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Butte County is a county located in the Central Valleymarker north of the state capital, Sacramentomarker. As of the 2000 census, it had a population of 203,171. 2005 estimates place this at 214,185. The county seat is Orovillemarker. Butte County is the "Land of Natural Wealth and Beauty."

Butte County is watered by the Feather River and the Sacramento River. Butte Creek and Big Chico Creek are additional perennial streams, both tributary to the Sacramento. It is the site of Feather Falls, the sixth largest waterfall in the United Statesmarker. The county is the home of California State University, Chicomarker and of Butte Community College.

There are four major hospitals and the State of California defines Butte County as being inside Health Service Area 1. A special district, the Butte County Air Quality Management District, regulates airborne pollutant emissions in the county. It does this following regional regulations, state, and federal laws. For example, in recent years, the agency changed rules that used to allow residents to burn household trash outdoors.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,677 square miles (4,344 km²), of which, 1,639 square miles (4,246 km²) of it is land and 38 square miles (97 km²) of it (2.24%) is water.

The county is drained by the Feather River and Butte Creek. Part of the county's western border is formed by the Sacramento River. The county lies along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, the steep slopes making it prime territory for the siting of hydroelectric power plants. About a half dozen of these plants are located in the county.

Cities and towns

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Transportation infrastructure

Major highways

Public transportation

Butte Regional Transitmarker or the B-Line, provides service in and between Chico, Oroville, Paradise, Gridley and Biggs. Chico is also a connection point for Glenn Ride buses to Glenn County and Plumas Transit Systems buses to Plumas County.

Greyhound buses stop in Chico.


General Aviation airports in Butte County include:


Butte County, CA with a view of the Sutter Buttes in the background
As of the census of 2000, there were 203,171 people, 79,566 households, and 49,410 families residing in the county. The population density was 124 people per square mile (48/km²). There were 85,523 housing units at an average density of 52 per square mile (20/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.52% White, 1.39% Black or African American, 1.90% Native American, 3.32% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 4.82% from other races, and 3.90% from two or more races. 10.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 14.2% were of German, 11.1% English, 10.2% Irish, 7.8% Americanmarker and 5.6% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 87.9% spoke English, 7.8% Spanish and 1.4% Hmong as their first language.

There were 79,566 households out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.70% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.90% were non-families. 27.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 13.60% from 18 to 24, 24.80% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 15.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,924, and the median income for a family was $41,010. Males had a median income of $34,137 versus $25,393 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,517. About 12.20% of families and 19.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.80% of those under age 18 and 7.30% of those age 65 or over.


Presidential election results
Year GOP DEM Others
2008 47.9% 39,954 49.7% 41,474 2.7% 1,970
2004 53.7% 51,662 44.1% 42,448 2.1% 2,047
2000 54.5% 45,584 37.4% 31,338 8.1% 6,799
1996 49.0% 38,961 38.5% 30,651 12.5% 9,938
1992 37.2% 31,608 38.2% 32,489 24.6% 20,917
1988 56.0% 40,143 42.5% 30,406 1.5% 1,082
1984 63.1% 45,381 35.3% 25,421 1.6% 1,162
1980 57.9% 38,188 29.6% 19,520 12.6% 8,304
1976 51.8% 28,400 44.1% 24,203 4.1% 2,251
1972 57.6% 28,819 36.8% 18,401 5.6% 2,808
1968 56.7% 22,225 32.9% 12,887 10.5% 4,099
1964 48.4% 19,574 51.5% 20,831 0.0% 14
1960 57.6% 20,838 41.9% 15,163 0.5% 174


The citizens of the county of Butte are represented by the five member Butte County Board of Supervisors.


The Berry Creek Rancheria of Tyme Maidu Indians of California is headquartered in Orovillemarker. The Berry Creek Rancheria operates Gold Country Casino.

The Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California is also headquartered in Oroville. The Mooretown Rancheria operates Feather Falls Casino.

The governmental headquarters of the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria is located in Chicomarker.


Most of Butte County falls within California's 3rd Assembly District with the southwest corner of the county being in the 2nd Assembly District. The 3rd district is represented by Rick Keene (R-Chico), and the 2nd by Doug La Malfa (R-Richvale) in the California State Assembly. All of Butte County falls within the 4th senate district, represented by Sam Aanestad (R, Grass Valley) in the California State Senate.

On Nov. 4, 2008 Butte County voted 56.7 % for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.


Most citizens of Butte County are represented in California's 2nd congressional district by Republican Wally Herger, while the rest of the county is represented in California's 4th congressional district by Republican Tom McClintock.

Butte is a Republican-leaning county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964, although Bill Clinton and Barack Obama won pluralities in 1992 and 2008, respectively.

Educational institutions

There are roughly 90 public schools in the county according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. The schools are operated by the County Office of Education and 15 school districts, which are:

Butte County contains the following colleges and universities:

Public Libraries

Butte County Library provides library services to residents of the County through six branches in Biggsmarker, Chicomarker, Durhammarker, Gridleymarker, Orovillemarker and Paradisemarker. The mission of the Butte County Library is to provide all individuals, regardless of age, ethnic background, educational or economic level, with free access to ideas, information, and technology.

The library bookmobile provides library services to rural and mountain communities. The library serves low-literacy adults through several programs of the Butte County Library Literacy Services division, including the Adult Reading Program, Families for Literacy and the Literacy Coach, a 36-foot vehicle that provides mobile programming like story times, parent meetings, workshops, and computer and teacher trainings.

The library operates as a department of the county of Butte, governed by the Butte County Board of Supervisors.

As film location

Several movies have been filmed in Butte County, including Gone with the Wind, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Friendly Persuasion, Magic Town, The Klansman, Ruby Ridge: An American Tragedymarker, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Under Wraps.


  • US Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics.
  • State of California, Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

See also


External links

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