Housing Units in California by Counties

Last updated on December 19th, 2023 at 10:26 am


As the most populous U.S. state, one may be wondering about the number of housing units that are needed in California to satisfy the mortgage needs of 39,237,836 people residing there.

The over 39 million residents in CA only have just 14,512,281 housing units, according to the July 1, 2021 estimate by the United State Census Bureau across the 58 counties. That has created shortage and crisis.

Californian Counties with Largest Housing Units

We explore the 58 counties in California and the housing statistics in each of the counties. The statistics show that Los Angeles County which is the most populated California County has 3,620,308 housing units, making it the county with the highest number of housing units in California.


The population of each of the counties in the economically vibrant U.S. state plays a huge role in the number of housing needed to accommodate the people there.

Definitely, populated metros and counties face housing crises. For instance, Los Angeles Country with an estimate of 9,829,544 people (as of 2021) has 3,620,308 housing units.

San Diego County, the second largest County in CA by a population at 3,286,069 has 1,237,638 housing units while Orange County with 3,167,809 residents comes third with the number of housing units at 1,138,966.

Riverside County and San Bernardino County come in the 4th and 5th position respectively. Others include Santa Clara County, Alameda County, and Sacramento County

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The above figure is an eye-opener to the shortage of housing in California. It’s heartwarming that the government is wading in to resolve the crisis.

In San Francisco, for instance, the government is conducting a review of housing policies. The housing crisis in one of the most expensive locations in the U.S. to buy a home has to do with affordability, according to CBS News.

Short History of Creation of Counties in California

The U.S. state of California was first divided into 27 counties on February 18, 1850. The 27 counties were further sub-divided to form sixteen additional counties by 1860.

Again, from 1861 to 1893, 14 counties were created through further subdivisions while in 1907, Imperial County came into being, making it the most recent county in California.

Counties with Smallest Housing Units in California

Alpine County has the lowest number of housing units. According to 2021 estimates, the housing units in Alpine 1,549 outnumbered the population which was estimated to be 1,235. The Country was formed from The Amador, Mono, Tuolumne, El Dorado, and Calaveras in 1894.

Sierra County with 3,283 residents, has 2,130 units, followed by Modoc County with 4,760 units. Colusa County at 8,136 and Trinity Country at 8,137 are 4th and 5th respectively.

The table below shows the number of housing units in the richest American state of California

CountyNo. of Housing Units
1Los Angeles County3,620,308
2San Diego County1,237,638
3Orange County1,138,966
4Riverside County858,713
5San Bernardino County735,979
6Santa Clara County693,240
7Alameda County629,118
8Sacramento Country593,279
9Contra Costa County426,356
10San Francisco412,268
11Fresno County341,686
12Kern County303,888
13Ventura County294,681
14San Mateo County285,615
15San Joaquin County255,171
16Sonoma County205,903
17Stanislaus County183,898
18Placer County174,942
19Solano County163,356
20Santa Barbara County159,798
21Tulare County152,700
22Monterey County144,403
23San Luis Obispo County124,740
24Marin County111,744
25Santa Cruz County106,543
26El Dorado County94,179
27Butte County90,314
28Merced County89,320
29Yolo County81,259
30Shasta County79,711
31Humboldt County62,446
32Imperial County57,106
33Napa County55,318
34Nevada County53,932
35Madera County49,982
36Kings County46,758
37Mendocino County41,552
38Sutter County34,639
39Lake County34,274
40Tuolumne County31,487
41Yuba County29,978
42Calaveras County27,522
43Tehama County27,429
44Siskiyou County22,907
45San Benito County20,960
46Amador County18,875
47Plumas County15,437
48Mono County13,613
49Lassen County12,225
50Del Norte County11,146
51Glenn County10,944
52Mariposa County9,826
53Inyo County9,497
54Trinity County8,137
55Colusa County8,136
56Modoc County4,760
57Sierra County2,130
58Alpine County1,549
Courtesy: U.S. Census Bureau


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The number of housing units in California is subject to change due to the efforts put in place by the government to mitigate the housing shortage across the state.

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