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Alpine County is the smallest county, by population, in the U.S. state of Californiamarker. As of 2007, it had a population of 1,145, all rural. There are no incorporated cities in the county. The county seat is Markleevillemarker. Over the past 7 years the population of Alpine County has decreased, from 1,208 in 2000 to the current figure of 1,145.

Alpine County is located in the Sierra Nevada, between Lake Tahoemarker and Yosemite National Parkmarker.


Alpine County was created in 1854 during a silver boom in the wake of the nearby Comstock Lode discovery. The county was formed from parts of Amadormarker, El Doradomarker, Calaverasmarker and Tuolumnemarker Counties. At its formation, the county had a population of about 11,000. By 1868 however, the local silver mines had proven unfruitful, and the population fell to about 1,200.

After the silver rush, Alpine County's economy consisted almost entirely of farming, ranching, and logging. By the 1920s, the population had fallen to just 200 people. With the construction of the Bear Valleymarker and Kirkwoodmarker ski resorts in the late 1960s, the population increased to the present level.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 743 square miles (1,925 km²), of which, 739 square miles (1,913 km²) of it is land and 5 square miles (12 km²) of it (0.61%) is water.


Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Transportation Infrastructure

Major highways

Public Transportation

There is limited, call ahead, public transportation provided by agreement with neighboring Douglas County, Nevadamarker (There are a few trailhead shuttles, designed for hikers).


Alpine County Airportmarker is a general aviation airport located in the Eastern Sierras about 4 miles from the town of Markleeville. The airport consists of a simple airstrip with an apron for small light aircraft to park. The airport has no buildings, no lights, and is very rarely used. The airport is popular with astronomers due to the clear, dark skies.

Site Information

  • Longitude - 119° 46' 01" West
  • Latitude - 38° 44' 09" North
  • Altitude - 5,867 feet [1788 meters]


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,208 people, 483 households, and 295 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile (1/km²). There were 1,514 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 73.68% White, 0.58% Black or African American, 18.87% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 5.05% from two or more races. 7.78% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 12.1% were of German, 12.1% Irish, 9.3% English, 6.5% Americanmarker and 5.7% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 95.0% spoke English, 3.1% Spanish and 2.0% Washo as their first language.

There were 483 households out of which 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 10.40% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 110.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 117.2 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $41,875, and the median income for a family was $50,250. Males had a median income of $36,544 versus $25,800 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,431. About 12.0% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.4% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.

Almost half of the population in the county is Mormon.


Presidential election results
Year DEM GOP Others
2008 61.1% 422 36.5% 252 2.5% 17
2004 53.2% 373 44.4% 311 2.4% 17
2000 45.2% 265 47.9% 281 6.8% 40
1996 42.0% 258 43.0% 264 15.0% 92
1992 34.1% 215 35.2% 222 30.8% 194
1988 41.7% 230 55.4% 306 2.9% 16
1984 41.6% 194 56.7% 264 1.7% 8
1980 28.9% 133 55.1% 254 15.1% 74
1976 42.3% 189 50.3% 225 7.4% 33
1972 33.9% 195 63.5% 366 2.6% 15
1968 32.8% 83 59.3% 150 7.9% 20
1964 42.3% 91 57.7% 124
1960 23.3% 40 76.7% 132

Alpine is historically a Republican-leaning county in Presidential and congressional elections. The county narrowly voted for George W. Bush in 2000, but went comfortably for John Kerry in 2004, the first time Alpine voted Democratic in a presidential election since 1936, when Franklin Roosevelt carried every county in California. Barack Obama received an even wider margin of victory over John McCain in 2008.

In November 2008, Alpine was one of just three counties in California's interior in which voters rejected Proposition 8, the ballot initiative to amend the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. Alpine voters rejected Proposition 8 by 56.4 percent to 43.6 percent. The other interior counties in which Proposition 8 failed to receive a majority of votes were neighboring Mono Countymarker and Yolo County.

According to the California Secretary of State, as of April, 2008, there are 776 registered voters in Alpine County. Of those, 282 (36.3%) are registered Democratic, 272 (35.1%) are registered Republican, 49 (6.3%) are registered with other political parties, and 173 (22.3%) declined to state a political party.

Alpine is part of California's 3rd congressional district, which is held by Republican Dan Lungren. In the State Assembly, Alpine is part of the 4th district, which is held by Republican Ted Gaines, who was first elected to the Assembly in November 2006. In the State Senate, Alpine is part of the 1st district, which is held by Republican Dave Cox, who was first elected to the Senate in November 2004.

See also


  1. The Association of Religion Data Archives | Maps & Reports
  2. Map of 2008 Election Results by State and County; The New York Times
  3. County-by-County Map, California Propositions: The Los Angeles Times

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