Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong percentage growth for white residents in the county. The number of white residents grew by 7 percent in the past 10 years, not 24 percent.
A mostly white population that expanded in the North and South County is the picture of San Luis Obispo County’s population as revealed by the 2010 Census.
This is according to the first data for California in the constitutionally mandated decennial census, which was released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.
In the past decade, the county’s population grew by 9.3 percent, or about 23,000 people. That nearly mirrors the state’s growth rate. In just 10 years, the county population grew from 246,681 to 269,637.
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The North County was the epicenter of the county’s population expansion, with the highest increase centered in Paso Robles. In fact, Paso Robles grew so much it overtook Atascadero as the county’s second largest city in 2005. A trio of North County population centers — Templeton, Atascadero and Paso Robles — jumped in combined population by more than 10,000. Even little Shandon and San Miguel grew.
The South County’s population change, while a mixed bag overall, was close on the heels of the North County in terms of growth.
Nipomo experienced the second-highest increase in the county — growing by 4,088. Nipomo and Arroyo Grande saw their population grow by 5,489 combined. Grover Beach, meanwhile, had an increase of 89 people. Pismo Beach topped the county in population loss with 896 fewer people in 2010 than in 2000.
The central parts of the county saw anemic growth or losses.
San Luis Obispo — still the most populous city in the county with 45,119 people — saw its population grow by only 945.
Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay and Los Osos all lost population.
The county remains predominately white, with 83 percent of the total population calling themselves such. The number of white residents grew by 7 percent in the past 10 years to 222,756 people in 2010 from 208,699 in 2000.
The greatest population gain was made by residents identifying themselves as Latino. That group grew by 39 percent in the past decade — from 40,196 people in 2000 to 55,973 in 2010. Despite that increase, the number of Latino residents in San Luis Obispo County still remains way below the state average. Locally, they account for 21 percent of the total population — significantly lower than the state average of 38 percent.
The largest gain of Latinos was centered in Paso Robles. There were 10,275 Latinos there in 2010 compared to 6,735 in 2000.
Nipomo also saw a significant gain in Latinos. Today, there are 6,645 people in that group — compared to 4,362 a decade ago.
The county’s Asian population followed closely behind in growth with a nearly 30 percent increase from 2000 to 2010. In 2010, there were 8,507 Asian residents in the county compared to 6,568 in 2000. That number includes seven ethnic categories: Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and other Asian.
The number of blacks grew by about 11 percent to 5,550 people from the 5,002 reported in 2000.