The U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday, March 8th released data for California, showing the first detailed demographic pictures of the City of Santa Maria and the County of Santa Barbara since the 2000 census.

The City’s population grew last decade at a brisk rate of 28.6 percent, climbing from 77,423 residents in 2000 to 99,553 in 2010, just shy of the 100,000-person mark.

Santa Maria’s population increase accounted for 90 percent of the population growth within all of Santa Barbara County, which grew by 24,548 residents to 423,895.

Santa Maria became the most populous City in the County in 2006 when its population reached 89,917, surpassing Santa Barbara.  According to the new census data, during the decade from 2000 to 2010, the number of total housing units in the City increased by 5,447 and the community gained 22,130 residents.

The 2010 Census counted population by race (White Alone, Black or African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and Some Other Race – all of those not being Hispanic or Latino.  The census also counted people who identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino.  White alone (not Hispanic) were 21.7 percent of the City’s population or 21,626 residents.  Hispanic or Latino were 70.4 percent, or 70,114 residents compared to 59.6 percent in the 2000 census. The local numbers reflect a statewide trend, showing that California is becoming more Latino.

The census figures are important for many reasons.  Businesses rely on the data, as do schools and governments.  An accurate count means that a community will receive its fair share of Federal funding, and also affects redistricting of elective districts.  More census data will be released throughout the year.

Census counts impact Federal funding amounts for roads, parks, housing, hospitals, schools and public safety.  Each person counted could generate from $1,200 to $2,000 annually in Federal funding to the community. The City relies on State and Federal grants to augment its service delivery, such as through grants for police officers, fire station construction, road repairs, and Community Development Block Grant funds dispersed to about 30 non-profit organizations.


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To help attain a complete count, the City promoted the 2010 Census to the community.  City staff partnered with the Census Bureau to review address databases and the City identified thousands of local addresses to be added.  The City provided census publicity on Santa Maria Area Transit buses, on its government public access television Comcast Channel 23, on the Public Library TV and on its City website.  It also reached out to the community through four workshops, inviting numerous groups to learn about the census and spread the important message of being counted.

The Census Bureau opened a regional office in Santa Maria and hired hundreds of temporary employees, many of whom walked every neighborhood in early 2009 with hand-held GPS units to find and confirm addresses.

City and County Total Population: 2000 and 2010

Total Population Change, 2000-2010
County / City April 1, 2000 (2) April 1, 2010 Number Percent
Santa Barbara County 399,347 423,895 24,548 6.1%
Buellton city 3,828 4,828 1,000 26.1%
Carpinteria city 14,194 13,040 -1,154 -8.1%
Goleta city (1) 29,888 (1) (1)
Guadalupe city 5,659 7,080 1,421 25.1%
Lompoc city 41,103 42,434 1,331 3.2%
Santa Barbara city 89,600 88,410 -1,190 -1.3%
Santa Maria city 77,423 99,553 22,130 28.6%
Solvang city 5,332 5,245 -87 -1.6%
Unincorporated 162,208 133,417 1,097 0.7%
(1) City incorporated after 2000 Census.  2000 Census data not available.
(2) Census 2000 counts include changes from the Count Question Resolution program.
Data may not match data published in Census 2000 reports.

Source: California Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit

Selected North County Unincorporated Areas: 2000 and 2010

Orcutt CDP 28,830 28,905 75 0.3%
Vandenberg Village CDP 5,802 6,497 695 12.0%

CDP is Census Designated Places

Questions may be directed to the City Manager’s Office, 925-0951 ext. 372.