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California Facts

California is the most populous state in the United States, located in the Far West; bordered by Oregon (N), Nevada and, across the Colorado River, Arizona (E), Mexico (S), and the Pacific Ocean (W).

Area, 158,693 sq mi (411,015 sq km).
Pop. (2000) 33,871,648, a 13.8% increase since the 1990 census.
Capital, Sacramento.
Largest city, Los Angeles.
Nickname, Golden State.
Motto, Eureka (I Have Found It).
State bird, California valley quail.
State flower, golden poppy.
State tree, California redwood.

Ranking third among the U.S. states in area, California has a diverse topography and climate. A series of low mountains known as the Coast Ranges extends along the 1,200-mi (1,930-km) coast. The region from Point Arena, N of San Francisco, to the southern part of the state is subject to tremors and sometimes to severe earthquakes caused by tectonic stress along the San Andreas Fault. The Coast Ranges receive heavy rainfall in the north, where the giant cathedrallike redwood forests prevail, but the climate of these mountains is considerably drier in S California, and S of the Golden Gate no major rivers reach the ocean. Behind the coastal ranges in central California lies the great Central Valley , a long alluvial valley drained by the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. In the southeast lie vast wastelands, notably the Mojave Desert, site of Joshua Tree National Park. 

Rising as an almost impenetrable granite barrier E of the Central Valley is the Sierra Nevada range, which includes Mt. Whitney , Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Yosemite National Park. The Cascade Range , the northern continuation of the Sierra Nevada, includes Lassen Volcanic National Park . Lying E of the S Sierra Nevada is Death Valley National Park. California has an enormously productive economy, which for a nation would be one of the ten largest in the world. Although agriculture is gradually yielding to industry as the core of the state's economy, California leads the nation in the production of fruits and vegetables, including carrots, lettuce, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, and almonds. The state's most valuable crops are grapes, cotton, flowers, and oranges; dairy products, however, contribute the single largest share of farm income, and California is again the national leader in this sector. The state also produces the major share of U.S. domestic wine.

California's farms are highly productive as a result of good soil, a long growing season, and the use of modern agricultural methods. Irrigation is critical, especially in the San Joaquin Valley and Imperial Valley. The gathering and packing of crops is done largely by seasonal migrant labor, primarily Mexicans. Fishing is another important industry.

California continues to be a major U.S. center for motion-picture, television film, and related entertainment industries, especially in Hollywood and Burbank. Tourism also is an important source of income. Disneyland, Sea World, and other theme parks draw millions of visitors each year, as do San Francisco with its numerous attractions.

California Facts - Facts and Figures about the State of California

General California Facts

Capital: Sacramento
Entered Union: Sept. 9, 1850 (31st state)
Motto: Eureka (I have found it)
State Colors: blue and gold
State Song: I Love You, California
Nickname: Golden State

California Facts, Government

Governor: Jerry Brown
Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsome, D
Senators: Barbara Boxer, D , Dianne Feinstein, D
Secretary of State: Debra Bowen

State Symbols

Flower: Golden poppy
Tree: California redwood
Bird: California valley quail
Animal: California grizzly bear (1953)
Fish: California golden trout (1947)

California Facts, State Geography

Land area: 155,973 sq mi. (403,970 sq km)
Water area: 7,734 sq mi.
Coastline: 840 mi.
Shoreline: 3,427 mi.
Highest point: Mt. Whitney - 14,494 ft
Lowest point: Death Valley - 282 ft below sea level
Geographic center of state: In Madera Co., 35 mi. NE of Madera
Number of counties: 58
Largest county by population: Los Angeles, 9,519,338 (2000)
Largest county by area San Bernardino, 20,062 sq mi.
National forests: 18
State parks and beaches: 264

State of California Facts, Population

2011 Census population: 37,691,912

10 largest cities (2000):

Los Angeles, 3,694,820

  • San Diego, 1,223,400
  • San Jose, 894,943
  • San Francisco, 776,733
  • Long Beach, 461,522
  • Fresno, 427,652
  • Sacramento, 407,018
  • Oakland, 399,484
  • Santa Ana, 337,977
  • Anaheim, 328,014

By Gender

  • 2011Male: 16,874,892 (49.8%)
  • Female: 16,996,756 (50.2%)

By Age

  • 18 and over: 72.7%
  • 65 and over: 10.6%
  • Median age: 33.3

By Origin

  • White: 20,170,059 (59.5%)
  • Black: 2,263,882 (6.7%)
  • American Indian: 333,346 (1.0%)
  • Asian: 3,697,513 (10.9%)
  • Other race: 5,682,241 (16.8%)
  • Two or more races: 1,607,646 (4.7%)
  • Hispanic/Latino: 10,966,556 (32.4%)

*Information from Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition


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