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County of Santa Cruz
—  County  —
Official seal of County of Santa Cruz
Seal
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
Country United States
State California
Region Central California, San Francisco Bay Area Combined Statistical Area
Incorporated February 18, 1850[1]
County seat Santa Cruz
Area
 • Total 607.16 sq mi (1,572.5 km2)
 • Land 445.24 sq mi (1,153.2 km2)
 • Water 161.92 sq mi (419.4 km2)
Population (2010) 262,382
 • Density 589.3/sq mi (227.5/km2)
Time zone Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)
Website www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us

Santa Cruz County is a county located on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California, on the California Central Coast. The county forms the northern coast of the Monterey Bay. (Monterey County forms the southern coast). As of the 2010 U.S. Census, its population was 262,382. The county seat is Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz County is a member of the regional governmental agency Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments and is one of 11 counties in the U.S. Census Bureau's definition of the San Francisco Bay Area Combined Statistical Area.

History[edit | edit source]

Santa Cruz County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood. In the original act, the county was given the name of "Branciforte" after the Spanish pueblo founded there in 1797; a major watercourse in the county, Branciforte Creek, bears this name. Less than two months later on April 5, 1850,[2] the name was changed to "Santa Cruz" ("Holy Cross").

Mission Santa Cruz, established in 1791 and completed in 1794, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1857, but a smaller-scale replica was erected in 1931.

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the 2011 census, the county has a total area of 445.17 miles.[3] Of California's counties, only San Francisco is physically smaller.

The county is a strip about ten miles (16 km) wide between the coast and the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains at the northern end of the Monterey Bay. It can be divided roughly into four regions: the rugged "north coast"; the urban City of Santa Cruz, Soquel, Capitola, and Aptos; mountainous Bonny Doon, San Lorenzo River Valley; and fertile "south county", including Watsonville and Corralitos. Agriculture is concentrated in the coastal lowlands of the county's northern and southern ends. Most of the coastline is flanked by cliffs.

Cities and towns[edit | edit source]

Incorporated Cities:

Non-incorporated Towns and Communities:

Adjacent counties[edit | edit source]

Transportation infrastructure[edit | edit source]

Major highways[edit | edit source]

County routes[edit | edit source]

Public transportation[edit | edit source]

Santa Cruz County is served by the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District bus system. A "Highway 17 Express" bus between Santa Cruz and San Jose is jointly operated by the SCMTD and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Greyhound Lines bus service also serves Santa Cruz County.

Airports[edit | edit source]

Watsonville Municipal Airport is a public general aviation airport. There are two air carriers based at the airport offering on-demand air charter:

  • AirMonterey, LLC[4] (Corporate Aircraft)
  • Specialized Helicopters, LLC[5] (Helicopters)

There is a notable private airport, Monterey Bay Academy Airport, which is a former military base.

The nearest airports for scheduled commercial travel include San Jose International Airport, Monterey Regional Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and Oakland International Airport.

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 643
1860 4,944 668.9%
1870 8,743 76.8%
1880 12,802 46.4%
1890 19,270 50.5%
1900 21,512 11.6%
1910 26,140 21.5%
1920 26,269 0.5%
1930 37,433 42.5%
1940 45,057 20.4%
1950 66,534 47.7%
1960 84,219 26.6%
1970 123,790 47.0%
1980 188,141 52.0%
1990 229,734 22.1%
2000 255,602 11.3%
2010 262,382 2.7%

2010[edit | edit source]

The 2010 United States Census reported that Santa Cruz County had a population of 262,382. The racial makeup of Santa Cruz County was 190,208 (72.5%) White, 2,766 (1.1%) African American, 2,253 (0.9%) Native American, 11,112 (4.2%) Asian, 349 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 43,376 (16.5%) from other races, and 12,318 (4.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 84,092 persons (32.0%).[6]

Population reported at 2010 United States Census
The County
Total
Population
White
African
American
Native
American
Asian
Pacific
Islander
other
races
two or
more races
Hispanic
or Latino
(of any race)
Santa Cruz County 262,382 190,208 2,766 2,253 11,112 349 43,376 12,318 84,092
Incorporated
cities and towns
Total
Population
White
African
American
Native
American
Asian
Pacific
Islander
other
races
two or
more races
Hispanic
or Latino
(of any race)
Capitola 9,918 7,963 123 59 424 10 869 470 1,957
Santa Cruz 59,946 44,661 1,071 440 4,591 108 5,673 3,402 11,624
Scotts Valley 11,580 9,958 101 57 590 18 292 564 1,158
Watsonville 51,199 22,399 358 629 1,664 40 23,844 2,265 41,656
Census-designated
places
Total
Population
White
African
American
Native
American
Asian
Pacific
Islander
other
races
two or
more races
Hispanic
or Latino
(of any race)
Amesti 3,478 1,889 12 41 89 1 1,309 137 2,273
Aptos 6,220 5,420 58 43 247 8 175 269 611
Aptos Hills-Larkin Valley 2,381 1,936 12 5 55 1 295 77 541
Ben Lomond 6,234 5,692 32 51 70 11 98 280 515
Bonny Doon 2,678 2,474 9 15 51 5 48 76 168
Boulder Creek 4,923 4,429 54 31 81 5 119 204 366
Brookdale 1,991 1,790 9 12 19 8 66 87 202
Corralitos 2,326 1,980 16 12 48 1 190 79 532
Davenport 408 272 6 5 12 0 82 31 172
Day Valley 3,409 2,898 20 23 85 4 208 171 470
Felton 4,057 3,691 25 29 69 11 60 172 283
Freedom 3,070 1,452 44 31 100 0 1,285 158 2,170
Interlaken 7,321 3,856 58 128 302 2 2,573 402 5,261
La Selva Beach 2,843 2,399 27 23 116 3 146 129 372
Live Oak 17,158 12,636 240 171 773 41 2,444 853 4,796
Lompico 1,137 1,005 6 12 21 4 25 64 115
Mount Hermon 1,037 964 6 3 14 1 18 31 83
Pajaro Dunes 144 92 0 0 6 0 45 1 54
Paradise Park 389 371 2 3 3 0 4 6 15
Pasatiempo 1,041 925 5 6 34 1 22 48 85
Pleasure Point 5,846 4,847 63 45 144 5 506 236 1,140
Rio del Mar 9,216 8,310 61 50 313 7 188 287 899
Seacliff 3,267 2,758 28 40 100 4 189 148 482
Soquel 9,644 7,898 85 71 356 21 693 520 1,606
Twin Lakes 4,917 3,900 70 61 126 8 534 218 1,109
Zayante 705 647 10 6 4 0 18 20 57
Unincorporated
communities
Total
Population
White
African
American
Native
American
Asian
Pacific
Islander
other
races
two or
more races
Hispanic
or Latino
(of any race)
All others not CDPs (combined) 23,899 20,696 155 151 605 21 1,358 913 3,320

2000[edit | edit source]

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 255,602 people, 91,139 households, and 57,144 families residing in the county. The population density was 574 people per square mile (222/km²). There were 98,873 housing units at an average density of 222 per square mile (86/km²).

There were 91,139 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.0% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% were non-families. 25.1% 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 2.71 and the average family size was 3.25.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.8% under the age of 18, 11.9% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 99.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.8 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $53,998, and the median income for a family was $61,941. Males had a median income of $46,291 versus $33,514 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,396. About 6.7% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.50% of those under age 18 and 6.30% of those age 65 or over.

Santa Cruz county residents tend to be well-educated. 38.3% of residents age 25 and older hold a bachelor's degree at least, significantly higher than the national average of 27.2% and the state average of 29.5%.[8][9]

Environmental features[edit | edit source]

Santa Cruz County is home to the following endangered species:[10]

Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area, Greyhound Rock State Marine Conservation Area and Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve are marine protected areas off the coast of Santa Cruz County. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.

Colleges and universities[edit | edit source]

Four-year universities:

Two-year colleges:

Politics[edit | edit source]

Santa Cruz County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2012 20.0% 24,047 75.6% 90,805 4.4% 5,243
2008 19.9% 25,244 77.5% 98,745 2.9% 3,747
2004 24.9% 30,354 73.0% 89,102 2.2% 2,628
2000 27.3% 29,627 61.5% 66,618 11.2% 12,105
1996 26.9% 27,766 56.5% 58,250 16.5% 17,046
1992 21.9% 24,916 58.1% 66,183 20.1% 22,893
1988 36.8% 37,728 61.5% 63,133 1.7% 1,750
1984 45.2% 41,652 53.3% 49,091 1.5% 1,404
1980 43.5% 37,347 37.7% 32,346 18.8% 16,111
1976 43.1% 31,872 51.1% 37,772 5.9% 4,325
1972 49.9% 34,799 46.4% 32,336 3.8% 2,624
1968 50.8% 25,365 41.0% 20,492 8.2% 4,087
1964 41.3% 18,836 58.5% 26,714 0.2% 94
1960 59.6% 24,858 40.0% 16,659 0.5% 187
1956 63.6% 22,109 36.2% 12,574 0.3% 93
1952 67.1% 24,353 31.8% 11,536 1.1% 391
1948 57.7% 15,395 37.0% 9,862 5.4% 1,433
1944 53.8% 11,102 45.3% 9,357 0.9% 178
1940 50.9% 11,453 47.5% 10,683 1.6% 350
1936 46.1% 8,260 52.1% 9,326 1.8% 322
1932 40.1% 6,005 55.0% 8,246 4.9% 739
1928 68.5% 8,275 30.5% 3,688 0.9% 112
1924 60.8% 5,402 9.0% 801 30.1% 2,676
1920 66.3% 5,285 24.5% 1,957 9.2% 732

Santa Cruz County was a Republican stronghold for most of the 20th century; from 1920 to 1972 the only Democrats to carry Santa Cruz were Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 and 1936 and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. But the opening of UCSC in 1965 caused the county's political landscape to dramatically change. Today, it is a strongly Democratic county in presidential and congressional elections. The last Republican to carry the county was Ronald Reagan in 1980, and the last Republican to win a majority in the county was Richard Nixon in 1968. The last Republican to represent a significant portion of Santa Cruz in Congress was Burt L. Talcott, who was defeated in 1976 by Leon Panetta.[12]

Santa Cruz is part of California's 14th and 17th congressional districts, which are held by Democrats Anna Eshoo and Sam Farr, respectively. In the State Assembly Santa Cruz is in the 27th and 28th Assembly districts, which are held by Democrats Bill Monning and Anna Caballero, respectively. In the State Senate, Santa Cruz is part of the 11th and 15th districts, which are held by Democrat Joe Simitian and Republican Sam Blakeslee as of the 17 August 2010 special runoff election, respectively.

In 2008, 71.4% of voters in Santa Cruz County voted against Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

Economy[edit | edit source]

Top employers[edit | edit source]

According to the County's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[13] the top employers in the county are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 University of California, Santa Cruz 1,000-4,999
2 Pajaro Valley Unified School District 1,000-4,999
3 County of Santa Cruz 1,000-4,999
4 Dominican Hospital 1,000-4,999
5 Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk 1,000-4,999
6 Cabrillo College 500-999
7 Santa Cruz City School District 500-999
8 City of Santa Cruz 500-999
9 Seagate Technology 500-999
10 Watsonville Community Hospital 500-999
11 West Marine 500-999
12 Plantronics 500-999

Winemaking and wineries[edit | edit source]

Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Winemaking—both the growing of the grapes and their vinting—is an important part of the economic and cultural life of Santa Cruz County. The wines of the David Bruce Winery and Ridge Vineyards were selected for tasting in the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 (Tabor, p.167-169).

See also[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

  • Taber, George M. Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the historic 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine. NY: Scribner, 2005.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ "Chronology". California Counties. California State Association of Counties. http://www.counties.org/default.asp?id=54. Retrieved 2012-05-14. 
  2. ^ "California: Consolidated Chronology of State and County Boundaries". The Newberry Library. 2003. http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/documents/CA_Consolidated_Chronology.htm. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  3. ^ "Santa Cruz County QuickFacts". United States Census. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06087.html. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  4. ^ flyairmonterey.com
  5. ^ specializedheli.com
  6. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau. http://www2.census.gov/census_2010/01-Redistricting_File--PL_94-171/California/. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ Bookwalter, Genevieve (August 15, 2006). "Santa Cruz residents more educated than most". Santa Cruz Sentinel. http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/story.php?sid=40953. Retrieved 2008-02-06 
  9. ^ "Santa Cruz County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". January 2, 2008. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06087.html. Retrieved 2008-04-22 
  10. ^ santacruzpl.org
  11. ^ McCord, Shanna (June 14, 2011). "Bethany University will close: Private funding didn't materialize". Santa Cruz Sentinel. http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_18268515. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Santa Cruz County Election Results, November 2004 (pdf)" (PDF). http://www.ss.ca.gov/elections/sov/2004_general/sov_2004_entire.pdf. Retrieved 2006-05-04. 
  13. ^ County of Santa Cruz CAFR

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 37°02′N 122°01′W / 37.03, -122.01


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