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Blog Post · February 24, 2022

Who Is Unvaccinated in California?

photo - Syringe and Vaccine Vial

As California prepares to live with the coronavirus over the long term, it has become increasingly clear over the last two years that unvaccinated Californians are more likely to get COVID-19, to be hospitalized with it, and to die from it. According to the February PPIC Statewide Survey, more than eight in ten California adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with three in four receiving either both doses of a two-dose vaccine or a single-dose vaccine. (PPIC survey findings are for all adults, while vaccination data from the state’s dashboard are for Californians age 5 and older.)

While most California adults are vaccinated, more than one in ten say that they will definitely not (12%) or probably not (2%) receive the coronavirus vaccine. Since January 2021, about one in ten have consistently said that they will definitely not get the vaccine. Notably, the overwhelming majority of unvaccinated adults (86%) say that the omicron variant does not make them more likely to get vaccinated (11% say it makes them more likely to be vaccinated). Although majorities across demographic, political, and regional groups are vaccinated, wide disparities remain.

Older adults are more likely to say they have been vaccinated—76% of Californians age 18 to 34, 80% of those age 35 to 54, and 90% of those 55 and older report being vaccinated. Younger Californians make up a larger share of the unvaccinated—and older people make up a smaller share—compared to their shares of the adult population.

Looking beyond age, we find that overwhelming majorities of women (85%) and men (78%) are vaccinated. However, men make up a disproportionate share of the unvaccinated (59% of unvaccinated vs. 49% of adult population).

Though there are disparities in adult vaccination rates across racial/ethnic groups, our survey finds that most Asian Americans (90%), Latinos (82%), whites (80%), and African Americans (79%) are vaccinated. And notably, the shares of each racial/ethnic group among the unvaccinated generally mirror their shares among all adults—with the exception of Asian Americans, who represent a slightly lower share of the unvaccinated population than the adult population.

There are large partisan differences, with Democrats (94%) much more likely to be vaccinated than independents (75%) and Republicans (65%). Compared to their shares of registered voters, Republicans and independents make up larger shares of unvaccinated registered voters. Meanwhile, Democrats make up a much smaller share of unvaccinated registered voters.

Looking at age, party, and gender together, more than nine in ten Democrats age 18 to 54 (91%) and those 55 and older (97%) are vaccinated. In contrast, Republicans age 18 to 54 (55%) are much less likely than those 55 and older (77%) to report being vaccinated. Among partisans, we find that there is not a noticeable gender gap. A similar share of Republican men (67%) and women (63%) report being vaccinated, while more than nine in ten Democrats—regardless of gender—are vaccinated (93% men, 95% women).

As we approach the two-year anniversary of the COVID-19 state of emergency in California, these differences in vaccination are noteworthy and will be important to monitor. Stay tuned to the PPIC Statewide Survey as we continue to track COVID-19 while the state transitions to the next phase of life with the coronavirus.


coronavirus COVID-19 Health & Safety Net Political Landscape Population racial disparities Statewide Survey vaccine