Consolidated city-county in California, United States
This article is about the city and county in California. For other uses, see San Francisco (disambiguation).
Consolidated city-county in California, United States
San Francisco, California
|City and County of San Francisco|
San Francisco from the Marin Headlands
See List of nicknames for San Francisco
Oro en Paz, Fierro en Guerra (Spanish)
|Anthem: I Left My Heart in San Francisco|
Interactive map outlining San Francisco
Location within CaliforniaShow map of California
Location within the United StatesShow map of the United States
Location within North AmericaShow map of North America
San Francisco (Earth)Show map of Earth
|Coordinates: 37°46′39″N122°24′59″W / 37.77750°N 122.41639°W / 37.77750; -122.41639Coordinates: 37°46′39″N122°24′59″W / 37.77750°N 122.41639°W / 37.77750; -122.41639|
|CSA||San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland|
|Mission||June 29, 1776|
|Incorporated||April 15, 1850|
|Founded by||José Joaquín Moraga|
|Named for||St. Francis of Assisi|
|• Body||Board of Supervisors|
|• Mayor||London Breed (D)|
|• Assembly members||David Chiu (D)|
Phil Ting (D)
|• State senator||Scott Wiener (D)|
|• United States Representatives||Nancy Pelosi (D)|
Jackie Speier (D)
|• City and county||231.89 sq mi (600.59 km2)|
|• Land||46.9 sq mi (121.48 km2)|
|• Water||184.99 sq mi (479.11 km2) 80.00%|
|• Metro||3,524.4 sq mi (9,128 km2)|
|52 ft (16 m)|
|934 ft (285 m)|
|0 ft (0 m)|
|• City and county||873,965|
|• Rank||17th in the United States|
4th in California
|• Density||18,634.65/sq mi (7,194.31/km2)|
| • Metro|
|Time zone||UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)|
|GNIS feature IDs||277593, 2411786|
|GDP (2019)||City—$203.5billion |
MSA—$591.9 billion (4th)CSA—$1.086 trillion (3rd)
San Francisco (; Spanish for "Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in the U.S. state of California. Located in Northern California, San Francisco is the 17th most populous city in the United States, and the fourth most populous in California, with 873,965 residents as of 2020. It covers an area of about 46.9 square miles (121 square kilometers), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second most densely populated large U.S. city, and the fifth most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is the 12th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States with 4.7 million residents, and the fourth-largest by economic output, with a GDP of $592 billion in 2019. With San Jose, California, it forms the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area, the fifth most populous combined statistical area in the United States, with 9.6 million residents as of 2019. Colloquial nicknames for San Francisco include SF, San Fran, The City, and Frisco.
In 2019, San Francisco was the county with the seventh-highest income in the United States, with a per capita income of $139,405. In the same year, San Francisco proper had a GDP of $203.5 billion, and a GDP per capita of $230,829. The San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area, with a GDP of $1.09 trillion as of 2019, is the country's third-largest economy. Of the 105 primary statistical areas in the U.S. with over 500,000 residents, this CSA had the highest GDP per capita in 2019, at $112,348. San Francisco was ranked 12th in the world and second in the United States on the Global Financial Centres Index as of March 2021.
San Francisco was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established the Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís a few miles away, both named for Francis of Assisi. The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856. San Francisco's status as the West Coast's largest city peaked between 1870 and 1900, when around 25% of California's population resided in the city proper. After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. In World War II, San Francisco was a major port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater. It then became the birthplace of the United Nations in 1945. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, significant immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the "beatnik" and "hippie" countercultures, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States. Politically, the city votes strongly along liberal Democratic Party lines.
A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman's Wharf, and its Chinatown district. San Francisco is also the headquarters of companies such as Wells Fargo, Twitter, Square, Airbnb, Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., Salesforce, Dropbox, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Uber, and Lyft. The city, and the surrounding Bay Area, is a global center of the sciences and arts and is home to a number of educational and cultural institutions, such as the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), the University of San Francisco (USF), San Francisco State University (SFSU), the de Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the SFJAZZ Center, the San Francisco Symphony and the California Academy of Sciences.
See also: History of San Francisco and Timeline of San Francisco
The earliest archaeological evidence of human habitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC. The Yelamu group of the Ohlone people resided in a few small villages when an overland Spanish exploration party, led by Don Gaspar de Portolá, arrived on November 2, 1769, the first documented European visit to San Francisco Bay. The first maritime presence occurred on August 5, 1775, when San Carlos—commanded by Juan Manuel de Ayala—became the first ship to anchor in the bay. The following year, on March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores), established by the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza.
Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico. Under Mexican rule, the mission system gradually ended, and its lands became privatized. In 1835, William Richardson, a naturalized Mexican citizen of English birth, erected the first independent homestead, near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square. Together with AlcaldeFrancisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, and the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican–American War, and Captain John B. Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco on January 30 of the next year, and Mexico officially ceded the territory to the United States at the end of the war in 1848. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography.
The California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers (known as "forty-niners", as in "1849"). With their sourdough bread in tow, prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia, raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849. The promise of great wealth was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor. Some of these approximately 500 abandoned ships were used at times as storeships, saloons, and hotels; many were left to rot and some were sunk to establish title to the underwater lot. By 1851, the harbor was extended out into the bay by wharves while buildings were erected on piles among the ships. By 1870, Yerba Buena Cove had been filled to create new land. Buried ships are occasionally exposed when foundations are dug for new buildings.
California was quickly granted statehood in 1850, and the U.S. military built Fort Point at the Golden Gate and a fort on Alcatraz Island to secure the San Francisco Bay. Silver discoveries, including the Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1859, further drove rapid population growth. With hordes of fortune seekers streaming through the city, lawlessness was common, and the Barbary Coast section of town gained notoriety as a haven for criminals, prostitution, and gambling.
Entrepreneurs sought to capitalize on the wealth generated by the Gold Rush. Early winners were the banking industry, with the founding of Wells Fargo in 1852 and the Bank of California in 1864. Development of the Port of San Francisco and the establishment in 1869 of overland access to the eastern U.S. rail system via the newly completed Pacific Railroad (the construction of which the city only reluctantly helped support) helped make the Bay Area a center for trade. Catering to the needs and tastes of the growing population, Levi Strauss opened a dry goods business and Domingo Ghirardelli began manufacturing chocolate. Chinese immigrants made the city a polyglot culture, drawn to "Old Gold Mountain", creating the city's Chinatown quarter. In 1870, Asians made up 8% of the population. The first cable cars carried San Franciscans up Clay Street in 1873. The city's sea of Victorian houses began to take shape, and civic leaders campaigned for a spacious public park, resulting in plans for Golden Gate Park. San Franciscans built schools, churches, theaters, and all the hallmarks of civic life. The Presidio developed into the most important American military installation on the Pacific coast. By 1890, San Francisco's population approached 300,000, making it the eighth-largest city in the United States at the time. Around 1901, San Francisco was a major city known for its flamboyant style, stately hotels, ostentatious mansions on Nob Hill, and a thriving arts scene. The first North American plague epidemic was the San Francisco plague of 1900–1904.
At 5:12 am on April 18, 1906, a major earthquake struck San Francisco and northern California. As buildings collapsed from the shaking, ruptured gas lines ignited fires that spread across the city and burned out of control for several days. With water mains out of service, the Presidio Artillery Corps attempted to contain the inferno by dynamiting blocks of buildings to create firebreaks. More than three-quarters of the city lay in ruins, including almost all of the downtown core. Contemporary accounts reported that 498 people lost their lives, though modern estimates put the number in the several thousands. More than half of the city's population of 400,000 was left homeless.Refugees settled temporarily in makeshift tent villages in Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, on the beaches, and elsewhere. Many fled permanently to the East Bay.
Rebuilding was rapid and performed on a grand scale. Rejecting calls to completely remake the street grid, San Franciscans opted for speed.Amadeo Giannini's Bank of Italy, later to become Bank of America, provided loans for many of those whose livelihoods had been devastated. The influential San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association or SPUR was founded in 1910 to address the quality of housing after the earthquake. The earthquake hastened development of western neighborhoods that survived the fire, including Pacific Heights, where many of the city's wealthy rebuilt their homes. In turn, the destroyed mansions of Nob Hill became grand hotels. City Hall rose again in splendid Beaux Arts style, and the city celebrated its rebirth at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in 1915.
During this period, San Francisco built some of its most important infrastructure. Civil Engineer Michael O'Shaughnessy was hired by San Francisco Mayor James Rolph as chief engineer for the city in September 1912 to supervise the construction of the Twin Peaks Reservoir, the Stockton Street Tunnel, the Twin Peaks Tunnel, the San Francisco Municipal Railway, the Auxiliary Water Supply System, and new sewers. San Francisco's streetcar system, of which the J, K, L, M, and N lines survive today, was pushed to completion by O'Shaughnessy between 1915 and 1927. It was the O'Shaughnessy Dam, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, and Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct that would have the largest effect on San Francisco. An abundant water supply enabled San Francisco to develop into the city it has become today.
In ensuing years, the city solidified its standing as a financial capital; in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash, not a single San Francisco-based bank failed. Indeed, it was at the height of the Great Depression that San Francisco undertook two great civil engineering projects, simultaneously constructing the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, completing them in 1936 and 1937, respectively. It was in this period that the island of Alcatraz, a former military stockade, began its service as a federal maximum security prison, housing notorious inmates such as Al Capone, and Robert Franklin Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz. San Francisco later celebrated its regained grandeur with a World's fair, the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939–40, creating Treasure Island in the middle of the bay to house it.
During World War II, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard became a hub of activity, and Fort Mason became the primary port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater of Operations. The explosion of jobs drew many people, especially African Americans from the South, to the area. After the end of the war, many military personnel returning from service abroad and civilians who had originally come to work decided to stay. The United Nations Charter creating the United Nations was drafted and signed in San Francisco in 1945 and, in 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco re-established peaceful relations between Japan and the Allied Powers.
Urban planning projects in the 1950s and 1960s involved widespread destruction and redevelopment of west-side neighborhoods and the construction of new freeways, of which only a series of short segments were built before being halted by citizen-led opposition. The onset of containerization made San Francisco's small piers obsolete, and cargo activity moved to the larger Port of Oakland. The city began to lose industrial jobs and turned to tourism as the most important segment of its economy. The suburbs experienced rapid growth, and San Francisco underwent significant demographic change, as large segments of the white population left the city, supplanted by an increasing wave of immigration from Asia and Latin America. From 1950 to 1980, the city lost over 10 percent of its population.
Over this period, San Francisco became a magnet for America's counterculture. Beat Generation writers fueled the San Francisco Renaissance and centered on the North Beach neighborhood in the 1950s.Hippies flocked to Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, reaching a peak with the 1967 Summer of Love. In 1974, the Zebra murders left at least 16 people dead. In the 1970s, the city became a center of the gay rights movement, with the emergence of The Castro as an urban gay village, the election of Harvey Milk to the Board of Supervisors, and his assassination, along with that of Mayor George Moscone, in 1978.
Bank of America completed 555 California Street in 1969 and the Transamerica Pyramid was completed in 1972, igniting a wave of "Manhattanization" that lasted until the late 1980s, a period of extensive high-rise development downtown. The 1980s also saw a dramatic increase in the number of homeless people in the city, an issue that remains today, despite many attempts to address it. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused destruction and loss of life throughout the Bay Area. In San Francisco, the quake severely damaged structures in the Marina and South of Market districts and precipitated the demolition of the damaged Embarcadero Freeway and much of the damaged Central Freeway, allowing the city to reclaim The Embarcadero as its historic downtown waterfront and revitalizing the Hayes Valley neighborhood.
The two recent decades have seen booms driven by the internet industry. First was the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, startup companies invigorated the San Francisco economy. Large numbers of entrepreneurs and computer application developers moved into the city, followed by marketing, design, and sales professionals, changing the social landscape as once-poorer neighborhoods became increasingly gentrified. Demand for new housing and office space ignited a second wave of high-rise development, this time in the South of Market district. By 2000, the city's population reached new highs, surpassing the previous record set in 1950. When the bubble burst in 2001, many of these companies folded and their employees were laid off. Yet high technology and entrepreneurship remain mainstays of the San Francisco economy. By the mid-2000s (decade), the social media boom had begun, with San Francisco becoming a popular location for tech offices and a common place to live for people employed in Silicon Valley companies such as Apple and Google.
The Ferry Station Post Office Building, Armour & Co. Building, Atherton House, and YMCA Hotel are historic buildings among dozens of historical landmarks in the city according to the National Register of Historic Places listings in San Francisco.
San Francisco is located on the West Coast of the United States at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula and includes significant stretches of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay within its boundaries. Several picturesque islands—Alcatraz, Treasure Island and the adjacent Yerba Buena Island, and small portions of Alameda Island, Red Rock Island, and Angel Island—are part of the city. Also included are the uninhabited Farallon Islands, 27 miles (43 km) offshore in the Pacific Ocean. The mainland within the city limits roughly forms a "seven-by-seven-mile square", a common local colloquialism referring to the city's shape, though its total area, including water, is nearly 232 square miles (600 km2).
There are more than 50 hills within the city limits. Some neighborhoods are named after the hill on which they are situated, including Nob Hill, Potrero Hill, and Russian Hill. Near the geographic center of the city, southwest of the downtown area, are a series of less densely populated hills. Twin Peaks, a pair of hills forming one of the city's highest points, forms an overlook spot. San Francisco's tallest hill, Mount Davidson, is 928 feet (283 m) high and is capped with a 103-foot (31 m) tall cross built in 1934. Dominating this area is Sutro Tower, a large red and white radio and television transmission tower.
The nearby San Andreas and Hayward Faults are responsible for much earthquake activity, although neither physically passes through the city itself. The San Andreas Fault caused the earthquakes in 1906 and 1989. Minor earthquakes occur on a regular basis. The threat of major earthquakes plays a large role in the city's infrastructure development. The city constructed an auxiliary water supply system and has repeatedly upgraded its building codes, requiring retrofits for older buildings and higher engineering standards for new construction. However, there are still thousands of smaller buildings that remain vulnerable to quake damage. USGS has released the California earthquake forecast which models earthquake occurrence in California.
San Francisco's shoreline has grown beyond its natural limits. Entire neighborhoods such as the Marina, Mission Bay, and Hunters Point, as well as large sections of the Embarcadero, sit on areas of landfill. Treasure Island was constructed from material dredged from the bay as well as material resulting from the excavation of the Yerba Buena Tunnel through Yerba Buena Island during the construction of the Bay Bridge. Such land tends to be unstable during earthquakes. The resulting soil liquefaction causes extensive damage to property built upon it, as was evidenced in the Marina district during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Most of the city's natural watercourses, such as Islais Creek and Mission Creek, have been culverted and built over, although the Public Utilities Commission is studying proposals to daylight or restore some creeks.
Main article: List of Landmarks and Historic Places in San Francisco
Main article: Neighborhoods in San Francisco
See also: List of tallest buildings in San Francisco
The historic center of San Francisco is the northeast quadrant of the city anchored by Market Street and the waterfront. It is here that the Financial District is centered, with Union Square, the principal shopping and hotel district, and the Tenderloin nearby. Cable cars carry riders up steep inclines to the summit of Nob Hill, once the home of the city's business tycoons, and down to the waterfront tourist attractions of Fisherman's Wharf, and Pier 39, where many restaurants feature Dungeness crab from a still-active fishing industry. Also in this quadrant are Russian Hill, a residential neighborhood with the famously crooked Lombard Street; North Beach, the city's Little Italy and the former center of the Beat Generation; and Telegraph Hill, which features Coit Tower. Abutting Russian Hill and North Beach is San Francisco's Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in North America. The South of Market, which was once San Francisco's industrial core, has seen significant redevelopment following the construction of Oracle Park and an infusion of startup companies. New skyscrapers, live-work lofts, and condominiums dot the area. Further development is taking place just to the south in Mission Bay area, a former railroad yard, which now has a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco and Chase Center, which opened in 2019 as the new home of the Golden State Warriors.
West of downtown, across Van Ness Avenue, lies the large Western Addition neighborhood, which became established with a large African American population after World War II. The Western Addition is usually divided into smaller neighborhoods including Hayes Valley, the Fillmore, and Japantown, which was once the largest Japantown in North America but suffered when its Japanese American residents were forcibly removed and interned during World War II. The Western Addition survived the 1906 earthquake with its Victorians largely intact, including the famous "Painted Ladies", standing alongside Alamo Square. To the south, near the geographic center of the city is Haight-Ashbury, famously associated with 1960s hippie culture. The Haight is now home to some expensive boutiques and a few controversial chain stores, although it still retains some bohemian character.
North of the Western Addition is Pacific Heights, an affluent neighborhood that features the homes built by wealthy San Franciscans in the wake of the 1906 earthquake. Directly north of Pacific Heights facing the waterfront is the Marina, a neighborhood popular with young professionals that was largely built on reclaimed land from the Bay.
In the south-east quadrant of the city is the Mission District—populated in the 19th century by Californios and working-class immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Scandinavia. In the 1910s, a wave of Central American immigrants settled in the Mission and, in the 1950s, immigrants from Mexico began to predominate. In recent years, gentrification has changed the demographics of parts of the Mission from Latino, to twenty-something professionals. Noe Valley to the southwest and Bernal Heights to the south are both increasingly popular among young families with children. East of the Mission is the Potrero Hill neighborhood, a mostly residential neighborhood that features sweeping views of downtown San Francisco. West of the Mission, the area historically known as Eureka Valley, now popularly called the Castro, was once a working-class Scandinavian and Irish area. It has become North America's first gay village, and is now the center of gay life in the city. Located near the city's southern border, the Excelsior District is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco. The predominantly African American Bayview-Hunters Point in the far southeast corner of the city is one of the poorest neighborhoods and suffers from a high rate of crime, though the area has been the focus of several revitalizing and controversial urban renewal projects.
The construction of the Twin Peaks Tunnel in 1918 connected southwest neighborhoods to downtown via streetcar, hastening the development of West Portal, and nearby affluent Forest Hill and St. Francis Wood. Further west, stretching all the way to the Pacific Ocean and north to Golden Gate Park lies the vast Sunset District, a large middle-class area with a predominantly Asian population.
The northwestern quadrant of the city contains the Richmond, a mostly middle-class neighborhood north of Golden Gate Park, home to immigrants from other parts of Asia as well as many Russian and Ukrainian immigrants. Together, these areas are known as The Avenues. These two districts are each sometimes further divided into two regions: the Outer Richmond and Outer Sunset can refer to the more western portions of their respective district and the Inner Richmond and Inner Sunset can refer to the more eastern portions.
Many piers remained derelict for years until the demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway reopened the downtown waterfront, allowing for redevelopment. The centerpiece of the port, the Ferry Building, while still receiving commuter ferry traffic, has been restored and redeveloped as a gourmet marketplace.
San Francisco has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (KöppenCsb) characteristic of California's coast, with moist mild winters and dry summers. San Francisco's weather is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean on the west side of the city, and the water of San Francisco Bay to the north and east. This moderates temperature swings and produces a remarkably mild year-round climate with little seasonal temperature variation.
Among major U.S. cities, San Francisco has the coolest daily mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures for June, July, and August. During the summer, rising hot air in California's interior valleys creates a low pressure area that draws winds from the North Pacific High through the Golden Gate, which creates the city's characteristic cool winds and fog. The fog is less pronounced in eastern neighborhoods and during the late summer and early fall. As a result, the year's warmest month, on average, is September, and on average, October is warmer than July, especially in daytime.
Temperatures reach or exceed 80 °F (27 °C) on an average of only 21 and 23 days a year at downtown and San Francisco International Airport (SFO), respectively. The dry period of May to October is mild to warm, with the normal monthly mean temperature peaking in September at 62.7 °F (17.1 °C). The rainy period of November to April is slightly cooler, with the normal monthly mean temperature reaching its lowest in January at 51.3 °F (10.7 °C). On average, there are 73 rainy days a year, and annual precipitation averages 23.65 inches (601 mm). Variation in precipitation from year to year is high. Above average rain years are often associated with warm El Niño conditions in the Pacific while dry years often occur in cold water La Niña periods. In 2013 (a "La Niña" year), a record low 5.59 in (142 mm) of rainfall was recorded at downtown San Francisco, where records have been kept since 1849. Snowfall in the city is very rare, with only 10 measurable accumulations recorded since 1852, most recently in 1976 when up to 5 inches (13 cm) fell on Twin Peaks.
The highest recorded temperature at the official National Weather Service downtown observation station[a] was 106 °F (41 °C) on September 1, 2017. The lowest recorded temperature was 27 °F (−3 °C) on December 11, 1932. The National Weather Service provides a helpful visual aid graphing the information in the table below to display visually by month the annual typical temperatures, the past year's temperatures, and record temperatures.
San Francisco falls under the USDA 10b Plant hardiness zone.
Climate data for San Francisco (downtown),[b] 1991–2020 normals,[c] extremes 1849–present
|Record high °F (°C)||79|
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||67.1|
|Average high °F (°C)||57.8|
|Daily mean °F (°C)||52.2|
|Average low °F (°C)||46.6|
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||40.5|
|Record low °F (°C)||29|
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||4.40|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)||11.2||10.8||10.8||6.8||4.0||1.6||0.7||1.1||1.2||3.5||7.9||11.6||71.2|
|Average relative humidity (%)||80||77||75||72||72||71||75||75||73||71||75||78||75|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||185.9||207.7||269.1||309.3||325.1||311.4||313.3||287.4||271.4||247.1||173.4||160.6||3,061.7|
|Percent possible sunshine||61||69||73||78||74||70||70||68||73||71||57||54||69|
|Source 1: NOAA (sun 1961–1974)|
|Source 2: Met Office for humidity|
Flora and fauna
Historically, tule elk were present in San Francisco County, based on archeological evidence of elk remains in at least five different Native American shellmounds: at Hunter's Point, Fort Mason, Stevenson Street, Market Street, and Yerba Buena. Perhaps the first historical observer record was from the De Anza Expedition on March 23, 1776. Herbert Eugene Bolton wrote about the expedition camp at Mountain Lake, near the southern end of today's Presidio: "Round about were grazing deer, and scattered here and there were the antlers of large elk." Also, when Richard Henry Dana Jr. visited San Francisco Bay in 1835, he wrote about vast elk herds near the Golden Gate: on December 27 "...we came to anchor near the mouth of the bay, under a high and beautifully sloping hill, upon which herds of hundreds and hundreds of red deer [note: "red deer" is the European term for "elk"], and the stag, with his high branching antlers, were bounding about...", although it is not clear whether this was the Marin side or the San Francisco side.
Main article: Demographics of San Francisco
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2020 United States census showed San Francisco's population to be 873,965, an increase of 8.5% from the 2010 census. With roughly one-quarter the population density of Manhattan, San Francisco is the second-most densely populated large American city, behind only New York City among cities greater than 200,000 population, and the fifth-most densely populated U.S. county, following only four of the five New York City boroughs.
San Francisco forms part of the five-county San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, a region of 4.7 million people, and has served as its traditional demographic focal point. It is also part of the greater 14-county San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area, whose population is over 9.6 million, making it the fifth-largest in the United States as of 2018.
Race, ethnicity, religion, and languages
San Francisco has a majority minority population, as non-Hispanic whites comprise less than half of the population, 41.9%, down from 92.5% in 1940. As of the 2020 census, the racial makeup and population of San Francisco included: 361,382 Whites (41.3%), 296,505 Asians (33.9%), 46,725 African Americans (5.3%), 86,233 Multiracial Americans (9.9%), 6,475 Native Americans and Alaska Natives (0.7%), 3,476 Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (0.4%) and 73,169 persons of other races (8.4%). There were 136,761 Hispanics or Latinos of any race (15.6%).
In 2010, residents of Chinese ethnicity constituted the largest single ethnic minority group in San Francisco at 21% of the population; the other Asian groups are Filipinos (5%) and Vietnamese (2%). The population of Chinese ancestry is most heavily concentrated in Chinatown, Sunset District, and Richmond District, whereas Filipinos are most concentrated in the Crocker-Amazon (which is contiguous with the Filipino community of Daly City, which has one of the highest concentrations of Filipinos in North America), as well as in SoMa. The Tenderloin District is home to a large portion of the city's Vietnamese population as well as businesses and restaurants, which is known as the city's Little Saigon.
The principal Hispanic groups in the city were those of Mexican (7%) and Salvadoran (2%) ancestry. The Hispanic population is most heavily concentrated in the Mission District, Tenderloin District, and Excelsior District. The city's percentage of Hispanic residents is less than half of that of the state. The population of African Americans in San Francisco is 6% of the city's population. The percentage of African Americans in San Francisco is similar to that of California. The majority of the city's black population reside within the neighborhoods of Bayview-Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, and in the Fillmore District.
According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, the largest religious groupings in San Francisco's metropolitan area are Christians (48%), followed by those of no religion (35%), Hindus (5%), Jews (3%), Buddhists (2%), Muslims (1%) and a variety of other religions have smaller followings. According to the same study by the Pew Research Center, about 20% of residents in the area are Protestant, and 25% professing Roman Catholic beliefs. Meanwhile, 10% of the residents in metropolitan San Francisco identify as agnostics, while 5% identify as atheists.
As of 2010[update], 55% (411,728) of San Francisco residents spoke only English at home, while 19% (140,302) spoke a variety of Chinese (mostly Taishanese and Cantonese), 12% (88,147) Spanish, 3% (25,767) Tagalog, and 2% (14,017) Russian. In total, 45% (342,693) of San Francisco's population spoke a language at home other than English.
San Francisco has several prominent Chinese, Mexican, and Filipino ethnic neighborhoods including Chinatown and the Mission District. Research collected on the immigrant clusters in the city show that more than half of the Asian population in San Francisco is either Chinese-born (40.3%) or Philippine-born (13.1%), and of the Mexican population 21% were Mexican-born, meaning these are people who recently immigrated to the United States. Between the years of 1990 and 2000, the number foreign born residents increased from 33% to nearly 40%, During this same time period, the San Francisco Metropolitan area received 850,000 immigrants, ranking third in the United States after Los Angeles and New York.
Education, households, and income
Of all major cities in the United States, San Francisco has the second-highest percentage of residents with a college degree, behind only Seattle. Over 44% of adults have a bachelor's or higher degree. San Francisco had the highest rate at 7,031 per square mile, or over 344,000 total graduates in the city's 46.7 square miles (121 km2).
San Francisco has the highest estimated percentage of gay and lesbian individuals of any of the 50 largest U.S. cities, at 15%. San Francisco also has the highest percentage of same-sex households of any American county, with the Bay Area having a higher concentration than any other metropolitan area.
San Francisco ranks third of American cities in median household income with a 2007 value of $65,519. Median family income is $81,136. An emigration of middle-class families has left the city with a lower proportion of children than any other large American city, with the dog population cited as exceeding the child population of 115,000, in 2018. The city's poverty rate is 12%, lower than the national average.Homelessness has been a chronic problem for San Francisco since the early 1970s. The city is believed to have the highest number of homeless inhabitants per capita of any major U.S. city.
There are 345,811 households in the city, out of which: 133,366 households (39%) were individuals, 109,437 (32%) were opposite-sex married couples, 63,577 (18%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 21,677 (6%) were unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 10,384 (3%) were same-sex married couples or partnerships. The average household size was 2.26; the average family size was 3.11. 452,986 people (56%) lived in rental housing units, and 327,985 people (41%) lived in owner-occupied housing units. The median age of the city population is 38 years.
San Francisco "declared itself a sanctuary city in 1989, and city officials strengthened the stance in 2013 with its 'Due Process for All' ordinance. The law declared local authorities could not hold immigrants for immigration officials if they had no violent felonies on their records and did not currently face charges." The city issues a Resident ID Card regardless of the applicant's immigration status.
See also: Homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area
Homelessness, historically, has been a major problem in the city and remains a growing problem in modern times.
8,035 homeless people were counted in San Francisco's 2019 point-in-time street and shelter count. This was an increase of more than 17% over the 2017 count of 6,858 people. 5,180 of the people were living unsheltered on the streets and in parks. 26% of respondents in the 2019 count identified job loss as the primary cause of their homelessness, 18% cited alcohol or drug use, and 13% cited being evicted from their residence. The city of San Francisco has been dramatically increasing its spending to service the growing population homelessness crisis: spending jumped by $241 million in 2016–17 to total $275 million, compared to a budget of just $34 million the previous year. In 2017–18 the budget for combatting homelessness stood at $305 million. In the 2019–2020 budget year, the city budgeted $368 million for homelessness services. In the propose 2020–2021 budget the city budgeted $850 million for homelessness services.
In January 2018 a United Nations special rapporteur on homelessness, Leilani Farha, stated that she was "completely shocked" by San Francisco's homelessness crisis during a visit to the city. She compared the "deplorable conditions" of the homeless camps she witnessed on San Francisco's streets to those she had seen in Mumbai. In May 2020, San Francisco officially sanctioned homelessencampments.
In 2011, 50 murders were reported, which is 6.1 per 100,000 people. There were about 134 rapes, 3,142 robberies, and about 2,139 assaults. There were about 4,469 burglaries, 25,100 thefts, and 4,210 motor vehicle thefts. The Tenderloin area has the highest crime rate in San Francisco: 70% of the city's violent crimes, and around one-fourth of the city's murders, occur in this neighborhood. The Tenderloin also sees high rates of drug abuse, gang violence, and prostitution. Another area with high crime rates is the Bayview-Hunters Point area. In the first six months of 2015 there were 25 murders compared to 14 in the first six months of 2014. However, the murder rate is still much lower than in past decades. That rate, though, did rise again by the close of 2016. According to the San Francisco Police Department, there were 59 murders in the city in 2016, an annual total that marked a 13.5% increase in the number of homicides (52) from 2015.
During the first half of 2018, human feces on San Francisco sidewalks were the second-most-frequent complaint of city residents, with about 65 calls per day. The city has formed a "poop patrol" to attempt to combat the problem.
Several street gangs have operated in the city over the decades, including MS-13, the Sureños and Norteños in the Mission District. In 2008, a MS-13 member killed three family members as they were arriving home in the city's Excelsior District. His victims had no relationship with him, nor did they have any known gang or street crime involvement.
African-American street gangs familiar in other cities, including the Bloods, Crips and their sets, have struggled to establish footholds in San Francisco, while police and prosecutors have been accused of liberally labeling young African-American males as gang members. However, gangs founded in San Francisco with majority Black memberships have made their presence in the city. The gang Westmob, associated with Oakdale Mob and Sunnydale housing project gangs from the southeast area of the city, was involved in a gang war with Hunters Point-based Big Block from 1999 to the 2000s. They claim territory from West Point to Middle Point in the Hunters Point projects. In 2004, a Westmob member fatally shot a SFPD officer and wounded his partner; he was sentenced to life without parole in 2007.
Criminal gangs with shotcallers in China, including Triad groups such as the Wo Hop To, have been reported active in San Francisco. In 1977, an ongoing rivalry between two Chinese gangs led to a shooting attack at the Golden Dragon restaurant in Chinatown, which left 5 people dead and 11 wounded. None of the victims in this attack were gang members. Five members of the Joe Boys gang were arrested and convicted of the crime. In 1990, a gang-related shooting killed one man and wounded six others outside a nightclub near Chinatown. In 1998, six teenagers were shot and wounded at the Chinese Playground; a 16-year-old boy was subsequently arrested.
See also: List of companies based in San Francisco
According to academic Rob Wilson, San Francisco is a global city, a status that pre-dated the city's popularity during the California Gold Rush. Such cities are characterized by their ethnic clustering, network of international connectivity, and convergence of technological innovation. Global cities, such as San Francisco, are considered to be complex and require a high level of talent as well as large masses of low wage workers. A divide is created within the city of ethnic, typically lower-class neighborhoods, and expensive ones with newly developed buildings. This in turn creates a population of highly educated, white-collar individuals as well as blue-collar workers, many of whom are immigrants, and who both are drawn to the increasing number of opportunities available. Competition for these opportunities pushes growth and adaptation in world centers.
San Francisco has a diversified service economy, with employment spread across a wide range of professional services, including financial services, tourism, and (increasingly) high technology. In 2016, approximately 27% of workers were employed in professional business services; 14% in leisure and hospitality; 13% in government services; 12% in education and health care; 11% in trade, transportation, and utilities; and 8% in financial activities. In 2019, GDP in the five-county San Francisco metropolitan area grew 3.8% in real terms to $592 billion. Additionally, in 2019 the 14-county San Jose–San Francisco–Oaklandcombined statistical area had a GDP of $1.086 trillion, ranking 3rd among CSAs, and ahead of all but 16 countries. As of 2019, San Francisco County was the 7th highest-income county in the United States (among 3,142), with a per capita personal income of $139,405.Marin County, directly to the north over the Golden Gate Bridge, and San Mateo County, directly to the south on the Peninsula, were the 6th and 9th highest-income counties respectively.
The legacy of the California Gold Rush turned San Francisco into the principal banking and finance center of the West Coast in the early twentieth century.Montgomery Street in the Financial District became known as the "Wall Street of the West", home to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Wells Fargo corporate headquarters, and the site of the now-defunct Pacific Coast Stock Exchange.Bank of America, a pioneer in making banking services accessible to the middle class, was founded in San Francisco and in the 1960s, built the landmark modern skyscraper at 555 California Street for its corporate headquarters. Many large financial institutions, multinational banks, and venture capital firms are based in or have regional headquarters in the city. With over 30 international financial institutions, six Fortune 500 companies, and a large support infrastructure of professional services—including law, public relations, architecture and design—San Francisco is designated as an Alpha(-) World City. The 2017 Global Financial Centres Index ranked San Francisco as the sixth-most competitive financial center in the world.
Since the 1990s, San Francisco's economy has diversified away from finance and tourism towards the growing fields of high tech, biotechnology, and medical research. Technology jobs accounted for just 1 percent of San Francisco's economy in 1990, growing to 4 percent in 2010 and an estimated 8 percent by the end of 2013. San Francisco became a center of Internet start-up companies during the dot-com bubble of the 1990s and the subsequent social media boom of the late 2000s (decade). Since 2010, San Francisco proper has attracted an increasing share of venture capital investments as compared to nearby Silicon Valley, attracting 423 financings worth US$4.58 billion in 2013. In 2004, the city approved a payroll tax exemption for biotechnology companies to foster growth in the Mission Bay neighborhood, site of a second campus and hospital of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Mission Bay hosts the UCSF Medical Center, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, and Gladstone Institutes, as well as more than 40 private-sector life sciences companies.
The top employer in the city is the city government itself, employing 5.6% (31,000+ people) of the city's workforce, followed by UCSF with over 25,000 employees. The largest private-sector employer is Salesforce, with 8,500 employees, as of 2018. Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees and self-employed firms make up 85% of city establishments, and the number of San Franciscans employed by firms of more than 1,000 employees has fallen by half since 1977. The growth of national big box and formula retail chains into the city has been made intentionally difficult by political and civic consensus. In an effort to buoy small privately owned businesses in San Francisco and preserve the unique retail personality of the city, the Small Business Commission started a publicity campaign in 2004 to keep a larger share of retail dollars in the local economy, and the Board of Supervisors has used the planning code to limit the neighborhoods where formula retail establishments can set up shop, an effort affirmed by San Francisco voters. However, by 2016, San Francisco was rated low by small businesses in a Business Friendliness Survey.
Like many U.S. cities, San Francisco once had a significant manufacturing sector employing nearly 60,000 workers in 1969, but nearly all production left for cheaper locations by the 1980s. As of 2014[update], San Francisco has seen a small resurgence in manufacturing, with more than 4,000 manufacturing jobs across 500 companies, doubling since 2011. The city's largest manufacturing employer is Anchor Brewing Company, and the largest by revenue is Timbuk2.
San Francisco became a hub for technological driven economic growth during the internet boom of the 1990s, and still holds an important position in the world city network today. Intense redevelopment towards the "new economy" makes business more technologically minded. Between the years of 1999 and 2000, the job growth rate was 4.9%, creating over 50,000 jobs in technology firms and internet content production.
In the second technological boom driven by social media in the mid 2000s, San Francisco became a location for companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter to base their tech offices and for their employees to live. Since then, tech employment has continued to increase. In 2014, San Francisco's tech employment grew nearly 90% between 2010 and 2014, beating out Silicon Valley's 30% growth rate over the same period.
The tech sector's dominance in the Bay Area is internationally recognized and continues to attract new businesses and young entrepreneurs from all over the globe. San Francisco is now widely considered the most important city in the world for new technology startups. A recent high of $7 billion in venture capital was invested in the region. These startup companies hire well educated individuals looking to work in the tech industry, which helps the city have a well educated citizenry. Over 50% of San Franciscans have a four-year university degree, thus the city ranks high in terms of its population's educational level.
Tourism and conventions
See also: Port of San Francisco
Largest city in California
This article is about the U.S. city. For the county, see Los Angeles County. For other uses, see Los Angeles (disambiguation) and City of Los Angeles (disambiguation).
"LA" redirects here. For other uses, see LA (disambiguation).
City in California
Los Angeles, California
Clockwise from top: Downtown Los Angeles skyline, Griffith Observatory, City Hall, Venice Beach, Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport, Vincent Thomas Bridge, and the Hollywood Sign
L.A., City of Angels,The Entertainment Capital of the World, La-la-land, Tinseltown
Interactive map outlining Los Angeles
Location within CaliforniaShow map of California
Location within the United StatesShow map of the United States
Location within North AmericaShow map of North America
|Coordinates: 34°03′N118°15′W / 34.050°N 118.250°W / 34.050; -118.250Coordinates: 34°03′N118°15′W / 34.050°N 118.250°W / 34.050; -118.250|
|CSA||Los Angeles-Long Beach|
|MSA||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim|
|Pueblo||September 4, 1781|
|City status||May 23, 1835|
|Incorporated||April 4, 1850|
|Named for||Our Lady, Queen of the Angels|
|• Body||Los Angeles City Council|
|• Mayor||Eric Garcetti (D)|
|• City Attorney||Mike Feuer (D)|
|• City Controller||Ron Galperin (D)|
|• Total||501.55 sq mi (1,299.01 km2)|
|• Land||469.49 sq mi (1,215.97 km2)|
|• Water||32.06 sq mi (83.04 km2)|
|305 ft (93 m)|
|5,074 ft (1,547 m)|
|0 ft (0 m)|
|• Rank||2nd in the United States|
1st in California
|• Density||8,304.22/sq mi (3,206.29/km2)|
| • Metro|
|Demonym(s)||Los Angeleno, Angeleno|
|Time zone||UTC−08:00 (Pacific)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−07:00 (PDT)|
|Area codes||213/323, 310/424, 747/818|
|GNIS feature IDs||1662328, 2410877|
|Major Airport||Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)|
|Rapid Transit||Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority|
Los Angeles (lawss AN-jəl-əs;[a]Tongva: Tovaangar;Spanish: Los Ángeles; Spanish for "The Angels"), often spoken and written as its initialism, L.A., is the largest city in California. With a 2020 population of 3,898,747, it is the second-largest city in the United States, after New York City, and the third-largest city in North America, after Mexico City and New York City. Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic and cultural diversity, Hollywood entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolitan area.
Los Angeles lies in a basin in Southern California, adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, with mountains as high as 10,000 feet (3,000 m), and deserts. The city, which covers about 469 square miles (1,210 km2), is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States. The Los Angeles metropolitan area (MSA) is home to a population of 13.1 million, making it the second-largest metropolitan area in the nation after that of New York.Greater Los Angeles includes metro Los Angeles as well as the Inland Empire and Ventura County. It is the second most populous U.S. combined statistical area, also after New York, with a 2015 estimate of 18.7 million people.
Home to the Chumash and Tongva, the area that became Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain in 1542. The city was founded on September 4, 1781, under Spanish governor Felipe de Neve, on the village of Yaanga. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and thus became part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood. The discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city. The city was further expanded with the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, which delivers water from Eastern California.
Los Angeles has a diverse and robust economy, and hosts businesses in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. It also has the busiest container port in the Americas. In 2018, the Los Angeles metropolitan area had a gross metropolitan product of over $1.0 trillion, making it the city with the third-largest GDP in the world, after Tokyo and New York City. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will host the 2028 Summer Olympics.
Main article: History of Los Angeles
See also: Timeline of Los Angeles and Los Angeles in the 1920s
The Los Angeles coastal area was settled by the Tongva (Gabrieleños) and Chumashtribes. Los Angeles would eventually be founded on the village of iyáangẚ or Yaanga (written "Yang-na" by the Spanish), meaning "poison oak place."
Maritime explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire in 1542 while on an official military exploring expedition moving north along the Pacific coast from earlier colonizing bases of New Spain in Central and South America.Gaspar de Portolà and Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769.
In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra directed the building of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, the first mission in the area. On September 4, 1781, a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores" founded the pueblo they called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles, 'The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels'.[b] The present-day city has the largest Roman Catholic archdiocese in the United States. Two-thirds of the Mexican or (New Spain) settlers were mestizo or mulatto, a mixture of African, indigenous and European ancestry. The settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820, the population had increased to about 650 residents. Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles.
New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, and the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico. During Mexican rule, Governor Pío Pico made Los Angeles Alta California's regional capital.
1847 to present
Mexican rule ended during the Mexican–American War: Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles, culminating with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847.
Railroads arrived with the completion of the transcontinental Southern Pacific line from New Orleans to Los Angeles in 1876 and the Santa Fe Railroad in 1885.Petroleum was discovered in the city and surrounding area in 1892, and by 1923, the discoveries had helped California become the country's largest oil producer, accounting for about one-quarter of the world's petroleum output.
By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000, putting pressure on the city's water supply. The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, under the supervision of William Mulholland, ensured the continued growth of the city. Because of clauses in the city's charter that prevented the City of Los Angeles from selling or providing water from the aqueduct to any area outside its borders, many adjacent cities and communities felt compelled to join Los Angeles.
Los Angeles created the first municipal zoning ordinance in the United States. On September 14, 1908, the Los Angeles City Council promulgated residential and industrial land use zones. The new ordinance established three residential zones of a single type, where industrial uses were prohibited. The proscriptions included barns, lumber yards, and any industrial land use employing machine-powered equipment. These laws were enforced against industrial properties after the fact. These prohibitions were in addition to existing activities that were already regulated as nuisances. These included explosives warehousing, gas works, oil drilling, slaughterhouses, and tanneries. Los Angeles City Council also designated seven industrial zones within the city. However, between 1908 and 1915, Los Angeles City Council created various exceptions to the broad proscriptions that applied to these three residential zones, and as a consequence, some industrial uses emerged within them. There are two differences between the 1908 Residence District Ordinance and later zoning laws in the United States. First, the 1908 laws did not establish a comprehensive zoning map as the 1916 New York City Zoning Ordinance did. Second, the residential zones did not distinguish types of housing; they treated apartments, hotels, and detached-single-family housing equally.
In 1910, Hollywood merged into Los Angeles, with 10 movie companies already operating in the city at the time. By 1921, more than 80 percent of the world's film industry was concentrated in L.A. The money generated by the industry kept the city insulated from much of the economic loss suffered by the rest of the country during the Great Depression. By 1930, the population surpassed one million. In 1932, the city hosted the Summer Olympics.
During World War II, Los Angeles was a major center of wartime manufacturing, such as shipbuilding and aircraft. Calship built hundreds of Liberty Ships and Victory Ships on Terminal Island, and the Los Angeles area was the headquarters of six of the country's major aircraft manufacturers (Douglas Aircraft Company, Hughes Aircraft, Lockheed, North American Aviation, Northrop Corporation, and Vultee). During the war, more aircraft were produced in one year than in all the pre-war years since the Wright brothers flew the first airplane in 1903, combined. Manufacturing in Los Angeles skyrocketed, and as William S. Knudsen, of the National Defense Advisory Commission put it, "We won because we smothered the enemy in an avalanche of production, the like of which he had never seen, nor dreamed possible."
In the 1930s–1940s, Los Angeles County was the national leader in agriculture.
Following the end of World War II, Los Angeles grew more rapidly than ever, sprawling into the San Fernando Valley. The expansion of the Interstate Highway System during the 1950s and 1960s helped propel suburban growth and signaled the demise of the city's electrified rail system, once the world's largest.
Racial tensions led to the Watts riots in 1965, resulting in 34 deaths and over 1,000 injuries.
In 1969, California became the birthplace of the Internet, as the first ARPANET transmission was sent from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park.
In 1973, Tom Bradley was elected as the city's first African American mayor, serving for five terms until retiring in 1993. Other events in the city during the 1970s included the Symbionese Liberation Army's South Central standoff in 1974 and the Hillside Stranglersmurder cases in 1977–1978.
In 1984, the city hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the second time. Despite being boycotted by 14 Communist countries, the 1984 Olympics became more financially successful than any previous, and the second Olympics to turn a profit; the other, according to an analysis of contemporary newspaper reports, was the 1932 Summer Olympics, also held in Los Angeles.
Racial tensions erupted on April 29, 1992, with the acquittal by a Simi Valley jury of four Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers captured on videotape beating Rodney King, culminating in large-scale riots.
In 1994, the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake shook the city, causing $12.5 billion in damage and 72 deaths. The century ended with the Rampart scandal, one of the most extensive documented cases of police misconduct in American history.
In 2002, Mayor James Hahn led the campaign against secession, resulting in voters defeating efforts by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood to secede from the city.
Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games, making Los Angeles the third city to host the Olympics three times.
Pronunciation of the name
The English pronunciation of the name of the city has varied. A 1953 article in the journal of the American Name Society asserts that the pronunciation lawss AN-jəl-əs was established following the 1850 incorporation of the city and that since the 1880s the pronunciation lohss ANG-gəl-əs emerged out of a trend in California to give places Spanish, or Spanish-sounding, names and pronunciations. In 1908, librarian Charles Fletcher Lummis, who argued for the pronunciation with , reported that there were at least 12 pronunciation variants. In the early 1900s, the Los Angeles Times advocated for pronouncing it Loce AHNG-hayl-ais (), approximating Spanish [los ˈaŋxeles], by printing the respelling under its masthead for several years. This did not find favor.
Since the 1930s, has been most common. In 1934, the United States Board on Geographic Names decreed that this pronunciation be used. This was also endorsed in 1952 by a "jury" appointed by Mayor Fletcher Bowron to devise an official pronunciation.
See also: Los Angeles Basin; San Fernando Valley; Greater Los Angeles Area; and Los Angeles County, California
The city of Los Angeles covers a total area of 502.7 square miles (1,302 km2), comprising 468.7 square miles (1,214 km2) of land and 34.0 square miles (88 km2) of water. The city extends for 44 miles (71 km) north-south and for 29 miles (47 km) east-west. The perimeter of the city is 342 miles (550 km).
Los Angeles is both flat and hilly. The highest point in the city proper is Mount Lukens at 5,074 ft (1,547 m), located at the northeastern end of the San Fernando Valley. The eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains stretches from Downtown to the Pacific Ocean and separates the Los Angeles Basin from the San Fernando Valley. Other hilly parts of Los Angeles include the Mt. Washington area north of Downtown, eastern parts such as Boyle Heights, the Crenshaw district around the Baldwin Hills, and the San Pedro district.
Surrounding the city are much higher mountains. Immediately to the north lie the San Gabriel Mountains, which is a popular recreation area for Angelenos. Its high point is Mount San Antonio, locally known as Mount Baldy, which reaches 10,064 feet (3,068 m). Further afield, the highest point in the Greater Los Angeles area is San Gorgonio Mountain, with a height of 11,503 feet (3,506 m).
The Los Angeles River, which is largely seasonal, is the primary drainage channel. It was straightened and lined in 51 miles (82 km) of concrete by the Army Corps of Engineers to act as a flood control channel. The river begins in the Canoga Park district of the city, flows east from the San Fernando Valley along the north edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, and turns south through the city center, flowing to its mouth in the Port of Long Beach at the Pacific Ocean. The smaller Ballona Creek flows into the Santa Monica Bay at Playa del Rey.
See also: California coastal sage and chaparral
Los Angeles is rich in native plant species partly because of its diversity of habitats, including beaches, wetlands, and mountains. The most prevalent plant communities are coastal sage scrub, chaparral shrubland, and riparian woodland. Native plants include: the California poppy, matilija poppy, toyon, Ceanothus, Chamise, Coast Live Oak, sycamore, willow and Giant Wildrye. Many of these native species, such as the Los Angeles sunflower, have become so rare as to be considered endangered. Although it is not native to the area, the official tree of Los Angeles is the Coral Tree (Erythrina caffra) and the official flower of Los Angeles is the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae).Mexican Fan Palms, Canary Island Palms, Queen Palms, Date Palms, and California Fan Palms are common in the Los Angeles area, although only the last is native to California, though still not native to the City of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is subject to earthquakes because of its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The geologic instability has produced numerous faults, which cause approximately 10,000 earthquakes annually in Southern California, though most of them are too small to be felt. The strike-slipSan Andreas Fault system, which sits at the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, passes through the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The segment of the fault passing through Southern California experiences a major earthquake roughly every 110 to 140 years, and seismologists have warned about the next "big one", as the last major earthquake was the 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake. The Los Angeles basin and metropolitan area are also at risk from blind thrust earthquakes. Major earthquakes that have hit the Los Angeles area include the 1933 Long Beach, 1971 San Fernando, 1987 Whittier Narrows, and the 1994 Northridge events. All but a few are of low intensity and are not felt. The USGS has released the UCERF California earthquake forecast, which models earthquake occurrence in California. Parts of the city are also vulnerable to tsunamis; harbor areas were damaged by waves from Aleutian Islands earthquake in 1946, Valdivia earthquake in 1960, Alaska earthquake in 1964, Chile earthquake in 2010 and Japan earthquake in 2011.
Main article: List of districts and neighborhoods of Los Angeles
The city is divided into many different districts and neighborhoods, some of which were incorporated cities that merged with Los Angeles. These neighborhoods were developed piecemeal, and are well-defined enough that the city has signage marking nearly all of them.
The city's street patterns generally follow a grid plan, with uniform block lengths and occasional roads that cut across blocks. However, this is complicated by rugged terrain, which has necessitated having different grids for each of the valleys that Los Angeles covers. Major streets are designed to move large volumes of traffic through many parts of the city, many of which are extremely long; Sepulveda Boulevard is 43 miles (69 km) long, while Foothill Boulevard is over 60 miles (97 km) long, reaching as far east as San Bernardino. Drivers in Los Angeles suffer from, and cause, one of the worst rush hour periods in the world, according to an annual traffic index by navigation system maker, TomTom. LA drivers spend an additional 92 hours in traffic each year. During the peak rush hour, there is 80% congestion, according to the index.
Los Angeles is often characterized by the presence of low-rise buildings, in contrast to New York City. Outside of a few centers such as Downtown, Warner Center, Century City, Koreatown, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, and Westwood, skyscrapers and high-rise buildings are not common in Los Angeles. The few skyscrapers built outside of those areas often stand out above the rest of the surrounding landscape. Most construction is done in separate units, rather than wall-to-wall. That being said, Downtown Los Angeles itself has many buildings over 30 stories, with fourteen over 50 stories, and two over 70 stories, the tallest of which is the Wilshire Grand Center. Also, Los Angeles is increasingly becoming a city of apartments rather than single-family dwellings, especially in the dense inner city and Westside neighborhoods.
Main article: Climate of Los Angeles
|Los Angeles (Downtown)|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Los Angeles has a Mediterranean climate (KöppenCsb on the coast and most of downtown, Csa near the metropolitan region to the west), and receives just enough annual precipitation to avoid being classified as a semi-arid climate (BSh). Daytime temperatures are generally temperate all year round. In winter, they average around 68 °F (20 °C) giving it a tropical feel although it is a few degrees too cool to be a true tropical climate on average due to cool night temperatures. Los Angeles has plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.
Temperatures in the coastal basin exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on a dozen or so days in the year, from one day a month in April, May, June and November to three days a month in July, August, October and to five days in September. Temperatures in the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys are considerably warmer. Temperatures are subject to substantial daily swings; in inland areas the difference between the average daily low and the average daily high is over 30 °F (17 °C). The average annual temperature of the sea is 63 °F (17 °C), from 58 °F (14 °C) in January to 68 °F (20 °C) in August. Hours of sunshine total more than 3,000 per year, from an average of 7 hours of sunshine per day in December to an average of 12 in July.
The Los Angeles area is also subject to phenomena typical of a microclimate, causing extreme variations in temperature in close physical proximity to each other. For example, the average July maximum temperature at the Santa Monica Pier is 70 °F (21 °C) whereas it is 95 °F (35 °C) in Canoga Park, 15 miles (24 km) away. The city, like much of the Southern Californian coast, is subject to a late spring/early summer weather phenomenon called "June Gloom". This involves overcast or foggy skies in the morning that yield to sun by early afternoon.
Downtown Los Angeles averages 14.93 in (379 mm) of precipitation annually, mainly occurring between November and March, generally in the form of moderate rain showers, but sometimes as heavy rainfall during winter storms. Rainfall is usually higher in the hills and coastal slopes of the mountains because of orographic uplift. Summer days are usually rainless. Rarely, an incursion of moist air from the south or east can bring brief thunderstorms in late summer, especially to the mountains. The coast gets slightly less rainfall, while the inland and mountain areas get considerably more. Years of average rainfall are rare. The usual pattern is a year-to-year variability, with a short string of dry years of 5–10 in (130–250 mm) rainfall, followed by one or two wet years with more than 20 in (510 mm). Wet years are usually associated with warm water El Niño conditions in the Pacific, dry years with cooler water La Niña episodes. A series of rainy days can bring floods to the lowlands and mudslides to the hills, especially after wildfires have denuded the slopes.
Both freezing temperatures and snowfall are extremely rare in the city basin and along the coast, with the last occurrence of a 32 °F (0 °C) reading at the downtown station being January 29, 1979; freezing temperatures occur nearly every year in valley locations while the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter. The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2.0 inches (5 cm) on January 15, 1932. While the most recent snowfall occurred in February 2019, the first snowfall since 1962, with snow falling in areas adjacent to Los Angeles as recently as January 2021. At the official downtown station, the highest recorded temperature is 113 °F (45 °C) on September 27, 2010, while the lowest is 28 °F (−2 °C), on January 4, 1949. Within the City of Los Angeles, the highest temperature ever officially recorded is 121 °F (49 °C), on September 6, 2020, at the weather station at Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Woodland Hills. During autumn and winter, Santa Ana winds sometimes bring much warmer and drier conditions to Los Angeles, and raise wildfire risk.
Climate data for Los Angeles (USC, Downtown), 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1877–present
|Record high °F (°C)||95|
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||83.0|
|Average high °F (°C)||68.0|
|Daily mean °F (°C)||58.4|
|Average low °F (°C)||48.9|
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||41.4|
|Record low °F (°C)||28|
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||3.29|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)||6.1||6.3||5.1||2.8||1.9||0.5||0.4||0.1||0.4||2.2||2.8||5.5||34.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||225.3||222.5||267.0||303.5||276.2||275.8||364.1||349.5||278.5||255.1||217.3||219.4||3,254.2|
|Percent possible sunshine||71||72||72||78||64||64||83||84||75||73||70||71||73|
|Source: NOAA (sun 1961–1977)|
Climate data for Los Angeles (LAX), 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1944–present
|Record high °F (°C)||91|
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||81.2|
|Average high °F (°C)||66.3|
|Daily mean °F (°C)||57.9|
|Average low °F (°C)||49.4|
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||41.8|
|Record low °F (°C)||27|
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||2.86|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)||6.1||6.3||5.6||2.6||1.7||0.5||0.5||0.1||0.5||2.0||3.2||5.4||34.5|
|Average relative humidity (%)||63.4||67.9||70.5||71.0||74.0||75.9||76.6||76.6||74.2||70.5||65.5||62.9||70.8|
|Average dew point °F (°C)||41.4|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and dew point 1961–1990)|
|Climate data for Los Angeles (Canoga Park, in the San Fernando Valley)|
|Record high °F (°C)||93|
|Average high °F (°C)||67.9|
|Daily mean °F (°C)||53.7|
|Average low °F (°C)||39.5|
|Record low °F (°C)||19|
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||3.83|
|Average rainy days||6.2||5.9||6.1||3.0||1.3||0.4||0.1||0.7||1.3||2.0||3.2||4.4||34.6|
|Hottest||63.9 °F (17.7 °C)||64.2 °F (17.9 °C)||67.5 °F (19.7 °C)||68.2 °F (20.1 °C)||71.5 °F (21.9 °C)||75.9 °F (24.4 °C)||79.8 °F (26.6 °C)||79.0 °F (26.1 °C)||80.3 °F (26.8 °C)||75.4 °F (24.1 °C)||66.9 °F (19.4 °C)||62.2 °F (16.8 °C)|
|Coldest||46.7 °F (8.2 °C)||51.1 °F (10.6 °C)||52.0 °F (11.1 °C)||55.2 °F (12.9 °C)||57.2 °F (14.0 °C)||62.9 °F (17.2 °C)||66.2 °F (19.0 °C)||66.3 °F (19.1 °C)||63.1 °F (17.3 °C)||57.8 °F (14.3 °C)||55.2 °F (12.9 °C)||49.4 °F (9.7 °C)|
|Wettest||14.43 inches (367 mm)||15.23 inches (387 mm)||10.44 inches (265 mm)||7.31 inches (186 mm)||3.83 inches (97 mm)||0.98 inches (25 mm)||0.43 inches (11 mm)||2.54 inches (65 mm)||5.13 inches (130 mm)||5.13 inches (130 mm)||9.96 inches (253 mm)||11.46 inches (291 mm)|
|Driest||0 inches (0 mm)||0 inches (0 mm)||0 inches (0 mm)||0 inches (0 mm)||0 inches (0 mm)||0 inches (0 mm)||0 inches (0 mm)||0 inches (0 mm)||0 inches (0 mm)||0 inches (0 mm)||0 inches (0 mm)||0 inches (0 mm)|
Further information: Pollution in California § Los Angeles Air Pollution
A Gabrielino settlement in the area was called iyáangẚ (written Yang-na by the Spanish), which has been translated as "poison oak place".Yang-na has also been translated as "the valley of smoke". Owing to geography, heavy reliance on automobiles, and the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, Los Angeles suffers from air pollution in the form of smog. The Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley are susceptible to atmospheric inversion, which holds in the exhausts from road vehicles, airplanes, locomotives, shipping, manufacturing, and other sources. The percentage of small particle pollution (the kind that penetrates into the lungs) coming from vehicles in the city can get as high as 55 percent.
The smog season lasts from approximately May to October. While other large cities rely on rain to clear smog, Los Angeles gets only 15 inches (380 mm) of rain each year: pollution accumulates over many consecutive days. Issues of air quality in Los Angeles and other major cities led to the passage of early national environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act. When the act was passed, California was unable to create a State Implementation Plan that would enable it to meet the new air quality standards, largely because of the level of pollution in Los Angeles generated by older vehicles. More recently, the state of California has led the nation in working to limit pollution by mandating low-emission vehicles. Smog is expected to continue to drop in the coming years because of aggressive steps to reduce it, which include electric and hybrid cars, improvements in mass transit, and other measures.
The number of Stage 1 smog alerts in Los Angeles has declined from over 100 per year in the 1970s to almost zero in the new millennium. Despite improvement, the 2006 and 2007 annual reports of the American Lung Association ranked the city as the most polluted in the country with short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution. In 2008, the city was ranked the second most polluted and again had the highest year-round particulate pollution. The city met its goal of providing 20 percent of the city's power from renewable sources in 2010. The American Lung Association's 2013 survey ranks the metro area as having the nation's worst smog, and fourth in both short-term and year-round pollution amounts.
Los Angeles is also home to the nation's largest urban oil field. There are more than 700 active oil wells within 1,500 feet (460 m) of homes, churches, schools and hospitals in the city, a situation about which the EPA has voiced serious concerns.
Main articles: Demographics of Los Angeles and African-American neighborhoods in Los Angeles
|City compared to State & U.S.|
|Population change, 2010 to 2019||+4.9%||+6.1%||+6.3%|
|Population density (people/sqmi)||8,514.4||253.9||92.6|
|Median household income (2018)||$58,385||$71,228||$60,293|
|Bachelor's degree or higher||33.7%||33.3%||31.5%|
|Hispanic (any race)||48.6%||39.3%||18.3%|
|United States Census Bureau|
The 2010 United States Census reported Los Angeles had a population of 3,792,621. The population density was 8,092.3 people per square mile (2,913.0/km2). The age distribution was 874,525 people (23.1%) under 18, 434,478 people (11.5%) from 18 to 24, 1,209,367 people (31.9%) from 25 to 44, 877,555 people (23.1%) from 45 to 64, and 396,696 people (10.5%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 34.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.6 males.
There were 1,413,995 housing units—up from 1,298,350 during 2005–2009—at an average density of 2,812.8 households per square mile (1,086.0/km2), of which 503,863 (38.2%) were owner-occupied, and 814,305 (61.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.1%. 1,535,444 people (40.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,172,576 people (57.3%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the 2010 United States Census, Los Angeles had a median household income of $49,497, with 22.0% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
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List of municipalities in California
Wikimedia list article
California is a state located in the Western United States. It is the most populous state and the third largest by area after Alaska and Texas. According to the 2020 United States Census, California has 39,538,223 inhabitants and 155,779.22 square miles (403,466.3 km2) of land.
California has been inhabited by numerous Native American peoples since antiquity. The Spanish, the Russians, and other Europeans began exploring and colonizing the area in the 16th and 17th centuries, with the Spanish establishing its first California mission at what is now San Diego in 1769. After the Mexican Cession of 1848, the California Gold Rush brought worldwide attention to the area. The growth of the movie industry in Los Angeles, high tech in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, tourism, agriculture, and other areas in the ensuing decades fueled the creation of a $3 trillion economy as of 2018[update], which would rank fifth in the world if the state were a sovereign nation.
California is divided into 58 counties and contains 482 municipalities. One, San Francisco, is a consolidated city-county. California law makes no distinction between "city" and "town", and municipalities may use either term in their official names. They can be organized as either a charter municipality, governed by its own charter, or a general-law municipality (or "code city"), governed by state statute.
The first municipality to incorporate was Sacramento on February 27, 1850, while the most recent was Jurupa Valley on July 1, 2011. Eight cities were incorporated before the state's September 9, 1850, admission to the Union. The largest municipality by population and land area is Los Angeles with 3,792,621 residents and 468.67 square miles (1,213.8 km2). Amador City is the smallest municipality by population with 200 people and the smallest by land area at 0.31 square miles (0.80 km2).
- Largest municipalities in California by population
San Diego, the second largest city in California
San Jose, the third largest city in California
Fresno, the fifth largest city in California
San Jose, California
This article is about the city in California. For other uses, see San José.
City in California, United States
San Jose, California
|City of San José|
Top to bottom, left to right: Downtown San Jose skyline; Hotel De Anza, Bank of Italy Building, San José City Hall; Downtown San Jose, Hotel Valencia at Santana Row; Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton
The Capital of Silicon Valley
Shown within Santa Clara County
Location within CaliforniaShow map of California
Location within the United StatesShow map of the United States
Location within North AmericaShow map of North America
|Coordinates: 37°20′10″N121°53′26″W / 37.33611°N 121.89056°W / 37.33611; -121.89056Coordinates: 37°20′10″N121°53′26″W / 37.33611°N 121.89056°W / 37.33611; -121.89056|
|Region||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Metro||San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara|
|CSA||San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland|
|Pueblo founded||November 29, 1777|
|Founded as||Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe|
|Incorporated||March 27, 1850|
|Named for||Saint Joseph|
|• Body||San Jose City Council|
|• Mayor||Sam Liccardo (D)|
|• City Manager||Jennifer Maguire|
|• City||181.36 sq mi (469.72 km2)|
|• Land||178.24 sq mi (461.63 km2)|
|• Water||3.12 sq mi (8.09 km2) 1.91%|
|• Urban||342.27 sq mi (741.03 km2)|
|• Metro||2,694.61 sq mi (6,979 km2)|
|82 ft (25 m)|
|0 ft (0 m)|
|• Rank||10th in the United States|
3rd in California
|• Density||5,684.69/sq mi (2,194.92/km2)|
| • Metro|
|Demonym(s)||San Josean(s) |
|Time zone||UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)|
|GNIS feature IDs||1654952, 2411790|
|Airport||Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport|
San Jose,[A] officially San José (; Spanish: [saŋ xoˈse]; Spanish for 'Saint Joseph'),[B] is the largest city in Northern California by both population and area. With a 2020 population of 1,013,240, it is the third-most populous city in California (after Los Angeles and San Diego) and the tenth-most populous in the United States. Located in the center of the Santa Clara Valley, on the southern shore of San Francisco Bay, San Jose covers an area of 179.97 sq mi (466.1 km2). San Jose is the county seat of Santa Clara County, the most affluent county in California and one of the most affluent counties in the United States. San Jose is the main component of the San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara Metropolitan Statistical Area, with an estimated population of around 2 million residents in 2018. It is also the most populous city in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area, which contain 7.7 million and 8.7 million people respectively.
San Jose is notable as a center of innovation, for its affluence,Mediterranean climate, and extremely high cost of living. As of June 2021, the San Jose metropolitan area has the highest percentage of million-dollar (or more) homes in the United States. Its connection to the booming high tech industry phenomenon known as Silicon Valley sparked Mayor Tom McEnery to adopt for the city the motto of "Capital of Silicon Valley" in 1988. San Jose is one of the wealthiest major cities in the United States and the world, and has the third-highest GDP per capita in the world (after Zürich, Switzerland and Oslo, Norway), according to the Brookings Institution. The San Jose Metropolitan Area has the most millionaires and the most billionaires in the United States per capita. With a median home price of $1,085,000, San Jose has the most expensive housing market in the country and the fifth most expensive housing market in the world, according to the 2017 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey. Major global tech companies including Cisco Systems, eBay, Adobe Inc., PayPal, Broadcom, Samsung, Acer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Zoom maintain their headquarters in San Jose. The CSA San Jose shares with San Francisco was the country's third-largest urban economy as of 2018, with a GDP of $1.03 trillion. Of the 500+ primary statistical areas in the U.S., this CSA had among the highest GDP per capita in 2018, at $106,757.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the area around San Jose was inhabited by the Tamien nation of the Ohlonepeoples of California. San Jose was founded on November 29, 1777, as the Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, the first city founded in the Californias. It then became a part of Mexico in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence. Following the American Conquest of California during the Mexican–American War, the territory was ceded to the United States in 1848. After California achieved statehood two years later, San Jose became the state's first capital. Following World War II, San Jose experienced an economic boom, with a rapid population growth and aggressive annexation of nearby cities and communities carried out in the 1950s and 1960s. The rapid growth of the high-technology and electronics industries further accelerated the transition from an agricultural center to an urbanized metropolitan area. Results of the 1990 U.S. Census indicated that San Jose had officially surpassed San Francisco as the most populous city in Northern California. By the 1990s, San Jose had become the global center for the high tech and internet industries, making it California's fastest-growing economy.
San Jose is named after el Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe (Spanish for "the Town of Saint Joseph on the Guadalupe"), the city's predecessor, which was eventually located in the area of what is now the Plaza de César Chávez. In the 19th century, print publications used the spelling "San José" for both the city and its eponymous township. On December 11, 1943, the United States Board on Geographic Names ruled that the city's name should be spelled "San Jose" based on local usage and the formal incorporated name.
In the 1960s and 1970s, some residents and officials advocated for returning to the original spelling of "San José", with the acute accent on the "e", to acknowledge the city's Mexican origin and Mexican-American population. On June 2, 1969, the city adopted a flag designed by historian Clyde Arbuckle that prominently featured the inscription "SAN JOSE´, CALIFORNIA". On June 16, 1970, San Jose State College officially adopted "San José" as the city's name, including in the college's own name. On August 20, 1974, the San Jose City Council approved a proposal by Catherine Linquist to rename the city "San José" but reversed itself a week later under pressure from residents concerned with the cost of changing typewriters, documents, and signs. On April 3, 1979, the city council once again adopted "San José" as the spelling of the city name on the city seal, official stationery, office titles and department names. As late as 2010, the 1965 city charter stated the name of the municipal corporation as City of San Jose, without the accent mark, but later editions have added the accent mark.
By convention, the spelling San José is only used when the name is spelled in mixed upper- and lowercase letters, but not when the name is spelled only in uppercase letters, as on the city logo. The accent reflects the Spanish version of the name, and the dropping of accents in all-capital writing was once typical in Spanish. While San José is commonly spelled both with and without the acute accent over the "e", the city's official guidelines indicate that it should be spelled with the accent most of the time and sets forth narrow exceptions, such as when the spelling is in URLs, when the name appears in all-capital letters, when the name is used on social media sites where the diacritical mark does not render properly, and where San Jose is part of the proper name of another organization or business, such as San Jose Chamber of Commerce, that has chosen not to use the accent-marked name.
Main articles: History of San Jose, California and Timeline of San Jose, California
The Santa Clara Valley has been home to the Tamyen group of the Ohlone people since around 4,000 BC. The Tamyen spoke Tamyen language of the Ohlone language family. With the Spanish colonization of California, the majority of the Tamyen came to inhabit Mission Santa Clara de Asís and Mission San José.
See also: List of pre-statehood mayors of San Jose
California was claimed as part of the Spanish Empire in 1542, when explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo charted the Californian coast. During this time, California and Baja California were administered together as Province of the California (Spanish: Provincia de las California). For nearly 200 years, the Californias were sparsely populated and largely ignored by the government of the Viceroyalty of New Spain in Mexico City. Only in 1769 was Northern California finally surveyed by Spanish authorities, with the Portolá Expedition.
In 1776, the Californias were included as part of the Captaincy General of the Provincias Internas, a large administrative division created by José de Gálvez, Spanish Minister of the Indies, in order to provide greater autonomy for the Spanish Empire's lightly populated and largely ungoverned borderlands. That year, King Carlos III of Spain approved an expedition by Juan Bautista de Anza to survey the San Francisco Bay Area, in order to choose the sites for two future settlements and their accompanying mission. First he chose the site for a military settlement in San Francisco, for the Royal Presidio of San Francisco, and Mission San Francisco de Asís. On his way back to Mexico from San Francisco, de Anza chose the sites in Santa Clara Valley for a civilian settlement, San Jose, on the eastern bank of the Guadalupe River, and a mission on its western bank, Mission Santa Clara de Asís.
San Jose was officially founded as California's first civilian settlement on November 29, 1777, as the Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe by José Joaquín Moraga, under orders of Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, Viceroy of New Spain. San Jose served as a strategic settlement along El Camino Real, connecting the military fortifications at the Monterey Presidio and the San Francisco Presidio, as well as the California mission network. In 1791, due to the severe flooding which characterized the pueblo, San Jose's settlement was moved approximately a mile south, centered on the Pueblo Plaza (modern-day Plaza de César Chávez).
In 1800, due to the growing population in the northern part of the Californias, Diego de Borica, Governor of the Californias, officially split the province into two parts: Alta California (Upper California), which would eventually become a U.S. state, and Baja California (Lower California), which would eventually become two Mexican states.
See also: Alta California and Mexican California
San Jose became part of the First Mexican Empire in 1821, after Mexico's War of Independence was won against the Spanish Crown, and in 1824, part of the First Mexican Republic. With its newfound independence, and the triumph of the republican movement, Mexico set out to diminish the Catholic Church's power within Alta California by secularizing the California missions in 1833.
In 1824, in order to promote settlement and economic activity within sparsely populated California, the Mexican government began an initiative, for Mexican and foreign citizens alike, to settle unoccupied lands in California. Between 1833 and 1845, thirty-eight rancho land grants were issued in the Santa Clara Valley, 15 of which were located within modern-day San Jose's borders. Numerous prominent historical figures were among those granted rancho lands in the Santa Valley, including James A. Forbes, founder of Los Gatos, California (granted Rancho Potrero de Santa Clara), Antonio Suñol, Alcalde of San Jose (granted Rancho Los Coches), and José María Alviso, Alcalde of San Jose (granted Rancho Milpitas).
In 1835, San Jose's population of approximately 700 people included 40 foreigners, primarily Americans and Englishmen. By 1845, the population of the pueblo had increased to 900, primarily due to American immigration. Foreign settlement in San Jose and California was rapidly changing Californian society, bringing expanding economic opportunities and foreign culture.
By 1846, native Californios had long expressed their concern for the overrunning of California society by its growing and wealthy Anglo-American community. During the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt revolt, Captain Thomas Fallon led nineteen volunteers from Santa Cruz to the pueblo of San Jose, which his forces easily captured. The raising of the flag of the California Republic ended Mexican rule in Alta California on July 14, 1846.
See also: California Republic and Conquest of California
By the end of 1847, the Conquest of California by the United States was complete, as the Mexican–American War came to an end. In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo formally ceded California to the United States, as part of the Mexican Cession. On December 15, 1849, San Jose became the capital of the unorganized territory of California. With California's Admission to the Union on September 9, 1850, San Jose became the state's first capital.
On March 27, 1850, San Jose was incorporated. It was incorporated on the same day as San Diego and Benicia; together, these three cities followed Sacramento as California's earliest incorporated cities.Josiah Belden, who had settled in California in 1842 after traversing the California Trail as part of the Bartleson Party and later acquired a fortune, was the city's first mayor. San Jose was briefly California's first state capital; legislators met in the city from 1849 to 1851. (Monterey was the capital during the period of Spanish California and Mexican California). The first capitol no longer exists; the Plaza de César Chávez now lies on the site, which has two historical markers indicating where California's state legislature first met.
In the period 1900 through 1910, San Jose served as a center for pioneering invention, innovation, and impact in both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air flight. These activities were led principally by John Montgomery and his peers. The City of San Jose has established Montgomery Park, a Monument at San Felipe and Yerba Buena Roads, and John J. Montgomery Elementary School in his honor. During this period, San Jose also became a center of innovation for the mechanization/industrialization of agricultural and food processing equipment.
Though not affected as severely as San Francisco, San Jose also suffered significant damage from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Over 100 people died at the Agnews Asylum (later Agnews State Hospital) after its walls and roof collapsed, and San Jose High School's three-story stone-and-brick building was also destroyed. The period during World War II was a tumultuous time. Japanese Americans primarily from Japantown were sent to internment camps, including the future mayor Norman Mineta. Following the Los Angeles zoot suit riots, anti-Mexican violence took place during the summer of 1943. In 1940, the Census Bureau reported San Jose's population as 98% white.
As World War II started, the city's economy shifted from agriculture (the Del Monte cannery was the largest employer and closed in 1999) to industrial manufacturing with the contracting of the Food Machinery Corporation (later known as FMC Corporation) by the United States War Department to build 1,000 Landing Vehicle Tracked. After World War II, FMC (later United Defense, and currently BAE Systems) continued as a defense contractor, with the San Jose facilities designing and manufacturing military platforms such as the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and various subsystems of the M1 Abrams battle tank.
IBM established its first West Coast operations in San Jose in 1943 with a downtown punch card plant, and opened an IBM Research lab in 1952. Reynold B. Johnson and his team developed direct access storage for computers, inventing the RAMAC 305 and the hard disk drive; the technological side of San Jose's economy grew.
During the 1950s and 1960s, City Manager A. P. "Dutch" Hamann led the city in a major growth campaign. The city annexed adjacent areas, such as Alviso and Cambrian Park, providing large areas for suburbs. An anti-growth reaction to the effects of rapid development emerged in the 1970s, championed by mayors Norman Mineta and Janet Gray Hayes. Despite establishing an urban growth boundary, development fees, and the incorporations of Campbell and Cupertino, development was not slowed, but rather directed into already-incorporated areas.
San Jose's position in Silicon Valley triggered further economic and population growth. Results from the 1990 U.S. Census indicated that San Jose surpassed San Francisco as the most populous city in the Bay Area for the first time. This growth led to the highest housing-cost increase in the nation, 936% between 1976 and 2001. Efforts to increase density continued into the 1990s when an update of the 1974 urban plan kept the urban growth boundaries intact and voters rejected a ballot measure to ease development restrictions in the foothills. Sixty percent of the housing built in San Jose since 1980 and over three-quarters of the housing built since 2000 have been multifamily structures, reflecting a political propensity toward Smart Growth planning principles.
San Jose is located at 37°20′10″N121°53′26″W / 37.33611°N 121.89056°W / 37.33611; -121.89056. San Jose is located within the Santa Clara Valley, in the southern part of the Bay Area in Northern California. The northernmost portion of San Jose touches San Francisco Bay at Alviso, though most of the city lies away from the bayshore. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 180.0 sq mi (466 km2), making the fourth-largest city in California by land area (after Los Angeles, San Diego and California City).
San Jose lies between the San Andreas Fault, the source of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and the Calaveras Fault. San Jose is shaken by moderate earthquakes on average one or two times a year. These quakes originate just east of the city on the creeping section of the Calaveras Fault, which is a major source of earthquake activity in Northern California. On April 14, 1984, at 1:15 pm local time, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Calaveras Fault near San Jose's Mount Hamilton. The most serious earthquake, in 1906, damaged many buildings in San Jose as described earlier. Earlier significant quakes rocked the city in 1839, 1851, 1858, 1864, 1865, 1868, and 1891. The Daly City Earthquake of 1957 caused some damage. The Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 also did some damage to parts of the city.
San Jose's expansion was made by the design of "Dutch" Hamann, the City Manager from 1950 to 1969. During his administration, with his staff referred to as "Dutch's Panzer Division", the city annexed property 1,389 times, growing the city from 17 to 149 sq mi (44 to 386 km2), absorbing the communities named above, changing their status to "neighborhoods."
They say San José is going to become another Los Angeles. Believe me, I'm going to do everything in my power to make that come true.
— "Dutch" Hamann, 1965
Sales taxes were a chief source of revenue. Hamann would determine where major shopping areas would be, and then annex narrow bands of land along major roadways leading to those locations, pushing tentacles across the Santa Clara Valley and, in turn, walling off the expansion of adjacent communities.
During his reign, it was said the City Council would vote according to Hamann's nod. In 1963, the State of California imposed Local Agency Formation Commissions statewide, but largely to try to maintain order with San Jose's aggressive growth. Eventually the political forces against growth grew as local neighborhoods bonded together to elect their own candidates, ending Hamann's influence and leading to his resignation. While the job was not complete, the trend was set. The city had defined its sphere of influence in all directions, sometimes chaotically leaving unincorporated pockets to be swallowed up by the behemoth, sometimes even at the objection of the residents.
Major thoroughfares in the city include Monterey Road, the Stevens Creek Boulevard/San Carlos Street corridor, Santa Clara Street/Alum Rock Avenue corridor, Almaden Expressway, Capitol Expressway, and 1st Street (San Jose).
The Guadalupe River runs from the Santa Cruz Mountains (which separate the South Bay from the Pacific Coast) flowing north through San Jose, ending in the San Francisco Bay at Alviso. Along the southern part of the river is the neighborhood of Almaden Valley, originally named for the mercury mines which produced mercury needed for gold extraction from quartz during the California Gold Rush as well as mercury fulminate blasting caps and detonators for the U.S. military from 1870 to 1945. East of the Guadalupe River, Coyote Creek also flows to south San Francisco Bay and originates on Mount Sizer near Henry W. Coe State Park and the surrounding hills in the Diablo Range, northeast of Morgan Hill, California.
The lowest point in San Jose is 13 ft (4.0 m) below sea level at the San Francisco Bay in Alviso; the highest is 2,125 ft (648 m). Because of the proximity to Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton, San Jose has taken several steps to reduce light pollution, including replacing all street lamps and outdoor lighting in private developments with low pressure sodium lamps. To recognize the city's efforts, the asteroid6216 San Jose was named after the city.
There are four distinct valleys in the city of San Jose: Almaden Valley, situated on the southwest fringe of the city; Evergreen Valley to the southeast, which is hilly all throughout its interior; Santa Clara Valley, which includes the flat, main urban expanse of the South Bay; and the rural Coyote Valley, to the city's extreme southern fringe.
San Jose, like most of the Bay Area, has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (KöppenCsb), with warm to hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. San Jose has an average of 301 days of sunshine and an annual mean temperature of 60.5 °F (15.8 °C). It lies inland, surrounded on three sides by mountains, and does not front the Pacific Ocean like San Francisco. As a result, the city is somewhat more sheltered from rain, giving it a semi-arid feel with a mean annual rainfall of 15.82 in or 401.8 mm, compared to some other parts of the Bay Area, which can receive about three times that amount.
Like most of the Bay Area, San Jose is made up of dozens of microclimates. Because of a more prominent rain shadow from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Downtown San Jose experiences the lightest rainfall in the city, while South San Jose, only 10 mi (16 km) distant, experiences more rainfall, and somewhat more extreme temperatures. San Jose barely avoids a hot steppe (BSh) climate.
The monthly daily average temperature ranges from around 50 °F (10 °C) in December and January to around 70 °F (21.1 °C) in July and August. The highest temperature ever recorded in San Jose was 109 °F (42.8 °C) on June 14, 2000; the lowest was 19 °F (−7.2 °C) on December 22–23, 1990. On average, there are 2.7 mornings annually where the temperature drops to, or below, the freezing mark; and sixteen afternoons where the high reaches or exceeds 90 °F or 32.2 °C. Diurnal temperature variation is far wider than along the coast or in San Francisco but still a shadow of what is seen in the Central Valley.
|Climate data for San Jose, California (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1893–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||79|
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||68.2|
|Average high °F (°C)||59.0|
|Daily mean °F (°C)||51.1|
|Average low °F (°C)||43.3|
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||32.6|
|Record low °F (°C)||18|
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||2.97|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.2||11.5||9.3||6.4||4.0||1.2||0.2||0.4||0.9||2.7||6.9||10.7||64.4|
"Rain year" precipitation has ranged from 4.83 in (122.7 mm) between July 1876 and June 1877 to 30.30 in (769.6 mm) between July 1889 and June 1890, although at the current site since 1893 the range is from 5.77 in (146.6 mm) in "rain year" 1975–76 to 30.25 in (768.3 mm) in "rain year" 1982–83. The most precipitation in one month was 12.38 in (314.5 mm) in January 1911. The maximum 24-hour rainfall was 3.60 in (91.4 mm) on January 30, 1968. On August 16, 2020, one of the most widespread and strong thunderstorm events in recent Bay Area history occurred as an unstable humid air mass moved up from the south and triggered multiple dry thunderstorms  which caused many fires to be ignited by 300+ lightning strikes in the surrounding hills. The CZU lightning complex fires took almost 5 months to fully be controlled. Over 86,000 acres were burned and nearly 1500 buildings were destroyed.
The snow level drops as low as 4,000 ft (1,220 m) above sea level, or lower, occasionally coating nearby Mount Hamilton and, less frequently, the Santa Cruz Mountains, with snow that normally lasts a few days. Snow will snarl traffic traveling on State Route 17 towards Santa Cruz. Snow rarely falls in San Jose; the most recent snow to remain on the ground was on February 5, 1976, when many residents around the city saw as much as 3 in (0.076 m) on car and roof tops. The official observation station measured only 0.5 in (0.013 m) of snow.
Neighborhoods and districts
Main page: Category:Neighborhoods in San Jose, California
The city is generally divided into the following areas: Central San Jose (centered on Downtown San Jose), West San Jose, North San Jose, East San Jose, and South San Jose. Many of San Jose's districts and neighborhoods were previously unincorporated communities or separate municipalities that were later annexed by the city.
Besides those mentioned above, some well-known communities within San Jose include Japantown, Rose Garden, Midtown San Jose, Willow Glen, Naglee Park, Burbank, Winchester, Alviso, East Foothills, Alum Rock, Communications Hill, Little Portugal, Blossom Valley, Cambrian, Almaden Valley, Little Saigon, Silver Creek Valley, Evergreen Valley, Mayfair, Edenvale, Santa Teresa, Seven Trees, Coyote Valley, and Berryessa. A distinct ethnic enclave in San Jose is the Washington-Guadalupe neighborhood, immediately south of the SoFA District; this neighborhood is home to a community of Hispanics, centered on Willow Street.
San Jose possesses about 15,950 acres (6,455 ha) of parkland in its city limits, including a part of the expansive Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The city's oldest park is Alum Rock Park, established in 1872. In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, reported that San Jose was tied with Albuquerque and Omaha for having the 11th best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities.
- Almaden Quicksilver County Park, 4,147 acres (16.78 km2) of former mercury mines in South San Jose (operated and maintained by the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department).
- Alum Rock Park, 718 acres (2.91 km2) in East San Jose, the oldest municipal park in California and one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.
- Children's Discovery Museum hosts an outdoor park-like setting, featuring the world's largest permanent Monopoly game, per the Guinness Book of World Records. Caretakers for this attraction include the 501(c)3 non-profit group Monopoly in the Park.
- Circle of Palms Plaza, a ring of palm trees surrounding a California state seal and historical landmark at the site of the first state capitol
- Emma Prusch Farm Park, 43.5 acres (17.6 ha) in East San Jose. Donated by Emma Prusch to demonstrate the valley's agricultural past, it includes a 4-H barn (the largest in San Jose), community gardens, a rare-fruit orchard, demonstration gardens, picnic areas, and expanses of lawn.
- Field Sports Park, Santa Clara County's only publicly owned firing range, located in south San Jose
- Iris Chang Park, located in North San Jose is dedicated to the memory of Iris Shun-Ru Chang, author of the Rape of Nanking and a San Jose resident.
- Kelley Park, including diverse facilities such as Happy Hollow Park & Zoo (a child-centric amusement park), the Japanese Friendship Garden (Kelley Park), History Park at Kelley Park, and the Portuguese Historical Museum within the history park
- Martial Cottle Park, a former agricultural farm, in South San Jose. Operated by Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department
- Oak Hill Memorial Park, California's oldest secular cemetery
- Overfelt Gardens, including the Chinese Cultural Garden
- Plaza de César Chávez, a small park in Downtown, hosts outdoor concerts and the Christmas in the Park display
- Raging Waters, water park with water slides and other water attractions. This sits within Lake Cunningham Park
- Rosicrucian Park, nearly an entire city block in the Rose Garden neighborhood; the Park offers a setting of Egyptian and Moorish architecture set among lawns, rose gardens, statuary, and fountains, and includes the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Planetarium, Research Library, Peace Garden and Visitors Center
- San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, 5+1⁄2 acres (22,000 m2) park in the Rose Garden neighborhood, featuring over 4,000 rose bushes
A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked San Jose the nineteenth most walkable of fifty largest cities in the United States.
San Jose's trail network of 60 mi (100 km) of recreational and active transportation trails throughout the city. The major trails in the network include:
This large urban trail network, recognized by Prevention Magazine as the nation's largest, is linked to trails in surrounding jurisdictions and many rural trails in surrounding open space and foothills. Several trail systems within the network are designated as part of the National Recreation Trail, as well as regional trails such as the San Francisco Bay Trail and Bay Area Ridge Trail.
Early written documents record the local presence of migrating salmon in the Rio Guadalupe dating as far back as the 18th century. Both steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and King salmon are extant in the Guadalupe River, making San Jose the southernmost major U. S. city with known salmon spawning runs, the other cities being Anchorage, Alaska; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon and Sacramento, California. Runs of up to 1,000 Chinook or King Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) swam up the Guadalupe River each fall in the 1990s, but have all but vanished in the current decade apparently blocked from access to breeding grounds by impassable culverts, weirs and wide, exposed and flat concrete paved channels installed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District. In 2011 a small number of Chinook salmon were filmed spawning under the Julian Street bridge.
Conservationist Roger Castillo, who discovered the remains of a mammoth on the banks of the Guadalupe River in 2005, found that a herd of tule elk (Cervus canadensis) had recolonized the hills of south San Jose east of Highway 101 in early 2019.
At the southern edge of San José, Coyote Valley is a corridor for wildlife migration between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
In 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau released its new population estimates. With a total population of 1,015,785, San Jose became the 11th U.S. city to hit the 1 million mark, even though it is currently the 10th most populous city.
Map of racial distribution in San Jose, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot represents 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow).
Thematic map showing median household income across central Santa Clara County as of 2014[update]; the darker the color, the more affluent the area.
The 2010 United States Census reported that San Jose had a population of 945,942. The population density was 5,256.2 people per square mile (2,029.4/km2). The racial makeup of San Jose was 404,437 (42.8%) White, 303,138 (32.0%) Asian (10.4% Vietnamese, 6.7% Chinese, 5.6% Filipino, 4.6% Indian, 1.2% Korean, 1.2% Japanese, 0.3% Cambodian, 0.2% Thai, 0.2% Pakistani, 0.2% Laotian), 30,242 (3.2%) African American, 8,297 (0.9%) Native American, 4,017 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 148,749 (15.7%) from other races, and 47,062 (5.0%) from two or more races. There were 313,636 residents of Hispanic or Latino background (33.2%). 28.2% of the city's population was of Mexican descent; the next largest Hispanic groups were those of Salvadoran (0.7%) and Puerto Rican (0.5%) heritage. Non-Hispanic Whites were 28.7% of the population in 2010, down from 75.7% in 1970.
The census reported that 932,620 people (98.6% of the population) lived in households, 9,542 (1.0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 3,780 (0.4%) were institutionalized. There were 301,366 households, out of which 122,958 (40.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 162,819 (54.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 37,988 (12.6%) had a female householder with no husband present, 18,702 (6.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 16,900 (5.6%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 2,458 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 59,385 households (19.7%) were made up of individuals, and 18,305 (6.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.09. There were 219,509 families (72.8% of all households); the average family size was 3.54.
The age distribution of the city was as follows: 234,678 people (24.8%) were under the age of 18, 89,457 people (9.5%) aged 18 to 24, 294,399 people (31.1%) aged 25 to 44, 232,166 people (24.5%) aged 45 to 64, and 95,242 people (10.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.8 males.
There were 314,038 housing units at an average density of 1,745.0 per square mile (673.7/km2), of which 176,216 (58.5%) were owner-occupied, and 125,150 (41.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.3%. 553,436 people (58.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 379,184 people (40.1%) lived in rental housing units.
California City, California
City in California, United States
California City is a city located in northern Antelope Valley in Kern County, California, United States. It is 100 miles (160 km) north of the city of Los Angeles, and the population was 14,120 at the 2010 census. Covering 203.63 square miles (527.4 km2), California City has the third-largest land area of any city in the state of California.
Much of the workforce of Edwards Air Force Base, which is located 18 miles (29 km) southeast of the city, is made up of city residents. Other major sources of employment include California City Correctional Center (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation); Mojave Air and Space Port and its flight test operations; and the Hyundai/Kia Proving Grounds located in the rural southwestern part of the city. California City has a park, a PGAgolf course, and a municipal airport.
Padre Francisco Garcés, a Franciscan missionary, camped at Castle Butte in what is now California City in 1776 during the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition of Alta California.
In the late 19th century, the Twenty Mule Team Trail, which carried loads of borax to the railhead in Mojave from Harmony Borax Works mines in the east, ran through the California City area.
The Mojave Gunnery Range "C" was used from August 1944 until January 1959, when it became part of the California City land. It included bomb targets and strafing targets such as a vehicle convoy. It was also used for pilotless aircraft just after World War II. Unexploded ordnance and toxic waste are associated with the site, and the Army Corps of Engineers began surveying the site in 1999, and by 2001 the range was described as containing 20,908 acres (8,461 ha) southwest of the California City center.
Site surveys beginning in 1999 found MK 23 3-pound practice bombs with unfired signal cartridges, 20-millimeter Target Practice projectiles, 2.25, 2.75, and 5-inch practice rockets, high explosive bombs, and small arms ammunition from .22 to .50 caliber were found. The largest fuzed and unexploded bombs found were two 100-pound general purpose bombs.
In 1958, Czech-born Columbia University sociology professor and real estate developer Nathan "Nat" K. Mendelsohn purchased 82,000 acres (33,000 ha) of Mojave Desert land with the aim of making California's next great city. California City Development Company (CCDC) was aggressively marketing the city by running a "real estate school" to license and train a large salesforce, and a quarter-page Los Angeles Times advertorial described it as a "giant venture" and "inevitable growth".
Mendelsohn hoped it would one day rival Los Angeles in population, and CCDC had the Smith and Williams architects master plan the community in 1961; Garrett Eckbo also contributed. Mendelsohn built a Central Park with a 26-acre (11 ha) artificial lake, two golf courses and a four-story Holiday Inn were built next to the park. Ultimately the actions of CCDC caused the town to become known for land speculation through CCDC and successors. Mendelsohn was advertising the city for land speculation by 1962; 175 homes had been built by then. The city has a rich history of promotion, including hiring Erik Estrada to advocate for the city; in the 2000s land was sold through infomercials.
The Italian-American civil engineerOlindo R. Angelillo surveyed the city's aquifer on behalf of CCDC in 1959, stating it was on top of a "virtual underground lake" of 1 million acre-feet of water per year. This was quickly rebutted by the chief of a US Geological Survey office, a hydraulic engineer at the state's water department and California's Association of Engineering Geologists.
The first post office opened in 1960.
California City was incorporated on December 10, 1965, partly to shift municipal infrastructure responsibility to the city, rather than CCDC. It was described as having 158 square miles (410 km2) of land, 5900 landowners, 817 residents, and 232 homes.
Growth fell well short of his expectations and by the time Mendelsohn sold his shares in CCDC in 1969 to Great Western United Corporation, only 1,300 people had moved in; CCDC was described as having a 1300-person salesforce at that time, with ads for "real estate salesmen" describing it as "A whole new successful way of selling California real estate!!!"
The Federal Trade Commission also began inspecting the company in 1969, and Ralph Nader's 25-person California task force (part of "Nader's Raiders") published "Power and Land in California" in late 1971. The book accused various individuals and agencies of ineptitude and corruption, as well as focusing on California City, calling it a fraud and "a particularly stark study of government failure." By that time Mendelsohn had sold over $100 million in land.
By the 1970s over 50,000 lots had been sold and the market dried up. The FTC filed a cease and desist against the company for misleading advertising, with a consent order coming in 1972 from FTC's Richard Lavine. Charges (which White effectively agreed with in 1971) included the real estate school was primarily geared towards selling land, not providing training; enrollees were required to bring in land prospects; the property was encumbered, not fee simple, advertised improvements (e.g. roads) did not exist; it failed to meet the Truth in Lending Act. In 1974 The New York Times described Great Western City Corporation as "the troubled land development subsidiary" of Great Western United. After taking CCDC to court, the Federal Trade Commission's Ken Donney reached a settlement in 1977, with over 14,000 landowners receiving partial refunds from a $4 million pool, the largest FTC settlement to date. CCDC was also required to invest $16 million in long-promised infrastructure developments at CCDC's three cities.
Although areas of California City have not developed as expected, California City has grown from 3,200 people in 1985 to over 14,000 in 2018, clustered around the west end.Cerro Coso Community College closed escrow on 22 acres (8.9 ha) in the heart of California City for a community college to serve Edwards AFB, California City, Mojave, Boron, North Edwards and the entire high desert in the Antelope Valley.
Although one of California's smaller cities in terms of population, California City is the third largest city in California by land area. Satellite photos underscore its claim to being California's third-largest city by land area (40th largest in the United States). Located in the northern Antelope Valley in Kern County, California, the city is 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Edwards Air Force Base, 28 miles (45 km) east of Tehachapi, 40 miles (64 km) north of Lancaster, 49 miles (79 km) southwest of Ridgecrest, 67 miles (108 km) east of the city of Bakersfield, and 101 miles (163 km) north of the city of Los Angeles.
In 2000, the depth to groundwater was 370 feet (110 m).
The Garlock Fault runs nearby.
|Climate data for California City, CA|
|Average high °F (°C)||58|
|Average low °F (°C)||34|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||1.34|
|Source: The Weather Channel|
According to the census of 2000, there were 8,385 people in 3,067 households, including 2,257 families, in the city. As of 2006[update], the city's population grew 8.9% from 12,106 to 13,219. California City outpaced rivals Palmdale and Lancaster, making the city the 12th fastest growing city in California. This also made California City the fastest growing city in the Antelope Valley. The population density was 41.2 inhabitants per square mile (15.9/km2). There were 3,560 housing units at an average density of 17.5/sq mi (6.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 68.19% White, 12.82% Black or African American, 1.56% Native American, 3.73% Asian, 0.32% Pacific Islander, 7.43% from other races, and 5.94% from two or more races. 16.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 3,067 households, 39.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.8% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.4% were non-families. 21.2% of households were one person and 7.2% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.15.
The age distribution was 30.7% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% 65 or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $45,735, and the median family income was $51,402. Males had a median income of $44,657 versus $28,152 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,902. About 12.5% of families and 17.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.0% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.
31% of the male population were public administrators in 2006. Public administration is the most common job in California City.
Although the growth of the city has not met its founders' expectations, California City has seen substantial population growth over the past several years. The Demographic Research Unit of the California Department of Finance estimated California City's population at 12,048 as of January 1, 2006. California City's population increased an estimated 4.2% in 2005, over three times the growth rate of the state as a whole. California City currently ranks 345th out of 478 incorporated cities in California, up from 348th in 2005.
In the 2004 Presidential election, 66% voted for the Republican candidate, and 32% voted for the Democratic candidate. In 2016 the vote for president was 53% Republican and 40% Democratic.
At the 2010 census California City had a population of 14,120. The population density was 69.3 people per square mile (26.8/km2). The racial makeup of California City was 9,188 (65.1%) White (39.9% were non-Hispanic whites), 2,150 (15.2%) African American, 132 (0.9%) Native American, 367 (2.6%) Asian, 59 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 1,431 (10.1%) from other races, and 793 (5.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5,385 persons (38.1%).
The census reported that 11,506 people (81.5% of the population) lived in households, no one lived in non-institutionalized group quarters and 2,614 (18.5%) were institutionalized.
There were 4,102 households, 1,611 (39.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,980 (48.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 630 (15.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 287 (7.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 335 (8.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 22 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 949 households (23.1%) were one person and 312 (7.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.80. There were 2,897 families (70.6% of households); the average family size was 3.30.
The age distribution was 3,449 people (24.4%) under the age of 18, 1,294 people (9.2%) aged 18 to 24, 4,617 people (32.7%) aged 25 to 44, 3,570 people (25.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,190 people (8.4%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 34.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 144.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 160.1 males.
There were 5,210 housing units at an average density of 25.6 per square mile, of the occupied units 2,474 (60.3%) were owner-occupied and 1,628 (39.7%) were rented. The homeowner vacancy rate was 8.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 22.5%. 6,584 people (46.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 4,922 people (34.9%) lived in rental housing units.
Mojave Unified School District serves California City:
- California City Jr/Sr High
- California City Middle
- Hacienda Elementary school
- Robert P. Ulrich Elementary School (1966)
Studies for a privately built and owned 2000-4000-bed prison on the east side of town began in 1995, and an environmental impact statement on a 550-bed facility was completed in 1996. Contracts were signed between the city and Corrections Corporation of America and it was built in 1999. The 2304-bed California City Correctional Facility prison housed federal inmates for the U.S. Marshal Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from 2006 to 2013, then was leased to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2013 for $28.5 million yearly in response to a federal order to reduce overcrowding at the state's prison facilities.
California City is served by Highway 14 to the west and Highway 58 to the south. Kern Transit provides direct bus service to Mojave, Lancaster, and Ridgecrest with connections to Tehachapi and Bakersfield. The direct line to Lancaster also provides a direct connection with Metrolink's Antelope Valley Line, with service into Los Angeles. Within the city, California City Dial-A-Ride (DAR) Transit provides transportation on a demand-response basis on weekdays (except on holidays when City Hall is closed).
The 3,967 acres (1,605 ha) Hyundai-Kia proving grounds are in the city boundaries. 640 acres (260 ha) are in use.
As an incorporated city that does not contract with Kern County, California City has its own police and fire departments.
The California City Whiptails were a professional baseball team competing in the unaffiliatedPecos League. The team folded in 2019. Their home games were played at Balsitis Park.
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- ^ abcRobert A. Wright (November 24, 1974). "The Hunts, Sugar and Great Western United; Earnings Soar and Troubles Multiply". timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
- ^ abcPaul Lewis (January 27, 1977). "Land firm ordered to refund $4 million". The Morning News (Wilmington). Retrieved August 13, 2020.
- ^Ron Taylor (August 26, 1971). "Nader Charges Speculators Carve Up Wilds Uselessly". The Sacramento Bee. p. D1. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
- ^"A sugar company 'love story'"(PDF). Scottsbluff Star-Herald. November 18, 1971. Archived(PDF) from the original on July 21, 2021. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
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- ^"California City: How A Developer's Failed Dream Became The State's Biggest Water Waster". CBS Sacramento. July 28, 2015. Archived from the original on December 19, 2019. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
- ^Hardy, Michael (September 5, 2019). "The Unbuilt Streets of California's Ghost Metropolis". Wired. Archived from the original on September 7, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
- ^"Monthly Averages for California City, CA". The Weather Channel. 2011. Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
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Region of the U.S. state of California
This article is about the northern part of the U.S. state of California. For the historic region, see Alta California. For the megaregion, see Northern California Megaregion.
Place in California, United States
From left to right: California State Capitol in Sacramento, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco skyline, San Jose skyline, Muir Woods National Monument, the northern California coast as seen from Muir Beach Overlook, view of a gondola in Lake Tahoe, and Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz.
Northern California counties in red
|Major cities||San Jose|
|Largest city||San Jose|
Northern California (colloquially known as NorCal) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. Spanning the state's northernmost 48 counties, its main population centers include the San Francisco Bay Area (anchored by the cities of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland), the Greater Sacramento area (anchored by the state capital Sacramento), and the Metropolitan Fresno area (anchored by the city of Fresno). Northern California also contains redwood forests, along with most of the Sierra Nevada, including Yosemite Valley and part of Lake Tahoe, Mount Shasta (the second-highest peak in the Cascade Range after Mount Rainier in Washington), and most of the Central Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions.
The 48-county definition is not used for the Northern California Megaregion, one of the 11 megaregions of the United States. The megaregion's area is instead defined from Metropolitan Fresno north to Greater Sacramento, and from the Bay Area east across Nevada state line to encompass the entire Lake Tahoe-Reno area.
Evidence of Native American habitation in the area dates from at least 19,000 years ago and successive waves of arrivals led to one of the most densely populated areas of pre-Columbian North America. The arrival of European explorers from the early 16th to the mid-18th centuries did not establish European settlements in northern California. In 1770, the Spanish mission at Monterey was the first European settlement in the area, followed by other missions along the coast—eventually extending as far north as Sonoma County.
Northern California is not a formal geographic designation. California's north–south midway division is around 37°N, which is near the level of San Francisco. Popularly, though, "Northern California" usually refers to the state's northernmost 48 counties. Because of California's large size and diverse geography, the state can be subdivided in other ways as well. For example, the Central Valley is a region that is distinct both culturally and topographically from coastal California, though in northern versus southern California divisions, the Sacramento Valley and most of the San Joaquin Valley are usually placed in northern California. Some observers describe three partitions of California, with north and south sections separated by Central California.
The state is often considered as having an additional division north of the urban areas of the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento metropolitan areas. Extreme northern residents have felt under-represented in state government and in 1941 attempted to form a new state with southwestern Oregon to be called Jefferson, or more recently to introduce legislation to split California into two or three states. The coastal area north of the Bay Area is referred to as the North Coast, while the interior region north of Sacramento is referred by locals as the Northstate.
Northern California was used for the name of a proposed new state on the 2018 California ballot created by splitting the existing state into three parts.
Since the events of the California Gold Rush, Northern California has been a leader on the world's economic, scientific, and cultural stages. From the development of gold mining techniques and logging practices in the 19th century that were later adopted around the world, to the development of world-famous and online business models (such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Google, Yahoo!, and eBay), northern California has been at the forefront of new ways of doing business. In science, advances range from being the first to isolate and name fourteen transuranicchemical elements, to breakthroughs in microchip technology. Cultural contributions include the works of Ansel Adams, George Lucas, and Clint Eastwood, as well as beatniks, the Summer of Love, winemaking, the cradle of the international environmental movement, and the open, casual workplace first popularized in the Silicon Valley dot-com boom and now widely in use around the world. Other examples of innovation across diverse fields range from Genentech (development and commercialization of genetic engineering) to CrossFit as a pioneer in extreme human fitness and training. It is also home to one of the largest Air Force Bases on the West Coast, and the largest of California, Travis Air Force Base.
Northern California's largest metropolitan area is the San Francisco Bay Area which consists of 9 counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties. The Bay Area consists of the major cities of San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and their many suburbs. Although not a part of the Bay Area, in recent years the Bay Area has drawn more commuters from as far as Central Valley cities such as Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, Turlock and Modesto. These cities in the central part of the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada foothills may be viewed as part of a single megalopolis. The 2010 U.S. Census showed that the Bay Area grew at a faster rate than the Greater Los Angeles Area while Greater Sacramento had the largest growth rate of any metropolitan area in California.
The state's larger inland cities are considered part of Northern California in cases when the state is divided into two parts. Key cities in the region which are not in major metropolitan areas include Eureka on the far North Coast, Redding, at the northern end of the Central Valley, Chico, and Yuba City in the mid-north of the Central Valley, as well as Fresno and Visalia on the southern end. Though smaller in each case, with the notable exception of Fresno, than the larger cities of the general region, these smaller regional centers are often of historical and economic importance for their respective size, due to their locations, which are primarily rural or otherwise isolated.
San Jose, the most populous city in Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, and the tenth largest city in the United States. San Jose is the center of Silicon Valley, the preeminent region for technology in the country.
San Francisco, the second most populated city in Northern California and a major economic, cultural, and financial center for the region.
Oakland, the fifth-largest city by population in Northern California. Oakland is the major port city of the region and the center of Northern California's African American community.
Prehistory to 1847
Inhabited for millennia by Native Americans, from the Shasta tribe in the north, to the Miwoks in the central coast and Sierra Nevada, to the Yokuts of the southern Central Valley, northern California was among the most densely populated areas of pre-Columbian North America.
The first European to explore the coast was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, sailing for the Spanish Crown; in 1542, Cabrillo's expedition sailed perhaps as far north as the Rogue River in today's Oregon. Beginning in 1565, the Spanish Manila galleons crossed the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to the Spanish Philippines, with silver and gemstones from Mexico. The Manila galleons returned across the northern Pacific, and reached North America usually off the coast of northern California, and then continued south with their Asian trade goods to Mexico.
In 1579, northern California was visited by the English explorer Sir Francis Drake who landed north of today's San Francisco and claimed the area for England. In 1602, the Spaniard Sebastián Vizcaíno explored California's coast as far north as Monterey Bay, where he went ashore. Other Spanish explorers sailed along the coast of northern California for the next 150 years, but no settlements were established.
The first European inhabitants were Spanish missionaries, who built missions along the California coast. The mission at Monterey was first established in 1770, and at San Francisco in 1776. In all, ten missions stretched along the coast from Sonoma to Monterey (and still more missions to the southern tip of Baja California). In 1786, the French signaled their interest in the northern California area by sending a voyage of exploration to Monterey.
The first twenty years of the 19th century continued the colonization of the northern California coast by Spain. By 1820, Spanish influence extended inland approximately 25 to 50 miles (80 km) from the missions. Outside of this zone, perhaps 200,000 to 250,000 Native Americans continued to lead traditional lives. The Adams-Onís Treaty, signed in 1819 between Spain and the young United States, set the northern boundary of the Spanish claims at the 42nd parallel, effectively creating today's northern boundary of northern California.
In 1812, the Russian state-sponsored Russian-American Company established Fort Ross, a fur trading outpost on the coast of today's Sonoma County. Fort Ross was the southernmost Russian settlement, located some 60 miles (97 km) north of Spanish colonies in San Francisco. In 1839, the settlement was abandoned due to its inability to meet resource demands, and the increasing Mexican and American presence in the region.
After Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, Mexico continued Spain's missions and settlements in northern California as well as Spain's territorial claims. The Mexican Californios (Spanish-speaking Californians) in these settlements primarily traded cattle hides and tallow with American and European merchant vessels.
In 1825, the Hudson's Bay Company established a major trading post just north of today's Portland, Oregon. British fur trappers and hunters then used the Siskiyou Trail to travel throughout northern California. The leader of a further French scientific expedition to northern California, Eugene Duflot de Mofras, wrote in 1840 "...it is evident that California will belong to whatever nation chooses to send there a man-of-war and two hundred men.": 260 By the 1830s, a significant number of non-Californios had immigrated to northern California. Chief among these was John Sutter, a European immigrant from Switzerland, who was granted 48,827 acres (197.60 km2) centered on the area of today's Sacramento.
American trappers began entering northern California in the 1830s.: 263–4 In 1834, American visionary Ewing Young led a herd of horses and mules over the Siskiyou Trail from missions in northern California to British and American settlements in Oregon. Although a small number of American traders and trappers had lived in northern California since the early 1830s, the first organized overland party of American immigrants to arrive in northern California was the Bartleson-Bidwell Party of 1841 via the new California Trail.: 263–273 Also in 1841, an overland exploratory party of the United States Exploring Expedition came down the Siskiyou Trail from the Pacific Northwest. In 1846, the Donner Party earned notoriety as they struggled to enter northern California.
Californian independence and beginning of the United States era
When the Mexican–American War was declared on May 13, 1846, it took almost two months (mid-July 1846) for word to get to California. On June 14, 1846, some 30 non-Mexican settlers, mostly Americans, staged a revolt and seized the small Mexican garrison in Sonoma. They raised the "Bear Flag" of the California Republic over Sonoma. The "Bear Flag Republic" lasted only 26 days, until the U.S. Army, led by John Frémont, took over on July 9. The California state flag today is based on this original Bear Flag, and continues to contain the words "California Republic."
Commodore John Drake Sloat ordered his naval forces to occupy Yerba Buena (present San Francisco) on July 7 and within days American forces controlled San Francisco, Sonoma, and Sutter's Fort in Sacramento. The treaty ending the Mexican–American War was signed on February 2, 1848, and Mexico formally ceded Alta California (including all of present-day northern California) to the United States.
Gold Rush and California statehood
The California Gold Rush took place almost exclusively in northern California from 1848 to 1855. It began on January 24, 1848, when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in Coloma. News of the discovery soon spread, resulting in some 300,000 people coming to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. San Francisco grew from a tiny hamlet, home to about 1,000 Californios into a boomtown of over 50,000 people in the 12 years between 1848 and 1860. New roads, churches, and schools were built, and new towns sprung up, aided in part by the development of new methods of transportation such as steamships which came into regular service and railroads which now connected the coasts. The Gold Rush also had negative effects: American colonists chose to use genocide as a tool to remove the Indigenous people so that they could look for gold on their land. Native oyster species saw their numbers plummet when American colonists began over-harvesting them, leading to a near-extinction of the oysters from the California coast on up into the Pacific Northwest, and gold mining caused environmental harm[specify].
The Gold Rush also increased pressure to make California a U.S. state. Pro-slavery politicians initially attempted to permanently divide northern and southern California at 36 degrees, 30 minutes, the line of the Missouri Compromise. But instead, the passing of the Compromise of 1850 enabled California to be admitted to the Union as a free state.
Population and agricultural expansion (1855–1899)
The decades following the Gold Rush brought dramatic expansion to northern California, both in population and economically – particularly in agriculture. The completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, with its terminus in Sacramento (and then later, Oakland), meant that northern California's agricultural produce (and some manufactured goods) could now be shipped economically to the rest of the United States. In return, immigrants from the rest of the United States (and Europe) could comfortably come to northern California. A network of railroads spread throughout northern California, and in 1887, a rail link was completed to the Pacific Northwest. Almost all of these railways came under the control of the Southern Pacific Railroad, headquartered in San Francisco, and San Francisco continued as a financial and cultural center.
Substantial tensions during this era included nativist sentiments (primarily against Chinese immigrants), tensions between the increasing power of the Southern Pacific Railroad and small farmers, and the beginnings of the labor union movement.
Northern California's economy is noted for being the de facto world leader in high-tech industry (software, semiconductor/micro-electronics, biotechnology and medical devices/instruments), as well as being known for clean power, biomedical, government, and finance. Other significant industries include tourism, shipping, manufacturing, and agriculture. Its economy is diverse, though more concentrated in high technology, and subject to the whims of venture capital than any other major regional economy in the nation especially within Silicon Valley, and less dependent on oil and residential housing than Southern California. It is home to the state capital, as well as several Western United States regional offices in San Francisco, such as the Federal Reserve and 9th Circuit Court.
Northern California has warm or mild to cold climate, in which the Sierra gets snow in the late fall through winter and occasionally into spring. Summers are mild along the coast and generally warm and dry, while winters are cool and usually wet. The high temperatures range from 50s to 30s in the winters while summers temperature range is 90s to 60s or 50s, with highs well into the 100s for the Sacramento region. Snow covers the mountains (generally above 3000 feet) in mid January through February. Fog occurs infrequently or occurs normally in the west and coast, especially in the summer, creating some of the coolest summer conditions in North America.
The population of the forty-eight counties of northern California has shown a steady increase over the years.
The largest percentage increase outside the Gold Rush era (51%) came during the 1940s, as the region was the destination of many post-War veterans and their families, attracted by the greatly expanding industrial base and (often) by their time stationed in northern California during World War II. The largest absolute increase occurred during the 1980s (over 2.1 million person increase), attracted by job opportunities in part by the expansion taking place in Silicon Valley and the Cold War era expansion of the defense industry. The 2010 U.S. Census revealed that northern California grew at a faster rate than Southern California in the 2000s with a rate slightly higher than the state average.
Parks and other protected areas
National Park System
Main articles: List of areas in the National Park System of the United States and List of National Parks of the United States
The U.S. National Park System controls a large and diverse group of parks in northern California. The best known is Yosemite National Park, which is displayed on the reverse side of the California state quarter. Other prominent parks are the Kings Canyon-Sequoia National Park complex, Redwood National Park, Pinnacles National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park and the largest in the contiguous forty-eight states, Death Valley National Park.
National Monuments and other federally protected areas
Main articles: List of National Monuments of the United States, United States National Marine Sanctuary, List of National Wildlife Refuges, and List of U.S. National Forests
Other areas under federal protection include Muir Woods National Monument, Giant Sequoia National Monument, Devils Postpile National Monument, Lava Beds National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries (both off the coast of San Francisco). Included within the latter National Marine Sanctuary is the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge; this National Wildlife Refuge is one of approximately twenty-five such refuges in northern California. National forests occupy large sections of northern California, including the Shasta-Trinity, Klamath, Modoc, Lassen, Mendocino, El Dorado, Tahoe, and Sequoia national forests, among others. Included within (or adjacent to) national forests are federally protected wilderness areas, including the Trinity Alps, Castle Crags, Granite Chief, and Desolation wilderness areas.
In addition, the California Coastal National Monument protects all islets, reefs, and rock outcroppings from the shore of northern California out to a distance of 12 nmi (22 km), along the entire northern California coastline. In addition, the National Park Service administers protected areas on Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate National Recreation AreaWhiskeytown National Recreation Area and the Smith River National Recreation Area. The NPS also administers the ManzanarNational Historic Site in Inyo County, the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, and the Tule Lake National Monument outside of Tulelake.
Other parks and protected areas
Northern California hosts a number of world-renowned universities including Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley. Top-tier public graduate schools include Boalt Hall and Hastings law schools and UC San Francisco (a top-ranked medical school) and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the largest veterinary school in the United States.
The following regions are entirely or partly within northern California:
Cities and towns in northern California with more than 50,000 inhabitants
Northern California is home to three of the state's four extended metropolitan areas, which are home to over three-fourths of the region's population as of the 2010 United States Census:
Major business districts
The following are major central business districts:
See also articles:
See also categories:
Main article: List of airports in California
There are 11 airports in Northern California categorized as Primary Service Commercial airports by the FAA:
|San Francisco International Airport||SFO||San Francisco||Large Hub||27,794,154|
|San Jose International Airport||SJC||San Jose||Medium Hub||7,037,144|
|Oakland International Airport||OAK||Oakland||Medium Hub||6,687,963|
|Sacramento International Airport||SMF||Sacramento||Medium Hub||5,907,901|
|Fresno Yosemite International Airport||FAT||Fresno||Small Hub||853,538|
|Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport||STS||Santa Rosa||Non Hub||217,994|
|Monterey Regional Airport||MRY||Monterey||Non Hub||188,046|
|Stockton Metropolitan Airport||SCK||Stockton||Non Hub||99,258|
|Arcata-Eureka Airport||ACV||Arcata||Non Hub||69,604|
|Redding Municipal Airport||RDD||Redding||Non Hub||42,775|
|Mammoth Yosemite Airport||MMH||Mammoth Lakes||Non Hub||23,522|
Major transit organizations
Major transit ferries
See also: Category:San Francisco Bay Area freeways
Principal state highways
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State of the United States
This article is about the State of California. For other uses, see California (disambiguation).
State in the United States
|State of California|
|Anthem: "I Love You, California"|
Map of the United States with California highlighted
|Before statehood||Mexican Cessionunorganized territory|
|Admitted to the Union||September 9, 1850 (31st)|
|Largest city||Los Angeles|
|Largest metro and urban areas||Greater Los Angeles|
|• Governor||Gavin Newsom (D)|
|• Lieutenant Governor||Eleni Kounalakis (D)|
|• Upper house||State Senate|
|• Lower house||State Assembly|
|Judiciary||Supreme Court of California|
|U.S. senators||Dianne Feinstein (D)|
Alex Padilla (D)
|U.S. House delegation|
|• Total||163,696 sq mi (423,970 km2)|
|• Land||155,959 sq mi (403,932 km2)|
|• Water||7,737 sq mi (20,047 km2) 4.7%|
|• Length||770 mi (1,240 km)|
|• Width||250 mi (400 km)|
|Elevation||2,900 ft (880 m)|
|14,505 ft (4,421.0 m)|
|−279 ft (−85.0 m)|
|• Density||253.6/sq mi (97.9/km2)|
|• Density rank||11th|
|• Median household income||$71,228 (2,018)|
|• Income rank||9th|
|• Official language||English|
|• Spoken language|
|Time zone||UTC−08:00 (PST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−07:00 (PDT)|
|ISO 3166 code||US-CA|
|Traditional abbreviation||Calif., Cal., Cali.|
|Latitude||32°32′ N to 42° N|
|Longitude||114°8′ W to 124°26′ W|
California is a state in the Western United States. It is bordered by Nevada to the east, Arizona to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Oregon to the north, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. With over 39.5 million residents across a total area of approximately 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), it is the most populous and the third-largest U.S. state by area. It is also the most populated subnational entity in North America and the 34th most populous in the world. The Greater Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions respectively, with the former having more than 18.7 million residents and the latter having over 9.6 million.Sacramento is the state's capital, while Los Angeles is the most populous city in the state and the second most populous city in the country (after New York City). Los Angeles County is the country's most populous, while San Bernardino County is the largest county by area in the country. San Francisco, which is both a city and a county, is the second most densely populated major city in the country (after New York City) and the fifth most densely populated county in the country, behind four of New York City's five boroughs.
The economy of California, with a gross state product of $3.2 trillion as of 2019, is the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, it would be the 37th most populous country and the fifth largest economy as of 2020[update]. The Greater Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies ($1.0 trillion and $0.5 trillion respectively as of 2020[update]), after the New York metropolitan area ($1.8 trillion). The San Francisco Bay Area Combined Statistical Area had the nation's highest gross domestic product per capita ($106,757) among large primary statistical areas in 2018, and is home to five of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization and four of the world's ten richest people.
What is now California was first settled by various Native Californian tribes before being explored by a number of Europeans during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish Empire then claimed and colonized it. In 1804, it was included in Alta California province within the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821, following its successful war for independence, but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. The western portion of Alta California was then organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850, following the Compromise of 1850. The California Gold Rush started in 1848 and led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale immigration from other parts of the United States and abroad and an accompanying economic boom.
Notable contributions to popular culture, for example in entertainment and sports, have their origins in California. The state also has made noteworthy contributions in the fields of communication, information, innovation, environmentalism, economics, and politics. It is the home of Hollywood, the oldest and largest film industry in the world, which has had a profound effect on global entertainment. It is considered the origin of the hippie counterculture, beach and car culture,[not verified in body] and the personal computer, among other innovations. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are widely seen as centers of the global technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California's economy is very diverse: 58% of it is based on finance, government, real estate services, technology, and professional, scientific, and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. state. California's ports and harbors handle about a third of all U.S. imports, most originating in Pacific Rim international trade.
California shares a border with Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. The state's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast and metropolitan areas in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountains in the east, and from the redwood and Douglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Although California is well known for its warm Mediterranean climate and monsoon seasonal weather, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains. All these factors lead to an enormous demand for water. Over time, droughts and wildfires have increased in frequency and become less seasonal and more year-round, further straining California's water security.
Main articles: Etymology of California and Island of California
The Spaniards gave the name Las Californias to the peninsula of Baja California and to Alta California, the region that became the present-day state of California.
The name likely derived from the mythical island of California in the fictional story of Queen Calafia, as recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. This work was the fifth in a popular Spanish chivalric romance series that began with Amadís de Gaula. Queen Calafia's kingdom was said to be a remote land rich in gold and pearls, inhabited by beautiful black women who wore gold armor and lived like Amazons, as well as griffins and other strange beasts. In the fictional paradise, the ruler Queen Calafia fought alongside Muslims and her name may have been chosen to echo the title of a Muslim leader, the Caliph. It is possible the name California was meant to imply the island was a Caliphate.
Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, very close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women without a single man among them, and they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with strong passionate hearts and great virtue. The island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the bold and craggy rocks.
— Chapter CLVII of The Adventures of Esplandián
Shortened forms of the state's name include CA, Cal, Cali, Calif, Califas, and US-CA.
Main article: History of California
Further information: History of California before 1900
Main article: Indigenous peoples of California
Settled by successive waves of arrivals during at least the last 13,000 years, California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America. Various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000. The indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct ethnic groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups also were diverse in their political organization with bands, tribes, villages, and on the resource-rich coasts, large chiefdoms, such as the Chumash, Pomo and Salinan. Trade, intermarriage and military alliances fostered many social and economic relationships among the diverse groups.
Further information: The Californias § History
The first Europeans to explore the California coast were the members of a Spanish sailing expedition led by Portuguese captain Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo; they entered San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542, and reached at least as far north as San Miguel Island. Privateer and explorer Francis Drake explored and claimed an undefined portion of the California coast in 1579, landing north of the future city of San Francisco. The first Asians to set foot on what would be the United States occurred in 1587, when Filipino sailors arrived in Spanish ships at Morro Bay.[note 1]Sebastián Vizcaíno explored and mapped the coast of California in 1602 for New Spain, putting ashore in Monterey.
Despite the on-the-ground explorations of California in the 16th century, Rodríguez's idea of California as an island persisted. Such depictions appeared on many European maps well into the 18th century.
After the Portolà expedition of 1769–70, Spanish missionaries led by Junipero Serra began setting up 21 California Missions on or near the coast of Alta (Upper) California, beginning in San Diego. During the same period, Spanish military forces built several forts (presidios) and three small towns (pueblos). The San Francisco Mission grew into the city of San Francisco, and two of the pueblos grew into the cities of Los Angeles and San Jose. Several other smaller cities and towns also sprang up surrounding the various Spanish missions and pueblos, which remain to this day.
The Spanish colonization led to mass deaths among the natives through epidemics of various diseases for which the indigenous peoples had no natural immunity, such as measles and diphtheria. The establishment of the Spanish systems of government and social structure, which the Spanish settlers had brought with them, also technologically and culturally overwhelmed the societies of the earlier indigenous peoples.
During this same period, sailors from the Russian Empire explored along the California coast and in 1812 established a trading post at Fort Ross. Russia's early 19th-century coastal settlements in California were positioned just north of the northernmost edge of the area of Spanish settlement in San Francisco Bay, and were the southernmost Russian settlements in North America. The Russian settlements associated with Fort Ross were spread from Point Arena to Tomales Bay.
In 1821, the Mexican War of Independence gave Mexico (including California) independence from Spain. For the next 25 years, Alta California remained as a remote, sparsely populated, northwestern administrative district of the newly independent country of Mexico. The missions, which controlled most of the best land in the state, were secularized by 1834 and became the property of the Mexican government. The governor granted many square leagues of land to others with political influence. These huge ranchos or cattle ranches emerged as the dominant institutions of Mexican California. The ranchos developed under ownership by Californios (Hispanics native of California) who traded cowhides and tallow with Boston merchants. Beef did not become a commodity until the 1849 California Gold Rush.
From the 1820s, trappers and settlers from the United States and the future Canada arrived in Northern California. These new arrivals used the Siskiyou Trail, California Trail, Oregon Trail and Old Spanish Trail to cross the rugged mountains and harsh deserts in and surrounding California.
The early government of the newly independent Mexico was highly unstable, and in a reflection of this, from 1831 onwards, California also experienced a series of armed disputes, both internal and with the central Mexican government. During this tumultuous political period Juan Bautista Alvarado was able to secure the governorship during 1836–1842. The military action which first brought Alvarado to power had momentarily declared California to be an independent state, and had been aided by Anglo-American residents of California, including Isaac Graham. In 1840, one hundred of those residents who did not have passports were arrested, leading to the Graham Affair, which was resolved in part with the intercession of Royal Navy officials.
One of the largest ranchers in California was John Marsh. After failing to obtain justice against squatters on his land from the Mexican courts, he determined that California should become part of the United States. Marsh conducted a letter-writing campaign espousing the California climate, the soil, and other reasons to settle there, as well as the best route to follow, which became known as "Marsh's route". His letters were read, reread, passed around, and printed in newspapers throughout the country, and started the first wagon trains rolling to California. He invited immigrants to stay on his ranch until they could get settled, and assisted in their obtaining passports.
After ushering in the period of organized emigration to California, Marsh became involved in a military battle between the much-hated Mexican general, Manuel Micheltorena and the California governor he had replaced, Juan Bautista Alvarado. The armies of each met at the Battle of Providencia near Los Angeles. Marsh had been forced against his will to join Micheltorena's army. Ignoring his superiors, during the battle, he signaled the other side for a parley. There were many settlers from the United States fighting on both sides. He convinced these men that they had no reason to be fighting each other. As a result of Marsh's actions, they abandoned the fight, Micheltorena was defeated, and California-born Pio Pico was returned to the governorship. This paved the way to California's ultimate acquisition by the United States.
California Republic and conquest
Main articles: California Republic and Conquest of California
See also: Mexican Cession
In 1846, a group of American settlers in and around Sonoma rebelled against Mexican rule during the Bear Flag Revolt. Afterwards, rebels raised the Bear Flag (featuring a bear, a star, a red stripe and the words "California Republic") at Sonoma. The Republic's only president was William B. Ide, who played a pivotal role during the Bear Flag Revolt. This revolt by American settlers served as a prelude to the later American military invasion of California and was closely coordinated with nearby American military commanders.
The California Republic was short-lived; the same year marked the outbreak of the Mexican–American War (1846–48). When Commodore John D. Sloat of the United States Navy sailed into Monterey Bay and began the military occupation of California by the United States, Northern California capitulated in less than a month to the United States forces. After a series of defensive battles in Southern California, the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed by the Californios on January 13, 1847, securing American control in California.
Early American period
Following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (February 2, 1848) that ended the war, the westernmost portion of the annexed Mexican territory of Alta California soon became the American state of California, and the remainder of the old territory was then subdivided into the new American Territories of Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Utah. The even more lightly populated and arid lower region of old Baja California remained as a part of Mexico. In 1846, the total settler population of the western part of the old Alta California had been estimated to be no more than 8,000, plus about 100,000 Native Americans, down from about 300,000 before Hispanic settlement in 1769.
In 1848, only one week before the official American annexation of the area, gold was discovered in California, this being an event which was to forever alter both the state's demographics and its finances. Soon afterward, a massive influx of immigration into the area resulted, as prospectors and miners arrived by the thousands. The population burgeoned with United States citizens, Europeans, Chinese and other immigrants during the great California Gold Rush. By the time of California's application for statehood in 1850, the settler population of California had multiplied to 100,000. By 1854, more than 300,000 settlers had come. Between 1847 and 1870, the population of San Francisco increased from 500 to 150,000. California was suddenly no longer a sparsely populated backwater, but seemingly overnight it had grown into a major population center.
The seat of government for California under Spanish and later Mexican rule had been located in Monterey from 1777 until 1845. Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of Alta California, had briefly moved the capital to Los Angeles in 1845. The United States consulate had also been located in Monterey, under consul Thomas O. Larkin.
In 1849, a state Constitutional Convention was first held in Monterey. Among the first tasks of the convention was a decision on a location for the new state capital. The first full legislative sessions were held in San Jose (1850–1851). Subsequent locations included Vallejo (1852–1853), and nearby Benicia (1853–1854); these locations eventually proved to be inadequate as well. The capital has been located in Sacramento since 1854 with only a short break in 1862 when legislative sessions were held in San Francisco due to flooding in Sacramento. Once the state's Constitutional Convention had finalized its state constitution, it applied to the U.S. Congress for admission to statehood. On September 9, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850, California became a free state and September 9 a state holiday.
During the American Civil War (1861–1865), California sent gold shipments eastwards to Washington in support of the Union. However, due to the existence of a large contingent of pro-South sympathizers within the state, the state was not able to muster any full military regiments to send eastwards to officially serve in the Union war effort. Still, several smaller military units within the Union army were unofficially associated with the state of California, such as the "California 100 Company", due to a majority of their members being from California.
At the time of California's admission into the Union, travel between California and the rest of the continental United States had been a time-consuming and dangerous feat. Nineteen years later, and seven years after it was greenlighted by President Lincoln, the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869. California was then reachable from the eastern States in a week's time.
Much of the state was extremely well suited to fruit cultivation and agriculture in general. Vast expanses of wheat, other cereal crops, vegetable crops, cotton, and nut and fruit trees were grown (including oranges in Southern California), and the foundation was laid for the state's prodigious agricultural production in the Central Valley and elsewhere.
In the nineteenth century, a large number of migrants from China traveled to the state as part of the Gold Rush or to seek work. Even though the Chinese proved indispensable in building the transcontinental railroad from California to Utah, perceived job competition with the Chinese led to anti-Chinese riots in the state, and eventually the US ended migration from China partially as a response to pressure from California with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.
Under earlier Spanish and Mexican rule, California's original native population had precipitously declined, above all, from Eurasian diseases to which the indigenous people of California had not yet developed a natural immunity. Under its new American administration, California's harsh governmental policies towards its own indigenous people did not improve. As in other American states, many of the native inhabitants were soon forcibly removed from their lands by incoming American settlers such as miners, ranchers, and farmers. Although California had entered the American union as a free state, the "loitering or orphaned Indians" were de facto enslaved by their new Anglo-American masters under the 1853 Act for the Government and Protection of Indians. There were also massacres in which hundreds of indigenous people were killed.
Between 1850 and 1860, the California state government paid around 1.5 million dollars (some 250,000 of which was reimbursed by the federal government) to hire militias whose purpose was to protect settlers from the indigenous populations. In later decades, the native population was placed in reservations and rancherias, which were often small and isolated and without enough natural resources or funding from the government to sustain the populations living on them. As a result, the rise of California was a calamity for the native inhabitants. Several scholars and Native American activists, including Benjamin Madley and Ed Castillo, have described the actions of the California government as a genocide.
Main article: History of California 1900–present
In the twentieth century, thousands of Japanese people migrated to the US and California specifically to attempt to purchase and own land in the state. However, the state in 1913 passed the Alien Land Act, excluding Asian immigrants from owning land. During World War II, Japanese Americans in California were interned in concentration camps such as at Tule Lake and Manzanar. In 2020, California officially apologized for this internment.
Migration to California accelerated during the early 20th century with the completion of major transcontinental highways like the Lincoln Highway and Route 66. In the period from 1900 to 1965, the population grew from fewer than one million to the greatest in the Union. In 1940, the Census Bureau reported California's population as 6.0% Hispanic, 2.4% Asian, and 89.5% non-Hispanic white.
To meet the population's needs, major engineering feats like the California and Los Angeles Aqueducts; the Oroville and Shasta Dams; and the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges were built across the state. The state government also adopted the California Master Plan for Higher Education in 1960 to develop a highly efficient system of public education.
Meanwhile, attracted to the mild Mediterranean climate, cheap land, and the state's wide variety of geography, filmmakers established the studio system in Hollywood in the 1920s. California manufactured 8.7 percent of total United States military armaments produced during World War II, ranking third (behind New York and Michigan) among the 48 states. California however easily ranked first in production of military ships during the war (transport, cargo, [merchant ships] such as Liberty ships, Victory ships, and warships) at drydock facilities in San Diego, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. After World War II, California's economy greatly expanded due to strong aerospace and defense industries, whose size decreased following the end of the Cold War.Stanford University and its Dean of Engineering Frederick Terman began encouraging faculty and graduates to stay in California instead of leaving the state, and develop a high-tech region in the area now known as Silicon Valley. As a result of these efforts, California is regarded as a world center of the entertainment and music industries, of technology, engineering, and the aerospace industry, and as the United States center of agricultural production. Just before the Dot Com Bust, California had the fifth-largest economy in the world among nations. Yet since 1991, and starting in the late 1980s in Southern California, California has seen a net loss of domestic migrants in most years. This is often referred to by the media as the California exodus.
In the mid and late twentieth century, a number of race-related incidents occurred in the state. Tensions between police and African Americans, combined with unemployment and poverty in inner cities, led to violent riots, such as the 1965 Watts riots and 1992 Rodney King riots. California was also the hub of the Black Panther Party, a group known for arming African Americans to combat perceived racial injustice. Additionally, Mexican, Filipino, and other migrant farm workers rallied in the state around Cesar Chavez for better pay in the 1960s and 1970s.
During the 20th century, two great disasters happened in California. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and 1928 St. Francis Dam flood remain the deadliest in U.S history.
Although air pollution problems have been reduced, health problems associated with pollution have continued. The brown haze known as "smog" has been substantially abated after the passage of federal and state restrictions on automobile exhaust.
An energy crisis in 2001 led to rolling blackouts, soaring power rates, and the importation of electricity from neighboring states. Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric Company came under heavy criticism.
Housing prices in urban areas continued to increase; a modest home which in the 1960s cost $25,000 would cost half a million dollars or more in urban areas by 2005. More people commuted longer hours to afford a home in more rural areas while earning larger salaries in the urban areas. Speculators bought houses they never intended to live in, expecting to make a huge profit in a matter of months, then rolling it over by buying more properties. Mortgage companies were compliant, as everyone assumed the prices would keep rising. The bubble burst in 2007-8 as housing prices began to crash and the boom years ended. Hundreds of billions in property values vanished and foreclosures soared as many financial institutions and investors were badly hurt.
In the twenty-first century, droughts and frequent wildfires attributed to climate change have occurred in the state. From 2011 to 2017, a persistent drought was the worst in its recorded history. The 2018 wildfire season was the state's deadliest and most destructive.
Main article: Geography of California
California is the third-largest state in the United States in area, after Alaska and Texas. California is often geographically bisected into two regions, Southern California, comprising the ten southernmost counties, and Northern California, comprising the 48 northernmost counties. It is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada to the east and northeast, Arizona to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and it shares an international border with the Mexican state of Baja California to the south (with which it makes up part of The Californias region of North America, alongside Baja California Sur).
In the middle of the state lies the California Central Valley, bounded by the Sierra Nevada in the east, the coastal mountain ranges in the west, the Cascade Range to the north and by the Tehachapi Mountains in the south. The Central Valley is California's productive agricultural heartland.
Divided in two by the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the northern portion, the Sacramento Valley serves as the watershed of the Sacramento River, while the southern portion, the San Joaquin Valley is the watershed for the San Joaquin River. Both valleys derive their names from the rivers that flow through them. With dredging, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin Rivers have remained deep enough for several inland cities to be seaports.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is a critical water supply hub for the state. Water is diverted from the delta and through an extensive network of pumps and canals that traverse nearly the length of the state, to the Central Valley and the State Water Projects and other needs. Water from the Delta provides drinking water for nearly 23 million people, almost two-thirds of the state's population as well as water for farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
Suisun Bay lies at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. The water is drained by the Carquinez Strait, which flows into San Pablo Bay, a northern extension of San Francisco Bay, which then connects to the Pacific Ocean via the Golden Gate strait.
The Channel Islands are located off the Southern coast, while the Farallon Islands lie west of San Francisco.
The Sierra Nevada (Spanish for "snowy range") includes the highest peak in the contiguous 48 states, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m). The range embraces Yosemite Valley, famous for its glacially carved domes, and Sequoia National Park, home to the giant sequoia trees, the largest living organisms on Earth, and the deep freshwater lake, Lake Tahoe, the largest lake in the state by volume.
To the east of the Sierra Nevada are Owens Valley and Mono Lake, an essential migratory bird habitat. In the western part of the state is Clear Lake, the largest freshwater lake by area entirely in California. Although Lake Tahoe is larger, it is divided by the California/Nevada border. The Sierra Nevada falls to Arctic temperatures in winter and has several dozen small glaciers, including Palisade Glacier, the southernmost glacier in the United States.
The Tulare Lake was the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. A remnant of Pleistocene-era Lake Corcoran, Tulare Lake dried up by the early 20th century after its tributary rivers were diverted for agricultural irrigation and municipal water uses.
About 45 percent of the state's total surface area is covered by forests, and California's diversity of pine species is unmatched by any other state. California contains more forestland than any other state except Alaska. Many of the trees in the California White Mountains are the oldest in the world; an individual bristlecone pine is over 5,000 years old.
In the south is a large inland salt lake, the Salton Sea. The south-central desert is called the Mojave; to the northeast of the Mojave lies Death Valley, which contains the lowest and hottest place in North America, the Badwater Basin at −279 feet (−85 m). The horizontal distance from the bottom of Death Valley to the top of Mount Whitney is less than 90 miles (140 km). Indeed, almost all of southeastern California is arid, hot desert, with routine extreme high temperatures during the summer. The southeastern border of California with Arizona is entirely formed by the Colorado River, from which the southern part of the state gets about half of its water.
A majority of California's cities are located in either the San Francisco Bay Area or the Sacramento metropolitan area in Northern California; or the Los Angeles area, the Inland Empire, or the San Diego metropolitan area in Southern California. The Los Angeles Area, the Bay Area, and the San Diego metropolitan area are among several major metropolitan areas along the California coast.
As part of the Ring of Fire, California is subject to tsunamis, floods, droughts, Santa Ana winds, wildfires, landslides on steep terrain, and has several volcanoes. It has many earthquakes due to several faults running through the state, the largest being the San Andreas Fault. About 37,000 earthquakes are recorded each year, but most are too small to be felt.
Main article: Climate of California
Further information: Climate change in California
Although most of the state has a Mediterranean climate, due to the state's large size the climate ranges from polar to subtropical. The cool California Current offshore often creates summer fog near the coast. Farther inland, there are colder winters and hotter summers. The maritime moderation results in the shoreline summertime temperatures of Los Angeles and San Francisco being the coolest of all major metropolitan areas of the United States and uniquely cool compared to areas on the same latitude in the interior and on the east coast of the North American continent. Even the San Diego shoreline bordering Mexico is cooler in summer than most areas in the contiguous United States. Just a few miles inland, summer temperature extremes are significantly higher, with downtown Los Angeles being several degrees warmer than at the coast. The same microclimate phenomenon is seen in the climate of the Bay Area, where areas sheltered from the sea experience significantly hotter summers than nearby areas closer to the ocean.
Northern parts of the state have more rain than the south. California's mountain ranges also influence the climate: some of the rainiest parts of the state are west-facing mountain slopes. Northwestern California has a temperate climate, and the Central Valley has a Mediterranean climate but with greater temperature extremes than the coast. The high mountains, including the Sierra Nevada, have an alpine climate with snow in winter and mild to moderate heat in summer.
California's mountains produce rain shadows on the eastern side, creating extensive deserts. The higher elevation deserts of eastern California have hot summers and cold winters, while the low deserts east of the Southern California mountains have hot summers and nearly frostless mild winters. Death Valley, a desert with large expanses below sea level, is considered the hottest location in the world; the highest temperature in the world, 134 °F (56.7 °C), was recorded there on July 10, 1913. The lowest temperature in California was −45 °F (−43 °C) on January 20, 1937, in Boca.
The table below lists average temperatures for January and August in a selection of places throughout the state; some highly populated and some not. This includes the relatively cool summers of the Humboldt Bay region around Eureka, the extreme heat of Death Valley, and the mountain climate of Mammoth in the Sierra Nevada.
Main article: Ecology of California
See also: Environment of California
California is one of the richest and most diverse parts of the world, and includes some of the most endangered ecological communities. California is part of the Nearctic realm and spans a number of terrestrial ecoregions.
California's large number of endemic species includes relict species, which have died out elsewhere, such as the Catalina ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus). Many other endemics originated through differentiation or adaptive radiation, whereby multiple species develop from a common ancestor to take advantage of diverse ecological conditions such as the California lilac (Ceanothus). Many California endemics have become endangered, as urbanization, logging, overgrazing, and the introduction of exotic species have encroached on their habitat.
Flora and fauna
Main articles: Fauna of California and California Floristic Province
See also: List of California native plants
See also: List of invertebrates of California
California boasts several superlatives in its collection of flora: the largest trees, the tallest trees, and the oldest trees. California's native grasses are perennial plants. After European contact, these were generally replaced by invasive species of European annual grasses; and, in modern times, California's hills turn a characteristic golden-brown in summer.
Because California has the greatest diversity of climate and terrain, the state has six life zones which are the lower Sonoran Desert; upper Sonoran (foothill regions and some coastal lands), transition (coastal areas and moist northeastern counties); and the Canadian, Hudsonian, and Arctic Zones, comprising the state's highest elevations.
Plant life in the dry climate of the lower Sonoran zone contains a diversity of native cactus, mesquite, and paloverde. The Joshua tree is found in the Mojave Desert. Flowering plants include the dwarf desert poppy and a variety of asters. Fremont cottonwood and valley oak thrive in the Central Valley. The upper Sonoran zone includes the chaparral belt, characterized by forests of small shrubs, stunted trees, and herbaceous plants. Nemophila, mint, Phacelia, Viola, and the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica, the state flower) also flourish in this zone, along with the lupine, more species of which occur here than anywhere else in the world.
The transition zone includes most of California's forests with the redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the "big tree" or giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), among the oldest living things on earth (some are said to have lived at least 4,000 years). Tanbark oak, California laurel, sugar pine, madrona, broad-leaved maple, and Douglas-fir also grow here. Forest floors are covered with swordfern, alumnroot, barrenwort, and trillium, and there are thickets of huckleberry, azalea, elder, and wild currant. Characteristic wild flowers include varieties of mariposa, tulip, and tiger and leopard lilies.
The high elevations of the Canadian zone allow the Jeffrey pine, red fir, and lodgepole pine to thrive. Brushy areas are abundant with dwarf manzanita and ceanothus; the unique Sierra puffball is also found here. Right below the timberline, in the Hudsonian zone, the whitebark, foxtail, and silver pines grow. At about 10,500 feet (3,200 m), begins the Arctic zone, a treeless region whose flora include a number of wildflowers, including Sierra primrose, yellow columbine, alpine buttercup, and alpine shooting star.
Common plants that have been introduced to the state include the eucalyptus, acacia, pepper tree, geranium, and Scotch broom. The species that are federally classified as endangered are the Contra Costa wallflower, Antioch Dunes evening primrose, Solano grass, San Clemente Island larkspur, salt marsh bird's beak, McDonald's rock-cress, and Santa Barbara Island liveforever. As of December 1997[update], 85 plant species were listed as threatened or endangered.
In the deserts of the lower Sonoran zone, the mammals include the jackrabbit, kangaroo rat, squirrel, and opossum. Common birds include the owl, roadrunner, cactus wren, and various species of hawk. The area's reptilian life include the sidewinder viper, desert tortoise, and horned toad. The upper Sonoran zone boasts mammals such as the antelope, brown-footed woodrat, and ring-tailed cat. Birds unique to this zone are the California thrasher, bushtit, and California condor.
In the transition zone, there are Colombian black-tailed deer, black bears, gray foxes, cougars, bobcats, and Roosevelt elk. Reptiles such as the garter snakes and rattlesnakes inhabit the zone. In addition, amphibians such as the water puppy and redwood salamander are common too. Birds such as the kingfisher, chickadee, towhee, and hummingbird thrive here as well.
The Canadian zone mammals include the mountain weasel, snowshoe hare, and several species of chipmunks. Conspicuous birds include the blue-fronted jay, mountain chickadee, hermit thrush, American dipper, and Townsend's solitaire. As one ascends into the Hudsonian zone, birds become scarcer. While the gray-crowned rosy finch is the only bird native to the high Arctic region, other bird species such as Anna's hummingbird and Clark's nutcracker. Principal mammals found in this region include the Sierra coney, white-tailed jackrabbit, and the bighorn sheep. As of April 2003[update], the bighorn sheep was listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The fauna found throughout several zones are the mule deer, coyote, mountain lion, northern flicker, and several species of hawk and sparrow.
Aquatic life in California thrives, from the state's mountain lakes and streams to the rocky Pacific coastline. Numerous trout species are found, among them rainbow, golden, and cutthroat. Migratory species of salmon are common as well. Deep-sea life forms include sea bass, yellowfin tuna, barracuda, and several types of whale. Native to the cliffs of northern California are seals, sea lions, and many types of shorebirds, including migratory species.
As of April 2003[update], 118 California animals were on the federal endangered list; 181 plants were listed as endangered or threatened. Endangered animals include the San Joaquin kitfox, Point Arena mountain beaver, Pacific pocket mouse, salt marsh harvest mouse, Morro Bay kangaroo rat (and five other species of kangaroo rat), Amargosa vole, California least tern, California condor, loggerhead shrike, San Clemente sage sparrow, San Francisco garter snake, five species of salamander, three species of chub, and two species of pupfish. Eleven butterflies are also endangered and two that are threatened are on the federal list. Among threatened animals are the coastal California gnatcatcher, Paiute cutthroat trout, southern sea otter, and northern spotted owl. California has a total of 290,821 acres (1,176.91 km2) of National Wildlife Refuges. As of September 2010[update], 123 California animals were listed as either endangered or threatened on the federal list. Also, as of the same year[update], 178 species of California plants were listed either as endangered or threatened on this federal list.
Further information: List of rivers of California
The most prominent river system within California is formed by the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River, which are fed mostly by snowmelt from the west slope of the Sierra Nevada, and respectively drain the north and south halves of the Central Valley. The two rivers join in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, flowing into the Pacific Ocean through San Francisco Bay. Many major tributaries feed into the Sacramento–San Joaquin system, including the Pit River, Feather River and Tuolumne River.
The Klamath and Trinity Rivers drain a large area in far northwestern California. The Eel River and Salinas River each drain portions of the California coast, north and south of San Francisco Bay, respectively. The Mojave River is the primary watercourse in the Mojave Desert, and the Santa Ana River drains much of the Transverse Ranges as it bisects Southern California. The Colorado River forms the state's southeast border with Arizona.
Most of California's major rivers are dammed as part of two massive water projects: the Central Valley Project, providing water for agriculture in the Central Valley, and the California State Water Project diverting water from northern to southern California. The state's coasts, rivers, and other bodies of water are regulated by the California Coastal Commission.
Further information: List of regions of California and List of places in California
Main article: Demographics of California
|Sources: 1790–1990, 2000, 2010, 2020|
Chart does not include Indigenous population figures.
Studies indicate that the Native American
population in California in 1850 was close to 150,000
before declining to 15,000 by 1900.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of California was 39,368,078 on July 1, 2020, a 5.67% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The population is projected to reach forty million by 2020 and fifty million by 2060.
Between 2000 and 2009, there was a natural increase of 3,090,016 (5,058,440 births minus 2,179,958 deaths). During this time period, international migration produced a net increase of 1,816,633 people while domestic migration produced a net decrease of 1,509,708, resulting in a net in-migration of 306,925 people. The state of California's own statistics show a population of 38,292,687 for January 1, 2009. However, according to the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, since 1990 almost 3.4 million Californians have moved to other states, with most leaving to Texas, Nevada, and Arizona. According to the Department of Finance, California's population declined by 182,083 people in 2020, the first time that there has been a net decrease in population since 1900.
Within the Western hemisphere California is the second most populous sub-national administrative entity (behind the state of São Paulo in Brazil) and third most populous sub-national entity of any kind outside Asia (in which wider category it also ranks behind England in the United Kingdom, which has no administrative functions). California's population is greater than that of all but 34 countries of the world. The Greater Los Angeles Area is the 2nd-largest metropolitan area in the United States, after the New York metropolitan area, while Los Angeles, with nearly half the population of New York City, is the second-largest city in the United States. Conversely, San Francisco, with nearly one-quarter the population density of Manhattan, is the most densely populated city in California and one of the most densely populated cities in the United States. Also, Los Angeles County has held the title of most populous United States county for decades, and it alone is more populous than 42 United States states. Including Los Angeles, four of the top 20 most populous cities in the U.S. are in California: Los Angeles (2nd), San Diego (8th), San Jose (10th), and San Francisco (17th). The center of population of California is located three miles southwest of the city of Shafter, Kern County.[note 2]
As of 2018, the average life expectancy in California was 80.8 years, above the national average of 78.7, which is the second highest in the country.
Cities and towns
See also: List of cities and towns in California and List of largest California cities by population
The state has 482 incorporated cities and towns, of which 460 are cities and 22 are towns. Under California law, the terms "city" and "town" are explicitly interchangeable; the name of an incorporated municipality in the state can either be "City of (Name)" or "Town of (Name)".
Sacramento became California's first incorporated city on February 27, 1850.San Jose, San Diego, and Benicia tied for California's second incorporated city, each receiving incorporation on March 27, 1850.Jurupa Valley became the state's most recent and 482nd incorporated municipality, on July 1, 2011.
The majority of these cities and towns are within one of five metropolitan areas: the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, the San Francisco Bay Area, the Riverside-San Bernardino Area, the San Diego metropolitan area, or the Sacramento metropolitan area.
|1||Los Angeles||Los Angeles||3,898,747|
|2||San Diego||San Diego||1,386,932|
|3||San Jose||Santa Clara||1,013,240|
|4||San Francisco||San Francisco||873,965|
|7||Long Beach||Los Angeles||466,742|
|CA Rank||U.S. Rank||Metropolitan statistical area||2020 Census||2010 Census||Change||Counties|
|1||2||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA MSA||13,200,998||12,828,837||+2.90%||Los Angeles, Orange|
|2||12||San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA MSA||4,749,008||4,335,391||+9.54%||Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo|
|3||13||Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSA||4,599,839||4,224,851||+8.88%||Riverside, San Bernardino|
|4||17||San Diego-Carlsbad, CA MSA||3,298,634||3,095,313||+6.57%||San Diego|
|5||26||Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA MSA||2,397,382||2,149,127||+11.55%||El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Yolo|
|6||35||San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA MSA||2,000,468||1,836,911||+8.90%||San Benito, Santa Clara|
|7||56||Fresno, CA MSA||1,008,654||930,450||+8.40%||Fresno|
|8||62||Bakersfield, CA MSA||909,235||839,631||+8.29%||Kern|
|9||70||Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA MSA||843,843||823,318||+2.49%||Ventura|
|10||75||Stockton-Lodi, CA MSA||779,233||685,306||+13.71%||San Joaquin|