Stanislaus County, California

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Stanislaus County, California
County of Stanislaus
Modesto Arch.JPG
KnightsFerryGS.jpg TuolomneRiverWaterfordCA.jpg
Images, from top down, left to right: Modesto Arch, Knights Ferry's General Store, a view of the Tuolumne River from Waterford
Official seal of Stanislaus County, California
Motto: "Striving to be the best!"
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
California's location in the United States
Country  United States
State  California
Region San Joaquin Valley
Incorporated April 1, 1854[1]
Named for Estanislao
County seat Modesto
Largest city Modesto (population and area)
 • Total 1,515 sq mi (3,920 km2)
 • Land 1,495 sq mi (3,870 km2)
 • Water 20 sq mi (50 km2)
Highest elevation[2] 3,807 ft (1,160 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)[3]
 • Total 514,453
 • Estimate (2014)[3] 531,997
 • Density 340/sq mi (130/km2)
Time zone Pacific Time Zone (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)
Area code 209
FIPS code 06-099
GNIS feature ID 277314

Stanislaus County (/ˈstænslɔːs/ or /ˈstænslɔː/)[4] is a county located in the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 514,453.[3] The county seat is Modesto.[5]

Stanislaus County comprises the Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The first European to see it was Gabriel Moraga in 1806. It was later named Rio Estanislao in honor of Estanislao, a mission-educated renegade Native American chief who led a band of Native Americans in a series of battles against Mexican troops until finally being defeated by General Mariano Vallejo in 1826. Estanislao was his baptismal name, the Spanish version of Stanislaus (Polish: Stanisław), itself the Latin version of the name of an 11th-century Polish Catholic Saint Stanislaus the Martyr.

Between 1843 and 1846, when California was a province of independent Mexico, five Mexican land grants totaling 113,135 acres (458 km2; 177 sq mi) were granted in Stanislaus County. Rancho Orestimba y Las Garzas, Rancho Pescadero and Rancho Del Puerto were located on the west side of the San Joaquin River, and Rancho Del Rio Estanislao and Rancho Thompson on the north side of the Stanislaus River. Additionally, in 1844 Salomon Pico received a Mexican land grant of 58,000 acres (235 km2; 91 sq mi) in the San Joaquin Valley, somewhere near the Stanislaus River and the San Joaquin River in what is now Stanislaus County. However, the grant was never confirmed by the Land Commission.[6]

Stanislaus County was formed from part of Tuolumne County in 1854. The county seat was first situated at Adamsville, then moved to Empire in November, La Grange in December, and Knights Ferry in 1862, and was definitely fixed at the present location in Modesto in 1871.

As the price of housing has increased in the San Francisco Bay Area, many people who work in the southern reaches of the Bay Area have opted for the longer commute and moved to Stanislaus County for the relatively affordable housing.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,515 square miles (3,920 km2), of which 1,495 square miles (3,870 km2) is land and 20 square miles (52 km2) (1.3%) is water.[7]

Stanislaus County has historically been divided socially and economically by the north-flowing San Joaquin River, which provided a natural barrier to trade and travel for much of the county's history. Isolated from the main rail corridors through the county and the irrigation projects that generated much of the region's economic prosperity, the part of Stanislaus County west of the river (known to locals as the "West Side" of the county) has largely remained rural and economically dependent on agricultural activities. Because of its proximity to Interstate 5 and the California Aqueduct some towns within this area, including Patterson and Newman, have experienced tremendous growth and are being transformed into bedroom communities for commuters from the nearby San Francisco Bay Area, while others (including Westley and Crows Landing) have been almost entirely overlooked by development and remain tiny farming communities.

Flora and fauna[edit]

There are a number or rare and endangered species found in Stanislaus County. The Beaked Clarkia, (Clarkia rostrata), is listed as a candidate for the Federal Endangered Species List. It has only been found in blue oak-gray pine associations in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, a habitat which occurs at moderately high elevations. Colusa Grass, (Neostapfsia colusana) is listed as endangered by the State. It is restricted to vernal pools. (Torrey, 1989)

National protected area[edit]


Major highways[edit]

Public transportation[edit]


Modesto City-County Airport has a number of scheduled passenger flights. Other (general aviation) airports around the county include Oakdale Airport, Patterson Airport, and Turlock Airpark.


The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.

Cities by population and crime rates[edit]



Places by population, race, and income[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 2,245
1870 6,499 189.5%
1880 8,751 34.7%
1890 10,040 14.7%
1900 9,550 −4.9%
1910 22,522 135.8%
1920 43,557 93.4%
1930 56,641 30.0%
1940 74,866 32.2%
1950 127,231 69.9%
1960 157,294 23.6%
1970 194,506 23.7%
1980 265,900 36.7%
1990 370,522 39.3%
2000 446,997 20.6%
2010 514,453 15.1%
Est. 2014 531,997 [17] 3.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]
1790-1960[19] 1900-1990[20]
1990-2000[21] 2010-2014[3]

The 2010 United States Census reported that Stanislaus County had a population of 514,453. The racial makeup of Stanislaus County was 337,342 (65.6%) White, 14,721 (2.9%) African American, 5,902 (1.1%) Native American, 26,090 (5.1%) Asian (1.5% Indian, 1.1% Filipino, 0.7% Cambodian, 0.5% Chinese, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.3% Laotian, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Cambodian), 3,401 (0.7%) Pacific Islander, 99,210 (19.3%) from other races, and 27,787 (5.4%) from two or more races; Hispanic or Latino of any race were 215,658 persons (41.9%); 37.6% of Stanislaus County is Mexican, 0.6% Puerto Rican, 0.5% Salvadoran, 0.2% Nicaraguan, and 0.2% Guatemalan.[22]

(Note - the US Census Bureau says "Hispanics may be of any race, so also are included in applicable race categories", which means Hispanics are counted twice; once in whatever race they report, once as Hispanic. That in turn means the numbers will add up to be 215,658 (the number of Hispanics) higher than the 514,453 total population.)


As of the census[23] of 2000, there were 446,997 people, 145,146 households, and 109,585 families residing in the county. The population density was 299 people per square mile (116/km²). There were 150,807 housing units at an average density of 101 per square mile (39/km²). The racial/ethnic makeup of the county was 69.3% White, 2.6% Black, 4.2% Asian, 1.3% Native American, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 16.8% from other races, and 5.4% from two or more races. 31.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 8.4% were of German, 6.3% English, 6.0% American, 5.5% Irish, and 5.1% Portuguese ancestry according to Census 2000. 67.8% spoke English, 23.7% Spanish, 1.5% Syriac, and 1.3% Portuguese as their first language.

There were 145,146 households out of which 41.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.0% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 19.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.03 and the average family size was 3.47.

In the county the population was spread out with 31.1% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.4 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,101, and the median income for a family was $44,703. Males had a median income of $36,969 versus $26,595 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,913. About 12.3% of families and 16.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.

Metropolitan Statistical Area[edit]

The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Stanislaus County as the Modesto, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area.[24] The United States Census Bureau ranked the Modesto, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area as the 103rd most populous metropolitan statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012.[25]

The Office of Management and Budget has further designated the Modesto, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area as a component of the more extensive Modesto-Merced, CA Combined Statistical Area,[24] the 62nd most populous combined statistical area and the 71st most populous primary statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012.[25][26]

As more cities in the county are becoming exurbs of the San Francisco Bay Area, urban planner and academic Wendell Cox wrote that the Office of Management and Budget could add Stanislaus County to the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area in the future.[27]

Government and politics[edit]


The Government of Stanislaus County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution and law as a general law county. The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. In addition the County serves as the local government for all unincorporated areas.

The County government is composed of the elected five-member Board of Supervisors, several other elected offices including the Sheriff-Coroner, District Attorney, Assessor, Auditor-Controller, Treasurer-Tax Collector, and Clerk-Recorder, and numerous county departments and entities under the supervision of the Chief Executive Officer. As of January 2013 the members of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors were:

  • William O’Brien, District 1
  • Vito Chiesa, District 2, Chairman
  • Terry Withrow, District 3
  • Dick Monteith, District 4
  • Jim DeMartini, District 5, Vice-Chairman


Voter registration statistics[edit]

Cities by population and voter registration[edit]


Stanislaus County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2012 47.4% 73,459 50.2% 77,724 2.4% 3,462
2008 48.2% 77,497 49.9% 80,279 2.3% 3,736
2004 58.7% 85,407 40.4% 58,829 1.0% 1,388
2000 52.4% 67,188 44.0% 56,448 3.6% 4,631
1996 44.8% 52,403 45.9% 53,738 9.3% 10,866
1992 36.9% 47,275 41.0% 52,415 22.1% 28,315
1988 53.1% 51,648 45.9% 44,685 1.0% 982
1984 59.2% 55,665 39.9% 37,459 0.9% 861
1980 49.4% 41,595 40.0% 33,683 10.6% 8,908
1976 44.8% 32,937 52.3% 38,448 2.8% 2,080
1972 51.4% 39,521 45.5% 35,005 3.1% 2,341
1968 45.5% 29,573 48.1% 31,316 6.4% 4,174
1964 33.7% 21,973 66.1% 43,078 0.1% 77
1960 49.6% 30,213 49.8% 30,302 0.6% 375
1956 48.6% 26,695 51.1% 28,040 0.4% 192
1952 55.6% 29,270 43.4% 22,837 1.1% 570
1948 48.4% 18,564 47.8% 18,350 3.8% 1,457
1944 47.2% 14,297 51.3% 15,537 1.4% 437
1940 46.6% 14,803 52.0% 16,494 1.4% 449
1936 35.4% 8,613 63.1% 15,341 1.4% 348
1932 36.2% 7,614 58.6% 12,336 5.2% 1,092
1928 67.1% 10,753 31.6% 5,063 1.3% 203
1924 56.9% 7,569 9.6% 1,274 33.6% 4,469
1920 61.6% 7,038 26.7% 3,055 11.6% 1,330

Stanislaus is a generally Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. In 2012, however, Barack Obama won the county with 50.2 percent of the vote. Prior to Obama's victory, the last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Jimmy Carter in 1976, although Barack Obama won a plurality in 2008, as did Bill Clinton in both 1992 and 1996. Just like the neighbouring Merced County, Stanislaus is considered a bellwether county. It has voted for the winning candidate for president in every election since 1972.

In the United States House of Representatives, Stanislaus County is in California's 10th congressional district, represented by Republican Jeff Denham.[29]

In the California State Senate, Stanislaus is split between 3 legislative districts:[30]

In the California State Assembly, Stanislaus is split between the 12th Assembly District, represented by Republican Kristin Olsen, and the 21st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Adam Gray.[31]

On November 4, 2008 Stanislaus County voted 67.9% for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.


Agriculture is Stanislaus County's number one industry, with wine grapes being the primary agricultural product.[citation needed]


The California State University, Stanislaus is a campus in the California State University located in Turlock.

The Yosemite Community College District covers a 4,500 square mile area and serves a population over 550,000 encompassing all of two counties (Stanislaus and Tuolumne) and parts of 4 others (Calaveras, Merced, San Joaquin and Santa Clara). It is composed of 2 colleges: Modesto Junior College in Modesto and Columbia College in Sonora in Tuolumne County to the northeast.

There is also a Kaplan College campus in Modesto, an ITT Technical Institute campus in Lathrop in San Joaquin County to the northeast, and a San Joaquin Valley College campus in Modesto.


  • The Modesto Press is the local online news site for Modesto and the surrounding areas of the Central Valley.
  • The Modesto Bee is a Modesto-based daily newspaper.


Incorporated cities[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Other unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Only larceny-theft cases involving property over $400 in value are reported as property crimes.
  2. ^ Other = Some other race + Two or more races
  3. ^ Native American = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander + American Indian or Alaska Native
  4. ^ a b Percentage of registered voters with respect to total population. Percentages of party members with respect to registered voters follow.


  1. ^ "Stanislaus County". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Mount Stakes". Retrieved February 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d "American Fact Finder - Results". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  4. ^ Proper Way To Say Stanislaus
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  6. ^ Land Commission records, BANC MSS Land Case Files 245 NDL and Case 245 ND Eleven Leagues, San Joaquín and Estanislao Rivers (also called "Land, Tuolumne") (Stanislaus County). Claimant: James L. Ord, Grantee: Soloman Pico, Associated Case Numbers: Docket 632, 245 ND, Associated Maps: None, Coordinates: Unknown, Rancho Name: None
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B02001. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Office of the Attorney General, Department of Justice, State of California. Table 11: Crimes – 2009. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  10. ^ a b c United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, 2012, Table 8 (California). Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  11. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B03003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  12. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19301. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  13. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19013. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  14. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19113. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  15. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  16. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B01003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  17. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  22. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau. 
  23. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  24. ^ a b "OMB Bulletin No. 13-01: Revised Delineations of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and Combined Statistical Areas, and Guidance on Uses of the Delineations of These Areas" (PDF). United States Office of Management and Budget. February 28, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012" (CSV). 2012 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Table 2. Annual Estimates of the Population of Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012" (CSV). 2012 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  27. ^ Cox, Wendall (February 5, 2014). "The Evolving Urban Form: The San Francisco Bay Area". Retrieved July 30, 2014. Indeed, it is not impossible that Modesto (Stanislaus County) could be added to the San Francisco Bay CSA by 2020 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q California Secretary of State. February 10, 2013 - Report of Registration. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  29. ^ "California's 10th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Communities of Interest — County". California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Communities of Interest — County". California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • John T. Bramhall, The Story of Stanislaus. Modesto, CA: Modesto Herald, 1914.
  • Sol P. Elias, Stories of Stanislaus: A Collection of Stories on the History and Achievement of Stanislaus County. Modesto, CA: Sol P. Elias, 1924.
  • John Torrey, Paul Awosika et al., Expanded initial study, Boulder Creek subdivision, Stanislaus County, Earth Metrics, Report 7999: California State Clearinghouse, Sacramento, November, 1989.
  • A Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Merced, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa, California. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1892.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°34′N 120°59′W / 37.56°N 120.99°W / 37.56; -120.99