Recessionary times always bring news of California's demise. No longer is the Golden State the hip destination for mobile Americans it once was, the story goes. Not even the undocumented want to come here anymore.

Well, as you're probably aware, that kind of talk is always a crock. California always reinvents itself as the land of dreaming big, and it usually does so faster than you can say gentrification.

The California Department of Finance this week says state growth is back, and L.A. County helped out by surpassing the 10 million population mark:

The state's population is now at 38.2 million, the department says. We grew by 332,000 people between July 2012 and July 2013.

Most of that was the result of 507,000 births (minus 241,000 deaths), but we've also been seeing some people coming west for jobs following the Great Recession's thaw, says John Malson, assistant chief of the department's Demographic Research Unit.

“L.A. is still growing,” he told us. “California is still a destination state.”

Since the 2010 Census, California has grown by nearly a million people (951,000), the department says. Though the latest Census estimate puts 9,962,789 people in America's largest county, the state says we have surpassed the 10 million mark — a first in our memory.

Credit: This skyline is in L.A. county. Can you guess where it is? Photo by Andy Kennelly/LA Weekly Flickr pool.

Credit: This skyline is in L.A. county. Can you guess where it is? Photo by Andy Kennelly/LA Weekly Flickr pool.

The state estimates that L.A. now has 10,019,365 people. We grew by 74,334 in that one-year period, according to the data. Immigration accounted for 55,901 of those people. About 55,500 people left L.A. for a net “domestic migration” gain of … just 401 net newcomers.

“When people come here from overseas, it's almost always to L.A.,” Malson said.

Southern California (Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties) and the Bay Area (Santa Clara, and Alameda counties) accounted for about half of the state's growth, the department stated.

The Bay and Silicon Valley remained strong magnets for job seekers, Malson said, but L.A. was “showing a little more life to it.”

“It's the highest growth we've had in a decade,” he said.

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