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State census data show more empty homes

May 12, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
There has been a large increase in the number of empty homes and apartments in California.

New census data show the vacancy rate for homes in the state jumped from 1.4 percent in the year 2000 to 2.1 percent last year.

The rental vacancy rate rose from 3.7 percent to 6.3 percent.

Real estate experts say many people are leaving their homes to find work out-of-state.

The Mexican population grew 35 percent over the past decade to 11.4 million and accounted for 88 percent of the state's population growth. About 82 percent of Hispanics in California identified as Mexican in 2010, up from 77 percent in 2000, the data showed.

While the Hispanic population in California grew 28 percent over the decade and was the key driver in the state's 10 percent population growth, some demographic experts cautioned on reading too much into the country-specific data for Latinos.

Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, said the apparent increase in the share of the Latino population that is Mexican stems from the way the 2000 census questionnaire was worded, which prompted more Hispanics to give general, not specific, accounts of their national origin.

The Chinese population - the largest Asian group in California - rose 28 percent over the decade to 1.3 million. While smaller in size, other Asian communities grew more during the 10-year period.

The Vietnamese, Filipino and Korean communities each grew slightly more than 30 percent, while the Indian population rose 68 percent to 528,000, the data showed.

California's population also aged over the past decade. The median age of the state's 37.3 million residents was 35.2 last year, compared with 33.3 a decade prior.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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