Population growth cooled off in the 1970s, then surged again in the 1980s with a wave of immigration from other nations, followed by a second baby boom among new immigrants.
More recently, the birthrate has been falling, foreign immigration has slowed to a trickle and the state loses more people to other states than it gains.
However, as a new Census Bureau report illustrates, the state - particularly Southern California - has been seeing a lot of movement, some to and from other states but also much within the state.
Between 2007 and 2011, as a severe recession hit California, Southern California counties were the nation's most active in terms of human movement.
The nearly 42,000 people who moved from Los Angeles County to adjacent San Bernardino County during the period was the largest county-to-county migration in the country. It was followed by the nearly 41,000 who moved from Los Angeles to Orange County and, interestingly, the more than 35,000 who moved to Los Angeles from Asia, the nearly 31,000 who moved from Orange to Los Angeles, and the more than 27,000 who moved from Los Angeles to Riverside County.
So the nation's five top relocations all involved Los Angeles County. Other Southern California population shifts are to be found in the nation's top 25, such as the nearly 20,000 who moved from Riverside to San Bernardino.
The report reveals that Los Angeles and San Diego counties were two of just five counties in the nation that lost population to at least 1,000 other counties. And it indicates that Southern California's shifts of population within the region were high at all income and education levels.
While Los Angeles was a net loser in the migration of residents to other nearby counties and other states, it was a net gainer in foreign immigration, particularly from Asia. It also attracted a high percentage of domestic and foreign migrants with advanced degrees, but was among the leaders in losing highly educated residents to other locales.
PHOTO: Rush-hour commuters line up on the 110 freeway, Dec. 14, 2000, in Los Angeles. Associated Press/Damian Dovarganes