California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.
California's $2.9 trillion economy is larger than that of any other state, larger than those of Texas and Florida combined, and the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world (larger than the United Kingdom, France, or India), and the 36th most populous as of 2017. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies ($1.253 trillion and $907 billion respectively as of 2017), after the New York metropolitan area. The San Francisco Bay Area PSA had the nation's highest GDP per capita in 2017 (~$94,000) among large PSAs, and is home to three of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization and four of the world's ten richest people.
California is considered a global trendsetter in popular culture, innovation, environmentalism and politics. It is considered the origin of the American film industry, the hippie counterculture, fast food, the Internet, and the personal computer, among others. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are widely seen as global centers of the technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California has a very diverse economy: 58% of the state's economy is centered on finance, government, real estate services, technology, and professional, scientific and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. state.
California is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south (with the coast being on the west). The state's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east, and from the redwood–Douglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Although California is well-known for its warm Mediterranean climate, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains. Over time, drought and wildfires have become more pervasive features.
What is now California was first settled by various Native Californian tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish Empire then claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. The western portion of Alta California then was organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom.
|State of California|
The Golden State
|State song(s): "I Love You, California"|
|Spoken languages||Language spoken at home|
|Largest city||Los Angeles|
|Largest metro||Greater Los Angeles|
|• Total||163,696 sq mi |
|• Width||250 miles (400 km)|
|• Length||770 miles (1,240 km)|
|• % water||4.7|
|• Latitude||32°32′ N to 42° N|
|• Longitude||114°8′ W to 124°26′ W|
|• Total||39,557,045 (2018 est.)|
|• Density||240/sq mi (92.6/km2)|
|• Median household income||$66,636 (2016) (13th)|
|• Highest point||Mount Whitney|
14,505 ft (4,421.0 m)
|• Mean||2,900 ft (880 m)|
|• Lowest point||Badwater Basin|
−279 ft (−85.0 m)
|Before statehood||Mexican Cession (part)|
|Admission to Union||September 9, 1850 (31st)|
|Governor||Gavin Newsom (D)|
|Lieutenant Governor||Eleni Kounalakis (D)|
|• Upper house||State Senate|
|• Lower house||State Assembly|
|U.S. Senators||Dianne Feinstein (D)|
Kamala Harris (D)
|U.S. House delegation||46 Democrats|
7 Republicans (list)
|Time zones||Pacific Time Zone|
|• Standard time||PST (UTC−8)|
|• Summer time (DST)||PDT (UTC−7)|
|Abbreviations||CA, Calif., Cal.|
The word California originally referred to the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico; it was later extended to the entire region composed of the current United States states of California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming. Spanish explorer Francisco de Ulloa's when exploring the western coast of North America, when initially surveying the Baja California Peninsula, thought that it was an island rather than a peninsula. The conventional wisdom that California was an island, with maps drawn to reflect this belief, lasted as late as the 18th century.
The name likely derived from the mythical island California in the fictional story of Queen Calafia, as recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. This work was the fifth in a popular Spanish chivalric romance series that began with Amadis de Gaula. Queen Calafia's kingdom was said to be a remote land rich in gold and pearls, inhabited by beautiful black women who wore gold armor and lived like Amazons, as well as griffins and other strange beasts. In the fictional paradise, the ruler Queen Calafia fought alongside Muslims and her name may have been chosen to echo the title of a Muslim leader, the Caliph. It's possible the name California was meant to imply the island was a Caliphate.
Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, very close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women without a single man among them, and they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with strong passionate hearts and great virtue. The island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the bold and craggy rocks.
Settled by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America. Various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000. The Indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups also were diverse in their political organization with bands, tribes, villages, and on the resource-rich coasts, large chiefdoms, such as the Chumash, Pomo and Salinan. Trade, intermarriage and military alliances fostered many social and economic relationships among the diverse groups.
The first European to explore the coast as far north as the Russian River was a Spanish sailing expedition, led by Spanish captain Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, in 1542. Some 37 years later English explorer Francis Drake also explored and claimed an undefined portion of the California coast in 1579. Spanish traders made unintended visits with the Manila galleons on their return trips from the Philippines beginning in 1565. The first Asians to set foot on what would be the United States occurred in 1587, when Filipino sailors arrived in Spanish ships at Morro Bay. Sebastián Vizcaíno explored and mapped the coast of California in 1602 for New Spain.
Despite the on-the-ground explorations of California in the 16th century, Rodríguez's idea of California as an island persisted. That depiction appeared on many European maps well into the 18th century.
After the Portolà expedition of 1769–70, Spanish missionaries began setting up 21 California Missions on or near the coast of Alta (Upper) California, beginning in San Diego. During the same period, Spanish military forces built several forts (presidios) and three small towns (pueblos). The San Francisco Mission grew into the city of San Francisco, and two of the pueblos grew into the cities of Los Angeles and San Jose. Several other smaller cities and towns also sprang up surrounding the various Spanish missions and pueblos, which remain to this day.
The Spanish colonization began decimating the natives through epidemics of various diseases for which the indigenous peoples had no natural immunity, such as measles and diphtheria. The establishment of the Spanish systems of government and social structure, which the Spanish settlers had brought with them, also technologically and culturally overwhelmed the societies of the earlier indigenous peoples.
During this same period, Russian ships also explored along the California coast and in 1812 established a trading post at Fort Ross. Russia's early 19th-century coastal settlements in California were positioned just north of the northernmost edge of the area of Spanish settlement in San Francisco Bay, and were the southernmost Russian settlements in North America. The Russian settlements associated with Fort Ross were spread over an area stretching from Point Arena to Tomales Bay.
In 1821, the Mexican War of Independence gave Mexico (including California) independence from Spain. For the next 25 years, Alta California remained as a remote, sparsely populated, northwestern administrative district of the newly independent country of Mexico.
After Mexican independence from Spain, the missions, which controlled most of the best land in the state, were secularized by 1834 and became the property of the Mexican government. The governor granted many square leagues of land to others with political influence. These huge ranchos or cattle ranches emerged as the dominant institutions of Mexican California. The ranchos developed under ownership by Californios (Hispanic residents native born in California) who traded cowhides and tallow with Boston merchants. Beef didn't become a commodity until the 1849 gold Rush.
From the 1820s, trappers and settlers from the United States and the future Canada arrived in Northern California. These new arrivals used the Siskiyou Trail, California Trail, Oregon Trail and Old Spanish Trail to cross the rugged mountains and harsh deserts in and surrounding California.
The early government of the newly independent Mexico was highly unstable, and in a reflection of this, from 1831 onwards, California also experienced a series of armed disputes, both between regional areas, and also revolts against the central Mexican government. During this tumultuous political period Juan Bautista Alvarado was able to secure the governorship from 1836 - 1842. The military action which first brought Alvarado to power had momentarily declared California to be an independent state, and had been aided by American and British residents of California, including Isaac Graham. In 1840, one hundred of those residents who did not have passports were arrested, leading to the Graham affair.
One of the largest ranchers in California was John Marsh. After failing to obtain justice against squatters on his land from the Mexican courts, he determined that California should become part of the United States. Marsh conducted a letter-writing campaign espousing the California climate, soil and other reasons to settle there, as well as the best route to follow, which became known as "Marsh's route." His letters were read, reread, passed around, and printed in newspapers throughout the country, and started the first wagon trains rolling to California. He invited immigrants to stay on his ranch until they could get settled, and assisted in their obtaining passports.
After ushering in the period of organized emigration to California, Marsh helped end the rule of the last Mexican governor of California, thereby paving the way to California's ultimate acquisition by the United States.
In 1846, a group of American settlers in and around Sonoma rebelled against Mexican rule during the Bear Flag Revolt. Afterwards, rebels raised the Bear Flag (featuring a bear, a star, a red stripe and the words "California Republic") at Sonoma. The Republic's only president was William B. Ide, who played a pivotal role during the Bear Flag Revolt. This revolt by American settlers served as a prelude to the later American military invasion of California, and was closely coordinated with nearby American military commanders.
The California Republic was short lived; the same year marked the outbreak of the Mexican–American War (1846–48). When Commodore John D. Sloat of the United States Navy sailed into Monterey Bay and began the military occupation of California by the United States, Northern California capitulated in less than a month to the United States forces. After a series of defensive battles in Southern California, the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed by the Californios on January 13, 1847, securing American control in California.
Following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (February 2, 1848) that ended the war, the westernmost portion of the annexed Mexican territory of Alta California soon became the American state of California, and the remainder of the old territory was then subdivided into the new American Territories of Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Utah. The lightly populated and arid lower region of old Baja California remained as a part of Mexico. In 1846, the total settler population of the western part of the old Alta California had been estimated to be no more than 8,000, plus about 100,000 Native Americans, down from about 300,000 before Hispanic settlement in 1769.
In 1848, only one week before the official American annexation of the area, gold was discovered in California, this being an event which was to forever alter both the state's demographics and its finances. Soon afterward, a massive influx of immigration into the area resulted, as prospectors and miners arrived by the thousands. The population burgeoned with United States citizens, Europeans, Chinese and other immigrants during the great California Gold Rush. By the time of California's application to the US Congress for statehood in 1850, the settler population of California had multiplied to 100,000. By 1854, over 300,000 settlers had come. Between 1847 and 1870, the population of San Francisco increased from 500 to 150,000. California was suddenly no longer a sparsely populated backwater, but seemingly overnight it had grown into a major US population center.
The seat of government for California under Spanish and later Mexican rule had been located in Monterey from 1777 until 1845. Pio Pico, last Mexican governor of Alta California, had briefly moved the capital to Los Angeles in 1845. The United States consulate had also been located in Monterey, under consul Thomas O. Larkin.
In 1849, a state Constitutional Convention was first held in Monterey. Among the first tasks of the Convention was a decision on a location for the new state capital. The first full legislative sessions were held in San Jose (1850–1851). Subsequent locations included Vallejo (1852–1853), and nearby Benicia (1853–1854); these locations eventually proved to be inadequate as well. The capital has been located in Sacramento since 1854 with only a short break in 1862 when legislative sessions were held in San Francisco due to flooding in Sacramento.
Once the state's Constitutional Convention had finalized its state constitution, it applied to the US Congress for admission to statehood. On September 9, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850, California was officially admitted into the United States as an undivided free state. Its status as a 'free state' prevented the expansion of slavery to the Pacific Coast, which was a foremost concern for the pre-Civil War US Congress. Within the state of California, Sep 9 remains as an annually celebrated legal holiday known as California Admission Day.
During the American Civil War (1861–1865), California was able to send gold shipments eastwards to Washington in support of the Union cause; however, due to the existence of a large contingent of pro-South sympathizers within the state, the state was not able to muster any full military regiments to send eastwards to officially serve in the Union war effort. Still, several smaller military units within the Union army were unofficially associated with the state of California, such as the "California 100 Company", due to a majority of their members being from California.
At the time of California's admission into the Union, travel between California and the rest of the continental United States had been a time consuming and dangerous feat. Nineteen years afterwards, in 1869, shortly after the conclusion of the Civil War, a more direct connection was developed with the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. California was then easy to reach.
Much of the state was extremely well suited to fruit cultivation and agriculture in general. Vast expanses of wheat, other cereal crops, vegetable crops, cotton, and nut and fruit trees were grown (including oranges in Southern California), and the foundation was laid for the state's prodigious agricultural production in the Central Valley and elsewhere.
Under earlier Spanish and Mexican rule, California's original native population had precipitously declined, above all, from Eurasian diseases to which the indigenous people of California had not yet developed a natural immunity. Under its new American administration, California's harsh governmental policies towards its own indigenous people did not improve. As in other American states, many of the native inhabitants were soon forcibly removed from their lands by incoming American settlers such as miners, ranchers, and farmers. Although California had entered the American union as a free state, the "loitering or orphaned Indians" were de facto enslaved by their new Anglo-American masters under the 1853 Act for the Government and Protection of Indians. There were also massacres in which hundreds of indigenous people were killed.
Between 1850 and 1860, the California state government paid around 1.5 million dollars (some 250,000 of which was reimbursed by the federal government) to hire militias whose purpose was to protect settlers from the indigenous populations. In later decades, the native population was placed in reservations and rancherias, which were often small and isolated and without enough natural resources or funding from the government to sustain the populations living on them. As a result, the rise of California was a calamity for the native inhabitants. Several scholars and Native American activists, including Benjamin Madley and Ed Castillo, have described the actions of the California government as a genocide.
Migration to California accelerated during the early 20th century with the completion of major transcontinental highways like the Lincoln Highway and Route 66. In the period from 1900 to 1965, the population grew from fewer than one million to the greatest in the Union. In 1940, the Census Bureau reported California's population as 6.0% Hispanic, 2.4% Asian, and 89.5% non-Hispanic white.
To meet the population's needs, major engineering feats like the California and Los Angeles Aqueducts; the Oroville and Shasta Dams; and the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges were built across the state. The state government also adopted the California Master Plan for Higher Education in 1960 to develop a highly efficient system of public education.
Meanwhile, attracted to the mild Mediterranean climate, cheap land, and the state's wide variety of geography, filmmakers established the studio system in Hollywood in the 1920s. California manufactured 8.7 percent of total United States military armaments produced during World War II, ranking third (behind New York and Michigan) among the 48 states. California however easily ranked first in production of military ships during the war (transport, cargo, [merchant ships] such as Liberty ships, Victory ships, and warships) at drydock facilities in San Diego, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. After World War II, California's economy greatly expanded due to strong aerospace and defense industries, whose size decreased following the end of the Cold War. Stanford University and its Dean of Engineering Frederick Terman began encouraging faculty and graduates to stay in California instead of leaving the state, and develop a high-tech region in the area now known as Silicon Valley. As a result of these efforts, California is regarded as a world center of the entertainment and music industries, of technology, engineering, and the aerospace industry, and as the United States center of agricultural production. Just before the Dot Com Bust, California had the fifth-largest economy in the world among nations. Yet since 1991, and starting in the late 1980s in Southern California, California has seen a net loss of domestic migrants in most years. This is often referred to by the media as the California exodus.
California is the 3rd largest state in the United States in area, after Alaska and Texas. California is often geographically bisected into two regions, Southern California, comprising the 10 southernmost counties, and Northern California, comprising the 48 northernmost counties. It is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada to the east and northeast, Arizona to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and it shares an international border with the Mexican state of Baja California to the south (with which it makes up part of The Californias region of North America, alongside Baja California Sur).
In the middle of the state lies the California Central Valley, bounded by the Sierra Nevada in the east, the coastal mountain ranges in the west, the Cascade Range to the north and by the Tehachapi Mountains in the south. The Central Valley is California's productive agricultural heartland.
Divided in two by the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the northern portion, the Sacramento Valley serves as the watershed of the Sacramento River, while the southern portion, the San Joaquin Valley is the watershed for the San Joaquin River. Both valleys derive their names from the rivers that flow through them. With dredging, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin Rivers have remained deep enough for several inland cities to be seaports.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is a critical water supply hub for the state. Water is diverted from the delta and through an extensive network of pumps and canals that traverse nearly the length of the state, to the Central Valley and the State Water Projects and other needs. Water from the Delta provides drinking water for nearly 23 million people, almost two-thirds of the state's population as well as water for farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
Suisun Bay lies at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. The water is drained by the Carquinez Strait, which flows into San Pablo Bay, a northern extension of San Francisco Bay, which then connects to the Pacific Ocean via the Golden Gate strait.
The Sierra Nevada (Spanish for "snowy range") includes the highest peak in the contiguous 48 states, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m). The range embraces Yosemite Valley, famous for its glacially carved domes, and Sequoia National Park, home to the giant sequoia trees, the largest living organisms on Earth, and the deep freshwater lake, Lake Tahoe, the largest lake in the state by volume.
To the east of the Sierra Nevada are Owens Valley and Mono Lake, an essential migratory bird habitat. In the western part of the state is Clear Lake, the largest freshwater lake by area entirely in California. Although Lake Tahoe is larger, it is divided by the California/Nevada border. The Sierra Nevada falls to Arctic temperatures in winter and has several dozen small glaciers, including Palisade Glacier, the southernmost glacier in the United States.
About 45 percent of the state's total surface area is covered by forests, and California's diversity of pine species is unmatched by any other state. California contains more forestland than any other state except Alaska. Many of the trees in the California White Mountains are the oldest in the world; an individual bristlecone pine is over 5,000 years old.
In the south is a large inland salt lake, the Salton Sea. The south-central desert is called the Mojave; to the northeast of the Mojave lies Death Valley, which contains the lowest and hottest place in North America, the Badwater Basin at −279 feet (−85 m). The horizontal distance from the bottom of Death Valley to the top of Mount Whitney is less than 90 miles (140 km). Indeed, almost all of southeastern California is arid, hot desert, with routine extreme high temperatures during the summer. The southeastern border of California with Arizona is entirely formed by the Colorado River, from which the southern part of the state gets about half of its water.
A majority of California's cities are located in either the San Francisco Bay Area or the Sacramento metropolitan area in Northern California; or the Los Angeles area, the Riverside-San Bernardino-Inland Empire, or the San Diego metropolitan area in Southern California. The Los Angeles Area, the Bay Area, and the San Diego metropolitan area are among several major metropolitan areas along the California coast.
As part of the Ring of Fire, California is subject to tsunamis, floods, droughts, Santa Ana winds, wildfires, landslides on steep terrain, and has several volcanoes. It has many earthquakes due to several faults running through the state, the largest being the San Andreas Fault. About 37,000 earthquakes are recorded each year, but most are too small to be felt.
Although most of the state has a Mediterranean climate, due to the state's large size the climate ranges from polar to subtropical. The cool California Current offshore often creates summer fog near the coast. Farther inland, there are colder winters and hotter summers. The maritime moderation results in the shoreline summertime temperatures of Los Angeles and San Francisco being the coolest of all major metropolitan areas of the United States and uniquely cool compared to areas on the same latitude in the interior and on the east coast of the North American continent. Even the San Diego shoreline bordering Mexico is cooler in summer than most areas in the contiguous United States. Just a few miles inland, summer temperature extremes are significantly higher, with downtown Los Angeles being several degrees warmer than at the coast. The same microclimate phenomenon is seen in the climate of the Bay Area, where areas sheltered from the sea experience significantly hotter summers than nearby areas that are close to the ocean.
Northern parts of the state have more rain than the south. California's mountain ranges also influence the climate: some of the rainiest parts of the state are west-facing mountain slopes. Northwestern California has a temperate climate, and the Central Valley has a Mediterranean climate but with greater temperature extremes than the coast. The high mountains, including the Sierra Nevada, have an alpine climate with snow in winter and mild to moderate heat in summer.
California's mountains produce rain shadows on the eastern side, creating extensive deserts. The higher elevation deserts of eastern California have hot summers and cold winters, while the low deserts east of the Southern California mountains have hot summers and nearly frostless mild winters. Death Valley, a desert with large expanses below sea level, is considered the hottest location in the world; the highest temperature in the world, 134 °F (56.7 °C), was recorded there on July 10, 1913. The lowest temperature in California was −45 °F (−43 °C) in 1937 in Boca.
The table below lists average temperatures for January and August in a selection of places throughout the state; some highly populated and some not. This includes the relatively cool summers of the Humboldt Bay region around Eureka, the extreme heat of Death Valley, and the mountain climate of Mammoth in the Sierra Nevadas.
|Mammoth Lakes||77/45||25/7||40/15||4/ -9||583/23|
California is one of the richest and most diverse parts of the world, and includes some of the most endangered ecological communities. California is part of the Nearctic ecozone and spans a number of terrestrial ecoregions.
California's large number of endemic species includes relict species, which have died out elsewhere, such as the Catalina ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus). Many other endemics originated through differentiation or adaptive radiation, whereby multiple species develop from a common ancestor to take advantage of diverse ecological conditions such as the California lilac (Ceanothus). Many California endemics have become endangered, as urbanization, logging, overgrazing, and the introduction of exotic species have encroached on their habitat.
California boasts several superlatives in its collection of flora: the largest trees, the tallest trees, and the oldest trees. California's native grasses are perennial plants. After European contact, these were generally replaced by invasive species of European annual grasses; and, in modern times, California's hills turn a characteristic golden-brown in summer.
Because California has the greatest diversity of climate and terrain, the state has six life zones which are the lower Sonoran (desert); upper Sonoran (foothill regions and some coastal lands), transition (coastal areas and moist northeastern counties); and the Canadian, Hudsonian, and Arctic Zones, comprising the state's highest elevations.
Plant life in the dry climate of the lower Sonoran zone contains a diversity of native cactus, mesquite, and paloverde. The Joshua tree is found in the Mojave Desert. Flowering plants include the dwarf desert poppy and a variety of asters. Fremont cottonwood and valley oak thrive in the Central Valley. The upper Sonoran zone includes the chaparral belt, characterized by forests of small shrubs, stunted trees, and herbaceous plants. Nemophila, mint, Phacelia, Viola, and the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) – the state flower – also flourish in this zone, along with the lupine, more species of which occur here than anywhere else in the world.
The transition zone includes most of California's forests with the redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the "big tree" or giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), among the oldest living things on earth (some are said to have lived at least 4,000 years). Tanbark oak, California laurel, sugar pine, madrona, broad-leaved maple, and Douglas-fir also grow here. Forest floors are covered with swordfern, alumnroot, barrenwort, and trillium, and there are thickets of huckleberry, azalea, elder, and wild currant. Characteristic wild flowers include varieties of mariposa, tulip, and tiger and leopard lilies.
The high elevations of the Canadian zone allow the Jeffrey pine, red fir, and lodgepole pine to thrive. Brushy areas are abundant with dwarf manzanita and ceanothus; the unique Sierra puffball is also found here. Right below the timberline, in the Hudsonian zone, the whitebark, foxtail, and silver pines grow. At about 10,500 feet (3,200 m), begins the Arctic zone, a treeless region whose flora include a number of wildflowers, including Sierra primrose, yellow columbine, alpine buttercup, and alpine shooting star.
Common plants that have been introduced to the state include the eucalyptus, acacia, pepper tree, geranium, and Scotch broom. The species that are federally classified as endangered are the Contra Costa wallflower, Antioch Dunes evening primrose, Solano grass, San Clemente Island larkspur, salt marsh bird's beak, McDonald's rock-cress, and Santa Barbara Island liveforever. As of December 1997, 85 plant species were listed as threatened or endangered.
In the deserts of the lower Sonoran zone, the mammals include the jackrabbit, kangaroo rat, squirrel, and opossum. Common birds include the owl, roadrunner, cactus wren, and various species of hawk. The area's reptilian life include the sidewinder viper, desert tortoise, and horned toad. The upper Sonoran zone boasts mammals such as the antelope, brown-footed woodrat, and ring-tailed cat. Birds unique to this zone are the California thrasher, bushtit, and California condor.
In the transition zone, there are Colombian black-tailed deer, black bears, gray foxes, cougars, bobcats, and Roosevelt elk. Reptiles such as the garter snakes and rattlesnakes inhabit the zone. In addition, amphibians such as the water puppy and redwood salamander are common too. Birds such as the kingfisher, chickadee, towhee, and hummingbird thrive here as well.
The Canadian zone mammals include the mountain weasel, snowshoe hare, and several species of chipmunks. Conspicuous birds include the blue-fronted jay, Sierra chickadee. Sierra hermit thrush, water ouzel, and Townsend's solitaire. As one ascends into the Hudsonian zone, birds become scarcer. While the Sierra rosy finch is the only bird native to the high Arctic region, other bird species such as the hummingbird and Clark's nutcracker. Principal mammals found in this region include the Sierra coney, white-tailed jackrabbit, and the bighorn sheep. As of April 2003, the bighorn sheep was listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The fauna found throughout several zones are the mule deer, coyote, mountain lion, northern flicker, and several species of hawk and sparrow.
Aquatic life in California thrives, from the state's mountain lakes and streams to the rocky Pacific coastline. Numerous trout species are found, among them rainbow, golden, and cutthroat. Migratory species of salmon are common as well. Deep-sea life forms include sea bass, yellowfin tuna, barracuda, and several types of whale. Native to the cliffs of northern California are seals, sea lions, and many types of shorebirds, including migratory species.
As of April 2003, 118 California animals were on the federal endangered list; 181 plants were listed as endangered or threatened. Endangered animals include the San Joaquin kitfox, Point Arena mountain beaver, Pacific pocket mouse, salt marsh harvest mouse, Morro Bay kangaroo rat (and five other species of kangaroo rat), Amargosa vole, California least tern, California condor, loggerhead shrike, San Clemente sage sparrow, San Francisco garter snake, five species of salamander, three species of chub, and two species of pupfish. Eleven butterflies are also endangered and two that are threatened are on the federal list. Among threatened animals are the coastal California gnatcatcher, Paiute cutthroat trout, southern sea otter, and northern spotted owl. California has a total of 290,821 acres (1,176.91 km2) of National Wildlife Refuges. As of September 2010, 123 California animals were listed as either endangered or threatened on the federal list provided by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Also, as of the same year, 178 species of California plants were listed either as endangered or threatened on this federal list.
The most prominent river system within California is formed by the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River, which are fed mostly by snowmelt from the west slope of the Sierra Nevada, and respectively drain the north and south halves of the Central Valley. The two rivers join in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, flowing into the Pacific Ocean through San Francisco Bay. Many major tributaries feed into the Sacramento–San Joaquin system, including the Pit River, Feather River and Tuolumne River.
The Klamath and Trinity Rivers drain a large area in far northwestern California. The Eel River and Salinas River each drain portions of the California coast, north and south of San Francisco Bay, respectively. The Mojave River is the primary watercourse in the Mojave Desert, and the Santa Ana River drains much of the Transverse Ranges as it bisects Southern California. The Colorado River forms the state's southeast border with Arizona.
Most of California's major rivers are dammed as part of two massive water projects: the Central Valley Project, providing water for agriculture in the Central Valley, and the California State Water Project diverting water from northern to southern California. The state's coasts, rivers, and other bodies of water are regulated by the California Coastal Commission.
|Sources: 1790–1990, 2000, 2010, 2016|
Chart does not include Indigenous population figures.
Studies indicate that the Native American
population in California in 1850 was close to 150,000
before declining to 15,000 by 1900.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of California was 39,557,045 on July 1, 2018, a 6.18% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The population is projected to reach 40 million by 2020 and 50 million by 2060.
Between 2000 and 2009, there was a natural increase of 3,090,016 (5,058,440 births minus 2,179,958 deaths). During this time period, international migration produced a net increase of 1,816,633 people while domestic migration produced a net decrease of 1,509,708, resulting in a net in-migration of 306,925 people. The state of California's own statistics show a population of 38,292,687 for January 1, 2009. However, according to the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, since 1990 almost 3.4 million Californians have moved to other states, with most leaving to Texas, Nevada, and Arizona.
Within the Western hemisphere California is the second most populous sub-national administrative entity (behind the state of São Paulo in Brazil) and third most populous sub-national entity of any kind outside Asia (in which wider category it also ranks behind England in the United Kingdom, which has no administrative functions). California's population is greater than that of all but 34 countries of the world. The Greater Los Angeles Area is the 2nd-largest metropolitan area in the United States, after the New York metropolitan area, while Los Angeles, with nearly half the population of New York City, is the second-largest city in the United States. Conversely, San Francisco, with nearly one-quarter the population density of Manhattan, is the most densely populated city in California and one of the most densely populated cities in the United States. Also, Los Angeles County has held the title of most populous United States county for decades, and it alone is more populous than 42 United States states. Including Los Angeles, four of the top 15 most populous cities in the U.S. are in California: Los Angeles (2nd), San Diego (8th), San Jose (10th), and San Francisco (13th). The center of population of California is located in the town of Buttonwillow, Kern County.[note 1]
The state has 482 incorporated cities and towns, of which 460 are cities and 22 are towns. Under California law, the terms "city" and "town" are explicitly interchangeable; the name of an incorporated municipality in the state can either be "City of (Name)" or "Town of (Name)".
Sacramento became California's first incorporated city on February 27, 1850. San Jose, San Diego, and Benicia tied for California's second incorporated city, each receiving incorporation on March 27, 1850. Jurupa Valley became the state's most recent and 482nd incorporated municipality on July 1, 2011.
The majority of these cities and towns are within one of five metropolitan areas: the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, the San Francisco Bay Area, the Riverside-San Bernardino Area, the San Diego metropolitan area, or the Sacramento metropolitan area.
|CA Rank||U.S. Rank||Metropolitan statistical area||2017 Estimate||2010 Census||Change||Counties|
|1||2||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA MSA||13,353,907||12,828,837||+4.09%||Los Angeles, Orange|
|2||12||San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA MSA||4,727,357||4,335,391||+9.04%||Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo|
|3||13||Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSA||4,580,670||4,224,851||+8.42%||Riverside, San Bernardino|
|4||17||San Diego-Carlsbad, CA MSA||3,337,685||3,095,313||+7.83%||San Diego|
|5||27||Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA MSA||2,324,884||2,149,127||+8.18%||El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Yolo|
|6||35||San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA MSA||1,998,463||1,836,911||+8.79%||San Benito, Santa Clara|
|7||55||Fresno, CA MSA||989,255||930,450||+6.32%||Fresno|
|8||62||Bakersfield, CA MSA||893,119||839,631||+6.37%||Kern|
|9||67||Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA MSA||854,223||823,318||+3.75%||Ventura|
|10||76||Stockton-Lodi, CA MSA||745,424||685,306||+8.77%||San Joaquin|
|CA Rank||U.S. Rank||Combined statistical areas||2017 Estimate||2010 Census||Change||Counties|
|1||2||Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA Combined Statistical Area||18,788,800||17,877,006||+5.10%||Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura|
|2||5||San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area||8,837,789||8,153,696||+8.39%||Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Cruz, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma|
|3||22||Sacramento-Roseville, CA Combined Statistical Area||2,598,377||2,414,783||+7.60%||El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba|
|4||49||Fresno-Madera, CA Combined Statistical Area||1,146,145||1,081,315||+6.00%||Fresno, Madera|
|5||62||Modesto-Merced, CA Combined Statistical Area||820,572||770,246||+6.53%||Merced, Stanislaus|
|6||81||Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, CA Combined Statistical Area||614,594||595,161||+3.27%||Kings, Tulare|
|7||123||Redding-Red Bluff, CA Combined Statistical Area||243,847||240,686||+1.31%||Shasta, Tehama|
Starting in the year 2010, for the first time since the California Gold Rush, California-born residents make up the majority of the state's population. Along with the rest of the United States, California's immigration pattern has also shifted over the course of the late 2000s-early 2010s. Immigration from Latin American countries has dropped significantly with most immigrants now coming from Asia. In total for 2011, there were 277,304 immigrants. 57% came from Asian countries vs. 22% from Latin American countries. Net immigration from Mexico, previously the most common country of origin for new immigrants, has dropped to zero/less than zero since more Mexican nationals are departing for their home country than immigrating. As a result it is projected that Hispanic citizens will constitute 49% of the population by 2060, instead of the previously projected 2050, due primarily to domestic births.
The state's population of undocumented immigrants has been shrinking in recent years, due to increased enforcement and decreased job opportunities for lower-skilled workers. The number of migrants arrested attempting to cross the Mexican border in the Southwest decreased from a high of 1.1 million in 2005 to 367,000 in 2011. Despite these recent trends, illegal aliens constituted an estimated 7.3 percent of the state's population, the third highest percentage of any state in the country,[note 2] totaling nearly 2.6 million. In particular, illegal immigrants tended to be concentrated in Los Angeles, Monterey, San Benito, Imperial, and Napa Counties – the latter four of which have significant agricultural industries that depend on manual labor. More than half of illegal immigrants originate from Mexico.
According to the United States Census Bureau in 2016 the population self-identifies as (alone or in combination):
By ethnicity, in 2016 the population was 61.1% non-Hispanic (of any race) and 38.9% Hispanic or Latino (of any race). Hispanics are the largest single ethnic group in California. Non-Hispanic whites constituted 37.7% of the state's population. Californios are the Hispanic residents native to California, who are culturally or genetically descended from the Spanish-speaking community which has existed in California since 1542, of varying Mexican American/Chicano, Criollo Spaniard, and Mestizo origin.
As of 2011, 75.1% of California's population younger than age 1 were minorities, meaning that they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white (white Hispanics are counted as minorities).
In terms of total numbers, California has the largest population of White Americans in the United States, an estimated 22,200,000 residents. The state has the 5th largest population of African Americans in the United States, an estimated 2,250,000 residents. California's Asian American population is estimated at 4.4 million, constituting a third of the nation's total. California's Native American population of 285,000 is the most of any state.
According to estimates from 2011, California has the largest minority population in the United States by numbers, making up 60% of the state population. Over the past 25 years, the population of non-Hispanic whites has declined, while Hispanic and Asian populations have grown. Between 1970 and 2011, non-Hispanic whites declined from 80% of the state's population to 40%, while Hispanics grew from 32% in 2000 to 38% in 2011. It is currently projected that Hispanics will rise to 49% of the population by 2060, primarily due to domestic births rather than immigration. With the decline of immigration from Latin America, Asian Americans now constitute the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in California; this growth is primarily driven by immigration from China, India and the Philippines, respectively.
English serves as California's de jure and de facto official language. In 2010, the Modern Language Association of America estimated that 57.02% (19,429,309) of California residents age 5 and older spoke only English at home, while 42.98% spoke another primary language at home. According to the 2007 American Community Survey, 73% of people who speak a language other than English at home are able to speak English well or very well, with 9.8% not speaking English at all. Like most U.S. states (32 out of 50), California law enshrines English as its official language, and has done so since the passage of Proposition 63 by California voters. Various government agencies do, and are often required to, furnish documents in the various languages needed to reach their intended audiences.
In total, 16 languages other than English were spoken as primary languages at home by more than 100,000 persons, more than any other state in the nation. New York State, in second place, had 9 languages other than English spoken by more than 100,000 persons. The most common language spoken besides English was Spanish, spoken by 28.46% (9,696,638) of the population. With Asia contributing most of California's new immigrants, California had the highest concentration nationwide of Vietnamese and Chinese speakers, the second highest concentration of Korean, and the third highest concentration of Tagalog speakers.
California has historically been one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world, with more than 70 indigenous languages derived from 64 root languages in 6 language families. A survey conducted between 2007 and 2009 identified 23 different indigenous languages of Mexico that are spoken among California farmworkers. All of California's indigenous languages are endangered, although there are now efforts toward language revitalization.[note 3]
As a result of the state's increasing diversity and migration from other areas across the country and around the globe, linguists began noticing a noteworthy set of emerging characteristics of spoken American English in California since the late 20th century. This variety, known as California English, has a vowel shift and several other phonological processes that are different from varieties of American English used in other regions of the United States.
The culture of California is a Western culture and most clearly has its modern roots in the culture of the United States, but also, historically, many Hispanic Californio and Mexican influences. As a border and coastal state, Californian culture has been greatly influenced by several large immigrant populations, especially those from Latin America and Asia.
California has long been a subject of interest in the public mind and has often been promoted by its boosters as a kind of paradise. In the early 20th century, fueled by the efforts of state and local boosters, many Americans saw the Golden State as an ideal resort destination, sunny and dry all year round with easy access to the ocean and mountains. In the 1960s, popular music groups such as The Beach Boys promoted the image of Californians as laid-back, tanned beach-goers.
The California Gold Rush of the 1850s is still seen as a symbol of California's economic style, which tends to generate technology, social, entertainment, and economic fads and booms and related busts.
The largest religious denominations by number of adherents as a percentage of California's population in 2014 were the Catholic Church with 28 percent, Evangelical Protestants with 20 percent, and Mainline Protestants with 10 percent. Together, all kinds of Protestants accounted for 32 percent. Those unaffiliated with any religion represented 27 percent of the population. The breakdown of other religions is 1% Muslim, 2% Hindu and 2% Buddhist. This is a change from 2008, when the population identified their religion with the Catholic Church with 31 percent; Evangelical Protestants with 18 percent; and Mainline Protestants with 14 percent. In 2008, those unaffiliated with any religion represented 21 percent of the population. The breakdown of other religions in 2008 was 0.5% Muslim, 1% Hindu and 2% Buddhist. The American Jewish Year Book placed the total Jewish population of California at about 1,194,190 in 2006. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) the largest denominations by adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church with 10,233,334; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 763,818; and the Southern Baptist Convention with 489,953.
The first priests to come to California were Roman Catholic missionaries from Spain. Roman Catholics founded 21 missions along the California coast, as well as the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. California continues to have a large Roman Catholic population due to the large numbers of Mexicans and Central Americans living within its borders. California has twelve dioceses and two archdioceses, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the former being the largest archdiocese in the United States.
A Pew Research Center survey revealed that California is somewhat less religious than the rest of the US: 62 percent of Californians say they are "absolutely certain" of their belief in God, while in the nation 71 percent say so. The survey also revealed 48 percent of Californians say religion is "very important", compared to 56 percent nationally.
California has twenty major professional sports league franchises, far more than any other state. The San Francisco Bay Area has seven major league teams spread in its three major cities: San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland, while the Greater Los Angeles Area is home to ten major league franchises. San Diego and Sacramento each have one major league team. The NFL Super Bowl has been hosted in California 11 times at four different stadiums: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Rose Bowl, Stanford Stadium, and San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium. A twelfth, Super Bowl 50, was held at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on February 7, 2016.
California has long had many respected collegiate sports programs. California is home to the oldest college bowl game, the annual Rose Bowl, among others.
California is the only U.S. state to have hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles. Squaw Valley Ski Resort in the Lake Tahoe region hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Olympics, marking the fourth time California hosts the Olympic Games. Multiple games during the 1994 FIFA World Cup took place in California, with the Rose Bowl hosting eight matches including the final, while Stanford Stadium hosted six matches.
Below is a list of major league sports teams in California:
|Los Angeles Rams||American football||National Football League (NFL)|
|Oakland Raiders||American football||National Football League|
|Los Angeles Chargers||American football||National Football League|
|San Francisco 49ers||American football||National Football League|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Baseball||Major League Baseball (MLB)|
|Los Angeles Angels||Baseball||Major League Baseball|
|Oakland Athletics||Baseball||Major League Baseball|
|San Diego Padres||Baseball||Major League Baseball|
|San Francisco Giants||Baseball||Major League Baseball|
|Golden State Warriors||Basketball||National Basketball Association (NBA)|
|Los Angeles Clippers||Basketball||National Basketball Association|
|Los Angeles Lakers||Basketball||National Basketball Association|
|Sacramento Kings||Basketball||National Basketball Association|
|Los Angeles Sparks||Basketball||Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)|
|Anaheim Ducks||Ice hockey||National Hockey League (NHL)|
|Los Angeles Kings||Ice hockey||National Hockey League|
|San Jose Sharks||Ice hockey||National Hockey League|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||Soccer||Major League Soccer (MLS)|
|San Jose Earthquakes||Soccer||Major League Soccer|
|Los Angeles Football Club||Soccer||Major League Soccer|
Public secondary education consists of high schools that teach elective courses in trades, languages, and liberal arts with tracks for gifted, college-bound and industrial arts students. California's public educational system is supported by a unique constitutional amendment that requires a minimum annual funding level for grades K–12 and community colleges that grow with the economy and student enrollment figures.
In 2016, California's K-12 public school per-pupil spending was ranked 22nd in the nation ($11,500 / student vs. $11,800 for the US average).
For 2012, California's K-12 public schools ranked 48th in the number of employees per student, at 0.102 (the US average was 0.137), while paying the 7th most per employee, $49,000 (the US average was $39,000).
A 2007 study concluded that California's public school system was "broken" in that it suffered from over-regulation.
California's public postsecondary education offers three separate systems:
California is also home to such notable private universities as Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the California Institute of Technology, and the Claremont Colleges. California has hundreds of other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions.
California's economy ranks among the largest in the world. As of 2018-Q2, the gross state product (GSP) is almost $3.0 trillion ($74,000 per capita), the largest in the United States. California is responsible for ~14 percent of the United States' approximate $20.4 trillion gross domestic product (GDP). As of 2018, California's nominal GDP is larger than all but 4 countries (the United States, China, Japan and Germany). In terms of Purchasing Power Parity, it is larger than all but 8 countries (the United States, China, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia).
The five largest sectors of employment in California are trade, transportation, and utilities; government; professional and business services; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality. In output, the five largest sectors are financial services, followed by trade, transportation, and utilities; education and health services; government; and manufacturing. As of September 2016, California has an unemployment rate of 5.5%.
California's economy is dependent on trade and international related commerce accounts for about one-quarter of the state's economy. In 2008, California exported $144 billion worth of goods, up from $134 billion in 2007 and $127 billion in 2006. Computers and electronic products are California's top export, accounting for 42 percent of all the state's exports in 2008.
Agriculture is an important sector in California's economy. Farming-related sales more than quadrupled over the past three decades, from $7.3 billion in 1974 to nearly $31 billion in 2004. This increase has occurred despite a 15 percent decline in acreage devoted to farming during the period, and water supply suffering from chronic instability. Factors contributing to the growth in sales-per-acre include more intensive use of active farmlands and technological improvements in crop production. In 2008, California's 81,500 farms and ranches generated $36.2 billion products revenue. In 2011, that number grew to $43.5 billion products revenue. The Agriculture sector accounts for two percent of the state's GDP and employs around three percent of its total workforce. According to the USDA in 2011, the three largest California agricultural products by value were milk and cream, shelled almonds, and grapes.
Per capita GDP in 2007 was $38,956, ranking eleventh in the nation. Per capita income varies widely by geographic region and profession. The Central Valley is the most impoverished, with migrant farm workers making less than minimum wage. According to a 2005 report by the Congressional Research Service, the San Joaquin Valley was characterized as one of the most economically depressed regions in the United States, on par with the region of Appalachia. California has a poverty rate of 23.5%, the highest of any state in the country. Many coastal cities include some of the wealthiest per-capita areas in the United States. The high-technology sectors in Northern California, specifically Silicon Valley, in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, have emerged from the economic downturn caused by the dot-com bust.
In 2010, there were more than 663,000 millionaires in the state, more than any other state in the nation. In 2010, California residents were ranked first among the states with the best average credit score of 754.
State spending increased from $56 billion in 1998 to $127 billion in 2011. California, with 12% of the United States population, has one-third of the nation's welfare recipients. California has the third highest per capita spending on welfare among the states, as well as the highest spending on welfare at $6.67 billion. In January 2011 the California's total debt was at least $265 billion. On June 27, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed a balanced budget (no deficit) for the state, its first in decades; however the state's debt remains at $132 billion.
With the passage of Proposition 30 in 2012, California now levies a 13.3% maximum marginal income tax rate with ten tax brackets, ranging from 1% at the bottom tax bracket of $0 annual individual income to 13.3% for annual individual income over $1,000,000. California has a state sales tax of 7.5%, though local governments can and do levy additional sales taxes. Many of these taxes are temporary for a seven-year period (as stipulated in Proposition 30) and afterwards will revert to a previous maximum marginal income tax bracket of 10.3% and state sales tax rate of 7.25%.
All real property is taxable annually; the tax is based on the property's fair market value at the time of purchase or new construction. Property tax increases are capped at 2% annually, per Proposition 13.
Because it is the most populous state in the United States, California is one of the country's largest users of energy. However because of its high energy rates, conservation mandates, mild weather in the largest population centers and strong environmental movement, its per capita energy use is one of the smallest of any United States state. Due to the high electricity demand, California imports more electricity than any other state, primarily hydroelectric power from states in the Pacific Northwest (via Path 15 and Path 66) and coal- and natural gas-fired production from the desert Southwest via Path 46.
As a result of the state's strong environmental movement, California has some of the most aggressive renewable energy goals in the United States, with a target for California to obtain a third of its electricity from renewables by 2020. Currently, several solar power plants such as the Solar Energy Generating Systems facility are located in the Mojave Desert. California's wind farms include Altamont Pass, San Gorgonio Pass, and Tehachapi Pass. Several dams across the state provide hydro-electric power. It would be possible to convert the total supply to 100% renewable energy, including heating, cooling and mobility, by 2050.
The state's crude oil and natural gas deposits are located in the Central Valley and along the coast, including the large Midway-Sunset Oil Field. Natural gas-fired power plants typically account for more than one-half of state electricity generation.
California is also home to two major nuclear power plants: Diablo Canyon and San Onofre, the latter having been shut down in 2013. Voters banned the approval of new nuclear power plants since the late 1970s because of concerns over radioactive waste disposal.[note 4] In addition, several cities such as Oakland, Berkeley and Davis have declared themselves as nuclear-free zones.
California's vast terrain is connected by an extensive system of controlled-access highways ('freeways'), limited-access roads ('expressways'), and highways. California is known for its car culture, giving California's cities a reputation for severe traffic congestion. Construction and maintenance of state roads and statewide transportation planning are primarily the responsibility of the California Department of Transportation, nicknamed "Caltrans". The rapidly growing population of the state is straining all of its transportation networks, and California has some of the worst roads in the United States. The Reason Foundation's 19th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems ranked California's highways the third-worst of any state, with Alaska second, and Rhode Island first.
The state has been a pioneer in road construction. One of the state's more visible landmarks, the Golden Gate Bridge, was the longest suspension bridge main span in the world at 4,200 feet (1,300 m) between 1937 (when it opened) and 1964. With its orange paint and panoramic views of the bay, this highway bridge is a popular tourist attraction and also accommodates pedestrians and bicyclists. The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (often abbreviated the "Bay Bridge"), completed in 1936, transports about 280,000 vehicles per day on two-decks. Its two sections meet at Yerba Buena Island through the world's largest diameter transportation bore tunnel, at 76 feet (23 m) wide by 58 feet (18 m) high. The Arroyo Seco Parkway, connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena, opened in 1940 as the first freeway in the Western United States. It was later extended south to the Four Level Interchange in downtown Los Angeles, regarded as the first stack interchange ever built.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the 6th busiest airport in the world, and San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the 23rd busiest airport in the world, are major hubs for trans-Pacific and transcontinental traffic. There are about a dozen important commercial airports and many more general aviation airports throughout the state.
California also has several important seaports. The giant seaport complex formed by the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach in Southern California is the largest in the country and responsible for handling about a fourth of all container cargo traffic in the United States. The Port of Oakland, fourth largest in the nation, also handles trade entering from the Pacific Rim to the rest of the country. The Port of Stockton is the easternmost port on the west coast of the United States.
The California Highway Patrol is the largest statewide police agency in the United States in employment with over 10,000 employees. They are responsible for providing any police-sanctioned service to anyone on California's state-maintained highways and on state property.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is by far the largest in North America. By the end of 2009, the California DMV had 26,555,006 driver's licenses and ID cards on file. In 2010, there were 1.17 million new vehicle registrations in force.
Inter-city rail travel is provided by Amtrak California; the three routes, the Capitol Corridor, Pacific Surfliner, and San Joaquin, are funded by Caltrans. These services are the busiest intercity rail lines in the United States outside the Northeast Corridor and ridership is continuing to set records. The routes are becoming increasingly popular over flying, especially on the LAX-SFO route. Integrated subway and light rail networks are found in Los Angeles (Metro Rail) and San Francisco (MUNI Metro). Light rail systems are also found in San Jose (VTA), San Diego (San Diego Trolley), Sacramento (RT Light Rail), and Northern San Diego County (Sprinter). Furthermore, commuter rail networks serve the San Francisco Bay Area (ACE, BART, Caltrain, SMART), Greater Los Angeles (Metrolink), and San Diego County (Coaster).
The California High-Speed Rail Authority was created in 1996 by the state to implement an extensive 800-mile (1,300 km) rail system. Construction was approved by the voters during the November 2008 general election, with the first phase of construction estimated to cost $64.2 billion.
California's interconnected water system is the world's largest, managing over 40,000,000 acre feet (49 km3) of water per year, centered on six main systems of aqueducts and infrastructure projects. Water use and conservation in California is a politically divisive issue, as the state experiences periodic droughts and has to balance the demands of its large agricultural and urban sectors, especially in the arid southern portion of the state. The state's widespread redistribution of water also invites the frequent scorn of environmentalists.
The California Water Wars, a conflict between Los Angeles and the Owens Valley over water rights, is one of the most well-known examples of the struggle to secure adequate water supplies. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said: "We've been in crisis for quite some time because we're now 38 million people and not anymore 18 million people like we were in the late 60s. So it developed into a battle between environmentalists and farmers and between the south and the north and between rural and urban. And everyone has been fighting for the last four decades about water."
The capital of California is located within Sacramento. The state is organized into three branches of government – the executive branch consisting of the Governor and the other independently elected constitutional officers; the legislative branch consisting of the Assembly and Senate; and the judicial branch consisting of the Supreme Court of California and lower courts. The state also allows ballot propositions: direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, recall, and ratification. Before the passage of California Proposition 14 (2010), California allowed each political party to choose whether to have a closed primary or a primary where only party members and independents vote. After June 8, 2010, when Proposition 14 was approved, excepting only the United States President and county central committee offices, all candidates in the primary elections are listed on the ballot with their preferred party affiliation, but they are not the official nominee of that party. At the primary election, the two candidates with the top votes will advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation. If at a special primary election, one candidate receives more than 50% of all the votes cast, they are elected to fill the vacancy and no special general election will be held.
The California executive branch consists of the Governor of California and seven other elected constitutional officers: Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Controller, State Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction. They serve four-year terms and may be re-elected only once.
The California State Legislature consists of a 40-member Senate and 80-member Assembly. Senators serve four-year terms and Assembly members two. Members of the Assembly are subject to term limits of three terms, and members of the Senate are subject to term limits of two terms.
California's legal system is explicitly based upon English common law (as is the case with all other states except Louisiana) but carries a few features from Spanish civil law, such as community property. California's prison population grew from 25,000 in 1980 to over 170,000 in 2007. Capital punishment is a legal form of punishment and the state has the largest "Death Row" population in the country (though Oklahoma and Texas are far more active in carrying out executions).
California's judiciary system is the largest in the United States (with a total of 1,600 judges, while the federal system has only about 840). At the apex is the seven Justices of the Supreme Court of California, while the California Courts of Appeal serve as the primary appellate courts and the California Superior Courts serve as the primary trial courts. Justices of the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal are appointed by the Governor, but are subject to retention by the electorate every 12 years. The administration of the state's court system is controlled by the Judicial Council, composed of the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, 14 judicial officers, four representatives from the State Bar of California, and one member from each house of the state legislature.
California is divided into 58 counties. Per Article 11, Section 1, of the Constitution of California, they are the legal subdivisions of the state. The county government provides countywide services such as law enforcement, jails, elections and voter registration, vital records, property assessment and records, tax collection, public health, health care, social services, libraries, flood control, fire protection, animal control, agricultural regulations, building inspections, ambulance services, and education departments in charge of maintaining statewide standards. In addition, the county serves as the local government for all unincorporated areas. Each county is governed by an elected board of supervisors.
Incorporated cities and towns in California are either charter or general-law municipalities. General-law municipalities owe their existence to state law and are consequently governed by it; charter municipalities are governed by their own city or town charters. Municipalities incorporated in the 19th century tend to be charter municipalities. All ten of the state's most populous cities are charter cities. Most small cities have a council-manager form of government, where the elected city council appoints a city manager to supervise the operations of the city. Some larger cities have a directly-elected mayor who oversees the city government. In many council-manager cities, the city council selects one of its members as a mayor, sometimes rotating through the council membership—but this type of mayoral position is primarily ceremonial.
The Government of San Francisco is the only consolidated city-county in California, where both the city and county governments have been merged into one unified jurisdiction. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors also acts as the city council and the Mayor of San Francisco also serves as the county administrative officer.
About 1,102 school districts, independent of cities and counties, handle California's public education. California school districts may be organized as elementary districts, high school districts, unified school districts combining elementary and high school grades, or community college districts.
There are about 3,400 special districts in California. A special district, defined by California Government Code § 16271(d) as "any agency of the state for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited boundaries", provides a limited range of services within a defined geographic area. The geographic area of a special district can spread across multiple cities or counties, or could consist of only a portion of one. Most of California's special districts are single-purpose districts, and provide one service.
The state of California sends 53 members to the House of Representatives, the nation's largest congressional state delegation. Consequently California also has the largest number of electoral votes in national presidential elections, with 55. California's U.S. Senators are Dianne Feinstein, a native and former mayor of San Francisco, and Kamala Harris, a native, former District Attorney from San Francisco and former Attorney General of California. In 1992, California became the first state to have a Senate delegation entirely composed of women. The current Speaker of the House of Representatives is the representative of California's 12th district, Nancy Pelosi; Kevin McCarthy, representing the state's 23rd district, is the House Minority Leader.
In California, as of 2009, the U.S. Department of Defense had a total of 117,806 active duty servicemembers of which 88,370 were Sailors or Marines, 18,339 were Airmen, and 11,097 were Soldiers, with 61,365 Department of Defense civilian employees. Additionally, there were a total of 57,792 Reservists and Guardsman in California.
In 2010, Los Angeles County was the largest origin of military recruits in the United States by county, with 1,437 individuals enlisting in the military. However, as of 2002, Californians were relatively under-represented in the military as a proportion to its population.
In 2000, California, had 2,569,340 veterans of United States military service: 504,010 served in World War II, 301,034 in the Korean War, 754,682 during the Vietnam War, and 278,003 during 1990–2000 (including the Persian Gulf War). As of 2010, there were 1,942,775 veterans living in California, of which 1,457,875 served during a period of armed conflict, and just over four thousand served before World War II (the largest population of this group of any state).
|California registered voters as of January 2, 2018|
|Number of Voters||Percentage|
Party registration by county
Democrat >= 30%
Democrat >= 40%
Democrat >= 50%
Republican >= 30%
Republican >= 40%
|No Party Preference||4,734,847||25.0%|
|Peace and Freedom||75,094||0.4%|
California has an idiosyncratic political culture compared to the rest of the country, and is sometimes regarded as a trendsetter. In socio-cultural mores and national politics, Californians are perceived as more liberal than other Americans, especially those who live in the inland states. As of the 2016 presidential election, California was the 2nd most Democratic state behind Hawaii. According to the Cook Political Report, California contains 5 of the 15 most Democratic congressional districts in the United States.
Among the political idiosyncrasies and trendsetting, California was the second state to recall their state governor, the second state to legalize abortion, and the only state to ban marriage for gay couples twice by voters (including Proposition 8 in 2008). Voters also passed Proposition 71 in 2004 to fund stem cell research, and Proposition 14 in 2010 to completely change the state's primary election process. California has also experienced disputes over water rights; and a tax revolt, culminating with the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, limiting state property taxes.
The state's trend towards the Democratic Party and away from the Republican Party can be seen in state elections. From 1899 to 1939, California had Republican governors. Since 1990, California has generally elected Democratic candidates to federal, state and local offices, including current Governor Gavin Newsom; however, the state has elected Republican Governors, though many of its Republican Governors, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, tend to be considered moderate Republicans and more centrist than the national party.
The Democrats also now hold a supermajority in both houses of the state legislature. There are 60 Democrats and 20 Republicans in the Assembly; and 29 Democrats and 11 Republicans in the Senate.
The trend towards the Democratic Party is most obvious in presidential elections. From 1960 to 1988, California was a Republican leaning state, with the party carrying the state's electoral votes in every election except for 1964. California Republicans Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were elected as the 37th and the 40th U.S. Presidents, respectively. However, Democrats have won all of California's electoral votes since 1992.
In the United States House, the Democrats held a 34–19 edge in the CA delegation of the 110th United States Congress in 2007. As the result of gerrymandering, the districts in California were usually dominated by one or the other party, and few districts were considered competitive. In 2008, Californians passed Proposition 20 to empower a 14-member independent citizen commission to redraw districts for both local politicians and Congress. After the 2012 elections, when the new system took effect, Democrats gained 4 seats and held a 38–15 majority in the delegation. Following the 2018 midterm House elections, Democrats won 46 out of 53 congressional house seats in California, leaving Republicans with 7.
In general, Democratic strength is centered in the populous coastal regions of the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the San Francisco Bay Area. Republican strength is still greatest in eastern parts of the state. Orange County had remained largely Republican until the 2016 and 2018 elections, in which a majority of the county's votes were cast for Democratic candidates. One study ranked Berkeley, Oakland, Inglewood and San Francisco in the top 20 most liberal American cities; and Bakersfield, Orange, Escondido, Garden Grove, and Simi Valley in the top 20 most conservative cities.
In October 2012, out of the 23,802,577 people eligible to vote, 18,245,970 people were registered to vote. Of the people registered, the three largest registered groups were Democrats (7,966,422), Republicans (5,356,608), and Decline to State (3,820,545). Los Angeles County had the largest number of registered Democrats (2,430,612) and Republicans (1,037,031) of any county in the state.
In 1987, California accounted for one in four aerospace jobs nationally, and in Los Angeles County, the share was one in ten. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the Department of Defense (DOD) sharply curtailed procurement spending. In 1995, DOD spending fell below $50 billion for the first time since 1982. Nowhere in the country were the changes in Pentagon outlays more apparent than in Southern California.
This micro-economy – the world's fifth largest economy in its own right – started to feel the pain of the new technology meltdown first.
In 1986, California voters amended the state constitution to provide that the: The [sic] Legislature and officials of the State of California shall take all steps necessary to insure that the role of English as the common language of the State of California is preserved and enhanced. The Legislature shall make no law which diminishes or ignores the role of English as the common language of California."
NOTE: Adult education, community services and other nonelementary-secondary program expenditures are excluded.
This chart includes two places, District of Columbia, and the US average, so the number rankings rank 52 total entities; this needs to be understood when viewing these rankings.
For state and local government spending, we rely primarily on the US Census Bureau's Census of Governments Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances for fiscal year 2012, as revised and released on October 23, 2015.1 For state and local government employment and payroll, we draw from the US Census Bureau's Census of Governments Government Employment and Payroll survey for full-time equivalent employees in March 2012.
California spending per resident on K-12 schools was about average among the states, but while teacher pay was among the highest, the state trailed others in teachers and support staff per student.
| List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on September 9, 1850 (31st)
Beverly Hills is a city located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Beverly Hills is surrounded by the cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood.
Sometimes referred to as "90210," one of its primary ZIP codes, it is home to many celebrities, several hotels, and the Rodeo Drive shopping district.
Originally a Spanish ranch where lima beans were grown, Beverly Hills was incorporated in 1914 by a group of investors who had failed to find oil, but found water instead and eventually decided to develop it into a town. By 2013, its population had grown to 34,658.California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. The sudden influx of gold into the money supply reinvigorated the American economy, and the sudden population increase allowed California to go rapidly to statehood, in the Compromise of 1850. The Gold Rush had severe effects on Native Californians and resulted in a precipitous population decline from disease, genocide and starvation. By the time it ended, California had gone from a thinly populated ex-Mexican territory, to having one of its first two U.S. Senators, John C. Frémont, selected to be the first presidential nominee for the new Republican Party, in 1856.
The effects of the Gold Rush were substantial. Whole indigenous societies were attacked and pushed off their lands by the gold-seekers, called "forty-niners" (referring to 1849, the peak year for Gold Rush immigration). Outside of California, the first to arrive were from Oregon, the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), and Latin America in late 1848. Of the approximately 300,000 people who came to California during the Gold Rush, about half arrived by sea and half came overland on the California Trail and the Gila River trail; forty-niners often faced substantial hardships on the trip. While most of the newly arrived were Americans, the gold rush attracted thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and China. Agriculture and ranching expanded throughout the state to meet the needs of the settlers. San Francisco grew from a small settlement of about 200 residents in 1846 to a boomtown of about 36,000 by 1852. Roads, churches, schools and other towns were built throughout California. In 1849 a state constitution was written. The new constitution was adopted by referendum vote, and the future state's interim first governor and legislature were chosen. In September 1850, California became a state.
At the beginning of the Gold Rush, there was no law regarding property rights in the goldfields and a system of "staking claims" was developed. Prospectors retrieved the gold from streams and riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning. Although the mining caused environmental harm, more sophisticated methods of gold recovery were developed and later adopted around the world. New methods of transportation developed as steamships came into regular service. By 1869, railroads were built from California to the eastern United States. At its peak, technological advances reached a point where significant financing was required, increasing the proportion of gold companies to individual miners. Gold worth tens of billions of today's US dollars was recovered, which led to great wealth for a few, though many who participated in the California Gold Rush earned little more than they had started with.Drew Barrymore
Drew Blythe Barrymore (born February 22, 1975) is an American actress, producer, director, author, model and entrepreneur. She is a member of the Barrymore family of actors, and the granddaughter of John Barrymore. She achieved fame as a child actress with her role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). She is the recipient of several accolades, including a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA nomination.
Following a highly publicized childhood marked by drug and alcohol abuse, Barrymore released an autobiography, Little Girl Lost, in 1991. She went on to appear in a string of successful films throughout the decade, including Poison Ivy (1992), Boys on the Side (1995), Mad Love (1995), Scream (1996), Ever After (1998) and The Wedding Singer (1998). The latter was her first collaboration with Adam Sandler; they have since starred together in 50 First Dates (2004) and Blended (2014).
Barrymore's other films include Never Been Kissed (1999), Charlie's Angels (2000), Donnie Darko (2001), Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Fever Pitch (2005), Music and Lyrics (2007), Going the Distance (2010), Big Miracle (2012) and Miss You Already (2015). Barrymore made her directorial debut with Whip It (2009), in which she also starred, and received a SAG Award and a Golden Globe for her performance in Grey Gardens (2009). She currently stars on the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet.
In 1995, Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen formed the production company Flower Films. The pair have produced several projects in which Barrymore has starred. In 2013, Barrymore launched a range of cosmetics under the Flower banner, which has grown to include lines in makeup, perfume and eyewear. Her other business ventures include a range of wines and a clothing line. In 2015, she released her second memoir, Wildflower. Barrymore received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004.Hollywood
Hollywood is a neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California, notable as the home of the U.S. film industry including several of its historic studios. Its name has come to be a shorthand reference for the industry and the people associated with it.
Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality in 1903. It was consolidated with the city of Los Angeles in 1910 and soon thereafter a prominent film industry emerged, eventually becoming the most recognizable film industry in the world.Kamala Harris
Kamala Devi Harris ( KAH-mə-lə; born October 20, 1964) is an American attorney and politician who has served as the junior United States Senator from California since 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served as the 32nd Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017, and as the 27th District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011. On January 21, 2019, she officially announced her campaign to run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 United States presidential election.
Harris was born in Oakland, California, and is a graduate of Howard University and University of California, Hastings College of the Law. In the 1990s, she worked in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and the City Attorney of San Francisco's office. In 2004, she was elected District attorney of San Francisco.
Harris was narrowly elected as California's Attorney General in 2010 and was reelected in 2014 by a wide margin. On November 8, 2016, she defeated Loretta Sanchez in the 2016 Senate election to succeed outgoing Senator Barbara Boxer, becoming California's third female U.S. Senator, and the first of Jamaican or Indian ancestry.Since becoming a Senator, Harris has supported Medicare-for-all, legalization of recreational marijuana, sanctuary cities, passing a DREAM Act, and lowering taxes for the working and middle classes while raising taxes on corporations and the wealthiest top 1% of Americans.
Harris launched her presidential campaign on January 27, 2019, where she vowed to fight for the "largest middle class tax cut in a generation."Lake Berryessa
Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County, California. This reservoir in the Vaca Mountains is formed by the Monticello Dam, which provides water and hydroelectricity to the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.
The reservoir was named for the first European settlers in the Berryessa Valley, José Jesús and Sexto "Sisto" Berrelleza (a Basque surname, Anglicized to "Berreyesa", then later respelled "Berryessa"), who were granted Rancho Las Putas in 1843.Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe (; Washo: dáʔaw) is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States. Lying at 6,225 ft (1,897 m), it straddles the state line between California and Nevada, west of Carson City. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, and at 122,160,280 acre⋅ft (150,682,490 dam3) trails only the five Great Lakes as the largest by volume in the United States. Its depth is 1,645 ft (501 m), making it the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon (1,945 ft (593 m)).The lake was formed about two million years ago as part of the Lake Tahoe Basin, with the modern extent being shaped during the ice ages. It is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. The area surrounding the lake is also referred to as Lake Tahoe, or simply Tahoe. More than 75% of the lake's watershed is national forest land, comprising the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the United States Forest Service.
Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California. It is home to winter sports, summer outdoor recreation, and scenery enjoyed throughout the year. Snow and ski resorts are a significant part of the area's economy and reputation. The Nevada side also offers large casinos, with highways providing year-round access to the entire area.List of cities and towns in California
California is a state located in the Western United States. It is the most populous state and the third largest by area after Alaska and Texas. According to the 2010 United States Census, California has 37,253,956 inhabitants and 155,779.22 square miles (403,466.3 km2) of land.California has been inhabited by numerous Native American peoples since antiquity. The Spanish, the Russians, and other Europeans began exploring and colonizing the area in the 16th and 17th centuries, with the Spanish establishing its first California mission at what is now San Diego in 1769. After the Mexican Cession of 1848, the California Gold Rush brought worldwide attention to the area. The growth of the movie industry in Los Angeles and Hollywood, high tech in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, tourism, agriculture, and other areas in the ensuing decades fueled the creation of a $1.85 trillion economy, the ninth-largest in the world.California is divided into 58 counties and contains 482 municipalities. One, San Francisco, is a consolidated city-county. California law makes no distinction between "city" and "town", and municipalities may use either term in their official names. They can be organized as either a charter municipality, governed by its own charter, or a general-law municipality, governed by state law.According to the 2010 Census, 30,908,614 of California's 37,253,956 residents lived in urban areas, accounting for 82.97% of the population. The first municipality to incorporate was Sacramento on February 27, 1850, while the most recent was Jurupa Valley on July 1, 2011. Eight cities were incorporated before the state's September 9, 1850, admission to the Union. The largest municipality by population and land area is Los Angeles with 3,792,621 residents and 468.67 square miles (1,213.8 km2). The smallest by population is Vernon with 112 people, while the smallest by land area is Amador City at 0.31 square miles (0.80 km2).Long Beach, California
Long Beach is a city on the Pacific Coast of the United States, within the Los Angeles metropolitan area of Southern California. As of 2010, its population was 462,257. It is the 39th most populous city in the United States and the 7th most populous in California. Long Beach is the second-largest city in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the third largest in Southern California behind Los Angeles and San Diego. Long Beach is a charter city.The Port of Long Beach is the second busiest container port in the United States and is among the world's largest shipping ports. The city also maintains a progressively declining oil industry with minor wells located both directly beneath the city as well as offshore. Manufacturing sectors include those in aircraft, automotive parts, electronic equipment, audiovisual equipment, petrochemicals, precision metals and home furnishings.
Long Beach lies in the southeastern corner of Los Angeles County and borders Orange County. Downtown Long Beach is approximately 22 miles (35 km) south of downtown Los Angeles, though the two cities share an official border for several miles.Los Angeles
Los Angeles ( (listen); Spanish: Los Ángeles), officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California and the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis.
Los Angeles is in a large basin bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and by mountains as high as 10,000 feet (3,000 m) on the others. The city proper, which covers about 469 square miles (1,210 km2), is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the country. Los Angeles is also the principal city of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the second largest in the United States after that of New York City, with a population of 13.1 million. It is part of the Los Angeles-Long Beach combined statistical area, also the nation's second most populous area with a 2015 estimated population of 18.7 million.Los Angeles is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States, with a diverse economy in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. Los Angeles is also famous as the home of Hollywood, a major center of the world entertainment industry. A global city, it has been ranked 6th in the Global Cities Index and 9th in the Global Economic Power Index. The Los Angeles combined statistical area also has a gross metropolitan product of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third-largest in the world, after the Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will host the event for a third time in 2028. The city also hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1990 and 2006, and was one of 9 American cities to host the 1994 FIFA men's soccer World Cup and one of 8 to host the 1999 FIFA women's soccer World Cup, hosting the final match for both tournaments.
Historically home to the Chumash and Tongva, Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain in 1542 along with the rest of what would become Alta California. The city was officially founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood. The discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city. The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, delivering water from Eastern California, later assured the city's continued rapid growth.Los Angeles County, California
Los Angeles County, officially the County of Los Angeles, is the most populous county in the Los Angeles metropolitan area of the U.S. state of California and is the most populous county in the United States, with more than 10 million inhabitants as of 2017. As such, it is the largest non-state level government entity in the United States. Its population is larger than that of 41 individual U.S. states. It is the third-largest metropolitan economy in the world, with a Nominal GDP of over $700 billion—larger than the GDPs of Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Norway, and Taiwan. It has 88 incorporated cities and many unincorporated areas and, at 4,083 square miles (10,570 km2), it is larger than the combined areas of Delaware and Rhode Island. The county is home to more than one-quarter of California residents and is one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the U.S. Its county seat, Los Angeles, is also California's most populous city and the nation's second largest city with about 4 million people.Oakland, California
Oakland is the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. A major West Coast port city, Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third largest city overall in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth most populated city in California, and the 45th largest city in the United States. With a population of 425,195 as of 2017, it serves as a trade center for the San Francisco Bay Area; its Port of Oakland is the busiest port in the San Francisco Bay, the entirety of Northern California, and the fifth busiest in the United States of America. An act to incorporate the city was passed on May 4, 1852, and incorporation was later approved on March 25, 1854, which officially made Oakland a city. Oakland is a charter city.Oakland's territory covers what was once a mosaic of California coastal terrace prairie, oak woodland, and north coastal scrub. Its land served as a rich resource when its hillside oak and redwood timber were logged to build San Francisco. Oakland's fertile flatland soils helped it become a prolific agricultural region. In the late 1860s, Oakland was selected as the western terminal of the Transcontinental Railroad. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, many San Francisco citizens moved to Oakland, enlarging the city's population, increasing its housing stock and improving its infrastructure. It continued to grow in the 20th century with its busy port, shipyards, and a thriving automobile manufacturing industry.Sacramento, California
Sacramento ( SAK-rə-MEN-toh; Spanish: [sakɾaˈmento]) is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the seat of Sacramento County. Located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in Northern California's Sacramento Valley, Sacramento's estimated 2018 population of 501,334 makes it the sixth-largest city in California and the 9th largest capital in the United States. Sacramento is the seat of the California Assembly, the Governor of California, and Supreme Court of California, making it the state's political center and a hub for lobbying and think tanks. Sacramento is also the cultural and economic core of the Sacramento metropolitan area, which had 2010 population of 2,414,783, making it the fifth largest in California.Sacramento is the fastest-growing major city in California, owing to its status as a notable financial center on the West Coast and as a major educational hub, home of Sacramento State University and University of California, Davis. Similarly, Sacramento is a major center for the California healthcare industry, as the seat of Sutter Health, the world-renowned UC Davis Medical Center, and the UC Davis School of Medicine, and notable tourist destination in California, as the site of The California Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, California Hall of Fame, the California State Capitol Museum, and the Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Sacramento is known for its evolving contemporary culture, dubbed the most "hipster city" in California. In 2002, the Harvard University Civil Rights Project conducted for Time magazine named Sacramento "America's Most Diverse City".Before the arrival of the Spanish, the area was inhabited by the Nisenan people indigenous peoples of California. Spanish cavalryman Gabriel Moraga surveyed and named the Rio del Santísimo Sacramento (Sacramento River) in 1808, after the Blessed Sacrament, referring to the Eucharist in the Catholic Church. In 1839, Juan Bautista Alvarado, Mexican governor of Alta California granted the responsibility of colonizing the Sacramento Valley to Swiss-born, Mexican citizen John Augustus Sutter, who subsequently established Sutter's Fort and the settlement at the Rancho Nueva Helvetia. Following the American Conquest of California and the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, the waterfront developed by Sutter began to be developed and incorporated in 1850 as the City of Sacramento. As a result of the California Gold Rush, Sacramento became a major commercial center and distribution point for Northern California, serving as the terminus for the Pony Express and the First Transcontinental Railroad.San Diego
San Diego (; Spanish for "Saint Didacus"; Spanish: [san ˈdjeɣo]) is a city in the U.S. state of California. It is in San Diego County, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, approximately 120 miles (190 km) south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico.
With an estimated population of 1,419,516 as of July 1, 2017, San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest in California. It is part of the San Diego–Tijuana conurbation, the second-largest transborder agglomeration between the U.S. and a bordering country after Detroit–Windsor, with a population of 4,922,723 people. The city is known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbor, extensive beaches, long association with the United States Navy, and recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology development center.
San Diego has been called "the birthplace of California". Historically home to the Kumeyaay people, it was the first site visited by Europeans on what is now the West Coast of the United States. Upon landing in San Diego Bay in 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area for Spain, forming the basis for the settlement of Alta California 200 years later. The Presidio and Mission San Diego de Alcalá, founded in 1769, formed the first European settlement in what is now California. In 1821, San Diego became part of the newly independent Mexico, which reformed as the First Mexican Republic two years later. California became part of the United States in 1848 following the Mexican–American War and was admitted to the union as a state in 1850.
The city is the seat of San Diego County and is the economic center of the region as well as the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. San Diego's main economic engines are military and defense-related activities, tourism, international trade, and manufacturing. The presence of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), with the affiliated UCSD Medical Center, has helped make the area a center of research in biotechnology.San Francisco
San Francisco (SF; , Spanish: [sam fɾanˈsisko]; Spanish for 'Saint Francis'), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, and the fourth-most populous in California, with 884,363 residents as of 2017. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, and the fifth-most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is also part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area (9.7 million residents).
As of 2017, it was the seventh-highest income county in the United States, with a per capita personal income of $119,868. As of 2015, San Francisco proper had a GDP of $154 billion, and a GDP per capita of ~$178,000. The San Francisco CSA was the country's third-largest urban economy as of 2017, with a GDP of $907 billion. Of the 500+ primary statistical areas in the US, the San Francisco CSA had among the highest GDP per capita in 2017, at $93,938. San Francisco was ranked 14th in the world and third in the United States on the Global Financial Centres Index as of September 2018.San Francisco was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís a few miles away, all named for St. Francis of Assisi. The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856. San Francisco's status as the West Coast's largest city peaked between 1870 and 1900, when around 25% of California's population resided in the city proper. After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. In World War II, San Francisco was a major port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater. It then became the birthplace of the United Nations in 1945. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, significant immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the "hippie" counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States. Politically, the city votes strongly along liberal Democratic Party lines.
A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman's Wharf, and its Chinatown district. San Francisco is also the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., Fitbit, Salesforce.com, Dropbox, Reddit, Square, Inc., Dolby, Airbnb, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation, Craigslist, and Weather Underground. It is home to a number of educational and cultural institutions, such as the University of San Francisco (USF), University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), San Francisco State University (SFSU), the De Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the California Academy of Sciences.
As of 2018, San Francisco is the highest rated American city on world liveability rankings.San Jose, California
San Jose (; Spanish for 'Saint Joseph'; Spanish: [saŋ xoˈse]), officially the City of San José, is an economic, cultural and political center of Silicon Valley, and the largest city in Northern California (both in population and area). With an estimated 2017 population of 1,035,317, it is the third-most populous city in California (after Los Angeles and San Diego) and the tenth-most populous in United States. Located in the center of the Santa Clara Valley, on the southern shore of San Francisco Bay, San Jose covers an area of 179.97 square miles (466.1 km2). San Jose is the county seat of Santa Clara County, the most affluent county in California and one of the most affluent counties in the United States. San Jose is the most populous city in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area, which contain 7.7 million and 8.7 million people respectively.San Jose is a global city, notable as a center of innovation, for its affluence, Mediterranean climate, and extremely high cost of living. San Jose's location within the booming high tech industry, as a cultural, political, and economic center has earned the city the nickname "Capital of Silicon Valley". San Jose is one of the wealthiest major cities in the United States and the world, and has the third highest GDP per capita in the world (after Zürich, Switzerland and Oslo, Norway), according to the Brookings Institution. The San Jose Metropolitan Area has the most millionaires and the most billionaires in the United States per capita. With a median home price of $1,085,000, San Jose has the most expensive housing market in the country and the fifth most expensive housing market in the world, according to the 2017 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey. Major global tech companies including Cisco Systems, eBay, Adobe Systems, PayPal, Brocade, Samsung, Acer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Western Digital maintain their headquarters in San Jose, in the center of Silicon Valley.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the area around San Jose was inhabited by the Tamien nation of the Ohlone peoples of California. San Jose was founded on November 29, 1777, as the Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, the first city founded in the Californias. It then became a part of Mexico in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence. Following the American Conquest of California during the Mexican–American War, the territory was ceded to the United States in 1848. After California achieved statehood two years later, San Jose became the state's first capital. Following World War II, San Jose experienced an economic boom, with a rapid population growth and aggressive annexation of nearby cities and communities carried out in the 1950s and 1960s. The rapid growth of the high-technology and electronics industries further accelerated the transition from an agricultural center to an urbanized metropolitan area. Results of the 1990 U.S. Census indicated that San Jose had officially surpassed San Francisco as the most populous city in Northern California. By the 1990s, San Jose and the rest of Silicon Valley had become the global center for the high tech and internet industries, making it California's fastest-growing economy.University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public research university in Berkeley, California. It was founded in 1868 and serves as the flagship institution of the ten research universities affiliated with the University of California system. Berkeley has since grown to instruct over 40,000 students in approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs covering numerous disciplines.Berkeley is one of the 14 founding members of the Association of American Universities, with $789 million in R&D expenditures in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. Today, Berkeley maintains close relationships with three United States Department of Energy National Laboratories—Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory—and is home to many institutes, including the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Space Sciences Laboratory. Through its partner institution University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Berkeley also offers a joint medical program at the UCSF Medical Center.As of October 2018, Berkeley alumni, faculty members and researchers include 107 Nobel laureates, 25 Turing Award winners, and 14 Fields Medalists. They have also won 9 Wolf Prizes, 45 MacArthur Fellowships, 20 Academy Awards, 14 Pulitzer Prizes and 207 Olympic medals (117 gold, 51 silver and 39 bronze). In 1930, Ernest Lawrence invented the cyclotron at Berkeley, based on which UC Berkeley researchers along with Berkeley Lab have discovered or co-discovered 16 chemical elements of the periodic table – more than any other university in the world. During the 1940s, Berkeley physicist J. R. Oppenheimer, the "Father of the Atomic Bomb," led the Manhattan project to create the first atomic bomb. In the 1960s, Berkeley was particularly noted for the Free Speech Movement as well as the Anti-Vietnam War Movement led by its students. In the 21st century, Berkeley has become one of the leading universities in producing entrepreneurs and its alumni have founded a large number of companies worldwide.For 2018–19, Berkeley ranks 5th internationally (4th in the U.S.) in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, 27th (14th in the U.S.) in the QS World University Rankings, 15th (10th in the U.S.) in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 4th in the U.S. News & World Report Global University Rankings, and is the 6th most reputed university (4th in the U.S.) in the Times Higher Education World Reputation Ranking.University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university in Los Angeles. It became the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919, making it the third-oldest (after UC Berkeley and UC Davis) undergraduate campus of the 10-campus University of California system. It offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. UCLA enrolls about 31,000 undergraduate and 13,000 graduate students and had 119,000 applicants for Fall 2016, including transfer applicants, making the school the most applied-to of any American university.The university is organized into six undergraduate colleges, seven professional schools, and four professional health science schools. The undergraduate colleges are the College of Letters and Science; Samueli School of Engineering; School of the Arts and Architecture; Herb Alpert School of Music; School of Theater, Film and Television; and School of Nursing.
As of 2017, 24 Nobel laureates, three Fields Medalists, and five Turing Award winners, and two Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with UCLA as faculty, researchers, or alumni. Among the current faculty members, 55 have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, 28 to the National Academy of Engineering, 39 to the Institute of Medicine, and 124 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The university was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1974.In 2018–2019, US News & World Report ranked UCLA as the #1 public university in the U.S. The New York Times ranked UCLA as #1 for economic upward-mobility in the United States. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2018–2019 ranked UCLA 12th in the U.S. for academics, 2nd in top U.S. public university for academics, and 9th in the world for reputation. In 2018, UCLA ranked 11th in the world (9th in North America) by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. In 2017, the Center for World University Rankings ranked the university 15th in the world based on quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, publications, influence, citations, broad impact, and patents. The Princeton Review College Hopes & Worries Survey ranked UCLA as the No. 5 "Dream College" among students and the No. 7 "Dream College" among parents.UCLA student-athletes compete as the Bruins in the Pac-12 Conference. The Bruins have won 126 national championships, including 116 NCAA team championships, more than any other university except Stanford, who has won 117. UCLA student-athletes, coaches and staff won 251 Olympic medals: 126 gold, 65 silver, and 60 bronze. UCLA student-athletes competed in every Olympics since 1920 with one exception (1924) and won a gold medal in every Olympics the U.S. participated in since 1932.University of Southern California
The University of Southern California (USC or SC) is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, and medicine.USC was one of the earliest nodes on ARPANET and is the birthplace of the Domain Name System. Other technologies invented at USC include DNA computing, dynamic programming, image compression, VoIP, and antivirus software.USC's alumni include 22 billionaires, 9 Rhodes Scholars, and 10 Marshall Scholars. As of October 2018, nine Nobel laureates, six MacArthur Fellows, and one Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the university.
USC sponsors a variety of intercollegiate sports and competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as a member of the Pac-12 Conference. Members of USC's sports teams, the Trojans, have won 104 NCAA team championships, ranking them third in the United States, and 399 NCAA individual championships, ranking them second in the United States. Trojan athletes have won 288 medals at the Olympic Games (135 golds, 88 silvers and 65 bronzes), more than any other university in the United States. If USC were a country, its athletes would have collectively received the 12th-most Olympic gold medals in history, as of 2016. In 1969, it joined the Association of American Universities. USC has had 506 players selected in the National Football League, more than any other university.In recent years, USC has faced scrutiny for a series of allegations and scandals. On March 12, 2019, a USC coach and an athletic department administrator, along with two former USC coaches, were accused of accepting bribes from wealthy families in the largest college admissions scandal ever prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice.
|California state symbols|
|Amphibian||California red-legged frog|
|Insect||California dogface butterfly|
|Tree||Coast redwood & giant sequoia|
|Colors||Blue & gold|
|Dance||West Coast Swing|
|Folk dance||Square dance|
|Tartan||California State Tartan|
|State route marker|
Released in 2005
|Lists of United States state symbols|
|Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
|Some other race||0.7%||13.2%||16.8%||17.0%|
|Two or more races||–||–||4.8%||4.9%|
|Ancestry[fn 1]||2013 population||Margin of error (+/-)|
|Arab other[fn 2]||48,890||2,692|
|Cape Verdean[fn 4]||2,549||532|
|Sierra Leonean[fn 4]||537||223|
|South African[fn 4]||10,095||917|
|Other Subsaharan African[fn 4]||7,549||1,148|
|West Indian[fn 5]||79,125||727|
|British West Indian[fn 6]||1,858||485|
|Dutch West Indian[fn 6]||1,960||329|
|Trinidadian and Tobagonian[fn 6]||5,357||716|
|U.S. Virgin Islander[fn 6]||756||288|
|West Indian[fn 6]||9,221||1,247|
|Other West Indian[fn 6]||276||124|
|footnotes = |
|Ancestry||2010 Population||Percentage of Total Population|
|White, not Hispanic or Latino||15,763,625||42.3%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||14,013,719||37.6%|
|Chinese (except Taiwanese)||1,349,111||3.6%|
|Black or African American||2,683,914||7.2%|
|Multiracial (two or more races)||1,815,384||4.8%|
|American Indian and Alaska Native||723,225||1.9%|
|Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander||286,145||0.7%|
|Guamanian or Chamorro||44,425||0.1%|
(as of 2016)