic population has soared. All figures are percentages.


White: 74.7

Hispanic: 15.5

Black: 6.8

Asian and Pacific Islander: —


White: 67

Hispanic: 19.2

Black: 7.5

Asian and Pacific Islander: 5.2


White: 57.2

Hispanic: 25.8

Black: 7

Asian and Pacific Islander: 9.1


White: 46.7

Hispanic: 32.4

Black: 6.9

Asian and Pacific Islander: 12.1


White: 40.1

Hispanic: 37.6

Black: 6.3

Asian and Pacific Islander: 14.4

2020 (projected)

White: 36.6

Hispanic: 40.8

Black: 5.6

Asian: 13.4

Source: California Department of Finance, based on U.S. Census Bureau data. The 1970 Census used Spanish surnames to determine Hispanic ethnicity; Asian and Pacific Islanders were not counted separately.