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California, Pennsylvania
Downtown California
Downtown California
Etymology: U.S. state of California
Location of California in Washington County, Pennsylvania.
Location of California in Washington County, Pennsylvania.
California, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
California, Pennsylvania
California, Pennsylvania
Location in Pennsylvania
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Washington
Established 1849
 • Total 11.23 sq mi (29.09 km2)
 • Land 11.01 sq mi (28.52 km2)
 • Water 0.22 sq mi (0.57 km2)
 • Total 6,795
 • Estimate 
 • Density 569.98/sq mi (220.06/km2)
Time zone UTC-4 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (EDT)
Area code(s) 724 Exchange: 938

California is a borough on the Monongahela River in Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States, and part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area since 1950. The population was 6,795 as of the 2010 census and was estimated at 6,325 in 2018. California is the home of California University of Pennsylvania. Founded in 1849, the borough was named for the territory of California following the Gold Rush. The borough has had two notably young mayors—Democrat Peter Daley, who was 22 at his election, and Republican Casey Durdines, who was 20 at his election.


California is located at 40°3′55″N 79°53′50″W / 40.06528°N 79.89722°W / 40.06528; -79.89722 (40.065313, -79.897120).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 11.2 square miles (29 km2), of which 11.0 square miles (28 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (1.78%) is water.


When founded in 1849, the town was named California, though Columbia and Sagamore were names that were also suggested for the new town. Before there were mayors in California, there were burgesses, the first of whom was Solomon Sibbitt.

  • East Pike Run Township merged with California Borough in 1953.
  • The former Vigilant Mine in California once produced the largest single lump of coal in the world.
  • California was once home to the largest soft coal mine in the world when Vesta # 4 opened in 1893.
  • The town of Philipsburg used to sit on land that is now occupied by California University of Pennsylvania. This includes the Philipsburg Cemetery, which is still in use and includes a number of graves of Civil War soldiers.
  • The first house built in California is next to the California Post Office on Second Street.

The Molly Fleming House, Jennings-Gallagher House, Malden Inn, Old Main, California State College and former Pennsylvania Railroad Passenger Station are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The California Boatyards played an important role in building steamboats for western expansion.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 476
1870 659 38.4%
1880 1,009 53.1%
1890 1,024 1.5%
1900 2,009 96.2%
1910 2,230 11.0%
1920 2,480 11.2%
1930 2,362 −4.8%
1940 2,614 10.7%
1950 2,831 8.3%
1960 5,978 111.2%
1970 6,635 11.0%
1980 5,703 −14.0%
1990 5,748 0.8%
2000 5,274 −8.2%
2010 6,795 28.8%
2019 (est.) 6,276 −7.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,274 people, 1,891 households, and 867 families residing in the borough. The population density was 478.2 people per square mile (184.6/km2). There were 2,092 housing units at an average density of 189.7 per square mile (73.2/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 93.93% White, 4.13% African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.13% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.49% of the population.

Near the university (which begins at the brick building in the background on the left), many large early-Twentieth Century houses have been converted into student apartments.

There were 1,891 households, out of which 16.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.8% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.1% were non-families. 36.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 10.7% under the age of 18, 42.2% from 18 to 24, 17.3% from 25 to 44, 15.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.

A converted train station serves as the California Public Library.

The median income for a household in the borough was $24,628, and the median income for a family was $43,168. Males had a median income of $35,833 versus $24,537 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $14,412. About 7.3% of families and 22.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.7% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.


  • California Area School District
  • California University of Pennsylvania

Notable people

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: California (Pensilvania) para niños

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