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List of counties in California

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The state of California has 58 counties. Counties are responsible for all elections, property-tax collection, maintenance of public records such as deeds, and local-level courts within their borders, as well as providing law enforcement (through the county sheriff and sheriff's deputies) to areas that are not in cities.

California's United States Postal Service code is CA and its FIPS code is 06.

List[change | change source]

FIPS code[1] County seat[2] Established[2] Formed from Meaning of name[3] Population
Area[2] Map
Alameda County 001 Oakland 1853 Contra Costa and Santa Clara Spanish for "avenue shaded by trees" or "cottonwood grove." 1,682,353 738 sq mi
(1,911 km2)
State map highlighting Alameda County

Alpine County 003 Markleeville 1864 Amador, El Dorado, Calaveras, Mono and Tuolumne Location high in the Sierra Nevada. 1,204 739 sq mi
(1,914 km2)
State map highlighting Alpine County

Amador County 005 Jackson 1854 Calaveras Jose Maria Amador (1794–1883), a soldier, rancher, and miner who, along with several Native Americans, made a successful gold mining camp near present-day Amador City in 1848. 40,474 606 sq mi
(1,570 km2)
State map highlighting Amador County

Butte County 007 Oroville 1850 Original Sutter Buttes, mistakenly thought to be in the county during the county's establishment. 211,632 1,640 sq mi
(4,248 km2)
State map highlighting Butte County

Calaveras County 009 San Andreas 1850 Original Calaveras River; calaveras is Spanish for "skulls". 45,292 1,020 sq mi
(2,642 km2)
State map highlighting Calaveras County

Colusa County 011 Colusa 1850 Original Rancho Colus land grant from Mexico. 21,839 1,151 sq mi
(2,981 km2)
State map highlighting Colusa County

Contra Costa County 013 Martinez 1850 Original Spanish for "opposite coast", from its location across San Francisco Bay from San Francisco. 1,165,927 720 sq mi
(1,865 km2)
State map highlighting Contra Costa County

Del Norte County 015 Crescent City 1857 Klamath Spanish for "northern", from its far northern location. 27,743 1,008 sq mi
(2,611 km2)
State map highlighting Del Norte County

El Dorado County 017 Placerville 1850 Original El Dorado, a mythical city of gold, owing to the area's importance in the California Gold Rush. 191,185 1,712 sq mi
(4,434 km2)
State map highlighting El Dorado County

Fresno County 019 Fresno 1856 Mariposa, Merced and Tulare Fresno Creek; fresno is Spanish for "ash tree." 1,008,654 5,963 sq mi
(15,444 km2)
State map highlighting Fresno County

Glenn County 021 Willows 1891 Colusa Dr. Hugh J. Glenn, a California businessman and politician. 28,917 1,315 sq mi
(3,406 km2)
State map highlighting Glenn County

Humboldt County 023 Eureka 1853 Trinity Humboldt Bay, named after Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist and explorer. 136,463 3,573 sq mi
(9,254 km2)
State map highlighting Humboldt County

Imperial County 025 El Centro 1907 San Diego Imperial Valley, named for the Imperial Land Company. 179,702 4,175 sq mi
(10,813 km2)
State map highlighting Imperial County

Inyo County 027 Independence 1866 Mono and Tulare Disputed original; early settlers believed Inyo to be the native name for area mountains, but this term may be the name of a Mono Indian leader 19,016 10,192 sq mi
(26,397 km2)
State map highlighting Inyo County

Kern County 029 Bakersfield 1866 Los Angeles and Tulare Kern River, named for Edward Kern, cartographer for John C. Fremont's 1845 expedition. 909,235 8,142 sq mi
(21,088 km2)
State map highlighting Kern County

Kings County 031 Hanford 1893 Tulare Kings River, original Spanish name Rio de los Santos Reyes ("River of the Holy Kings"). 152,486 1,390 sq mi
(3,600 km2)
State map highlighting Kings County

Lake County 033 Lakeport 1861 Napa Clear Lake 68,163 1,258 sq mi
(3,258 km2)
State map highlighting Lake County

Lassen County 035 Susanville 1864 Plumas and Shasta, and now defunct Lake County, Nevada Peter Lassen, a Danish naturalist and explorer. 32,730 4,558 sq mi
(11,805 km2)
State map highlighting Lassen County

Los Angeles County 037 Los Angeles 1850 Original 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). 10,014,009 4,060 sq mi
(10,515 km2)
State map highlighting Los Angeles County

Madera County 039 Madera 1893 Mariposa Spanish for "wood", in reference to the forested area of the landscape 156,255 2,138 sq mi
(5,537 km2)
State map highlighting Madera County

Marin County 041 San Rafael 1850 Original Disputed, but could be a corrupted abbreviation of Bahía de Nuestra Señora del Rosario la Marina, the Spanish name for area headlands along San Francisco Bay. 262,231 520 sq mi
(1,347 km2)
State map highlighting Marin County

Mariposa County 043 Mariposa 1850 Original Spanish for "butterfly". 17,131 1,451 sq mi
(3,758 km2)
State map highlighting Mariposa County

Mendocino County 045 Ukiah 1850 Original Antonio de Mendoza, first viceroy of New Spain. 91,601 3,509 sq mi
(9,088 km2)
State map highlighting Mendocino County

Merced County 047 Merced 1855 Mariposa Merced River; original Spanish name El Río de Nuestra Señora de la Merced ("River of Our Lady of Mercy"). 281,202 1,929 sq mi
(4,996 km2)
State map highlighting Merced County

Modoc County 049 Alturas 1874 Siskiyou The Modoc people 8,700 3,944 sq mi
(10,215 km2)
State map highlighting Modoc County

Mono County 051 Bridgeport 1861 Calaveras, Fresno and Mariposa Mono Lake; name derived from Monachi, a Yokut name for native peoples of the Sierra Nevada. 13,195 3,044 sq mi
(7,884 km2)
State map highlighting Mono County

Monterey County 053 Salinas 1850 Original Monterey Bay, Spanish portmanteau of monte ("hill") and rey ("king"). 439,035 3,322 sq mi
(8,604 km2)
State map highlighting Monterey County

Napa County 055 Napa 1850 Original Disputed origin; possibly derived from the Patwin word napo, meaning home. 138,019 754 sq mi
(1,953 km2)
State map highlighting Napa County

Nevada County 057 Nevada City 1851 Yuba Spanish for "snow-covered", referencing the area's high elevation 102,241 958 sq mi
(2,481 km2)
State map highlighting Nevada County

Orange County 059 Santa Ana 1889 Los Angeles The orange, which was widely grown in the area at the time the county was established. 3,186,989 790 sq mi
(2,046 km2)
State map highlighting Orange County

Placer County 061 Auburn 1851 Sutter and Yuba Spanish term for gravel deposits that contain gold; references the California Gold Rush, which was centered in the area. 404,739 1,503 sq mi
(3,893 km2)
State map highlighting Placer County

Plumas County 063 Quincy 1854 Butte Feather River; Spanish name El Rio de las Plumas. 19,790 2,554 sq mi
(6,615 km2)
State map highlighting Plumas County

Riverside County 065 Riverside 1893 San Bernardino and San Diego The city of Riverside, named for its location on the Santa Ana River. 2,418,185 7,208 sq mi
(18,669 km2)
State map highlighting Riverside County

Sacramento County 067 Sacramento 1850 Original Sacramento River, named for the Santisimo Sacramento (Spanish for "Most Holy Sacrament"). 1,585,055 966 sq mi
(2,502 km2)
State map highlighting Sacramento County

San Benito County 069 Hollister 1874 Monterey Saint Benedict (San Benedicto in Spanish; Benito is the diminutive of Benedicto). 64,209 1,389 sq mi
(3,597 km2)
State map highlighting San Benito County

San Bernardino County 071 San Bernardino 1853 Los Angeles City of San Bernardino, named for Saint Bernardino of Siena (San Bernardino de Siena in Spanish) 2,181,654 20,062 sq mi
(51,960 km2)
State map highlighting San Bernardino County

San Diego County 073 San Diego 1850 Original Spanish for Saint Didacus 3,298,634 4,204 sq mi
(10,888 km2)
State map highlighting San Diego County

San Francisco County 075 San Francisco 1850 Original Spanish for Saint Francis. 873,965 47 sq mi
(122 km2)
State map highlighting San Francisco County

San Joaquin County 077 Stockton 1850 Original Spanish for Saint Joachim. 779,233 1,399 sq mi
(3,623 km2)
State map highlighting San Joaquin County

San Luis Obispo County 079 San Luis Obispo 1850 Original Spanish for Saint Louis, the Bishop. 282,424 3,304 sq mi
(8,557 km2)
State map highlighting San Luis Obispo County

San Mateo County 081 Redwood City 1856 San Francisco and Santa Cruz Spanish for Saint Matthew. 764,442 449 sq mi
(1,163 km2)
State map highlighting San Mateo County

Santa Barbara County 083 Santa Barbara 1850 Original Spanish for Saint Barbara. 448,229 2,738 sq mi
(7,091 km2)
State map highlighting Santa Barbara County

Santa Clara County 085 San Jose 1850 Original Spanish for Saint Clare. 1,936,259 1,291 sq mi
(3,344 km2)
State map highlighting Santa Clara County

Santa Cruz County 087 Santa Cruz 1850 Original Mission Santa Cruz; Spanish for holy cross 270,861 446 sq mi
(1,155 km2)
State map highlighting Santa Cruz County

Shasta County 089 Redding 1850 Original Mount Shasta 182,155 3,786 sq mi
(9,806 km2)
State map highlighting Shasta County

Sierra County 091 Downieville 1852 Yuba Spanish for "mountain range", referencing the area's topography 3,236 953 sq mi
(2,468 km2)
State map highlighting Sierra County

Siskiyou County 093 Yreka 1852 Shasta and Klamath Siskiyou Mountains; meaning of Siskiyou is disputed. 44,076 6,287 sq mi
(16,283 km2)
State map highlighting Siskiyou County

Solano County 095 Fairfield 1850 Original Chief Solano of the Suisunes 453,491 828 sq mi
(2,145 km2)
State map highlighting Solano County

Sonoma County 097 Santa Rosa 1850 Original Disputed origin; possibly a Pomo term meaning "valley of the moon", which references a native legend about spiritual activity in the area. 488,863 1,576 sq mi
(4,082 km2)
State map highlighting Sonoma County

Stanislaus County 099 Modesto 1854 Tuolumne Stanislaus River, named for Estanislao. 552,878 1,495 sq mi
(3,872 km2)
State map highlighting Stanislaus County

Sutter County 101 Yuba City 1850 Original John Sutter, a Swiss pioneer of California associated with the California Gold Rush. 99,633 603 sq mi
(1,562 km2)
State map highlighting Sutter County

Tehama County 103 Red Bluff 1856 Butte, Colusa and Shasta The Tehama people, a local Native American tribe. 65,829 2,951 sq mi
(7,643 km2)
State map highlighting Tehama County

Trinity County 105 Weaverville 1850 Original The Trinity River, named for the town of Trinidad (Spanish for "Trinity"). 16,112 3,179 sq mi
(8,234 km2)
State map highlighting Trinity County

Tulare County 107 Visalia 1852 Mariposa Tulare Lake 473,117 4,824 sq mi
(12,494 km2)
State map highlighting Tulare County

Tuolumne County 109 Sonora 1850 Original Disputed origin; possibly a corruption of the native term talmalamne, which means cluster of stone wigwams and references local cave dwelling tribes. 55,620 2,236 sq mi
(5,791 km2)
State map highlighting Tuolumne County

Ventura County 111 Ventura 1872 Santa Barbara Abbreviation of San Buenaventura, Spanish for St. Bonaventure. 843,843 1,846 sq mi
(4,781 km2)
State map highlighting Ventura County

Yolo County 113 Woodland 1850 Original The Yolan people, a local Native American tribe. 216,403 1,012 sq mi
(2,621 km2)
State map highlighting Yolo County

Yuba County 115 Marysville 1850 Original The local Maidu native peoples who lived on the banks of what is now known as the Feather & Yuba Rivers - or by Gabriel Moraga who used the Spanish name for wild grapes growing abundantly at the river's edge. 81,575 630 sq mi
(1,632 km2)
State map highlighting Yuba County

Old counties[change | change source]

  • Klamath County was formed in 1851 from the northern half of Trinity County. Part of the county's territory went to Del Norte County in 1857, and in 1874 the rest was split between Humboldt and Siskiyou counties.
  • Pautah County was formed in 1852 out of land which, the state of California thought, was to be given to it by the United States Congress from land in what is now the state of Nevada. In 1859 when the cession never occurred, the California State Legislature did not make the county.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". EPA.gov. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 National Association of Counties. "NACo County Explorer". Retrieved 2015-10-25.
  3. 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.
  4. "QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 1, 2023.