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Butte County, California
Seal of Butte County, California
Map of California highlighting Butte County
Location in the state of California
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
California's location in the U.S.
Founded 1850
Seat Oroville
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,677 sq mi (4,343 km²)
1,639 sq mi (4,245 km²)
38 sq mi (98 km²), 2.24%
 - (2000)
 - Density

124/sq mi (48/km²)

Butte County is a county located in the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California, north of state capital Sacramento. As of the 2000 census, it had a population of 203,171. 2005 estimates place this at 214,185. The county seat is Oroville. Butte County is the "Land of Natural Wealth and Beauty."

Butte County is watered by the Feather River and the Sacramento River. Butte Creek and Big Chico Creek are additional perennial streams, both tributary to the Sacramento. It is the site of Feather Falls, the sixth largest waterfall in the United States. The county is the home of California State University and of Butte Community College.

There are four major hospitals and the State of California defines Butte County as being inside Health Service Area 1. A special district, the Butte County Air Quality Management District, regulates airborne pollutant emissions in the county. It does this following regional regulations, state, and federal laws. For example, in recent years, the agency changed rules that used to allow residents to burn household trash outdoors.

Several movies have been filmed in Butte County, including Gone with the Wind, The Outlaw Josie Wales, Friendly Persuasion, Magic Town, The Klansman, Ruby Ridge: An American Tragedy ,The Adventures of Robin Hood",and Under Wraps.

History[edit | edit source]

Butte County was one of California's first counties, created in 1850 at time of statehood. Part of the county's territory was given to Plumas County in 1854 and to Tehama County in 1856.

Its name is derived from the Marysville or Sutter Buttes, which lay within the boundaries when it was created. The word butte is derived from the Teutonic word meaning "a blunt extension or elevation." In the French language, it signifies "a small hill or mound of earth detached from any mountain range." Butte is the only California County whose name is a French word. There is also Butte Creek (California) which flows through Butte County, and has buttes.

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,344 km² (1,677 sq mi). 4,246 km² (1,639 sq mi) of it is land and 97 km² (38 sq mi) of it (2.24%) is water.

The county is drained by the Feather River and Butte Creek. Part of the county's western border is formed by the Sacramento River. The county lies along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, the steep slopes making it prime territory for the sighting of hydroelectric power plants. About a half dozen of these plants are located in the county.

Cities and towns[edit | edit source]

File:100 0395.JPG

Butte County is home to Bidwell park in Chico, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.

Unincorporated communities[edit | edit source]

Ghost Towns[edit | edit source]

Adjacent Counties[edit | edit source]

Transportation Infrastructure[edit | edit source]

Major Highways[edit | edit source]

Public Transportation[edit | edit source]

Butte Regional Transit or the B-Line, provides service in and between Chico, Oroville, Paradise, Gridley and Biggs. Chico is also a connection point for Glenn Ride buses to Glenn County and Plumas Transit Systems buses to Plumas County.

Greyhound buses stop in Chico.

Airports[edit | edit source]

General Aviation airports in Butte County include:

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Butte County, CA with a view of the Sutter Buttes in the background

As of the census² of 2000, there were 203,171 people, 79,566 households, and 49,410 families residing in the county. The population density was 48/km² (124/sq mi). There were 85,523 housing units at an average density of 20/km² (52/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 84.52% White, 1.39% Black or African American, 1.90% Native American, 3.32% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 4.82% from other races, and 3.90% from two or more races. 10.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 14.2% were of German, 11.1% English, 10.2% Irish, 7.8% American and 5.6% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 87.9% spoke English, 7.8% Spanish and 1.4% Hmong as their first language.

There were 79,566 households out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.70% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.90% were non-families. 27.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 13.60% from 18 to 24, 24.80% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 15.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,924, and the median income for a family was $41,010. Males had a median income of $34,137 versus $25,393 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,517. About 12.20% of families and 19.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.80% of those under age 18 and 7.30% of those age 65 or over.

Government[edit | edit source]

Local[edit | edit source]

The citizens of the county of Butte are represented by the five member Butte County Board of Supervisors. Current Supervisors are:

State[edit | edit source]

Most citizens of Butte County, are members of California's 3rd Assembly District with a few in the southwest corner of the county being in the 2nd Assembly District. The citizens in the 3rd are represented by Rick Keene (R-Chico) , and those int the 2nd are represented by Doug La Malfa (R-Richvale) in the California State Assembly. All Butte County citizens are members of California's 4th Senate District, represented by Sam Aanestad (R, Grass Valley) in the California State Senate.

Federal[edit | edit source]

Most citizens of Butte County are represented in California's 2nd congressional district by Republican Wally Herger, while the rest of the county is represented in California's 4th congressional district by Republican John Doolittle.

Presidential election results
Year GOP DEM Others
2004 53.7% 51,662 44.1% 42,448 2.1% 2,047
2000 54.5% 45,584 37.4% 31,338 8.1% 6,799
1996 49.0% 38,961 38.5% 30,651 12.5% 9,938
1992 37.2% 31,608 38.2% 32,489 24.6% 20,917
1988 56.0% 40,143 42.5% 30,406 1.5% 1,082
1984 63.1% 45,381 35.3% 25,421 1.6% 1,162
1980 57.9% 38,188 29.6% 19,520 12.6% 8,304
1976 51.8% 28,400 44.1% 24,203 4.1% 2,251
1972 57.6% 28,819 36.8% 18,401 5.6% 2,808
1968 56.7% 22,225 32.9% 12,887 10.5% 4,099
1964 48.4% 19,574 51.5% 20,831 0.0% 14
1960 57.6% 20,838 41.9% 15,163 0.5% 174

Butte is a Republican-leaning county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Educational institutions[edit | edit source]

There are roughly 90 public schools in the county according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. The schools are operated by 15 school districts and the County Office of Education.

Sources[edit | edit source]

  • US Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics.
  • State of California, Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 39°40′N 121°36′W / 39.66, -121.60

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