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

3,616 sq mi (9,365 km²)
3,304 sq mi (8,557 km²)
311 sq mi (805 km²), 8.61%
 - (2000)
 - Density

75/sq mi (29/km²)

San Luis Obispo County is a county located along the Pacific Ocean in the Central Coast of the U.S. state of California, between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. As of 2000 its population was 246,681. The county seat is San Luis Obispo, with about 46,000 residents.

The county's distance from the large metro areas of San Francisco and Los Angeles has helped it to retain its rural character and reminders of old California abound. Father Junipero Serra founded the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in 1772 and the Mission is today an active part of downtown San Luis Obispo. The small size of the county's communities, scattered along the beaches, coastal hills, and mountains of the Santa Lucia range, provides a wide variety of coastal and inland hill ecologies to support many kinds of fishing, agriculture and tourist activities.

The mainstays of the economy are California Polytechnic State University with its 18,000 students, tourism, agriculture, and other government services, including the California Men's Colony, a penal institution. San Luis Obispo County is the third largest producer of wine in California, surpassed only by Sonoma and Napa Counties. Wine grapes are by far the largest agricultural crop in the county, and the wine production they support creates a direct economic impact and a growing wine country vacation industry.

Other towns include Cambria. Just north of Cambria is San Simeon, at the foot of the Enchanted Hill where newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst built Hearst Castle. Just south of Cambria lies Harmony, the smallest town in California with a population of 18. Other coastal towns include Morro Bay and Cayucos to the north of San Luis Obispo city, and Avila Beach and the Five Cities to the south: Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Oceano, Pismo Beach and Shell Beach. Nipomo, just south of the Five Cities, borders northern Santa Barbara County. Inland, the cities of Paso Robles, Templeton, and Atascadero lie along the Salinas River, near the Paso Robles wine region.

History[edit | edit source]

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was founded on September 1, 1772 in the area that is now the city of San Luis Obispo.

San Luis Obispo County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood.

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 9,364 km² (3,616 sq mi). 8,558 km² (3,304 sq mi) of it is land and 806 km² (311 sq mi) of it (8.61%) is water.

Cities and towns[edit | edit source]

Adjacent Counties[edit | edit source]

Transportation Infrastructure[edit | edit source]

Major Highways[edit | edit source]

Public Transportation[edit | edit source]

San Luis Obispo County is served by Amtrak trains and Greyhound Lines buses. The San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority provides countywide service along US 101 as well as service to Morro Bay, Los Osos, Cambria and San Simeon.

The cities of San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Paso Robles operate their own local bus services; all of these connect with SLORTA routes.

Intercity service is provided by Amtrak trains, Greyhound and Orange Belt Stages buses.

Airports[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

As of the census² of 2000, there were 246,681 residents, 92,739 households, and 58,611 families in the county. The population density was 29/km² (75/sq mi). There were 102,275 housing units at an average density of 12/km² (31/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 84.60% White, 2.03% Black or African American, 0.95% Native American, 2.66% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 6.21% from other races, and 3.44% from two or more races. 16.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 85.7% spoke English and 10.7% Spanish as their first language.

There were 92,739 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.40% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the county the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 13.60% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 105.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.2 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,428, and the median income for a family was $52,447. Males had a median income of $40,726 versus $27,450 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,864. About 6.8% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.

Politics[edit | edit source]

Presidential election results
Year GOP DEM Others
2004 52.7% 67,995 45.5% 58,742 1.8% 2,313
2000 52.2% 56,859 40.9% 44,526 6.9% 7,501
1996 46.5% 46,733 40.2% 40,395 13.3% 13,372
1992 34.8% 36,384 38.4% 40,136 26.9% 28,099
1988 55.9% 46,613 42.7% 35,667 1.4% 1,187
1984 63.7% 49,035 35.0% 26,946 1.3% 969
1980 55.6% 38,631 29.5% 20,508 14.9% 10,388
1976 51.2% 27,785 45.9% 24,296 2.9% 1,587'
1972 56.0% 28,566 40.7% 20,779 3.3% 1,688
1968 51.3% 19,420 41.8% 15,828 7.0% 2,633
1964 40.1% 14,906 59.8% 22,252 0.1% 28
1960 54.0% 17,862 45.3% 14,975 0.7% 218

San Luis Obispo 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.

Coastal San Luis Obispo is part of California's 23rd congressional district, which is held by Democrat Lois Capps, while the inland is part of the 22nd district, which is held by Republican Kevin McCarthy. In the state legislature, San Luis Obispo is part of the 33rd Assembly district, which is held by Republican Sam Blakeslee, and the 15th Senate district, which is held by Republican Abel Maldonado.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 35°23′N 120°27′W / 35.38, -120.45

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at San Luis Obispo County, California. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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