According to recent data from the Census Bureau, California’s population is currently around 37 million — a 10% increase from 2000 but 1.5 million fewer than what the California Department of Finance had estimated for 2010.

The weak population growth is attributed to the Great Recession, which has affected historical patterns of migration to the West Coast. Americans who are unable to sell their homes or owe more than their homes are worth are finding it difficult to relocate. Twenty- and thirty-somethings are stuck living with their parents as they search for jobs to pay off their student loans, delaying any decision to move to California and any ability to finance the purchase of a home.

California’s unemployment rate continues to hover above the national average of 10%, around 12%.

first tuesday take: The young remain optimistic about their future and continue to prepare for an economic upswing in this decade. Delayed population growth in California is just another symptom of the Great Recession that must be suffered before the resurgence of employment, and thus home prices. [For more information regarding Generation Y homeowners, see the first tuesday article, The demographics forging California’s real estate market: a study of forthcoming trends and opportunities — Part I and Part II and the November 2010 first tuesday article, Generation Y is still chasing their dream of homeownership.]

Re: “Economic downturn disrupted migration patterns, census data show” from the LA Times