Santa Clara County, California
|County of Santa Clara|
|— County —|
|Region/Metro Area||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Incorporated||February 18, 1850|
|Named for||Mission Santa Clara de Asís
St. Clare of Assisi
|County seat||San Jose|
|Largest City||San Jose|
|• Total||1,304.01 sq mi (3,377.4 km2)|
|• Land||1,290.69 sq mi (3,342.9 km2)|
|• Water||13.325 sq mi (34.51 km2)|
|• Density||1,400/sq mi ( 530/km2)|
|Time zone||Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)|
|Area code(s)||408, 669, 650|
Santa Clara County is a county located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. state of California. As of 2010 it had a population of 1,781,642. The county seat is San Jose. The highly urbanized Santa Clara Valley within Santa Clara County is also known as Silicon Valley. Santa Clara is the most populous county in the Bay Area region, and one of the most affluent counties in the United States.
Santa Clara County was one of the original counties of California, formed in 1850 at the time of statehood. The original inhabitants included the Ohlone, residing on Coyote Creek and Calaveras Creek. Part of the county's territory was given to Alameda County in 1853.
In 1882, Santa Clara County tried to levy taxes upon property of the Southern Pacific Railroad within county boundaries. The result was the U.S. Supreme Court case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394 (1886), in which the Court extended Due Process rights to artificial legal entities.
Once promoted as the "Valley of the Heart's Delight", after two centuries of an agricultural economy started by the Spanish missionaries, the focus has shifted to technology. This trend is not new. Hewlett Packard was founded in 1939, and IBM selected San Jose as its West Coast headquarters in 1943. Varian Associates, Fairchild Semiconductor, and other early innovators, were located in the county by the late 1940s and 1950s. The U.S. Navy had a large presence in the area and began giving large contracts to Silicon Valley electronics companies. The term "Silicon Valley" was coined in 1971. The trend accelerated in the 1980s and 1990s, as agriculture has been nearly eliminated from the northern part of the county. Today, Santa Clara County is the headquarters for such companies as AMD, Apple, Cisco Systems, eBay, Facebook, Google, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Sun Microsystems, Yahoo, and many others. The valley is currently home to approximately 6500 high technology companies. Most of Silicon Valley's (Santa Clara Valley) high tech companies are located within the county, with some adjoining tech regions in San Mateo, Alameda, and Santa Cruz counties also being considered Silicon Valley.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 1,304.01 square miles (3,377.4 km2), of which 1,290.69 square miles (3,342.9 km2) (or 98.98%) is land and 13.32 square miles (34.5 km2) (or 1.02%) is water.
Cities, towns, and neighborhoods 
Incorporated cities and towns 
There are 15 incorporated cities and towns in the county:
- San Jose, which includes all or portions of the former cities/communities of:
- Los Altos
- Los Altos Hills
- Los Gatos
- Monte Sereno
- Morgan Hill
- Mountain View
- Palo Alto
- Santa Clara
Unincorporated communities 
- Alum Rock
- Cambrian Park
- East Foothills
- Lexington Hills
- Loyola also known as Loyola Corners
- San Martin
Other unincorporated communities 
- Bell Station, also known as Bell's Station and Hollenbeck's Station.
- Casa Loma, also known as Loma Chiquita, part of Llagas-Uvas CDP
- Chemeketa Park, part of Lexington Hills CDP
- Coyote, also known as Burnett c. 1860–1882
- Madrone, now part of Morgan Hill
- Redwood Estates, part of Lexington Hills CDP
- San Antonio, also known as Deforest c. 1892–1924
- Sveadal, part of Llagas-Uvas CDP
Former townships 
- Almaden Township: Present-day Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park and portions of Campbell and Los Gatos.
- Alviso Township: Present-day Alviso.
- Burnett Township: Present-day Coyote, Santa Teresa and Morgan Hill.
- Fremont Township: Present-day Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and part of Cupertino.
- Gilroy Township: Present-day Gilroy and San Martin.
- Milpitas Township: Present-day Milpitas.
- Redwood Township: Present-day Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Redwood Estates and portions of Cupertino and Campbell.
- San Jose Township: Most of present-day San Jose.
- Santa Clara Township: Present-day Santa Clara and portions of San Jose, Cupertino and Campbell.
Adjacent counties 
- San Benito County, California—south
- Santa Cruz County, California—south, southwest
- San Mateo County, California—northwest
- Alameda County, California—north
- Stanislaus County, California—east
- Merced County, California—southeast
||San Mateo County||Alameda County|
|Santa Cruz County||San Benito County and Santa Cruz County||Merced County|
National protected area 
Transportation infrastructure 
Freeways and expressways 
The county has an extensive freeway system and a separate expressway system. Expressways in California are distinct from freeways; although access to adjoining properties is eliminated, at-grade intersections are allowed. However, unlike expressways virtually everywhere else in California, the Santa Clara County expressways were built, signed, and maintained as county roads; they are not maintained by Caltrans, although they are patrolled by the California Highway Patrol.
There is also a large street network dominated by four- and six-lane arterials. Some of the newer boulevards (primarily in the West Valley) are divided with landscaped medians.
Major highways 
County routes 
Other roads 
Mass transit 
Santa Clara County has consolidated its transportation services into the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which operates a rapidly expanding light rail system and a large system of bus routes. It also manages certain county-funded highway and expressway projects.
County Bicycle Network 
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is establishing a bicycle network throughout the county. Santa Clara County Bicycle network is part of the San Francisco Bay Area, Regional Bikeway Network.
The county's main airport is Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC). It is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry. San Francisco International Airport, is also often used by residents of Santa Clara County. Moffett Federal Airfield (NUQ), a former U.S. Naval Air Station, is used by the Air National Guard, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Google, and by the San Jose Police and Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department as an air operations base. There are also smaller general aviation airports in Palo Alto (PAO), San Jose (RHV), and San Martin (E16).
The county has no commercial seaports, although small boats can access San Francisco Bay from several points. Like many other Bay Area counties, it is dependent upon the Port of Oakland for transport of ocean cargo.
The San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara metropolitan region, comprising much of Santa Clara County, was ranked as the highest performing metropolitan area in the US in 2012, ahead of Austin, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina, according to the Milken Institute.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Santa Clara County had a population of 1,781,642. The racial makeup of Santa Clara County was 836,616 (47.0%) White, 46,428 (2.6%) African American, 12,960 (0.7%) Native American, 570,524 (32.0%) Asian (8.6% Chinese, 7.1% Vietnamese, 6.6% Indian, 4.9% Filipino, 1.6% Korean, 1.4% Japanese, 1.9% Other Asian), 7,060 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 220,806 (12.4%) from other races, and 87,248 (4.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 479,210 persons (26.9%): 22.5% Mexican, 0.4% Puerto Rican, 0.1% Cuban, 3.8% Other Hispanic.
|Population reported at 2010 United States Census|
(of any race)
|Santa Clara County||1,781,642||836,616||46,428||12,960||570,524||7,060||220,806||87,248||479,210|
cities and towns
(of any race)
|Los Altos Hills||7,922||5,417||37||4||2,109||8||50||297||213|
(of any race)
(of any race)
|All others not CDPs (combined)||30,494||21,985||439||256||3,175||84||3,234||1,321||7,651|
As of the census of 2000, there are 1,682,585 people, 565,863 households, and 395,538 families residing in the county. The population density is 503/km² (1,304/mi²). There are 579,329 housing units at an average density of 173/km² (449/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 53.8% White, 2.8% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 25.6% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 12.1% from other races, and 4.7% from two or more races. 24.0% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 565,863 households out of which 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.9% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.1% were non-families. 21.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.41.
In the county the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 35.4% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 102.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $74,335, and the median income for a family was $81,717. Males had a median income of $56,240 versus $40,574 for females. The per capita income for the county was $32,795. About 4.9% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.4% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2011, Santa Clara County has the second-highest median household income of any county in California, the highest being Marin County.
Santa Clara County Library, is a public library system serving the communities and cities of Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, and all unincorporated areas of the county.
Government and politics 
|2012||27.2% 174,843||70.2% 450,817||2.5% 16,290|
|2008||28.6% 190,039||69.5% 462,241||1.8% 12,255|
|2004||34.6% 209,094||63.9% 386,100||1.4% 8,622|
|2000||34.4% 188,750||60.7% 332,490||4.9% 26,889|
|1996||32.2% 168,291||56.9% 297,639||11.0% 57,361|
|1992||28.4% 170,870||49.2% 296,265||22.4% 134,920|
|1988||47.0% 254,442||51.3% 277,810||1.7% 9,276|
|1984||54.8% 288,638||43.7% 229,865||1.5% 8,136|
|1980||48.0% 229,048||35.0% 166,995||17.0% 80,960|
|1976||49.5% 219,188||46.9% 208,023||3.6% 15,927|
|1972||51.9% 237,334||45.6% 208,506||2.5% 11,453|
|1968||45.6% 163,446||48.4% 173,511||6.0% 21,410|
|1964||36.6% 117,420||63.1% 202,249||0.3% 858|
|1960||52.7% 131,735||47.1% 117,667||0.3% 690|
|1956||59.1% 105,657||40.6% 72,528||0.4% 633|
|1952||59.7% 91,940||39.7% 61,035||0.6% 932|
|1948||53.3% 52,982||42.1% 41,905||4.6% 4,615|
|1944||47.0% 39,409||52.4% 43,869||0.6% 499|
|1940||49.2% 40,100||49.6% 40,449||1.2% 947|
|1936||40.4% 26,498||58.5% 38,346||1.1% 732|
|1932||47.5% 27,353||49.1% 28,272||3.3% 1,906|
|1928||63.8% 31,710||35.4% 17,589||0.8% 395|
|1924||58.0% 20,056||7.4% 2,560||34.6% 11,952|
|1920||68.1% 19,565||22.6% 6,485||9.1% 2,682|
|2010||34.9% 178,695||61.3% 314,022|
|2006||52.2% 225,132||42.9% 185,037|
|2003||39.2% 160,807||39.9% 163,768|
|2002||32.4% 116,862||55.3% 49,512|
|1998||31.7% 133,015||64.3% 270,105|
|1994||47.5% 212,075||47.5% 211,904|
|1990||42.6% 178,310||52.2% 218,843|
|1986||59.9% 227,285||37.6% 142,907|
|1982||44.0% 180,232||52.9% 216,781|
|1978||29.8% 110,444||61.4% 227,493|
|1974||46.7% 153,761||50.6% 166,760|
|1970||51.5% 172,562||46.1% 154,570|
|1966||55.4% 164,970||44.6% 132,793|
|1962||47.6% 112,700||51.2% 121,149|
Santa Clara County has five elected Supervisors, elected within their districts.
Since 1992, Santa Clara County has been a strongly Democratic county in presidential and congressional elections, although it was a bellwether state for much of the twentieth century. The last Republican to win a majority in the county was Ronald Reagan in 1984. As of November 2012, all of the cities, towns, and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County have more registered Democrats than Republicans. In the 2008 US Presidential Election, Democratic nominee Barack Obama carried every city and town in the county, as well as the unincorporated areas.
In the House of Representatives, Santa Clara County is split between California’s 17th, 18th, and 19th districts, represented by Mike Honda (D–San Jose), Anna Eshoo (D–Atherton), and Zoe Lofgren (D–San Jose), respectively.
In the State Assembly, all of the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th districts, as well as parts of the 20th, 21st, 27th, and 28th districts are in the county. The districts are all held by Democrats; in order of district number they are Bob Wieckowski, Rich Gordon, Paul Fong, Nora Campos, Jim Beall, Bill Monning, and Luis Alejo.
In the State Senate, all of the 13th as well as parts of the 10th, 11th, and 15th districts are in the county. The 10th, 11th, and 13th districts are held by Democrats, Ellen Corbett, Joe Simitian, and Elaine Alquist, respectively. The 15th is held by Republican Sam Blakeslee.
Following the passage of Proposition 8, Santa Clara County joined San Francisco and Los Angeles in a lawsuit, becoming, along with San Francisco and Los Angeles, the first governmental entities in the world to sue for same sex marriage. The county is among one of three counties in California to establish a separate department to deal with corrections pursuant to California Government Code §23013, the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections, along with Napa County and Madera County.
According to the California Secretary of State, as of October 22, 2012, Santa Clara County has 817,837 registered voters, out of 1,122,390 eligible (72.9%). Of those, 373,066 (45.6%) are registered Democrats, 178,554 (21.8%) are registered Republicans, and 236,758 (29.0%) have declined to state a political party. Democrats hold voter-registration advantages in all political subdivisions in Santa Clara County. The closest registration differential is in the city of Monte Sereno, in which Democrats only hold a 19-vote (0.77%) registration advantage. Democrats' largest registration advantage in Santa Clara is in the city of Palo Alto, wherein there are only 5,973 Republicans (15.6%) out of 38,313 total voters compared to 20,176 Democrats (52.7%) and 11,144 voters who have declined to state a political party (29.1%).
Santa Clara County has an extensive park system, much of it founded in the major park expansion of the late 1970s. Some of the parks within the county are:
Open space preserves include:
Ecology and Conservation 
In 1978, California Department of Fish and Game warden Henry Coletto urged the department to choose the Mount Hamilton area as one of California's relocation sites under a new statewide effort to restore tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes). While other ranchers refused, tech pioneers Bill Hewlett and David Packard allowed Coletto and state biologists to translocate 32 tule elk from the Owens Valley in the eastern Sierra onto the 28,000-acre San Felipe Ranch, which the families jointly own, in the hills east of Morgan Hill. From the three original 1978-1981 translocations to the Mount Hamilton region of the Diablo Range, there are multiple herds in different locations including the Isabel Valley, San Antonio Valley, Livermore area, San Felipe Ranch, Metcalf Canyon, Coyote Ridge, Anderson Reservoir, and surrounding areas. Currently an estimated 400 tule elk roam 1,875 square kilometres (724 sq mi) in northeastern Santa Clara County and southeastern Alameda County.
The Nature Conservancy "Mount Hamilton Project" has acquired or put under conservation easement 100,000 acres (400 km2) of land towards its 500,000 acres (2,000 km2) goal for habitat conservation within a 1,200,000 acres (4,900 km2) area encompassing much of eastern Santa Clara County as well as portions of southern Alameda County, western Merced and Stanislaus Counties, and northern San Benito County. Acquisitions to date include the 1,756-acre Rancho Cañada de Pala, straddling the Alameda Creek and Coyote Creek watersheds for California tiger salamander habitat; a conservation easement on the 3,259-acre Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, which abuts the north side of Joseph D. Grant County Park; a conservation easement on the 28,359-acre San Felipe Ranch, connecting Joseph D. Grant County Park with Henry W. Coe State Park; the 2,899-acre South Valley Ranch which protects a tule elk herd in the San Antonio Valley, and other properties.
Sister counties 
To promote friendship and understanding and to build bridges with countries of origin for various ethnic populations in the county, the County of Santa Clara has created a Sister County Commission to coordinate the program. As of 2009, there are three sister counties:
See also 
- Santa Clara Valley
- List of attractions in Silicon Valley
- Committee for Green Foothills
- Old Almaden Winery
- Santa Clara County expressway system
- List of school districts in Santa Clara County, California
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Santa Clara County, California
- "Chronology". California Counties. California State Association of Counties. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- "Automobiles: Good Roads". Sunset 32. 1914. p. 918.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- Verne Kopytoff (September 13, 2007). "Google founders pay NASA $1.3 million to land at Moffett Airfield". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
- "Santa Clara County economy ranked best performing", San Jose Mercury News, January 17, 2013
- "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau.
- http://www.bayareacensus.ca.gov "Demographic Profile Bay Area Census".
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Contact Us." Santa Clara County Library. Retrieved on March 27, 2010.
- "California's 19th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- "Herrera Joined by Los Angeles, Santa Clara Counterparts in Suing to Invalidate Prop 8". Office of the City Attorney of San Francisco. 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
- CA Secretary of State – Report of Registration – October 22, 2012
- "Restoration of tule elk - California success story". Billings Gazette. 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- Julie Phillips, Ryan Phillips, Neela Srinivasan, Deborah Aso, Wendy Lao, and Pat Cornely (2012). Safe Passage for the Coyote Valley - A Wildlife Linkage for the Highway 101 Corridor (Report). De Anza College. http://www.deanza.edu/es/wildlifecorrproj/Safe%20Passagelowres.pdf. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- "California: Mount Hamilton". The Nature Conservancy. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- Draft Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement for the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan (Report). County of Santa Clara, City of San José, City of Morgan Hill, City of Gilroy, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. 2010-12. http://www.scv-habitatplan.org/www/Portals/_default/images/default/Public%20Draft/EIR%20EIS/SCV-HCP_EIR-EIS_Draft_Dec2010.pdf. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- "Sister County Commissions (PRG)". The County of Santa Clara. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- Santa Clara Valley Water District - Drinking Water
- Santa Clara County official website
- Santa Clara County governmental committee agendas
- Santa Clara County Planning Office
- List of special districts in Santa Clara County (LAFCo)
- Santa Clara County Library
- Santa Clara County: California's Historic Silicon Valley, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary