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 2000, the population was 401,762. The county seat 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.
The county derived its name from Monterey Bay. The word itself is composed of the Spanish words monte and rey, which literally means "Hill" and "King". The bay was named by Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602, in honor of Gaspar de Zuniga y Acevedo, Conde de Monterrey, the Viceroy of New Spain.
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.
|2004||60.4% 75,241||38.4% 47,838||1.2% 1,574|
|2000||57.5% 67,618||37.2% 43,761||5.2% 6,155|
|1996||53.2% 57,700||36.7% 39,794||10.2% 11,064|
|1992||47.0% 54,861||31.3% 36,461||21.7% 25,367|
|1988||48.8% 48,998||49.8% 50,022||1.4% 1,361|
|1984||41.8% 40,733||57.2% 55,710||1.0% 1,027|
|1980||33.5% 29,086||54.7% 47,452||11.8% 10,256|
|1976||46.0% 36,849||51.0% 40,896||3.0% 2,408|
|1972||39.5% 32,545||57.0% 47,004||3.5% 2,859|
|1968||42.1% 28,261||50.2% 33,670||7.7% 5,193|
|1964||61.8% 40,093||37.9% 24,579||0.3% 172|
|1960||43.4% 25,805||56.3% 33,428||0.3% 130|
Monterey County is considered to be a Democratic-leaning county in Presidential and congressional elections. The county voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. The last Republican to win the county was George H.W. Bush in 1988.
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 John Laird and Anna Caballero, respectively. Laird was first elected to the Assembly in November 2002; 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 Jeff Denham and the 15th by Republican Abel Maldonado, who is considered to be moderate. Denham was first elected to the Senate in November 2002; Maldonado in November 2004.
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.
Monterey County has habitat to support the following endangered species:
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). Locale newspapers include the Monterey County Herald and the Carmel Pine Cone
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. While the end of the United States housing bubble has caused prices to drop substantially, the median home price remains at over $500,000 and median household income below $60,000.