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Placer County, California
County of Placer
Auburn Superior Court 3.jpg
Placer County, CA, USA - panoramio (8).jpg
Kings Beach SRA on Lake Tahoe.jpg
Images from top, left to right: The Auburn Courthouse, a panorama of a forested area, Lake Tahoe in Kings Beach
Flag of Placer County, California
Official seal of Placer County, California
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
Country United States
State California
Regions Sacramento Valley, Sierra Nevada
Metro area Greater Sacramento
Incorporated April 25, 1851
Named for Placer mining, a reference to the area being a center of the California Gold Rush
County seat Auburn
Largest city Roseville
 • Total 1,502 sq mi (3,890 km2)
 • Land 1,407 sq mi (3,640 km2)
 • Water 95 sq mi (250 km2)
Highest elevation
9,044 ft (2,757 m)
 • Total 404,739
 • Density 269.47/sq mi (104.04/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Area codes 530, 916, 279
FIPS code 06-061
GNIS feature ID 277295
Gold specimen from the Eagle's Nest Mine, a source of specimen gold in Placer County

Placer County ( PLASS-ərr; Spanish for "sand deposit"), officially the County of Placer, is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 404,739. The county seat is Auburn.

Placer County is included in the Greater Sacramento metropolitan area. It is in both the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada regions, in what is known as the Gold Country. The county stretches roughly 65 miles from Sacramento's suburbs at Roseville to the Nevada border and the shore of Lake Tahoe.


The discovery of gold in 1848 brought tens of thousands of miners from around the world, in addition to many more thousands intending to provide goods and services to the miners. Only three years after the discovery of gold, the fast-growing county was formed from portions of Sutter and Yuba counties on April 25, 1851 with Auburn as the county seat. Placer County took its name from the Spanish word for sand or gravel deposits containing gold. Miners washed away the gravel, leaving the heavier gold, in a process known as "placer mining".


Gold mining was a major industry through the 1880s, but gradually the new residents turned to farming the fertile foothill soil, harvesting timber and working for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Auburn was settled when Claude Chana discovered gold in Auburn Ravine in May 1848 and later became a shipping and supply center for the surrounding gold camps. The cornerstone of Placer's beautiful and historic courthouse, which is clearly visible from Interstate 80 through Auburn, was laid on July 4, 1894. The building itself was renovated during the late 1980s and continues to serve the public today with courtrooms, a historic sheriff's office and the Placer County Museum. Roseville, once a small agricultural center, became a major railroad center and grew to the county's most populous city after Southern Pacific Railroad moved its railroad switching yards there in 1908.

Loomis and Newcastle began as mining towns, but soon became centers of a booming fruit-growing industry, supporting many local packing houses. Penryn was founded by a Welsh miner, Griffith Griffith, who turned from mining to establish a large granite quarry. Rocklin began as a railroad town and became home to a number of granite quarries. Lincoln and Sheridan continue to support ranching and farming. Lincoln also is the home of one of the county's oldest businesses, the Gladding, McBean terra cotta clay manufacturing plant established in 1875.

The 1960 Winter Olympics were hosted in Squaw Valley, which is located in Placer County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,502 square miles (3,890 km2), of which 1,407 square miles (3,640 km2) is land and 95 square miles (250 km2) (6.4%) is water. Watercourses in Placer County include the American River and Bunch Creek. Lake Tahoe has 40.96% of its surface area in Placer County, more than in any of the four other counties in which it lies.

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 13,270
1870 11,357 −14.4%
1880 14,232 25.3%
1890 15,101 6.1%
1900 15,786 4.5%
1910 18,237 15.5%
1920 18,584 1.9%
1930 24,468 31.7%
1940 28,108 14.9%
1950 41,649 48.2%
1960 56,998 36.9%
1970 77,306 35.6%
1980 117,247 51.7%
1990 172,796 47.4%
2000 248,399 43.8%
2010 348,432 40.3%
2020 404,739 16.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010 2020

2020 census

Placer County, California - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 265,294 272,471 76.14% 67.32%
Black or African American alone (NH) 4,427 6,440 1.27% 1.59%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 2,080 2,010 0.60% 0.50%
Asian alone (NH) 19,963 34,776 5.73% 8.59%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 697 967 0.20% 0.24%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 603 2,091 0.17% 0.52%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 10,658 25,356 3.06% 6.26%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 44,710 60,628 12.83% 14.98%
Total 348,432 404,739 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.


Places by population, race, and income

2010 Census

The 2010 United States Census reported that Placer County had a population of 348,432. The racial makeup of Placer County was 290,977 (83.5%) White, 4,751 (1.4%) African American, 3,011 (0.9%) Native American, 20,435 (5.9%) Asian, 778 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 13,375 (3.8%) from other races, and 15,105 (4.3%) from two or more races. There were 4,710 Hispanics or Latinos of any race (12.8%).


As of the census of 2000, there were 248,399 people, 93,382 households, and 67,701 families residing in the county. The population density was 177 people per square mile (68/km2). There were 107,302 housing units at an average density of 76 per square mile (30/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.6% White, 0.8% Black or African American, 0.9% Native American, 3.0% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 3.4% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. 9.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.5% were of German, 12.3% English, 10.6% Irish, 7.1% Italian and 7.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 89.7% spoke only English at home; 6.0% spoke Spanish.

There were 93,382 households, out of which 35.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.4% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.5% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 29.00% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $57,535, and the median income for a family was $65,858 (these figures had risen to $68,463 and $80,987 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $50,410 versus $33,763 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,963. About 3.9% of families and 5.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.3% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over. Unemployment in the county is just under 7% which is considerably lower than the state's average.


Major highways

  • I-80 (CA).svg Interstate 80
  • California 28.svg State Route 28
  • California 49.svg State Route 49
  • California 65.svg State Route 65
  • California 89.svg State Route 89
  • California 174.svg State Route 174
  • California 267.svg State Route 267

Public transportation

  • Placer County Transit provides basic bus service primarily along the I-80 corridor between Alta and the Watt Ave. Sacramento Regional Transit light rail station. PCT also runs commuter service to Downtown Sacramento.
  • The cities of Auburn, Lincoln, and Roseville have their own local transit service. The city of Roseville also offers a commuter service to Sacramento.
  • Gold Country Stage (Nevada County) provides a connection between Auburn and Grass Valley.
  • Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit, operated by Placer County and the City of Truckee, operates in Truckee (Nevada County), Tahoe City and along the North Shore of Lake Tahoe to Incline Village, Nevada.
  • Greyhound and Amtrak provide long-distance intercity service.


There are three general aviation airports in Placer County:

  • Lincoln Regional Airport
  • Auburn Airport
  • Truckee-Tahoe Airport

The closest commercial airport is Sacramento International Airport in Sacramento.




Census-designated places

Other communities

Ghost town

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Placer County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Roseville City 118,788
2 Rocklin City 56,974
3 Lincoln City 42,819
4 Granite Bay CDP 20,402
5 Auburn City 13,330
6 North Auburn CDP 13,022
7 Loomis Town 6,430
8 Kings Beach CDP 3,796
9 Meadow Vista CDP 3,217
10 Colfax City 1,963
11 Sunnyside-Tahoe City CDP 1,557
12 Foresthill CDP 1,483
13 Tahoe Vista CDP 1,433
14 Sheridan CDP 1,238
15 Newcastle CDP 1,224
16 Dollar Point CDP 1,215
17 Tahoma (partially in El Dorado County) CDP 1,191
18 Penryn CDP 831
19 Alta CDP 610
20 Carnelian Bay CDP 524
21 Dutch Flat CDP 160
22 Kingvale (mostly in Nevada County) CDP 143
23 Auburn Rancheria AIAN 0


Top employers

According to the county's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the county are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Kaiser Permanente 3,064
2 Hewlett-Packard 2,500
3 Placer County 2,400
4 Union Pacific Railroad 2,000
5 Sutter Health 1,983
6 Northstar at Tahoe 1,500
7 Thunder Valley Casino Resort 1,412
8 City of Roseville 1,282
9 PRIDE Industries 1,135
10 Raley's Supermarkets 1,006

mPOWER Placer

mPOWER Placer is Placer County's Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. It provides financing to commercial, industrial, agricultural and multifamily property owners to install energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy retrofits. The program, administered by the Placer County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office, was approved by the Board of Supervisors on February 9, 2010, and launched on March 22, 2010, and is open to eligible Placer County property owners.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Placer para niños

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