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Does the compact San Francisco Bay Area have a denser population than the sprawling Los Angeles Basin?

Most would say San Francisco does, but it turns out, according to a new Census Bureau statistical report, that it depends on how the information from the 2010 census is viewed.

The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region is higher at 2,646 persons per square mile in terms of what the Census Bureau calls "overall population density." That's the second highest rate in the nation, just slightly less dense than No. 1 New York City and its environs, with the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont region third at 1,754 per square mile.

But when the Census Bureau massages the data a different way to produce "population-weighted density," the San Francisco Bay Area, at 12,144 per square mile, is No. 2 behind New York with the Los Angeles area third at 12,113.

If nothing else, however, the lengthy report confirms that California is simultaneously the nation's most urbanized state and its most prolific agricultural producer, two "firsts" that might seem mutually exclusive.

The report also contains these other nuggets of data pertaining to California:

• The San Jose area had the nation's fastest growing Asian population among larger regions between 2000 and 2010, jumping from 24.85 percent to 32.59 percent. The San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont region was No. 2, increasing by four percentage points, and Napa was No. 4 with a 3.79-percentage-point gain. Conversely, El Centro had the nation's second-largest percentage decline in Asian population.

• The San Jose area's fast-growing Asian population meant that in 2010, it had the nation's second-highest percentage of Asian residents at 31.14 percent. Honolulu was No. 1 at 43.89 percent while the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont region was No. 3, the Los Angeles area was No. 4 and Vallejo-Fairfield was No. 5.

• Among larger regions, the Bakersfield-Delano area had the nation's fastest growing Latino population between 2000 and 2010 with a 10.80-percentage-point gain to 49.19 percent. Among California communities, however, only El Centro made the national list of those with the largest Latino populations in 2010 at 80.37 percent. Modesto, Visalia-Porterville and Merced also were among the communities with the five fastest increases in Latinos.

• The Census Bureau counts prison inmates as residents of the communities in which they are incarcerated, which pushed two relatively small California communities into national rankings regarding age and gender. Among smaller metropolitan areas, Susanville, which has a state prison, was ranked as having the nation's fourth largest percentage of population in the 25- to 34-year-old age cohort, and also the nation's highest ratio of men (64.2 percent) to women (35.8 percent). The Hanford-Corcoran area, site of another prison complex, also had, among larger statistical areas, the nation's highest gender ratio of 56.4 percent men and 43.6 women.

Another new Census Bureau report from the 2010 census, meanwhile, reveals that California had the nation's highest population and fourth-highest percentage of residents with two or more racial backgrounds.

California's multiracial population was pegged at 1.8 million in 2010, 4.9 percent of its residents, which was up from 1.6 million and 4.7 percent in 2000. Nationally, the multiracial rate was 2.9 percent in 2010 and California was topped only by Hawaii's 23.6 percent, Alaska's 7.3 percent, and Oklahoma's 5.9 percent.

A third Census Bureau report deals with those the 2010 census found living in emergency and transitional shelters. It reveals that California had the nation's second highest number at 27,655. With about 12 percent of the nation's overall population, it had 13.2 percent of its 209,325 shelter inhabitants in 2010. New York was No. 1 at 36,354.


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