California map showing Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County is a county located on the Pacific coast of California, just south of the San Francisco Bay Area. Its southern coast forms the north coast of Monterey Bay. As of 2000 its population is 255,602. The county seat is Santa Cruz.


Santa Cruz County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood.

In the original act, the county was given the name of Branciforte, after the Spanish pueblo founded there in 1797. Less than two months later, the name was changed to Santa Cruz. Mission Santa Cruz, established in 1791 and completed in 1794, was destroyed by earthquake in 1857, but a smaller-scale replica was erected in 1931. Santa Cruz signifies "holy cross."

Geography Edit

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,573 km² (607 mi²). 1,153 km² (445 mi²) of it is land and 419 km² (162 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 26.67% water. Of California's counties, only San Francisco is physically smaller.

Lying in a narrow strip, about ten miles wide, between the coast and the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, a mountainous terrain typifies most of the county, with some coastal lowlands. Most of the coastline is flanked by cliffs.

Demographics Edit

As of the census of 2000, there are 255,602 people, 91,139 households, and 57,144 families residing in the county. The population density is 222/km² (574/mi²). There are 98,873 housing units at an average density of 86/km² (222/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 75.09% White, 0.97% Black or African American, 0.96% Native American, 3.44% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 15.02% from other races, and 4.37% from two or more races. 26.79% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 91,139 households out of which 31.90% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.00% are married couples living together, 10.20% have a female householder with no husband present, and 37.30% are non-families. 25.10% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.20% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.71 and the average family size is 3.25.

In the county the population is spread out with 23.80% under the age of 18, 11.90% from 18 to 24, 30.80% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 10.00% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 99.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 97.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $53,998, and the median income for a family is $61,941. Males have a median income of $46,291 versus $33,514 for females. The per capita income for the county is $26,396. 11.90% of the population and 6.70% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 12.50% of those under the age of 18 and 6.30% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Transportation Edit

Santa Cruz County is served by by the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District bus system and AMTRAK bus and rail service to San Jose, California.

The county has one public use general aviation airport as shown in the list of Santa Cruz airports. The nearest airports for commercial travel include San Jose International Airport, Monterey Peninsula Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and Oakland International Airport.


See: List of Birds of Santa Cruz County, California

Cities and towns Edit

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