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Alameda County, California
Location within the state of California
California's location within the United States
|Region||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Incorporated||March 25, 1853|
|Named for||Rancho Arroyo de la Alameda (also see Alameda Creek)|
|• Body||Alameda County Board of Supervisors|
|• Total||821 sq mi (2,130 km2)|
|• Land||739 sq mi (1,910 km2)|
|• Water||82 sq mi (210 km2)|
|Highest elevation||3,843 ft (1,171 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,800/sq mi (710/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific Time Zone)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (Pacific Daylight Time)|
|Area codes||510, 925|
Alameda County (// AL-ə-MEE-də) is a county in the state of California in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,510,271, making it the 7th-most populous county in the state. The county seat is Oakland. Alameda County is included in the San Francisco Bay Area, occupying much of the East Bay region.
The Spanish word alameda means either, "...a grove of poplars,...or a tree lined street" a name originally used to describe the Arroyo de la Alameda. The willow and sycamore trees along the banks of the river reminded the early Spanish explorers of a road lined with trees. Although a strict translation to English might be "Poplar Grove Creek", the name of the principal stream that flows through the county is now simply "Alameda Creek."
Alameda County is included in the San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.
The county seat at the time of the county's formation was located at Alvarado, now part of Union City. In 1856, it was moved to San Leandro, where the county courthouse was destroyed by the devastating 1868 quake on the Hayward Fault. The county seat was then re-established in the town of Brooklyn from 1872-1875. Brooklyn is now part of Oakland, which has been the county seat since 1873.
Much of what is now considered an intensively urban region, with major cities, was developed as a trolley car suburb of San Francisco in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The historical progression from Native American tribal lands to Spanish, then Mexican ranches, then to farms, ranches, and orchards, then to multiple city centers and suburbs, is shared with the adjacent and closely associated Contra Costa County.
The annual county fair is held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. The fair runs for three weekends from June to July. Attractions include horse racing, carnival rides, 4-H exhibits, and live bands.
The San Francisco Bay borders the county on the west, and the City and County of San Francisco, California, has a small land border with the city of Alameda due to land filling. The crest of the Berkeley Hills form part of the northeastern boundary and reach into the center of the county. A coastal plain several miles wide lines the bay; and is Oakland's most populous region. Livermore Valley lies in the eastern part of the county. Amador Valley abuts the western edge of Livermore Valley and continues west to the Pleasanton Ridge.
The Hayward Fault, a major branch of the San Andreas Fault to the west, runs through the most populated parts of Alameda County, while the Calaveras Fault runs through the southeastern part of the county.
A 2014 analysis by The Atlantic found Alameda County to be the fourth most racially diverse county in the United States—behind Aleutians West Census Area and Aleutians East Borough in Alaska, and Queens County in New York—as well as the most diverse county in California.
|Population, race, and income|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||332,103||22.2%|
|Black or African American||186,326||12.5%|
|Some other race||131,958||8.8%|
|Two or more races||75,411||5.0%|
|Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander||12,191||0.8%|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||7,102||0.5%|
|Per capita income||$34,937|
|Median household income||$70,821|
|Median family income||$87,012|
|Places by population and race|
|Asian||Black or African
|Hispanic or Latino|
(of any race)
|Places by population and income|
|Place||Type||Population||Per capita income||Median household income||Median family income|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Alameda County had a population of 1,510,271. The population density was 2,047.6 people per square mile (790.6/km²). The racial makeup of Alameda County was 649,122 (43.0%) White, 190,451 (12.6%) African American, 9,799 (0.6%) Native American, 394,560 (26.1%) Asian (9.7% Chinese, 5.5% Filipino, 4.8% Indian, 2.0% Vietnamese, 1.2% Korean, 0.8% Japanese, 2.2% Other Asian), 12,802 (0.8%) Pacific Islander, 162,540 (10.8%) from other races, and 90,997 (6.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 339,889 persons (22.5%): 16.4% Mexican, 0.8% Puerto Rican, 0.2% Cuban, 5.1% Other Hispanic.
|Population reported at 2010 United States Census|
(of any race)
(of any race)
(of any race)
(of any race)
|All others not CDPs (combined)||8,857||5,579||676||48||712||85||1,308||449||2,737|
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,443,741 people, 523,366 households, out of which 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living within them, 47.0% married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.31.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.6% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 96.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $55,946, and the median income for a family was $65,857 (these figures had risen to $66,430 and $81,341 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $47,425 versus $36,921 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,680. About 7.7% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.5% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.
In 2000, the largest denominational group was the Catholics (with 306,437 adherents) . The largest religious bodies were the Catholic Church (with 306,437 members) and Judaism (with 32,500 members).
The Government of Alameda County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution, California law, and the Charter of the County of Alameda. Much of the Government of California is in practice the responsibility of county governments such as the Government of Alameda County, while municipalities such as the city of Oakland and the city of Berkeley provide additional, often non-essential services. The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, and public health. In addition it is the local government for all unincorporated areas, and provides services such as law enforcement to some incorporated cities under a contract arrangement.
It is composed of the elected five-member Alameda County Board of Supervisors (BOS) as the county legislature, several other elected offices and officers including the Sheriff, the District Attorney, Assessor, Auditor-Controller/County Clerk/Recorder, and Treasurer/Tax Collector, and numerous county departments and entities under the supervision of the County Administrator. In addition, several entities of the government of California have jurisdiction conterminous with Alameda County, such as the Alameda County Superior Court.
The current supervisors are:
The Board elects a president who presides at all meetings of the Board and appoints committees to handle work involving the major programs of the county. If the president is absent for a meeting, the vice president shall be responsible. A Board election occurs every two years for these positions. Supervisor Miley is serving currently as president; Supervisor Carson is vice president.
The county's law enforcement is overseen by an elected Sheriff/Coroner and an elected District Attorney. The Sheriff supervises the deputies of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, whose primary responsibilities include policing unincorporated areas of the county and cities within the county which contract with the Sheriff's Office for police services; providing security and law enforcement for county buildings including courthouses, the county jail and other county properties; providing support resources, such as a forensics laboratory and search and rescue capabilities, to other law enforcement agencies throughout the county; and serving the process of the county's Superior Court system. The District Attorney's office is responsible for prosecuting all criminal violations of the laws of the state of California, the county, or its constituent municipalities, in the Alameda County Superior Court. The current Sheriff is Gregory J. Ahern, who was elected in 2006, succeeding Charles Plummer, who had served in the post for 20 years. The Interim District Attorney is Nancy E. O'Malley, who was appointed to fill the position of retiring District Attorney Tom Orloff in September 2009. The Sheriff's Office operates two jails: Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, and Glenn E. Dyer Detention Facility in downtown Oakland.
The Alameda County Fire Department (ACFD) was formed on July 1, 1993, as a dependent district, with the Board of Supervisors as its governing body. Municipal and specialized fire departments have been consolidated into the ACFD over the years. 1993 brought in the Castro Valley and Eden Consolidated FD, and the County Fire Patrol. San Leandro joined in 1995, Dublin in 1997, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2002, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2007, The Alameda County Regional Emergency Communications Center in 2008, and Newark and Union City in 2010. Emeryville joined the ACFD in 2012.
The Alameda County Water District is a special district within Alameda County created to distribute water, but it is not operated by Alameda County administrators. It is operated by an elected board of directors.
Alameda County Superior Court operates in twelve separate locations throughout the county, with its central René C. Davidson Courthouse located in Oakland near Lake Merritt. Most major criminal trials and complex civil cases are heard at this location or in courtrooms within the County Administration Building across the street.
In the California State Assembly, Alameda County is split between five districts:
In the California State Senate, the county is split between three districts:
In the United States House of Representatives, the county is split between three districts:
Since 1932, Alameda County has been a stronghold of the Democratic Party, with Dwight Eisenhower being the only Republican presidential nominee to have carried the county since. Prior to 1932, the county had been a Republican stronghold. It should be noted that Piedmont resident William F. Knowland was the Republican U.S. Senate Leader from 1953 to 1959. Even when Ronald Reagan won the national popular vote by an 18.3% margin in 1984, Walter Mondale won Alameda County by a slightly larger margin. In 2004 it voted for John Kerry by a margin of over 75%. Every city and town voted Democratic.
The California Secretary of State, as of February 2019, reports that there are 883,942 registered voters in Alameda County. 489,759 (55.4%) are registered Democrats, 95,587 (10.8%) are registered Republicans, 36,649 (4.1%) are registered to minor political parties, and 261,947 (29.6%) declined to answer. Every city, town, and unincorporated area in Alameda County has more registered Democrats than Republicans.
On November 4, 2008 Alameda County voted 61.92% against Proposition 8, which won statewide, and which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The county garnered the sixth highest "no" vote, by percentage, of all California counties, and was the second largest county, by total voter turnout, to vote against it.
|Population and registered voters|
|Registered voters[note 3]||816,942||54.6%|
|Peace and Freedom||2,876||0.4%|
|No party preference||158,958||19.5%|
|Cities by population and voter registration|
|Democratic||Republican||D–R spread||Other||No party preference|
The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.
|Population and crime rates|
|Motor vehicle theft||12,768||8.54|
|Cities by population and crime rates|
|City||Population||Violent crimes||Violent crime rate
per 1,000 persons
|Property crimes||Property crime rate|
per 1,000 persons
The Alameda County Office of Education oversees seventeen K–12 school districts and one K–8 district in Alameda County. In all, there are approximately 10,000 teachers serving 225,000 students. The ACOE also services three community college districts with a total enrollment of approximately 55,000 students.
The Alameda County Library operates libraries in the cities of Albany, Dublin, Fremont, Newark and Union City and the unincorporated communities of Castro Valley and San Lorenzo. The cities of Alameda, Berkeley, Hayward, Livermore, Oakland, San Leandro, and Pleasanton have their own library systems.
Alameda County is home to the University of California, Berkeley, the flagship campus of the University of California system, and one of the largest and most prestigious research universities in the world.
Other colleges and universities located within Alameda county include:
The Alameda County Arts Commission, a division of the county administration, under the California Arts Council, was created in 1965. Its fifteen appointed members act in an advisory capacity to the board of supervisors, in promoting the arts. The Oakland Museum of California has a substantial collection of California art works and historical artifacts.
The following sports teams play in Alameda County:
|California Golden Bears||NCAA||1868||NCAA: Pac-12||California Memorial Stadium (Football), Haas Pavilion (Basketball), Evans Diamond (Baseball)|
|Oakland Athletics||Baseball||1901 (in Oakland since 1968)||Major League Baseball: American League||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum|
|Oakland Raiders||American Football||1960 (in Los Angeles from 1982–1994)||National Football League: American Conference. AFC West||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum|
|Golden State Warriors||Basketball||1946 (In Oakland since 1971)||National Basketball Association: Western Conference.||Oracle Arena|
|East Bay FC Stompers||Soccer||2012 (in San Francisco from 2012-2015)||National Premier Soccer League: Golden Gate Conference||Pioneer Stadium|
There are more than 350 parks located within the county. The East Bay Regional Park District operates within Alameda and neighboring Contra Costa County, with numerous parks within the county, including Tilden Regional Park, Redwood Regional Park, Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Coyote Hills Regional Park, Ardenwood Historic Farm, Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park and Vargas Plateau Regional Park. Eastshore State Park is located partially along the bay shore of northern Alameda County. The San Francisco Bay Trail, a project of the Association of Bay Area Governments, will run along the bay shore of the county. The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District is the largest special park district in California.
The county operates hospitals and primary care clinics, through the Alameda County Medical Center. The Alameda County Community Food Bank nonprofit provides food bank resources to residents. The Family Emergency Shelter Coalition coordinates services for homeless families.
Alameda County has eight National Historic Landmarks: The Abbey, Joaquin Miller House, First Church of Christ, Scientist, USS Hornet (CVS-12) (aircraft carrier), Lake Merritt Wild Duck Refuge, Lightship WAL-605, Relief, Paramount Theatre, Potomac (Presidential yacht), and Room 307, Gilman Hall, University of California. The county has a large number of National Historic Places, as well as a number of California Historical Landmarks.
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Alameda County.|