The answer to this question will, of course, be only approximate. Even if the government census and other population counts were exactly correct, there would be no way to provide an up to the moment number since there would have been births, deaths, and people moving to and from California in the time since the last count was conducted. Therefore, we can only provide an estimate.
As of the 2010 federal census, there were 37,253,956 people living in California. This placed the state’s population about 12 million higher than that of Texas, the second-largest state. The population estimate for California on July 1, 2012 was 38,041,430. So, we can safely say that the population of California is somewhere around 38 million people, but we cannot know an exact figure. Any more recent data collected by the federal government is not available at the moment because Census Bureau websites are down due to the government shutdown.