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Coastal California, also known as the California Coastline and the Golden Coast, refers to the coastal regions of the US state of California. The term is not primarily geographical as it also describes an area distinguished by cultural, economical and political attributes.
The area includes the North Coast, San Francisco Bay Area (including Silicon Valley), Central Coast, and South Coast. During the 2000 Census, roughly a third of households in coastal California had incomes exceeding $75,000, compared to 17.6% in the Central Valley and 22.5% at the national average.
The region is renowned for being home to artisan communities such as Laguna Beach and Carmel as well as its natural beauty as found in the Redwood Forests of the North Coast. While the area has always been relatively expensive, when compared to inland regions and the national average, the recent real estate boom has left it as the most expensive housing market in the nation. An October 2004 CNN Money publication found that a 2,200-square-foot (200 m2) home in a "middle management neighborhood" would cost an average of $1.8 million.
In contrast with most coastal counties of California, only Del Norte County, San Luis Obispo County, Ventura County, Orange County, and San Diego County voted for former Republican president George W. Bush in 2000; the same counties did so again in 2004. San Francisco County, the most Democratic county, voted 76% for Democrat Al Gore in 2000 and 83% for Democrat John Kerry in 2004.
In 2008, only Del Norte and Orange Counties voted for Republican John McCain with margins of less than 5% while San Francisco remained the most Democratic county, voting 84% for Democrat Barack Obama. In 2012, only Del Norte and Orange Counties voted for Republican Mitt Romney with margins of 9.4% and 6.3% respectively, while San Francisco remained the most Democratic county, again voting 84% for Obama.
The counties commonly seen as constituting coastal California are:
Two counties sometimes included in coastal California are: