kids encyclopedia robot

Tuolumne County, California facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Tuolumne County, California
County of Tuolumne
2009-0724-CA-TuolumneCtyCt.jpg Columbia California.jpg
Tuolumne Meadows Sunset.jpg
Images, from top down, left to right: The Tuolumne County Courthouse in Sonora, a shop in Columbia State Historic Park, Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park
Flag of Tuolumne County, California
Official seal of Tuolumne County, California
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
California's location in the United States
Country  United States
State  California
Regions Sierra Nevada, Gold Country
Incorporated February 18, 1850
County seat Sonora
 • Total 5,890 km2 (2,274 sq mi)
 • Land 5,750 km2 (2,221 sq mi)
 • Water 140 km2 (54 sq mi)
 • Total 55,365
 • Estimate 
 • Density 9.4004/km2 (24.347/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Very fine old crystalline-gold specimen, probably from Tuolumne County. Sold in the 1950s for $65; more recently for $12,500. Published twice.

Tuolumne County ( "To All o' Me", with a silent N), officially the County of Tuolumne, is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 55,365. The county seat and only incorporated city is Sonora.

Tuolumne County comprises the Sonora, CA Micropolitan Statistical Area. The county is in the Sierra Nevada region.

The northern half of Yosemite National Park is located in the eastern part of the county.


The name Tuolumne is of Native American origin and has been given different meanings, such as Many Stone Houses, The Land of Mountain Lions and, Straight Up Steep, the latter an interpretation of William Fuller, a native Chief. Mariano Vallejo, in his report to the first California State Legislature, said that the word is "a corruption of the Indian word talmalamne which signifies 'cluster of stone wigwams.'" The name may mean "people who dwell in stone houses," i.e., in caves.


Tuolumne County is one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood. Prior to statehood, it had been referred to as Oro County. Parts of the county were given to Stanislaus County in 1854 and to Alpine County in 1864.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,274 square miles (5,890 km2), of which 2,221 square miles (5,750 km2) is land and 54 square miles (140 km2) (2.4%) is water. A California Department of Forestry document reports Tuolumne County's 1,030,812 acres (4,171.55 km2) include federal lands such as Yosemite National Park, Stanislaus National Forest, Bureau of Land Management lands, and Indian reservations. Notable landforms in the county include Table Mountain.

Special Districts

Special districts in Tuolumne County include:

  • Belleview Elementary School District
  • Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District
  • Chinese Camp Elementary School District
  • Columbia Fire District
  • Columbia Union Elementary School District
  • Curtis Creek Elementary School District
  • Groveland Community Services District
  • Jamestown Elementary School District
  • Jamestown Fire District
  • Mi-Wuk Sugar Pine Fire Protection District
  • Sonora Elementary School District
  • Sonora Union High School District
  • Soulsbyville Elementary School District
  • Strawberry Fire District
  • Summerville Union High School District
  • Tuolumne County Air Pollution Control District
  • Tuolumne County Water District No. 1
  • Tuolumne Fire District
  • Tuolumne Regional Water District
  • Tuolumne Utilities District
  • Twain Harte Fire District
  • Twain Harte-Long Barn Union Elementary School District
  • Yosemite Community College District

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC)


Major highways

  • California 49.svg California State Route 49
  • California 108.svg California State Route 108
  • California 120.svg California State Route 120

Public transportation

Tuolumne County Transit bus routes radiate from Sonora to serve most of the county. In Columbia, a connection can be made to Calaveras County Transit. Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) makes a single daily round trip from Sonora into Yosemite Valley during summer months only. YARTS is set to begin a second daily round trip in June 2013. For details visit or


Columbia Airport and Pine Mountain Lake Airport are both general aviation airports located in the Southwest and Northeast corners of the county respectively.



Places by population, race, and income


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 8,351
1860 16,229 94.3%
1870 8,150 −49.8%
1880 7,848 −3.7%
1890 6,082 −22.5%
1900 11,166 83.6%
1910 9,979 −10.6%
1920 7,768 −22.2%
1930 9,271 19.3%
1940 10,887 17.4%
1950 12,584 15.6%
1960 14,404 14.5%
1970 22,169 53.9%
1980 33,928 53.0%
1990 48,456 42.8%
2000 54,501 12.5%
2010 55,365 1.6%
Est. 2015 53,709 −3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

The 2010 United States Census reported that Tuolumne County had a population of 55,365. The racial makeup of Tuolumne County was 48,274 (87.2%) White, 1,143 (2.1%) African American, 1,039 (1.9%) Native American, 572 (1.0%) Asian, 76 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 2,238 (4.0%) from other races, and 2,023 (3.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5,918 persons (10.7%).


As of the census of 2000, there were 54,501 people, 21,004 households, and 14,240 families residing in the county. The population density was 9/km² (24/mi²). There were 28,336 housing units at an average density of 5/km² (13/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 89.5% White, 2.1% Black or African American, 1.8% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.9% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. 8.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 94.7% spoke English and 3.5% Spanish as their first language.

There were 21,004 households out of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.4% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the county, the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 111.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,725, and the median income for a family was $44,327. Males had a median income of $35,373 versus $25,805 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,015. About 8.1% of families and 11.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.2% of those under age 18 and 4.0% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Population ranking

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

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Sonora City 4,903
2 Phoenix Lake CDP 4,269
3 Jamestown CDP 3,433
4 Mono Vista CDP 3,127
5 Pine Mountain Lake CDP 2,796
6 Columbia CDP 2,297
7 East Sonora CDP 2,266
8 Twain Harte CDP 2,226
9 Soulsbyville CDP 2,215
10 Tuolumne City CDP 1,779
11 Cedar Ridge CDP 1,132
12 Mi-Wuk Village CDP 941
13 Tuttletown CDP 668
14 Groveland CDP 601
15 Sierra Village CDP 456
16 Tuolumne Rancheria AIAN 185
17 Cold Springs CDP 181
18 Long Barn CDP 155
19 Chinese Camp CDP 126
20 Strawberry CDP 86
21 Chicken Ranch Rancheria AIAN 4
kids search engine
Tuolumne County, California Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.