Santa Barbara County, California facts for kids
|Santa Barbara County, California|
|County of Santa Barbara|
Images, from top down, left to right: The Santa Barbara County Courthouse; Lake Cachuma; Vandenberg Air Force Base's main gate; along Foxen Canyon Road, running between the Santa Maria and Santa Ynez Valleys; Danish-styled Solvang
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
|Country||United States of America|
|Region||California Central Coast|
|Incorporated||February 18, 1850|
|• Total||3,789 sq mi (9,810 km2)|
|• Land||2,735 sq mi (7,080 km2)|
|• Water||1,054 sq mi (2,730 km2)|
|Highest elevation||6,803 ft (2,074 m)|
|Population (April 1, 2010)|
|• Estimate (2015)||444,769|
|• Density||111.875/sq mi (43.195/km2)|
|Time zone||Pacific Time Zone (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)|
Santa Barbara County, California, officially the County of Santa Barbara, is a county located in the southern portion of the state of California, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 423,895. The county seat is Santa Barbara, and the largest city is Santa Maria.
Santa Barbara County comprises the Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Most of the county is part of the California Central Coast. Mainstays of the county's economy include engineering, resource extraction (particularly petroleum extraction and diatomaceous earth mining), winemaking, agriculture, and education. The software development and tourism industries are important employers in the southern part of the county.
Southern Santa Barbara County is sometimes considered the northern cultural boundary of Southern California.
The Santa Barbara County area, including the Northern Channel Islands, was first settled by Native Americans at least 13,000 years ago. Evidence for a Paleoindian presence has been found in the form of a fluted Clovis-like point found in the 1980s along the western Santa Barbara Coast, as well as the remains of Arlington Springs Man found on Santa Rosa Island in the 1960s. For thousands of years, the area was home to the Chumash tribe of Native Americans, complex hunter-gatherers who lived along the coast and in interior valleys leaving rock art in many locations including Painted Cave.
Europeans first contacted the Chumash in AD 1542, when three Spanish ships under the command of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo explored the area. The Santa Barbara Channel received its name from Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno when he sailed along the California coast in 1602; his ships entered the channel on December 4, the day of the feast of Santa Barbara. Spanish ships associated with the Manila Galleon trade probably made emergency stops along the coast during the next 167 years, but no permanent settlements were established.
The first land expedition to explore California, led by Gaspar de Portolà explored the coastal area in 1769, on its way to Monterey Bay. The party traveled the same route on the return to San Diego in January 1770. That same year, a second expedition to Monterey again passed through the area. The DeAnza expeditions of 1774-76 followed Portola's trail.
The Presidio of Santa Barbara was established in 1782 (4th of 5 in California), followed by Mission Santa Barbara in 1786 – both in what is now the city of Santa Barbara. The presidio and mission kept Vizcaino's denomination, as did the later city and county – a common practice which has preserved the names of many of the 21 California Missions.
European contacts had devastating effects on the Chumash people, including a series of disease epidemics that drastically reduced Chumash population. The Chumash survived, however, and thousands of Chumash descendants still live in the Santa Barbara area or surrounding counties. A tribal homeland was established in 1901, the Santa Ynez Reservation.
Following the Mexican secularization of the missions in the 1830s, the mission pasture lands were mostly broken up into large ranchos and granted mainly to prominent local citizens who already lived in the area. 604 of these land grants were later confirmed by the state of California, with 36 in Santa Barbara County.
Santa Barbara County was one of the 27 original counties of California, formed in 1850 at the time of statehood. The county's territory was later divided to create Ventura County in 1873.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,789 square miles (9,810 km2), of which 2,735 square miles (7,080 km2) is land and 1,054 square miles (2,730 km2) (27.8%) is water. Four of the Channel Islands – San Miguel Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island and Santa Barbara Island – are in Santa Barbara County. They form the largest part of the Channel Islands National Park (which also includes Anacapa Island in Ventura County).
Santa Barbara County has a mountainous interior abutting several coastal plains on the west and south coasts of the county. The largest concentration of population is on the southern coastal plain, referred to as the "south coast" – meaning the part of the county south of the Santa Ynez Mountains. This region includes the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria, as well as the unincorporated areas of Hope Ranch, Summerland, Mission Canyon, Montecito and Isla Vista, along with stretches of unincorporated area such as Noleta/Nanta Barbara("No" to "Goleta" or "Santa Barbara"). North of the Santa Ynez range in the Santa Ynez Valley are the towns of Santa Ynez, Solvang, Buellton, Lompoc; the unincorporated towns of Los Olivos and Ballard; the unincorporated areas of Mission Hills and Vandenberg Village; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, where the Santa Ynez River flows out to the sea. North of the Santa Ynez Valley are the cities of Santa Maria and Guadalupe, and the unincorporated towns of Orcutt, Los Alamos, Casmalia, Garey, and Sisquoc. In the extreme northeastern portion of the county are the small cities of New Cuyama, Cuyama, and Ventucopa. As of January 1, 2006, Santa Maria has become the largest city in Santa Barbara County.
The principal mountain ranges of the county are the Santa Ynez Mountains in the south, and the San Rafael Mountains and Sierra Madre Mountains in the interior and northeast. Most of the mountainous area is within the Los Padres National Forest, and includes two wilderness areas: the San Rafael Wilderness and the Dick Smith Wilderness. The highest elevation in the county is 6820 feet (2079 m) at Big Pine Mountain in the San Rafaels.
North of the mountains is the arid and sparsely populated Cuyama Valley, portions of which are in San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties. Oil production, ranching, and agriculture dominate the land use in the privately owned parts of the Cuyama Valley; the Los Padres National Forest is adjacent to the south, and regions to the north and northeast are owned by the Bureau of Land Management and the Nature Conservancy.
Air quality in the county, unlike much of southern California, is generally good because of the prevailing winds off of the Pacific Ocean. The county is in attainment of federal standards for ozone and particulate matter, but exceeds state standards for these pollutants. Sometimes in late summer and early autumn there are days with higher ozone levels; usually this occurs when there is a low inversion layer under a stagnant air mass, which traps pollutants underneath. In these cases a traveler into the mountains encounters a curious paradox: the temperature rises as altitude increases. On these days the visibility from the higher summits may be more than a hundred miles, while the population on the coastal plain experiences haze and smog.
The four Channel Islands in Santa Barbara County are Santa Barbara Island, San Miguel Island, Santa Rosa Island, and the large Santa Cruz Island. All of them contain native and endemic wildlife, like the island oak and Torrey Pine. All four have the deer mouse living on them, the three latter, the island fox, and the two latter, the island spotted skunk. There used to be skunks on San Miguel Island, but due predation from marine life, birds, and foxes, the San Miguel Island skunk has gone extinct.
Santa Barbara County receives a mild climate. Along the coast, the temperature rarely goes above or at the 100s in the summer and below or even at freezing in the winter. In the interior, temperatures can soar, though, and above 2,000 feet, temperatures plummet during the winter months, often going to, or below, freezing. The climate is called the warm-summer Mediterranean climate.
National protected areas
- Channel Islands National Park (part)
- Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge (part)
- Los Padres National Forest (part)
- Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve
|Population, race, and income|
|Black or African American||7,752||1.8%|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||4,191||1.0%|
|Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander||880||0.2%|
|Some other race||50,121||11.9%|
|Two or more races||15,361||3.7%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||175,692||41.9%|
|Per capita income||$30,330|
|Median household income||$61,896|
|Median family income||$71,695|
Places by population, race, and income
|Places by population and race|
||Asian||Black or African
||Hispanic or Latino
(of any race)
|Places by population and income|
|Place||Type||Population||Per capita income||Median household income||Median family income|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Santa Barbara County had a population of 423,895. The ethnic makeup of Santa Barbara County was 295,124 (69.6%) White, 8,513 (2.0%) African American, 5,485 (1.3%) Native American, 20,665 (4.9%) Asian (1.6% Filipino, 1.0% Chinese, 0.5% Japanese, 0.5% Korean, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.4% Indian), 806 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 73,860 (17.4%) from other races, and 19,442 (4.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 181,687 persons (42.9%); 38.5% of Santa Barbara County is Mexican, 0.4% Salvadoran, 0.4% Guatemalan, and 0.3% Puerto Rican.
|Population reported at 2010 United States Census|
(of any race)
|Santa Barbara County||423,895||295,124||8,513||5,485||20,665||806||73,860||19,442||181,687|
(of any race)
(of any race)
(of any race)
|All others not CDPs (combined)||44,833||35,543||515||409||1,834||63||4,959||1,510||12,780|
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2000, there were 399,347 people, 136,622 households, and 89,487 families residing in the county. The population density was 146 people per square mile (56/km²). There were 142,901 housing units at an average density of 52 per square mile (20/km²). The ethnic makeup of the county was 72.7% White, 2.3% Black or African American, 1.2% Native American, 4.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 15.2% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. 34.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 9.1% were of German, 8.5% English and 6.5% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 26.6% of the population reported speaking Spanish at home.
There were 136,622 households out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.8 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 100.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.1 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $46,677, and the median income for a family was $54,042. Males had a median income of $37,997 versus $29,593 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,059. About 8.5% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.3% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.
The population of the area south of the Santa Ynez Mountain crest—the portion known as "South County"—was 201,161 according to the 2000 census; thus the population is almost exactly split between north and south. Recent years have shown slow or even negative growth for regions in the south county, while areas in the north county have continued to grow at a faster rate.
Santa Barbara County is served by Amtrak trains and Greyhound Lines buses. The southern portion of the county is served by the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District. In the North County, the cities of Lompoc, Santa Maria, and Buellton/Solvang have their own bus services.
- Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, is located near Goleta, west of Santa Barbara.
- Santa Maria Public Airport is located just southwest of Downtown Santa Maria.
- Lompoc Airport is located on the north side of Lompoc.
- Santa Ynez Airport is just southeast of Santa Ynez.
Commercial flights are available at Santa Barbara Airport and Santa Maria Public Airport.
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Santa Barbara County.
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)|
|2||† Santa Barbara||City||88,410|
|23||Santa Ynez Reservation||AIAN||271|
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