With an estimated 357,754 residents, Santa Ana retained its standing as California’s ninth largest city in the 2010 state Finance Department population estimates despite a persistent challenge from No. 10 Anaheim, which has an estimated 353,643 residents.

Each year between the 10-year national census the state estimates the population of each city and county. The figures are important for determining allocation of some state and federal funds and for research and planning. Early stimulus grants, for example, were distributed based on the size of the city.

As of Jan. 1, California’s population totaled 38,648,000, up 393,000 from 2009, according to the report.

Irvine, with a population of 217,686 was the fastest growing city in the state among communities with less than 300,000 residents. It added 5,145 people in 2009.

The smallest city in Orange County is Villa Park with a population of 6,307.

Orange County ranks third in the state with a population of 3,166,461, up one percent from 2009, and not far behind San Diego County, which has 3,224,432 residents.

Of course, the two counties combined aren’t even close to No. 1 Los Angeles County with a population of 10,441,080.

You can download this report and other information about California’s population at the Department of Finance web site.

— TRACY WOOD

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