Most of California's population lives west of the San Andreas Fault, between the fault and the Pacific Ocean, proving that people do not avoid living near the San Andreas Fault. The fault is 800 miles long and runs from the Mendocino coast to the Salton Sea.
The San Andreas Fault is where the North American tectonic plate meets the Pacific Plate. The North American plate moves south approximately 1 inch per year, while the Pacific Plate moves 3 inches northwest. The fault has a northern segment that runs from Hollister to the Point Reyes National Seashore, before moving offshore, and a southern segment that runs from Parkfield to the Salton Sea. The area from Hollister to Parkfield is the creeping section where the tectonic plates move continuously.