Between 2010 and 2040, the Department of Finance (DOF) projects that California will grow by almost 10 million people, from 37.3 million to 47.2 million. Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area will continue to have the largest populations, but the largest growth rates are expected in inland areas including Orange County, San Bernardino/Riverside, and the northern Central Valley.
California’s population is becoming increasingly diverse with respect to race and ethnicity, particularly for younger generations. Almost half of the state’s college-age population (18-24) in 2040 will be Latinas/os. Over the last 15 years, the number of high school graduates has grown by more than 100,000, from 315,575 in 2000-01 to 426,982 in 2014-15. The University expects this trend to continue, not only because of growth in numbers of college-age residents but also because of improving high school graduation rates, particularly for Latina/o students whose high school graduation rate has increased from 68 percent in 2009-10 to 79 percent in 2014-15.
Both the increased California population and the increased number of potential UC undergraduates have implications for the numbers of graduate academic and graduate professional students the University may need to serve. Graduate academic students are critical to fulfilling UC’s research mission and to educating undergraduate students through teaching, mentoring, and supervising hands-on research experiences. Graduate academic students often become teachers and faculty members, make critical contributions to the state’s high-technology industries, and otherwise contribute to a thriving economy. Graduate professional students receive degrees in law, medicine, nursing, pharmacology, veterinary medicine, business, architecture, public policy, and other such fields and become essential contributors to the health, welfare, and economic well-being of the increasing numbers of state residents.
California’s population will grow older as the baby boomers, persons born during the demographic post-World War II “baby boom,” move into retirement. Of all age groups, the baby boomer segment has the highest proportion of college degree attainment. With their retirement, then, the employed population could become less well-educated at the same time that the demand for college-educated workers within occupational categories continues to grow and the number of college-educated workers migrating into California is declining.