Founded in 1869, Santa Ana is the most populous city in Orange County, California and is the county seat and a city of about 353,184 people . Santa Ana is located in Southern California on the Santa Ana River, ten miles (16 km) away from the California coast. Santa Ana is part of the Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana metropolitan area which, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is the second largest metropolitan area in the United States with almost thirteen million people. The Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) runs through the city, and the Costa Mesa Freeway (55 Freeway) and Garden Grove Freeway (22 Freeway) travel along its edges. Santa Ana is home to two Fortune 500 companies, including Ingram Micro, and First American Corp. Santa Ana is also home to the famous guitar manufacturer, Rickenbacker International Corporation. It is today best known for its large and diverse Hispanic population, now comprising about 80% of what was once a virtually all-caucasian city. Santa Ana also has the largest Spanish-speaking population per capita for a city its size in the United States. The current OMB metropolitan designation for Santa Ana and the Orange County Area is "Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA."
In 1810, year of the commencement of the war of Mexican Independence (1810-1821), Jose Antonio Yorba, a sergeant of the Spanish army, was granted land that he called Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. Yorba's rancho included the lands where the cities of Olive, Orange, Irvine,Yorba Linda, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and unincorporated El Modena, and Santa Ana Heights, are today. This ranch was the only land grant in Orange County granted under Spanish Rule. Surrounding land grants in Orange County were granted after Mexican Independence by the new government.
Claimed in 1869 by Kentuckian William H. Spurgeon on land obtained from the descendents of Jose Antonio Yorba, Santa Ana was incorporated as a city in 1886 with a population of 2000 and in 1889 became the seat of the newly formed Orange County.
One of Santa Ana's most notable businesses is the Rickenbacker musical instrument company, whose electric guitars and bass guitars earned fame in the hands of many rock and roll legends. Santa Ana is also the home of the First American Corporation and Ingram Micro, and the original Glenn L. Martin aviation company, which later merged with the Lockheed Corporation to form the largest aircraft and weapons manufacturing corporation on the planet, Lockheed Martin.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 71.0 km² (27.4 mi²). 70.3 km² (27.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.7 km² (0.3 mi²) of it (0.95%) is water. It is the 8th most densely populated place in the United States with a population of 100,000 or more with 12,471.5 people per sq. mile.
The city is relatively flat with little land elevation change from location to location.
Santa Ana Unified School District includes thirty-seven K-5 elementary schools, nine 6-8 intermediate schools, eight 9-12 high schools, five special schools, and one charter school. The school district provides an online accountability report card, viewable at this url address: http://www.sausd.k12.ca.us/departments/research_eval/accountability.asp
The Roman Catholic Diocesan K-8 schools available in Santa Ana are: School of Our Lady, Saint Anne, Saint Barbara, and Saint Joseph. (Immaculate Heart Of Mary And Our Lady Of the Pillar schools were closed in 2005 and merged into the School of Our Lady which is located at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.
Seat of government for one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, Santa Ana is close to several fine public and private universities and colleges, including California State University, Fullerton, California Coast University, Chapman University, Soka University of America, Whittier Law School and University of California - Irvine, Detective Training Institute among others.
As of the census of 2000, there were 337,977 people, 73,002 households, and 59,788 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,808.2/km² (12,451.9/mi²). There were 74,588 housing units at an average density of 1,061.1/km² (2,748.0/mi²). Some consider these numbers to be severely undercounted, and put the population, which may consist of up to 25% illegal immigrants, at 500,000. Santa Ana's population density is 4.6 per housing unit, the highest of any American city over 50,000. (By contrast, New York's is 2.8, and Los Angeles's density is 2.6 persons per housing unit.) Many residents live in illegally converted garages or in rooms not meant for occupancy. The city has attempted to reduce the number of individuals living inside one house by passing density limitations, which resulted in a civil rights lawsuit being filed and the limits ultimately dropped.
The racial makeup of the city was 42.73% White, 1.70% African American, 1.19% Native American, 8.81% Asian, 0.34% Pacific Islander, 40.64% from other races, and 4.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 80.07% of the population. Non-Hispanic Whites make up 12.4% of the population, down from 70% in 1970.
There were 73,002 households out of which 53.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.6% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.1% were non-families. 12.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.55 and the average family size was 4.72.
In the city the population was spread out with 34.2% under the age of 18, 12.8% from 18 to 24, 34.1% from 25 to 44, 13.5% from 45 to 64, and 5.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 107.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.7 males. Santa Ana bucks the national trend on a large percentage of young people under the age of 21.
The median income for a household in the city was $43,412, and the median income for a family was $41,050. Males had a median income of $23,342 versus $21,637 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,152. About 16.1% of families and 25.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.1% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over. Santa Ana is a city divided by socio-economic class stratification after decades of immigration and economic prosperity.
In the state legislature Santa Ana is located in the 34th Senate District represented by Democrat Lou Correa, and in the 69th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Jose Solorio. Federally, Santa Ana is located in California's 47th Congressional District and is represented by Democrat Loretta Sanchez.
Public transit bus service is available via the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA).
The Rancho Santiago Community College District, established in 1878, has six satellite campus locations across Orange County, including Santa Ana College.
Greenville, a formerly rural section of Santa Ana, has buildings over a century-old, but industrial complexes replaced agricultural fields that once surrounded the town.
Santa Ana has several wall paintings and murals depicting local history, community events and cultural diversity in Orange County.