Alameda County, California

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Alameda County, California
County of Alameda
René C. Davidson Courthouse, Alameda County Superior Court, Oakland in June 2009.


Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
Country United States of America
State California
Metropolitan areaSan Francisco Bay Area
IncorporatedMarch 25, 1853
County seatOakland
Largest cityOakland (population and area)
 • Total821.15 sq mi (2,126.8 km2)
 • Land737.57 sq mi (1,910.3 km2)
 • Water83.57 sq mi (216.4 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total1,510,271
 • Density2,047.6/sq mi (790.6/km2)
Time zonePacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)
Area code(s)510, 925
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Alameda County, California
County of Alameda
René C. Davidson Courthouse, Alameda County Superior Court, Oakland in June 2009.


Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
Country United States of America
State California
Metropolitan areaSan Francisco Bay Area
IncorporatedMarch 25, 1853
County seatOakland
Largest cityOakland (population and area)
 • Total821.15 sq mi (2,126.8 km2)
 • Land737.57 sq mi (1,910.3 km2)
 • Water83.57 sq mi (216.4 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total1,510,271
 • Density2,047.6/sq mi (790.6/km2)
Time zonePacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)
Area code(s)510, 925

Alameda County is a county in the United States of America state of California.[1] It occupies most of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.[1] As of the 2010 census it had a population of 1,510,271,[2] making it the 7th most populous county in the state.[3] The county's major cities include Oakland, which is its seat, Fremont, Berkeley, and Hayward.


The county was formed on March 25, 1853 from a large portion of Contra Costa County and a smaller portion of Santa Clara County.

The Spanish word alameda means "a place where poplar trees grow," a name originally given to the Arroyo de la Alameda (Poplar Grove Creek). The willow and sycamore trees along the banks of the river reminded the early explorers of a road lined with trees, also known as an alameda.[citation needed]

The county seat at the time it was formed was located at Alvarado; it was moved to San Leandro in 1856 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 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 3 weekends from June to July. Attractions include horse racing, carnival rides, 4-H exhibits, and live bands.


View of downtown Oakland looking west across Lake Merritt.
View of Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay at nightfall.
The reconstructed mission at Mission San José (located in Fremont).

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 821.15 square miles (2,126.8 km2), of which 737.57 square miles (1,910.3 km2) (or 89.82%) is land and 83.57 square miles (216.4 km2) (or 10.18%) is water.[4]

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.[5] 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; it is home to Oakland and the most populous regions. Livermore Valley lies in the eastern part of the county.

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.

Incorporated cities[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

The unincorporated communities in Alameda County are governed directly by the county. Alameda County has 6 major unincorporated communities that qualify as census designated places (CDP):

The county has a number of smaller named neighborhoods, not governed by cities.

Former townships[edit]

Map of Alameda County, 1878 (Six Townships)

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Transportation infrastructure[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Mass transit[edit]


The main airport is the Oakland International Airport, with two general aviation airports, the Hayward Executive Airport and Livermore Municipal Airport.


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 populations
Est. 20121,554,7202.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
2012 Estimate[16]

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.[17]


As of the census[19] 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[20]). 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) .[21] The largest religious bodies were The Catholic Church (with 306,437 members) and Judaism (with 32,500 members).[21]

Law, government and politics[edit]


The Government of Alameda County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution, California law, and the Charter of the County of Alameda.[22] 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 Board of Supervisors, as of 3 January 2011, from the election in November 2010 and a special appointment in June 2012 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, one being Santa Rita Jail located in Dublin.

The Alameda County Fire Department (ACFD)[23] 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 operated by the county.

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.


Voter registration statistics[edit]

Cities by population and voter registration[edit]


Alameda County vote
by party in presidential elections
201218.2% 108,18279.0% 469,6842.9% 17,075
200819.3% 119,55478.9% 489,1061.8% 11,724
200423.3% 130,91175.4% 422,5851.5% 8,594
200024.1% 119,27969.4% 342,8896.5% 32,168
199623.1% 106,58165.8% 303,90311.2% 51,560
199220.6% 109,29263.0% 334,22416.3% 86,629
198834.0% 162,81564.8% 310,2831.2% 5,899
198440.0% 192,40858.7% 282,0411.3% 6,425
198038.0% 158,53148.3% 201,72013.7% 57,366
197638.1% 155,28057.9% 235,9884.0% 16,413
197242.8% 201,86255.0% 259,2542.1% 10,079
196837.6% 153,28553.9% 219,5458.5% 34,519
196433.5% 142,99866.4% 283,8330.1% 509
196045.6% 183,35454.0% 217,1720.4% 1,474
195652.4% 192,91147.3% 174,0330.3% 1,187
195252.7% 201,97646.5% 178,2390.8% 3,079
194846.6% 150,58847.8% 154,5495.6% 18,194
194441.8% 122,98257.7% 169,6310.5% 1,374
194043.6% 116,96155.2% 148,2241.2% 3,311
193635.1% 82,35263.6% 149,3231.3% 3,011
193243.7% 89,30352.0% 106,3884.3% 8,761
192865.4% 118,53933.6% 60,8751.0% 1,780
192461.5% 81,4546.1% 8,02032.5% 43,016
192069.1% 73,17720.3% 21,46810.6% 11,244

Alameda County is a stronghold of the Democratic Party. It has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1956, when Dwight Eisenhower carried the county. Historically, the county was Republican until the 1958 defeat of William F. Knowland. 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 50%. Every city and town voted Democratic.[25]

In the House of Representatives, the county is split between three districts:

In the State Assembly, the county is split between five districts:

In the State Senate, the county is split between three districts:

According to the California Secretary of State, there are 709,414 registered voters in Alameda County. 401,847 (56.6%) are registered Democrats, 116,864 (16.5%) are registered Republicans, 33,689 (4.8%) are registered to minor political parties, and 157,014 (22.1%) declined to answer. This means Democrats have a 40.1% registration advantage over Republicans. Every city, town, and unincorporated area in Alameda County has more registered Democrats than Republicans.

On November 4, 2008 Alameda County voted 62.0% 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.[29]


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 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.

Colleges and Universities[edit]

Alameda County is home to the University of California, Berkeley, one of the campuses 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:

School Districts (K-12)[edit]


The following sports teams play in Alameda County.

California Golden BearsNCAA1868NCAA: Pac-12California Memorial Stadium (Football), Haas Pavilion (Basketball), Evans Diamond (Baseball)
Oakland AthleticsBaseball1901 (in Oakland since 1968)Major League Baseball: American LeagueOakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Oakland RaidersAmerican Football1960 (in Los Angeles from 1982–1994)National Football League: American Conference. AFC WestOakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Golden State WarriorsBasketball1946 (In Oakland since 1971)National Basketball Association: Western Conference.Oracle Arena

Parks and recreation[edit]

There are more than 350 parks located within the county.[30] 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, and Anthony Chabot 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.[31] 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), Room 307, Gilman Hall, University of California, and the San Francisco Bay Discovery Site. The county has a large number of National Historic Places, as well as a number of California Historical Landmarks.

Sister county[edit]

Alameda has a sister county: Taoyuan County, Taiwan.[32]

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. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Alameda County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  3. ^ About Alameda County - County of Alameda - Superior Court of California. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  4. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  5. ^ American FactFinder. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B03003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  10. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19301. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  11. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19013. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  12. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19113. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  13. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  14. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B01003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  15. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  17. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau. 
  18. ^ "Demographic Profile Bay Area Census". 
  19. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  20. ^ Alameda County, California - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder
  21. ^ a b "County Membership Reports". Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  22. ^ California Government Code § 23004
  23. ^ Alameda County Fire Department
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ pres_general_ssov_for_all.xls
  26. ^ "California's 15th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  29. ^ [2][dead link]
  30. ^ Alameda County California Parks. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  31. ^ San Francisco Baytrail. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  32. ^ Alameda - Taoyuan Sister County Association - Homepage. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°39′N 121°55′W / 37.65°N 121.91°W / 37.65; -121.91