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

3,771 sq mi (9,767 km²)
3,322 sq mi (8,604 km²)
449 sq mi (1,163 km²), 11.91%
 - (2000)
 - Density

122/sq mi (47/km²)

Salinas Valley


Downtown Monterey

Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey

Residential neighborhood, Harden Ranch, Salinas

Monterey County is a county located on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California, its northwestern section forming the southern half of Monterey Bay. The northern half of the bay is in Santa Cruz County. As of 2000, the population was 401,762. The county seat is Salinas. Monterey County is a member of the regional governmental agency, Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments.

The beautiful coastline, including Big Sur, California Highway 1, and the 17 Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula has made the county world famous. The city of Monterey was the capital of California under Spanish and Mexican rule. The economy is primarily based upon tourism in the coastal regions, and agriculture in the Salinas River valley. Most of the county's people live near the northern coast and Salinas valley, while the southern coast and inland mountain regions are almost devoid of human habitation.

History[edit | edit source]

Monterey County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood. Parts of the county were given to San Benito County in 1874.

The county derived its name from Monterey Bay. The word itself is composed of the Spanish words monte and rey, which literally means "Hill" and "King". The bay was named by Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602, in honor of Gaspar de Zuniga y Acevedo, Conde de Monterrey, the Viceroy of New Spain.

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 9,767 km² (3,771 sq mi). 8,604 km² (3,322 sq mi) of it is land and 1,163 km² (449 sq mi) of it (11.91%) is water. The county has roughly the same land area as the state of New Jersey.

Cities and towns[edit | edit source]

Census-designated places[edit | edit source]

Other unincorporated communities[edit | edit source]

Other locales[edit | edit source]

Adjacent counties[edit | edit source]

Transportation infrastructure[edit | edit source]

Major highways[edit | edit source]

Public transportation[edit | edit source]

Monterey County is served by Amtrak trains and Greyhound Lines buses. Monterey-Salinas Transit provides transit service throughout most of Monterey County, with buses to Big Sur and King City as well as in Monterey, Salinas and Carmel. MST also runs service to San Jose.

Airports[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

As of the census² of 2000, there were 401,762 people, 121,236 households, and 87,896 families residing in the county. The population density was 47/km² (121/sq mi). There were 131,708 housing units at an average density of 15/km² (40/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 55.92% White, 3.75% Black or African American, 1.05% Native American, 6.03% Asian, 0.45% Pacific Islander, 27.82% from other races, and 4.98% from two or more races. 46.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 52.9% spoke English, 39.6% Spanish and 1.6% Tagalog as their first language.

There were 121,236 households out of which 39.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.0% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were non-families. 21.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.14 and the average family size was 3.65.

In the county the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 female residents there were 107.3 male residents. For every 100 female residents age 18 and over, there were 107.7 male residents.

The median income for a household in the county was $48,305, and the median income for a family was $51,169. Men had a median income of $38,444 versus $30,036 for women. The per capita income for the county was $20,165. About 9.7% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.4% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.

Politics[edit | edit source]

Presidential election results
Year DEM GOP Others
2004 60.4% 75,241 38.4% 47,838 1.2% 1,574
2000 57.5% 67,618 37.2% 43,761 5.2% 6,155
1996 53.2% 57,700 36.7% 39,794 10.2% 11,064
1992 47.0% 54,861 31.3% 36,461 21.7% 25,367
1988 48.8% 48,998 49.8% 50,022 1.4% 1,361
1984 41.8% 40,733 57.2% 55,710 1.0% 1,027
1980 33.5% 29,086 54.7% 47,452 11.8% 10,256
1976 46.0% 36,849 51.0% 40,896 3.0% 2,408
1972 39.5% 32,545 57.0% 47,004 3.5% 2,859
1968 42.1% 28,261 50.2% 33,670 7.7% 5,193
1964 61.8% 40,093 37.9% 24,579 0.3% 172
1960 43.4% 25,805 56.3% 33,428 0.3% 130

Monterey County is considered to be a Democratic-leaning county in Presidential and congressional elections. The county voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. The last Republican to win a majority in the county was Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Monterey is part of California's 17th congressional district, which is represented by Democrat Sam Farr. In the State Assembly, Monterey is part of the 27th and 28th districts, which are held by Democrats John Laird and Anna Caballero, respectively. Laird was first elected to the Assembly in November 2002; Caballero in November 2006. In the State Senate, a small part of Monterey is in the 12th district; most of the county is in the 15th. The 12th district is held by Republican Jeff Denham and the 15th by Republican Abel Maldonado, who is considered to be moderate. Denham was first elected to the Senate in November 2002; Maldonado in November 2004.

Environmental features[edit | edit source]

Midcounty coastline with the McWay Rocks in foreground.

Monterey County has habitat to support the following endangered species:

Home prices[edit | edit source]

An average 1,800 sq ft (170 m2) home in Salinas' desirable north-western district valued at roughly $700k

As of December 2005, Monterey County ranked among America's ten most expensive counties with Santa Barbara County topping the list with a median home price of $753,790. In Monterey County, the median home price was $699,900. In the northern, more densely populated part in the county, the median home price was even higher, at $712,500, making it the fourth most expensive housing market in California. The disparity between the median household income of roughly $48,305 and the median home price of $700k has been cause for recent concern over excluding potential home buyers from the market.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 36°14′N 121°19′W / 36.24, -121.31

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