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San Diego County’s population increased by 10 percent to 3,095,313 people between 2000 and 2010, according to the official 2010 Census estimates released today.

It grew by a greater degree than its coastal neighbors to the north, Los Angeles and Orange counties, but by a lesser degree than inland southern counties. Riverside grew the most, exploding 41 percent over the decade to 2,189,641 people.

Mirroring previous projections by local officials, the census count emphasized greater growth outside the city of San Diego. While the entire county grew by 10 percent, the city of San Diego grew by nearly 7 percent to 1,307,402.

How population breaks down across the county is important marker for government, which uses them to shift political boundaries, forecast budget changes, assess the demand for services and measure quality of life issues.

But at the same time, the census data is also a fascinating source to help rediscover what makes San Diego communities unique. Down to the block level, the data measures changes to total population, race, ethnicity and voting age. As we comb through it all, we’ll be periodically posting updates, graphics and stories that help explain what the data says about San Diego and its neighbors.

I hope you’ll join this project by browsing the Census data yourself and sharing your insights by commenting on posts or sending me an email. To download a raw copy of the Census data, go here. To browse a more accessible online database, go here. If you’re interested in more statewide or national trends, check out these interactive maps.

Click on the map to interact with it.

Update: The Census Bureau mistakenly counted nearly 6,000 military personnel as residents of San Diego instead of Coronado and has since amended its figures. The city of San Diego’s corrected population is 1,301,617.

Please contact Keegan Kyle directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/keegankyle.

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