Santa Clara County, California facts for kids

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Santa Clara County, California
County
County of Santa Clara
AlumRockViewSiliconValley w.jpg
Lick Observatory Shane Telescope.jpg Winchester House Front.jpg
Stanford Oval May 2011 panorama.jpg
USA-Morgan Hill-El Toro Hill-1.jpg Aerial view of Moffett Field's Hangar One (2012).jpg
Images, from top down, left to right: A view looking west across Silicon Valley, Lick Observatory, Winchester Mystery House, a view of Stanford University from across the Oval, El Toro Hill in Morgan Hill, an aerial view of Hangar One at Moffett Federal Airfield in 2012
Flag of Santa Clara County, California
Flag
Official seal of Santa Clara County, California
Seal
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
Country  United States of America
State  California
Region San Francisco Bay Area
Incorporated February 18, 1850
Named for Mission Santa Clara de Asís, St. Clare of Assisi
Area
 • Total 1,304 sq mi (3,380 km2)
 • Land 1,290 sq mi (3,300 km2)
 • Water 14 sq mi (40 km2)
Highest elevation 4,216 ft (1,285 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)
 • Total 1,781,642
 • Estimate (2015) 1,918,044
 • Density 1,366.3/sq mi (527.53/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)
Area codes 408/669, 650
FIPS code 06-085
GNIS feature ID 277307
Website www.sccgov.org

Santa Clara County, California, officially the County of Santa Clara, is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,781,642. The county seat is San Jose, the tenth-most populous city in the United States.

Santa Clara County is part of the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area. Located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay, the highly urbanized Santa Clara Valley within Santa Clara County is also known as Silicon Valley. Santa Clara is the most populous county in the San Francisco Bay Area region, and one of the most affluent counties in the United States.

Etymology

Santaclaracountygovernmentcenter
The Santa Clara County government center in May 2006

Santa Clara County is named after Mission Santa Clara, which was established in 1777, and is also named for Saint Clare of Assisi.

History

Santa Clara County was one of the original counties of California, formed in 1850 at the time of statehood. The original inhabitants included the Ohlone, residing on Coyote Creek and Calaveras Creek. Part of the county's territory was given to Alameda County in 1853.

In 1882, Santa Clara County tried to levy taxes upon property of the Southern Pacific Railroad within county boundaries. The result was the U.S. Supreme Court case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394 (1886), in which the Court extended Due Process rights to artificial legal entities.

In the early 20th Century, the area was promoted as the "Valley of the Heart's Delight" due to its natural beauty, including a significant number of orchards.

The first major technology company to be based in the area was Hewlett-Packard, founded in a garage in Palo Alto in 1939. IBM selected San Jose as its West Coast headquarters in 1943. Varian Associates, Fairchild Semiconductor, and other early innovators were located in the county by the late 1940s and 1950s. The U.S. Navy had a large presence in the area and began giving large contracts to Silicon Valley electronics companies. The term "Silicon Valley" was coined in 1971. The trend accelerated in the 1980s and 1990s, and agriculture has since then been nearly eliminated from the northern part of the county. Today, Santa Clara County is the headquarters for approximately 6500 high technology companies, including many of the largest tech companies in the world, among them hardware manufacturers AMD, Cisco Systems and Intel, computer and consumer electronics companies Apple Inc. and Hewlett-Packard, and internet companies eBay, Facebook, Google and Yahoo!. Most of what is considered to be Silicon Valley is located within the county, although some adjoining tech regions in San Mateo, Alameda, and Santa Cruz counties are also considered a part of Silicon Valley.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,304 square miles (3,380 km2), of which 1,290 square miles (3,300 km2) is land and 14 square miles (36 km2) (1.1%) is water.

The San Andreas Fault runs along the Santa Cruz Mountains in the south and west of the county.

National protected area

Ecology

Tule Elk - Merced National Wildlife Refuge Bill Leikam 12-03-2010
Tule elk roam the Diablo Range and are often seen on Coyote Ridge from U.S. Highway 101 - courtesy Bill Leikam
Tule Elk Basking Ridge Park, Santa Clara County Edgerton 2009-12-24
Three tule elk just north of U. S. Highway 101 in Basking Ridge Park. The freeway is a barrier to elk migration to the Coast Range. Courtesy Craige Edgerton

In 1978, California Department of Fish and Game warden Henry Coletto urged the department to choose the Mount Hamilton area as one of California's relocation sites under a new statewide effort to restore tule elk (Cervus canadensis ssp. nannodes). While other ranchers refused, tech pioneers Bill Hewlett and David Packard allowed Coletto and state biologists to translocate 32 tule elk from the Owens Valley in the eastern Sierra onto the 28,000-acre (11,000 ha) San Felipe Ranch, which the families jointly own, in the hills east of Morgan Hill. From the three original 1978-1981 translocations to the Mount Hamilton region of the Diablo Range, there are multiple herds in different locations including the Isabel Valley, San Antonio Valley, Livermore area, San Felipe Ranch, Metcalf Canyon, Coyote Ridge, Anderson Lake, and surrounding areas. As of 2012, an estimated 400 tule elk roam 1,875 square kilometres (724 sq mi) in northeastern Santa Clara County and southeastern Alameda County.

The Nature Conservancy "Mount Hamilton Project" has acquired or put under conservation easement 100,000 acres (40,000 ha) of land towards its 500,000 acres (200,000 ha) goal for habitat conservation within a 1,200,000 acres (490,000 ha) area encompassing much of eastern Santa Clara County as well as portions of southern Alameda County, western Merced and Stanislaus Counties, and northern San Benito County. Acquisitions to date include the 1,756-acre (711 ha) Rancho Cañada de Pala, straddling the Alameda Creek and Coyote Creek watersheds for California tiger salamander habitat; a conservation easement on the 3,259-acre Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, which abuts the north side of Joseph D. Grant County Park; a conservation easement on the 28,359-acre San Felipe Ranch, connecting Joseph D. Grant County Park with Henry W. Coe State Park; the 2,899-acre South Valley Ranch which protects a tule elk herd in the San Antonio Valley, and other properties.

As of 1980, Santa Clara County has the highest number of Superfund Sites of any county in the United States, accounting for 25 polluted locations requiring a long-term response to clean up hazardous material contaminations. The vast majority of these Superfund sites were caused by firms associated with the high tech sector located in Silicon Valley.

Demographics

2011-2014

Silicon Valley Income Map 20160315
Thematic map showing median household income across central Santa Clara County

As of 2013, Santa Clara County has the highest median household income of any county in California at $84,741.

Places by population, race, and income

2010

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 11,912
1870 26,246 120.3%
1880 35,039 33.5%
1890 48,005 37.0%
1900 60,216 25.4%
1910 83,539 38.7%
1920 100,676 20.5%
1930 145,118 44.1%
1940 174,949 20.6%
1950 290,547 66.1%
1960 642,315 121.1%
1970 1,064,714 65.8%
1980 1,295,071 21.6%
1990 1,497,577 15.6%
2000 1,682,585 12.4%
2010 1,781,642 5.9%
Est. 2015 1,918,044 7.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015

The 2010 United States Census reported that Santa Clara County had a population of 1,781,642. The ethnic makeup of Santa Clara County was 836,616 (47.0%) White, 46,428 (2.6%) African American, 12,960 (0.7%) Native American, 570,524 (32.0%) Asian (8.6% Chinese, 7.1% Vietnamese, 6.6% Indian, 4.9% Filipino, 1.6% Korean, 1.4% Japanese, 0.3% Cambodian, 0.3% Pakistani, 0.1% Thai, 0.1% Laotian, 0.1% Burmese, 0.1% Indonesian, 0.1% Bangladeshi), 7,060 (0.4%) Pacific Islander (0.1% Samoan, 0.1% Guamanian, 0.1% Tongan, 0.1% Native Hawaiian), 220,806 (12.4%) from other races, and 87,248 (4.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 479,210 persons (26.9%): 22.5% Mexican, 0.4% Puerto Rican, 0.1% Cuban, 3.8% Other Hispanic.

2000

As of the census of 2000, there are 1,682,585 people, 565,863 households, and 395,538 families residing in the county. The population density is 503/km² (1,304/mi²). There are 579,329 housing units at an average density of 173/km² (449/mi²). The ethnic makeup of the county is 53.8% White, 2.8% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 25.6% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 12.1% from other races, and 4.7% from two or more races. 24.0% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 565,863 households out of which 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.9% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.1% were non-families. 21.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.41.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 35.4% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 102.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $74,335, and the median income for a family was $81,717. Males had a median income of $56,240 versus $40,574 for females. The per capita income for the county was $32,795. About 4.9% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.4% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.

Libraries

Santa Clara County Library, is a public library system serving the communities and cities of Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, and all unincorporated areas of the county. All other cities run their own library system.

Transportation

Air

Southwest Aircraft SJC
Southwest Airlines aircraft parked at Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport

The county's main airport is Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC). It is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry and as of 2016 has eight international routes (one to Canada, one to England, one to Germany, one to Japan, two to Mexico, and two to China) but the airport's busiest routes are all to cities in the western United States. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is also often used for commercial services by residents of Santa Clara County.

Moffett Federal Airfield (NUQ), a former U.S. Naval Air Station, is used by the Air National Guard, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Google, and by the San Jose Police and Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department as an air operations base. There are also smaller general aviation airports in Palo Alto (PAO), San Jose (Reid-Hillview) (RHV), and San Martin(E16)

Rail

CalTrain Station Santa Clara California
Santa Clara Station, 2012

Santa Clara Station is served by Caltrain which provides service to Gilroy, San Jose, Silicon Valley, San Francisco Airport and San Francisco, the ACE system which provides services to Stockton, and Amtrak which provides service to Sacramento and Oakland. In the Future, BART will provide service to San Jose and Santa Clara.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority operates the VTA light rail system.

Road

Santa Clara VTA bus
VTA bus arriving at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills

Buses

Santa Clara County has consolidated its transportation services into the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which operates a bus system.

Bicycle network

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is establishing a bicycle network throughout the county. Santa Clara County Bicycle network is part of the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Bikeway Network.

Freeways and expressways

The county has an extensive freeway system and a separate expressway system. Expressways in California are distinct from freeways; although access to adjoining properties is eliminated, at-grade intersections are allowed. However, unlike expressways virtually everywhere else in California, the Santa Clara County expressways were built, signed, and maintained as county roads; they are not maintained by Caltrans, although they are patrolled by the California Highway Patrol.

There is also a large street network dominated by four- and six-lane arterials. Some of the newer boulevards (primarily in the West Valley) are divided with landscaped medians.

Major highways
  • I-280 (CA).svg Interstate 280
  • I-680 (CA).svg Interstate 680
  • I-880 (CA).svg Interstate 880
  • US 101 (CA).svg U.S. Route 101
  • California 9.svg State Route 9
  • California 17.svg State Route 17
  • California 25.svg State Route 25
  • California 35.svg State Route 35
  • California 82.svg State Route 82
  • California 85.svg State Route 85
  • California 87.svg State Route 87
  • California 130.svg State Route 130
  • California 152.svg State Route 152
  • California 156.svg State Route 156
  • California 237.svg State Route 237
County routes
See also: List of county routes in California
  • Santa Clara County Expressway System
  • Santa Clara County Route G2 CA.svg Santa Clara County Route G2—Lawrence Expressway
  • Santa Clara County Route G3 CA.svg Santa Clara County Route G3—Page Mill Road/Oregon Expressway
  • Santa Clara County Route G4 CA.svg Santa Clara County Route G4—San Tomas Expressway/Montague Expressway
  • Santa Clara County Route G5 CA.svg Santa Clara County Route G5—Foothill Expressway
  • Santa Clara County Route G6 CA.svg Santa Clara County Route G6—Central Expressway
  • Santa Clara County Route G8 CA.svg Santa Clara County Route G8—Almaden Expressway
  • Santa Clara County Route G10 CA.svg Santa Clara County Route G10—Blossom Hill Road
  • Santa Clara County Route G21 CA.svg Santa Clara County Route G21—Capitol Expressway
Other roads
  • The Alameda

Sea

The county has no commercial seaports, although small boats can access San Francisco Bay from several points. Like many other Bay Area counties, it is dependent upon the Port of Oakland for transport of ocean cargo.

Parks

Santa Clara County has an extensive park system, much of it founded in the major park expansion of the late 1970s. Parks within the county include:

  • Almaden Quicksilver County Park
  • Grant Ranch Park
  • Henry W. Coe State Park
  • Sanborn Park
  • Vasona Park

Open space preserves include:

  • El Sereno Open Space Preserve

Santa Clara County also contains Ulistac Natural Area, a volunteer maintained natural open space. Foreign and invasive species are removed when possible as native plants are introduced. Migratory birds and butterflies often use this area.

Sister counties

To promote friendship and understanding and to build bridges with countries of origin for various ethnic populations in the county, the County of Santa Clara has created a Sister County Commission to coordinate the program. As of 2009, there are three sister counties:

Communities

Cities

Towns

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Former townships

Population ranking

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

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 San Jose City 945,942
2 Sunnyvale City 140,081
3 Santa Clara City 116,468
4 Mountain View City 74,066
5 Milpitas City 66,790
6 Palo Alto City 64,403
7 Cupertino City 58,302
8 Gilroy City 48,821
9 Campbell City 39,349
10 Morgan Hill City 37,882
11 Saratoga City 29,926
12 Los Gatos Town 29,413
13 Los Altos City 28,976
14 Alum Rock CDP 15,536
15 Stanford CDP 13,809
16 East Foothills CDP 8,269
17 Los Altos Hills Town 7,922
18 San Martin CDP 7,027
19 Burbank CDP 4,926
20 Monte Sereno City 3,341
21 Cambrian Park CDP 3,282
22 Loyola CDP 3,261
23 Lexington Hills CDP 2,421
24 Fruitdale CDP 935

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