Monterey County's population grew by 2,870 residents — a moderate 0.68 percent growth rate — during the fiscal year ending June 30, according to new estimates.
The rate of increase was nearly identical to California's overall 0.70 percent rate of population growth during the year, the state Department of Finance said Thursday.
Natural increases were the primary source of state and county population growth, but a dozen small counties registered more deaths than births during the year.
San Benito County was one of five counties with a population growth rate of more than 1 percent.
Monterey County was the 22nd fastest-growing county in the state, behind Santa Cruz County, 19th at 0.75 percent, and ahead of San Luis Obispo County, whose 0.33 growth rate put it 34th in the state.
The county's estimated population on July 1 was 422,868, the finance department said.
Natural increases — births and deaths — more than accounted for the net gain in population. There were 6,758 births in Monterey County during the year and 2,253 deaths.
The county gained an estimated 852 immigrants from abroad, while 2,487 residents moved out of the county — for a net migration drop of 1,635 residents.
California's estimated population grew to 37.8 million. The state lost 14,000 people due to net migration, meaning more people left California than moved in.
However, because of the birth rate, California added 256,000 people from July 2011 to July 2012.
All the numbers are estimates derived from a number of sources. The Finance Department is required to make the annual population estimates, which are used for budgeting, needs assessments and planning.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.