The gold rush of California is said to have put the state on the map. Before the gold rush, California had only recently been acquired by the United States, but when gold was discovered, people came by the thousands. California city population growth began in 1849. San Francisco, which was one city that grew immensely as a result of the gold rush, had a population of approximately 1000 people in 1848, which grew to an astounding 3500 people in 1850. This large growth in population led to California becoming a State in 1850. Only London, at that time, had more newspapers than San Francisco. The city averaged 2 murders and 30 new houses a day. Theaters and businesses sprung up and with those, wages increased and the economy was put into motion.

The City population growth was not limited to San Francisco. Los Angeles County also had a large population increase during this time. From 1850-187-, Los Angeles County population grew from 3,500 to 15,309! What was once sparsely dotted with homes and businesses showed dramatic growth even in lithographs done showing the city and outlying farms.

Lesser known cities in Northern California grew as well, although much less known. The city population growth of what is present day Siskiyou, Shasta and Trinity Counties in California grew at an amazing rate as a result of the gold rush. California city population growth as a whole increased dramatically. Land that had been inhabited by Native Americans was being taken over by those searching for fortunes in gold. New laws were being enacted to dictate what the prospectors could and could not do to mine the gold. It is the gold rush that spawned the population growth and led to California becoming a State. Even after the gold rush, California continued to grow into what it is today.