Santa Cruz, California

From Academic Kids

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Downtown Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the county seat of Santa Cruz County, California, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 54,593. It is on the northern edge of the Monterey Bay, about 60 mi (100 km) (a 72 mile drive) south of San Francisco.

The area was first settled by Ohlone Indians, Native American hunter-gatherers. Santa Cruz was colonized in the mid-1700s by the Spanish, who established both a mission (Mission Santa Cruz) and a secular settlement named Branciforte. The town was named, as many of the early Spanish settlements were, for the Catholic feast day on which it was founded. The Ohlones were concentrated by the Spanish into the mission and suffered a rapid decline due to diseases and overwork.

Santa Cruz was settled by Americans in the 19th century. Immigrants from Scotland, Italy, China and Portugal also added distinctive contributions to the area's culture. In the 19th century forestry and commercial fishing were primary industries, as well as dairy farming and leather production.

Santa Cruz is home to the University of California, Santa Cruz, which was built starting in the 1960s as an 'alternative' campus. Overlooking Monterey Bay among the redwood trees, UCSC is arguably the most beautiful of the University of California campuses. UCSC was long known for its lack of letter grades and organized sports teams, although this has been changing in recent years, with letter grades being required in addition to Narrative Evaluations provided by the instructor. Their mascot is the banana slug.

Santa Cruz is also well-known for surfing, and is the home of O'Neill Wetsuits and Santa Cruz Surfboards (as well as Santa Cruz Skateboards). The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is California’s oldest amusement park and a designated State Historic Landmark.

Santa Cruz is also home to KSCO 1080 AM, one of the last independent commercial radio stations in the country.

In addition to its reputation in surfing and skateboarding, Santa Cruz is known for other alternative sports such as disc golf. The De Laveaga Disc Golf Course hosts PDGA tournaments, including the annual Masters Cup. De Laveaga will also be the disc golf and discathon venue for the WFDF-sanctioned World Disc Games overall event to be held in Santa Cruz in July 2005.

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The Pacific Garden Mall in downtown Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is also notable for the extensive damage it suffered during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which leveled the mostly unreinforced-brick downtown, killing five people. The downtown area, the Pacific Garden Mall, has been rebuilt almost from scratch, although a few weed-covered vacant lots remain. This same area is also a gathering place for Santa Cruz's population of young street people, along with numerous street entertainers. Another characteristic of Santa Cruz is the unusually high number of old Volkswagen Beetles, Squarebacks, and Microbuses seen parked on the streets. Parts of the downtown area, the Pacific Garden Mall, have been rebuilt.

The principal industries of Santa Cruz are agriculture, tourism, education (UCSC) and high technology. Santa Cruz is a center of the organic agriculture movement, and many specialty products such as artichokes, grown in the Castroville area. Tourist attractions include the classic Santa Cruz Boardwalk on the beach, the redwood forests, and unspoiled Monterey Bay, which is protected as a marine sanctuary. The best known local high technology company has been The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO).

In recent years, because of its proximity to Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz has supported a large high-technology population, particularly in the Scotts Valley area. Many workers from Silicon Valley live in Santa Cruz and the surrounding towns. The influx of workers from Silicon Valley, in combination with growing enrollment at the university, has caused growing traffic problems and a high cost of housing; Santa Cruz is regularly listed among the five most expensive housing markets in the United States.

As a center of liberal activism, Santa Cruz became one of the first cities in California to test the state's medical marijuana laws in court after the arrest of several medical marijuana proponents by the DEA. The case was ruled in favor of the growers, and Santa Cruz has continued to be a haven for medical and recreational pot smokers. A pirate radio station, Free Radio Santa Cruz, has been in operation there for a decade.

Camper Van Beethoven was spawned in Santa Cruz.

The climate is Mediterranean, with mild summers due to coastal fog. Winters tend to be rainy, although periodic droughts have occurred in recent years.

Santa Cruz provides many great opportunities for birding (see bird list) and butterfly watching.

Shakespeare Santa Cruz annually has a summer festival at UC Santa Cruz. The festival typically does two Shakespeare plays and one other play every summer, many of which are performed in a unique outdoor space among the redwoods.

Santa Cruz is also home to the Cabrillo Music Festival.

In the early 1970s, Santa Cruz was referred to as "The Murder Capital of the World" because there were two active serial killers and one mass murderer in town. These were Ed Kemper, Herbert Mullin, and John Linley Frazier respectively.



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Location of Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz is located at 36°58'19" North, 122°1'35" West (36.972050, -122.026252)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.4 km² (15.6 mi²). 32.5 km² (12.5 mi²) of it is land and 8.0 km² (3.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 19.67% water.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 54,593 people, 20,442 households, and 10,404 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,682.2/km² (4,356.0/mi²). There are 21,504 housing units at an average density of 662.6/km² (1,715.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 78.74% White, 1.73% African American, 0.86% Native American, 4.90% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 9.14% from other races, and 4.50% from two or more races. 17.39% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 20,442 households out of which 25.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% are married couples living together, 9.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 49.1% are non-families. 29.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.44 and the average family size is 2.98.

In the city the population is spread out with 17.3% under the age of 18, 20.5% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 97.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $50,605, and the median income for a family is $62,231. Males have a median income of $44,751 versus $32,699 for females. The per capita income for the city is $25,758. 16.5% of the population and 6.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 12.5% of those under the age of 18 and 4.8% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Santa Cruz is served by by the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District bus system and Amtrak bus and rail service to San Jose, California.

The county has one public use general aviation airport as shown in the list of Santa Cruz airports. The nearest airports for commercial travel include San Jose International Airport, Monterey Peninsula Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and Oakland International Airport.

Other Points of interest

See Also

Interwiki links

  • WikiSCUM (, a Wikicity for Santa Cruz Underground Music

External links

Template:Mapit-US-cityscalede:Santa Cruz (Kalifornien) fr:Santa Cruz (Californie) pl:Santa Cruz (Kalifornia)


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