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Monterey county

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Monterey county

For the California wine region, see Monterey AVA.
Monterey County, California
Big Sur Coastline, an iconic image of Monterey County
Official seal of Monterey County, California
Country  United States
State  California
Region California Central Coast
Incorporated February 18, 1850[1]
Named for Monterey Bay
County seat Salinas
Largest city Salinas
 • Total 3,771.07 sq mi (9,767.0 km2)
 • Land 3,321.95 sq mi (8,603.8 km2)
 • Water 449.12 sq mi (1,163.2 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 415,057
 • Density 110/sq mi (42/km2)
Time zone Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)

Monterey County is a county located on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California, its northwestern section forming the southern half of Monterey Bay. The northern half of the bay is in Santa Cruz County. As of 2010, the population was 415,057.[2] The county seat and largest city is Salinas. Monterey County is a member of the regional governmental agency, Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments.

The coastline, including Big Sur, State Route 1, and the 17 Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula, has made the county world famous. The city of Monterey was the capital of California under Spanish and Mexican rule. The economy is primarily based upon tourism in the coastal regions and agriculture in the Salinas River valley. Most of the county's people live near the northern coast and Salinas valley, while the southern coast and inland mountain regions are almost devoid of human habitation.


Monterey County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood. Parts of the county were given to San Benito County in 1874.

The county derived its name from Monterey Bay. The bay was named by Sebastián Vizcaíno in 1602 in honor of the Conde de Monterrey (or 'Count of Monterrey'), then the Viceroy of New Spain.[3] Monterrey is a variation of Monterrei, a municipality in the Galicia region of Spain where the Conde de Monterrey and his father (the Fourth Count of Monterrei) were from.


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 3,771.07 square miles (9,767.0 km2), of which 3,321.95 square miles (8,603.8 km2) (or 88.09%) is land and 449.12 square miles (1,163.2 km2) (or 11.91%) is water.[4] The county is roughly 1.5 times larger than the state of Delaware, and roughly similar in population and size to Santa Barbara County.

Cities and towns

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Other locales

Adjacent counties

Counties and bodies of water adjacent to Monterey County, California
Counties and bodies of water adjacent to Monterey County, California

National protected areas

Marine protected areas

Transportation infrastructure

Major highways

Public transportation

Monterey County is served by Amtrak trains and Greyhound Lines buses. Monterey-Salinas Transit provides transit service throughout most of Monterey County, with buses to Big Sur and King City as well as in Monterey, Salinas and Carmel. MST also runs service to San Jose, California in Santa Clara County


Salinas Municipal Airport is located in the city of Salinas



Places by population, race, and income


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2012426,7622.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
2012 Estimate[13]

The 2010 United States Census reported that Monterey County had a population of 415,057. The racial makeup of Monterey County was 230,717 (55.6%) White, 12,785 (3.1%) African American, 5,464 (1.3%) Native American, 25,258 (6.1%) Asian (2.8% Filipino, 0.7% Korean, 0.6% Chinese, 0.6% Japanese, 0.4% Vietnamese, 0.4% Indian), 2,071 (0.5%) Pacific Islander, 117,405 (28.3%) from other races, and 21,357 (5.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 230,003 persons (55.4%); 50.2% of Monterey County is Mexican, 0.8% Salvadoran, and 0.5% Puerto Rican.[14]


As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 401,762 people, 121,236 households, and 87,896 families residing in the county. The population density was 121 people per square mile (47/km²). There were 131,708 housing units at an average density of 40 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 55.9% White, 3.8% Black or African American, 1.1% Native American, 6.0% Asian, 0.5% Pacific Islander, 27.8% from other races, and 5.0% from two or more races. 46.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 6.3% were of German and 5.4% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 52.9% spoke English, 39.6% Spanish and 1.6% Tagalog as their first language.

There were 121,236 households out of which 39.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.0% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were non-families. 21.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.14 and the average family size was 3.65.

In the county the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 female residents there were 107.3 male residents. For every 100 female residents age 18 and over, there were 107.7 male residents.

The median income for a household in the county was $48,305, and the median income for a family was $51,169. Men had a median income of $38,444 versus $30,036 for women. The per capita income for the county was $20,165. About 9.7% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.4% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.


At the local level, Monterey County is governed by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. Like all governing body in California, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors is empowered with both legislative and executive authority over the entirety of Monterey County and is the primary governing body for all unincorporated areas within the County boundaries. The Board has five elected members, each of whom represents one of five districts. Taken together, the five districts comprise the entirety of the county.[16]

Current board members:

  • Fernando Armenta - 1st District
  • Louis Calcagno - 2nd District
  • Simon Salinas - 3rd District
  • Jane Parker - 4th District
  • Dave Potter - 5th District (current Board Chair)

The Board conducts its meetings in the county seat, Salinas, and is a member of the regional governmental agency, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments.[17][18]

Supervisorial Districts

Supervisorial district boundaries are divided roughly equally according to population, using data from the most recent census.[19] In addition, any redistricting changes must comply with both California law as well as the federal Voting Rights Act.[19] Boundaries are adjusted decennially based on data reported by the United States Census Bureau for the most recent census.[19]

District 1

The 1st District is geographically the smallest supervisorial district in Monterey County and falls entirely within the city limits of the city of Salinas.[16][20]

Fernando Armenta represents the 1st District on the Board of Supervisors.[21] His current term expires in January, 2013.[16]

District 2

As the northernmost supervisorial district in Monterey County, the 2nd District includes the communities of Boronda, Castroville, Las Lomas, Moss Landing, Pajaro, Prunedale, Royal Oaks, the northern neighborhoods of the city of Salinas, and those portions of the community of Aromas that are located within Monterey County.[16][22]

Louis Calcagno is currently the Supervisor for the 2nd District.[23] His current term ends in January, 2015.[16]

District 3

The 3rd District covers the majority of the Salinas Valley and southern Monterey County, extending to its border with San Luis Obispo County. The district includes the unincorporated communities of Spreckels, Chualar, and Jolon; the eastern portion of the city of Salinas; the cities of Gonzales, Greenfield, Soledad, and King City; the military installations at Fort Hunter Liggett and Camp Roberts; and portions of the Los Padres National Forest.[16][24]

The 3rd District is represented by Simon Salinas.[25] His current term ends in January, 2015.[16]

District 4

The 4th District includes the southwest portion of the city of Salinas, the cities of Del Rey Oaks, Marina, Seaside, Sand City, and the former military installation at Fort Ord.[16][26]

Jane Parker currently holds the seat for 4th District Supervisor.[27] Her current term ends in January, 2013.[16] However, having won reelection in June 2012, Parker's next term will extend until January, 2017.[28]

District 5

The 5th District is geographically the largest of the five supervisorial districts, and covers most of the Monterey Peninsula and southern coastline of Monterey County down to the southern county border with San Luis Obispo County. The 5th District includes the cities of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey, and Pacific Grove; the unincorporated communities of Carmel Valley, Big Sur, Pebble Beach, San Benancio, Corral de Tierra, and Jamesburg; military installations at the Presidio of Monterey, the Defense Language Institute, and the Naval Postgraduate School; and the Ventana Wilderness area of the Los Padres National Forest.[16][29][30]

Dave Potter is currently the 5th District Supervisor.[16] His current term ends in January, 2013.[16]

State and Federal Representatives

Monterey is part of California's 17th congressional district, which is represented by Democrat Sam Farr. In the State Assembly, Monterey is part of the 27th and 28th districts, which are held by Democrats Bill Monning and Anna Caballero, respectively. Monning was first elected to the Assembly in November 2008; Caballero in November 2006. In the State Senate, a small part of Monterey is in the 12th district; most of the county is in the 15th. The 12th district is held by Republican Anthony Cannella and the 15th by Republican Sam Blakeslee, who is considered to be moderate. Cannella was first elected to the Senate in November 2010; Blakeslee in August 2010.


Voter registration statistics

Cities by population and voter registration


Monterey County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2012 31.1% 35,205 66.5% 75,354 2.4% 2,696
2008 29.9% 38,797 68.2% 88,453 2.0% 2,533
2004 38.4% 47,838 60.4% 75,241 1.3% 1,574
2000 37.2% 43,761 57.5% 67,618 5.2% 6,155
1996 36.7% 39,794 53.2% 57,700 10.2% 11,064
1992 31.3% 36,461 47.0% 54,861 21.7% 25,367
1988 49.8% 50,022 48.8% 48,998 1.4% 1,361
1984 57.2% 55,710 41.8% 40,733 1.1% 1,027
1980 54.7% 47,452 33.5% 29,086 11.8% 10,256
1976 51.0% 40,896 46.0% 36,849 3.0% 2,408
1972 57.0% 47,004 39.5% 32,545 3.5% 2,859
1968 50.2% 33,670 42.1% 28,261 7.7% 5,193
1964 37.9% 24,579 61.8% 40,093 0.3% 172
1960 56.3% 33,428 43.4% 25,805 0.3% 180
1956 59.5% 29,514 40.2% 19,932 0.3% 127
1952 62.5% 30,578 36.9% 18,051 0.6% 286
1948 50.6% 17,233 46.1% 15,704 3.3% 1,126
1944 45.8% 12,246 53.7% 14,342 0.5% 140
1940 44.0% 11,810 55.0% 14,758 1.0% 265
1936 37.7% 7,565 61.1% 12,267 1.2% 235
1932 39.4% 6,200 56.8% 8,942 3.9% 608
1928 63.1% 7,228 36.1% 4,138 0.8% 86
1924 61.1% 4,744 11.4% 886 27.5% 2,138
1920 67.8% 4,817 24.9% 1,771 7.3% 521

Monterey County is considered to be a strongly Democratic county in Presidential and congressional elections. The county voted for Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in the 2008 election. The last Republican to win the county was George H.W. Bush in 1988.

According to the California Secretary of State, as of April, 2008, Monterey County has 147,066 registered voters. Of those voters, 72,550 (49.3%) are registered Democratic, 42,744 (29.1%) are registered Republican, 5,488 (3.7%) are registered with other political parties, and 26,284 (17.9%) declined to state a political party. Except for Sand City, all of the other cities, towns, and the unincorporated area of Monterey County have more individuals registered with the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. In Sand City, the Republicans have the advantage by 1 voter.

On Nov. 4, 2008 Monterey County voted 51.7% against Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

Monterey County is subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act which requires federal preclearance before implementing a change to "any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting."

Environmental features

Monterey County has habitat to support the following endangered species:


See also: Media in Monterey County

Television service for the community comes from the Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz designated market area (DMA). Radio stations Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz area of dominant influence (ADI) or continuous measurement market (CMM). Local newspapers include the Monterey County Herald, Monterey County Weekly, Salinas Californian and the Carmel Pine Cone.

Home prices

As of December 2005, Monterey County ranked among America's ten most expensive counties, with Santa Barbara County topping the list with a median home price of $753,790. In Monterey County, the median home price was $699,900. In the northern, more densely populated part in the county, the median home price was even higher, at $712,500, making it the fourth most expensive housing market in California. The disparity between the median household income of roughly $48,305 and the median home price of $700k has been cause for recent concern over excluding potential home buyers from the market. The end of the United States housing bubble has caused prices to drop substantially, with median home prices having fallen to $280,000 as at September 2008.[32]

Gallery of Monterey County locations (by city)

See also



External links

  • County of Monterey official website
  • Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Carmel Magazine: The Lifestyle Magazine of the Monterey Peninsula
  • The Bancroft Library
  • Arts Council for Monterey County

Coordinates: 36°14′N 121°19′W / 36.24°N 121.31°W / 36.24; -121.31

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