Upstate California is the name of a marketing campaign which seeks to promote business in the northernmost 20 counties of California. Roughly the upper half of Northern California, the "upstate" designation encompasses primarily rural areas which contain 4.5% of California's population.
The northernmost counties of California have had longstanding concerns about under-representation in California's government. Partition and secessionist movements have occasionally arisen in the region; part of many proposals to split California into two or three states. A 1941 movement to combine the northernmost counties of California and southernmost counties of Oregon into the State of Jefferson fell apart after the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor and the US entry into World War II. In the early 1990s, California State Assemblyman Stan Statham led an unsuccessful effort to split the northern counties into a new state.
The term "Upstate California" was coined by Robert Berry, a marketing development specialist hired by a group of the northernmost counties of California. The name "Upstate California" was intended to draw upon the popular recognition of Upstate New York as a distinct region. The Upstate California campaign did not want to partition California to create a separate state or geopolitical entity. Instead the group wanted to encourage business investment in California's sparsely populated northernmost counties which were felt to be too often ignored within the Northern California designation—the population centers of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento metropolitan area received the most attention. The Upstate California promotional campaign officially began on September 10, 2001.
- "Upstate California". Upstate California Economic Development Council. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
- "Upstate, downstate: The "Upstate California" campaign is déjà vu all over again for Stan Statham"". Sacramento News & Review. 2002-01-03. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
- "It's the New Upstate, Way Out There". New York Times. 2001-10-20. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
- Levy, Dan (2001-09-07). "Region reinvented: The state's northernmost counties take on a new image to boost business". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
- Upstate California, a regional economic development marketing group