The latest results of the 2010 census for California will be released Tuesday, offering a more detailed view of who lives where in the cash-strapped state and where state and local governments might put their ever-shrinking funds to work.
"Yeah, I guess you can say I'm licking my chops for the numbers," said Hans Johnson, a demographer at the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco.
Like many research organizations across the state, the PPIC crunches numbers from the national head count to analyze social, economic and political trends and spot new ones. Johnson will pay particular attention to the growth of counties, big cities and the number of Californians leaving the state and why.
In the first round of results released in December, the U.S. Census Bureau put California's population at 37.3 million, a result that ended the state's remarkable growth in population and political representation in Congress that began in 1920. Still, the state grew by 10 percent since the previous census in 2000.
Unlike many before it, the 2010 census asked only 10 basic questions, omitting those that gave the country interesting, detailed snapshots on commuting patterns, languages spoken at home, household income, single parenting and more. The Census Bureau now collects such information through more frequent but more limited statistical surveys.
Tuesday's results will offer local population totals and characteristics, including the number of whites, Asians, Latinos, blacks, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and people who identified themselves as belonging to more than one racial group. However, the Census Bureau won't break down the racial numbers until later this year.
Demographers, think tanks, civil-rights groups and other census watchers may get clearer pictures of the broad social and economic forces and political trends that have been in play in California for decades.
For example, scholars at the conservative Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College have tracked the shift in population from coastal cities toward inland communities.
Advocacy organizations including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Asian Law Alliance use census results to make their cases for equal protection and representation.
The state, counties, towns and school districts rely on census results to decide almost everything, from drawing political boundaries to locating new shopping centers to building or shutting down schools.
"The pie hasn't changed, but you're moving around the pieces," said Johnson. "You're still going to have some winners and some losers."