San Mateo

San Mateo

[san muh-tey-oh]
San Mateo, city (1990 pop. 85,486), San Mateo co., W Calif., on San Francisco Bay; inc. 1894. It is a commercial and retail center with some high-technology manufacturing. San Mateo, Spanish for St. Matthew, was named by a Spanish expedition in 1776. The area was a Mexican colony from 1822 to 1846. San Mateo's main growth dates from the start of railroad service in 1863. Refugees from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake greatly increased San Mateo's population. The city has a racetrack. The San Mateo Bridge spans S San Francisco Bay from San Mateo and Foster City (W) to Hayward (E).

San Mateo County ("san muh-TAY-o") (Spanish for: St. Matthew County) is a county located in the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California. It covers most of the San Francisco Peninsula just south of San Francisco, and north of Santa Clara County. San Francisco International Airport is located at the northern end of the county, and Silicon Valley begins at the southern end. As of 2005 the population was 712,462. The county seat is Redwood City. It is among the 20 most affluent counties in the United States, in term of personal, per capita and household income, 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 County and Santa Cruz County 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 Montara), and a large land holding (Rancho San Mateo). 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 Creek and Colma Creek. Streams draining the western county include Frenchmans Creek, Pilarcitos Creek, Naples Creek, Arroyo de en Medio, and Denniston Creek.

Incorporated cities

  • Menlo Park
  • Millbrae
  • Pacifica
  • Portola Valley
  • Redwood City
  • San Bruno
  • San Carlos
  • San Mateo
  • South San Francisco
  • Woodside
  • 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 Airport and the northern portion of the county, terminating at Millbrae.

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


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

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

    Marine transport

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


    As of the census of 2000, there were 707,161 people, 254,103 households, and 171,265 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,575/sq mi (608/km²). There were 260,576 housing units at an average density of 580/sq mi (224/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 59.49% White, 3.51% Black or African American, 0.44% Native American, 20.04% Asian, 1.33% Pacific Islander, 10.17% from other races, and 5.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.88% of the population. 7.4% were of Italian, 7.1% Irish, 7.0% German and 5.3% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 55.6% spoke English, 19.3% Spanish, 6.5% Tagalog, 4.5% Chinese or Mandarin and 1.4% Cantonese as their first language.

    There were 254,103 households out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18, 53.0% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.29.

    In the county, the population was spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.

    The median income for a household in the county was $70,819, and the median income for a family was $80,737. Males had a median income of $51,342 versus $40,383 for females. The per capita income for the county was $36,045. About 3.50% of families and 5.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.00% of those under age 18 and 5.10% of those age 65 or over.


    Presidential election results
    Year DEM GOP Others
    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.

    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 Bay estuarine shoreline, San Bruno Mountain, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and the forests on the Montara Mountain block. Several creeks discharge to the San Francisco Bay including San Mateo Creek and Laurel Creek and several coastal streams discharge to the Pacific Ocean 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 Belmont and San Mateo. The endangered wildflower Hickman's potentilla is found near the Pacific Ocean on the lower slopes of Montara Mountain. 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 Reservoir.

    Some students in San Mateo County's public schools attend outdoor education in La Honda. 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.

    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

    Source: County Parks,2151,5556687_10575168,00.html

    State parks

    State beaches

    Source: State Parks, Choose San Mateo

    See also

    External links

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