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San Mateo County ( (Spanish for: St. Matthew County) is a county located in the San Francisco Bay Areamarker of the U.S. state of Californiamarker. It covers most of the San Francisco Peninsula just south of San Franciscomarker, and north of Santa Clara Countymarker. San Francisco International Airportmarker is located at the northern end of the county, and Silicon Valleymarker begins at the southern end. As of 2005 the population was 712,462. The county seat is Redwood Citymarker. It is among the 20 most affluent counties in the United States, in terms of personal, per capita and household income. It is strongly Democratic and ethnically diverse. The county's built-up areas are mostly suburban, and are home to several corporate campuses.


San Mateo County was formed from parts of San Francisco Countymarker and Santa Cruz Countymarker in 1856.

The county bears the Spanish name for Saint Matthew. As a place name, San Mateo appears as early as 1776 and several local geographic features were also designated San Mateo on early maps including variously: a settlement, an arroyo, a headland jutting into the Pacific (Point Montaramarker), and a large land holding (Rancho San Mateomarker). Until about 1850, the name appeared as San Matheo.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 741 sq mi (1,919 km²). 449 sq mi (1,163 km²) of it is land and 292 sq mi (756 km²) of it (39.40%) is water. A number of bayside watercourses drain the eastern part of the county including San Bruno Creekmarker and Colma Creek. Streams draining the western county include Frenchmans Creek, Pilarcitos Creek, Naples Creekmarker, Arroyo de en Medio, and Denniston Creek.

Incorporated cities

Unincorporated communities

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Transportation infrastructure

Major highways

Public transportation

SamTrans (San Mateo County Transit District) provides local bus service within San Mateo County. Local and commuter bus routes also operate into San Francisco.

Caltrain, the commuter rail system, traverses the county from north to south, running alongside the Highway 101 corridor for most of the way. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains serve San Francisco International Airportmarker and the northern portion of the county, terminating at Millbraemarker.

Caltrain, BART, and SamTrans converge at the Millbrae Intermodal stationmarker.


San Francisco International Airportmarker is geographically located in San Mateo County, but it is owned by the City and County of San Franciscomarker.

San Mateo County does own two general aviation airports: Half Moon Bay Airportmarker and San Carlos Airportmarker.

Marine transport

The only deepwater port in South San Francisco Baymarker is the Port of Redwood Citymarker, situated along Redwood Creekmarker, originally created as a lumber embarcadero in 1850.


Age distribution (2000 census)
As of the census of 2008, there were 712,690 people, 252,648 households, and 171,564 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,575/sq mi (808/km²). There were 266,469 housing units at an average density of 780/sq mi (424/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 46.1% White, 3.51% Black or African American, 0.44% Native American, 20.04% Asian, 1.5% Pacific Islander, 8.4% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.4% of the population.7.4% were of Italian, 7.1% Irish, 7.0% German and 5.3% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 54.6% spoke English, 21.3% Spanish, 6.7% Tagalog, 4.6% Chinese or Mandarin and 1.5% Cantonese as their first language from estimate census 2008.

There were 252,648 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18, 51.3% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.74 and the average family size was 4.29.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $69,819, and the median income for a family was $78,737. Males had a median income of $50,342 versus $43,383 for females. The per capita income for the county was $39,045. About 5.55% of families and 8.52% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.00% of those under age 18 and 7.51% of those age 65 or over.


Presidential election results
Year DEM GOP Others
2008 73.6% 222,767 24.8% 75,006 1.6% 4,963
2004 69.5% 197,922 29.3% 83,315 1.3% 3,620
2000 64.3% 166,757 31.0% 80,296 4.8% 12,346
1996 60.6% 152,304 29.2% 73,508 10.2% 25,720
1992 54.0% 149,232 27.2% 75,080 18.9% 52,196
1988 55.7% 141,859 42.9% 109,261 1.3% 3,360
1984 46.9% 122,268 51.9% 135,185 1.2% 3,178
1980 36.6% 87,335 48.8% 116,491 14.6% 34,811
1976 44.4% 102,896 50.6% 117,338 5.0% 11,507
1972 42.8% 109,745 52.8% 135,377 4.4% 11,175
1968 47.2% 106,519 43.7% 98,654 9.1% 20,495
1964 64.3% 140,978 35.6% 77,916 0.1% 297
1960 48.0% 97,154 51.7% 104,570 0.3% 528
San Mateo County has a five-member Board of Supervisors, representing five geographic districts, but elected at-large. The California Secretary of State, as of April 2008, reports that San Mateo County has 357,514 registered voters. Of those voters registered, 179,994 (50.4%) are registered Democratic, 82,189 (23.0%) are registered Republican, 13,648 (3.8%) are registered with other political parties, and 81,683 (22.8%) declined to state a political party preference. With the exceptions of Atherton, Hillsborough, and Woodside, every city, town, and the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County has more registered Democrats than Republicans.

San Mateo is a strongly Democratic county in presidential and congressional elections. The last Republican to win a majority in the county was Ronald Reagan in 1984.

San Mateo is part of California's 12th and 14th congressional districts. The 12th district seat became vacant upon the death of former Democratic representative Tom Lantos on February 11, 2008, but was filled by a special election held April 8, 2008 when former state senator Jackie Speier was elected to complete Lantos' term in the 110th Congress. The 14th district's representative is Democrat Anna Eshoo. In the State Assembly, San Mateo is in the 12th, 19th, and 21st districts, which are held by Democrats Fiona Ma, Gene Mullin, and Ira Ruskin, respectively. In the State Senate, San Mateo is in the 8th and 11th districts, which are held by Democrats Leland Yee and Joe Simitian, respectively.

On Nov. 4, 2008 San Mateo County voted 61.8 % against Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

Environmental features

San Mateo County encompasses a variety of habitats including estuarine, marine, oak woodland, redwood forest, coastal scrub and oak savannah. There are numerous species of wildlife present, especially along the San Francisco Baymarker estuarine shoreline, San Bruno Mountainmarker, Fitzgerald Marine Reservemarker and the forests on the Montara Mountain block. Several creeks discharge to the San Francisco Bay including San Mateo Creekmarker and Laurel Creek and several coastal streams discharge to the Pacific Oceanmarker such as Frenchmans Creek and San Vicente Creek.

The county is home to several endangered species including the San Francisco garter snake and the San Bruno elfin butterfly, both of which are endemic to San Mateo County. The endangered California clapper rail is also found on the shores of San Francisco Bay, in the cities of Belmontmarker and San Mateomarker. The endangered wildflower Hickman's potentilla is found near the Pacific Ocean on the lower slopes of Montara Mountainmarker. The endangered wildflowers White-rayed pentachaeta, Pentachaeta bellidiflora, San Mateo Woolly Sunflower, Eriophyllum latilobum, Marin Dwarf Flax, Hesperolinon congestum and the San Mateo Thornmint, Acanthomintha duttonii, are found in the vicinity of the Crystal Springs Reservoirmarker.

Some students in San Mateo County's public schools attend outdoor education in La Hondamarker . San Mateo Outdoor Education is a residential school that teaches major concepts of ecology via exploration of forest, pond, garden, tidepool, wetland, and sandy shore habitats. The center's mascot is the banana slug, a large yellow gastropod. The school uses songs from the famous Banana Slug String Band.


Prior to its dissolution, Pacific Air Lines had its corporate headquarters on the grounds of San Francisco International Airportmarker in an unincorporated area in San Mateo County.

Notable structures

There are a number of well known structures within San Mateo County:

County trails

See this county page for trail descriptions.
  • Alpine Trail
  • Bog Trail
  • Cañada Trail
  • Crystal Springs Trail
  • Edgewood Trail
  • Ralston Trail
  • San Andreas Trail
  • Sand Hill Trail
  • Sawyer Camp Trail
  • Skyline Trail
  • Sheep Camp Trail
  • Sweeney Ridge Trail

County parks


County Parks:

State parks

State beaches

Source: State Parks, Choose San Mateo

See also


External links

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