List of counties in California

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search

The state of California is divided into 58 counties.[1] The region was first divided into twenty-seven counties on February 18, 1850. These were further sub-divided to form sixteen additional counties by 1860. Another fourteen were counties formed though further sub-division from 1861 to 1893. The last, Imperial County, was formed in 1907. California is home to San Bernardino County, the largest county in the contiguous United States, as well as Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States.

More counties in California are named for saints than any other state.[2]

County FIPS code of California


FIPS code
County seat
Formed from
Alameda County001Oakland1853Contra Costa and Santa ClaraSpanish for "avenue shaded by trees" or "cottonwood grove."1,578,891738 sq mi
(1,911 km2)
State map highlighting Alameda County

Alpine County003Markleeville1864Amador, El Dorado, Calaveras, Mono and TuolumneLocation high in the Sierra Nevada.1,159739 sq mi
(1,914 km2)
State map highlighting Alpine County

Amador County005Jackson1854CalaverasJose Maria Amador (1794–1883), a soldier, rancher, and miner who, along with several Native Americans, established a successful gold mining camp near present-day Amador City in 1848.36,519593 sq mi
(1,536 km2)
State map highlighting Amador County

Butte County007Oroville1850OriginalSutter Buttes, which was mistakenly thought to be in the county during the county's establishment.222,0901,640 sq mi
(4,248 km2)
State map highlighting Butte County

Calaveras County009San Andreas1850OriginalCalaveras River; Calaveras itself is the Spanish for "skulls".44,5151,020 sq mi
(2,642 km2)
State map highlighting Calaveras County

Colusa County011Colusa1850OriginalRancho Colus land grant from Mexico.21,3581,151 sq mi
(2,981 km2)
State map highlighting Colusa County

Contra Costa County013Martinez1850OriginalSpanish for "opposite coast", from its location across San Francisco Bay from San Francisco.1,094,205720 sq mi
(1,865 km2)
State map highlighting Contra Costa County

Del Norte County015Crescent City1857KlamathSpanish for "northern", from its far northern location.27,8731,008 sq mi
(2,611 km2)
State map highlighting Del Norte County

El Dorado County017Placerville1850OriginalEl Dorado, a mythical city of gold, owing to the area's significance in the California Gold Rush.181,7371,712 sq mi
(4,434 km2)
State map highlighting El Dorado County

Fresno County019Fresno1856Mariposa, Merced and TulareThe city of Fresno, itself Spanish for "ash tree."955,2725,963 sq mi
(15,444 km2)
State map highlighting Fresno County

Glenn County021Willows1891ColusaDr. Hugh J. Glenn, a California businessman and politician.27,9401,315 sq mi
(3,406 km2)
State map highlighting Glenn County

Humboldt County023Eureka1853TrinityAlexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist and explorer.134,4933,573 sq mi
(9,254 km2)
State map highlighting Humboldt County

Imperial County025El Centro1907San DiegoImperial Valley, named after the Imperial Land Company.176,5844,175 sq mi
(10,813 km2)
State map highlighting Imperial County

Inyo County027Independence1866Mono and Tulareexact etymology disputed; early settlers believed Inyo to be the native name for area mountains, but this term may be the name of a Mono Indian leader18,46710,192 sq mi
(26,397 km2)
State map highlighting Inyo County

Kern County029Bakersfield1866Los Angeles and TulareEdward Kern, cartographer for John C. Fremont's 1845 expedition.864,1248,142 sq mi
(21,088 km2)
State map highlighting Kern County

Kings County031Hanford1893TulareKings River, original Spanish name Rio de los Santos Reyes ("River of the Holy Kings").150,9601,390 sq mi
(3,600 km2)
State map highlighting Kings County

Lake County033Lakeport1861NapaClear Lake63,8601,258 sq mi
(3,258 km2)
State map highlighting Lake County

Lassen County035Susanville1864Plumas and Shasta, and now defunct Lake County, NevadaPeter Lassen, a Danish naturalist and explorer.32,1634,558 sq mi
(11,805 km2)
State map highlighting Lassen County

Los Angeles County037Los Angeles1850OriginalThe city of Los Angeles, itself Spanish for "The Angels", abbreviated from El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of the river of Porziuncola).10,017,0684,060 sq mi
(10,515 km2)
State map highlighting Los Angeles County

Madera County039Madera1893MariposaThe city of Madera, itself Spanish for "wood", in reference to the forested area of the landscape152,3892,138 sq mi
(5,537 km2)
State map highlighting Madera County

Marin County041San Rafael1850OriginalExact etymology disputed; probably a corrupted abbreviation of Bahía de Nuestra Señora del Rosario la Marina, the Spanish name for area headlands along San Francisco Bay.258,365520 sq mi
(1,347 km2)
State map highlighting Marin County

Mariposa County043Mariposa1850OriginalThe city of Mariposa, itself Spanish for "butterfly".17,7551,451 sq mi
(3,758 km2)
State map highlighting Mariposa County

Mendocino County045Ukiah1850OriginalAntonio de Mendoza, first viceroy of New Spain.87,1923,509 sq mi
(9,088 km2)
State map highlighting Mendocino County

Merced County047Merced1855MariposaThe city of Merced, itself derived from the original Spanish name El Río de Nuestra Señora de la Merced ("River of Our Lady of Mercy").263,2281,929 sq mi
(4,996 km2)
State map highlighting Merced County

Modoc County049Alturas1874SiskiyouThe Modoc people9,1473,944 sq mi
(10,215 km2)
State map highlighting Modoc County

Mono County051Bridgeport1861Calaveras, Fresno and MariposaMono Lake; name derived from Monachi, a Yokut name for native peoples of the Sierra Nevada.14,0743,044 sq mi
(7,884 km2)
State map highlighting Mono County

Monterey County053Salinas1850OriginalMonterey Bay, itself a Spanish portmanteau of monte ("hill") and rey ("king").428,8263,322 sq mi
(8,604 km2)
State map highlighting Monterey County

Napa County055Napa1850OriginalDisputed origin; possibly derived from the Patwin word napo, meaning home.140,326754 sq mi
(1,953 km2)
State map highlighting Napa County

Nevada County057Nevada City1851YubaThe bordering state of Nevada, itself Spanish for "snow-covered", referencing the area's high elevation98,200958 sq mi
(2,481 km2)
State map highlighting Nevada County

Orange County059Santa Ana1889Los AngelesThe orange, which was widely abundant in the area at the time the county was established.3,114,363790 sq mi
(2,046 km2)
State map highlighting Orange County

Placer County061Auburn1851Sutter and YubaSpanish term for gravel deposits containing gold, a reference the California Gold Rush, which was centered in the area.367,3091,503 sq mi
(3,893 km2)
State map highlighting Placer County

Plumas County063Quincy1854ButteSpanish for feathers.18,8592,554 sq mi
(6,615 km2)
State map highlighting Plumas County

Riverside County065Riverside1893San Bernardino and San DiegoThe city of Riverside, named in turn because of its location on the Santa Ana River.2,292,5077,208 sq mi
(18,669 km2)
State map highlighting Riverside County

Sacramento County067Sacramento1850OriginalThe city of Sacramento, named in turn after the Santisimo Sacramento (Spanish for "Most Holy Sacrament").1,462,131966 sq mi
(2,502 km2)
State map highlighting Sacramento County

San Benito County069Hollister1874MontereySaint Benedict (San Benedicto in Spanish; Benito is the diminutive of Benedicto).57,6001,389 sq mi
(3,597 km2)
State map highlighting San Benito County

San Bernardino County071San Bernardino1853Los AngelesThe city of San Bernardino, named in turn after Saint Bernardino of Siena (San Bernardino de Siena in Spanish)2,088,37120,062 sq mi
(51,960 km2)
State map highlighting San Bernardino County

San Diego County073San Diego1850OriginalThe city of San Diego, itself Spanish for Saint Didacus3,211,2524,204 sq mi
(10,888 km2)
State map highlighting San Diego County

City and County of San Francisco075San Francisco1850OriginalThe city of San Francisco, itself Spanish for Saint Francis.837,44247 sq mi
(122 km2)
State map highlighting City and County of San Francisco

San Joaquin County077Stockton1850OriginalSpanish for Saint Joachim.704,3791,399 sq mi
(3,623 km2)
State map highlighting San Joaquin County

San Luis Obispo County079San Luis Obispo1850OriginalThe city of San Luis Obispo, itself Spanish for Saint Louis, the Bishop.276,4433,304 sq mi
(8,557 km2)
State map highlighting San Luis Obispo County

San Mateo County081Redwood City1856San Francisco and Santa CruzSpanish for Saint Matthew.747,373449 sq mi
(1,163 km2)
State map highlighting San Mateo County

Santa Barbara County083Santa Barbara1850OriginalThe city of Santa Barbara, itself Spanish for Saint Barbara.435,6972,738 sq mi
(7,091 km2)
State map highlighting Santa Barbara County

Santa Clara County085San Jose1850OriginalMission Santa Clara de Asís, itself Spanish for Saint Clare of Assisi.1,862,0411,291 sq mi
(3,344 km2)
State map highlighting Santa Clara County

Santa Cruz County087Santa Cruz1850OriginalThe city of Santa Cruz, itself Spanish for holy cross269,419446 sq mi
(1,155 km2)
State map highlighting Santa Cruz County

Shasta County089Redding1850OriginalMount Shasta; the indigenous Shasta people178,9803,786 sq mi
(9,806 km2)
State map highlighting Shasta County

Sierra County091Downieville1852YubaSpanish for "mountain range", a reference to the area's topography3,047953 sq mi
(2,468 km2)
State map highlighting Sierra County

Siskiyou County093Yreka1852Shasta and KlamathSiskiyou Mountains; exact etymology of Siskiyou is disputed.43,7996,287 sq mi
(16,283 km2)
State map highlighting Siskiyou County

Solano County095Fairfield1850OriginalChief Solano of the Suisunes424,788828 sq mi
(2,145 km2)
State map highlighting Solano County

Sonoma County097Santa Rosa1850OriginalExact etymology disputed; probably a Pomo term meaning "valley of the moon", which references a native legend about spiritual activity in the area.495,0251,576 sq mi
(4,082 km2)
State map highlighting Sonoma County

Stanislaus County099Modesto1854TuolumneStanislaus River, named after Estanislao.525,4911,495 sq mi
(3,872 km2)
State map highlighting Stanislaus County

Sutter County101Yuba City1850OriginalJohn Sutter, a Swiss pioneer of California associated with the California Gold Rush.95,350603 sq mi
(1,562 km2)
State map highlighting Sutter County

Tehama County103Red Bluff1856Butte, Colusa and ShastaThe city of Tehama, named after the Tehama people, a local Native American tribe.63,0572,951 sq mi
(7,643 km2)
State map highlighting Tehama County

Trinity County105Weaverville1850OriginalThe city of Trinidad, itself Spanish for "Trinity".13,4483,179 sq mi
(8,234 km2)
State map highlighting Trinity County

Tulare County107Visalia1852MariposaTulare Lake, which is named after the tule rush (Schoenoplectus acutus) that lined the marshes and sloughs of its shores.454,1434,824 sq mi
(12,494 km2)
State map highlighting Tulare County

Tuolumne County109Sonora1850OriginalExact etymology disputed; probably a corruption of the native term talmalamne, which means cluster of stone wigwams, a reference to local cave dwelling tribes.53,8742,236 sq mi
(5,791 km2)
State map highlighting Tuolumne County

Ventura County111Ventura1872Santa BarbaraThe city of Ventura, itself an abbreviation of San Buenaventura, Spanish for St. Bonaventure.839,6201,846 sq mi
(4,781 km2)
State map highlighting Ventura County

Yolo County113Woodland1850OriginalThe Yolan people, a local Native American tribe.204,5931,012 sq mi
(2,621 km2)
State map highlighting Yolo County

Yuba County115Marysville1850OriginalEither named by the Maidu people, a local Native American tribe who live on the banks of the Feather & Yuba Rivers, or by Gabriel Moraga, who used the Spanish name for the wild grapes (Vitis californica) that grow abundantly at the edge of the rivers.73,340630 sq mi
(1,632 km2)
State map highlighting Yuba County

Defunct counties[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Find A County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2012-04-07. 
  2. ^ Kane, Joseph Nathan; Aiken, Charles Curry (2005). The American Counties: Origins of County Names, Dates of Creation, and Population Data, 1950-2000. Scarecrow Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-8108-5036-1. 
  3. ^ "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". Retrieved February 23, 2008. 
  4. ^ Sanchez, Nellie Van de Grift (1914). Spanish and Indian Place Names of California: Their Meaning and Their Romance. San Francisco: A. M. Robertson. OCLC 4268886. 
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States, States, and Counties: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2014. 

External links[edit]