San Luis Obispo County
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San Luis Obispo County

San Luis Obispo County

SLO County
County of San Luis Obispo
Cerro San Luis.JPG
Justin vineyard.jpg
Hearst Castle pool.jpg
Morro Rock 1.jpg
Images, from top down, left to right: Cerro San Luis (Mountain) in San Luis Obispo, a vineyard in Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, Mission San Miguel Arcángel, Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle, Morro Rock
Official seal of San Luis Obispo County
"Not For Ourselves Alone"
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
California's location in the United States
Country United States
State California
RegionCalifornia Central Coast
IncorporatedFebruary 18, 1850[1]
Named forSaint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse
County seatSan Luis Obispo
 o BodySan Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors
 o Supervisors
 o AssemblymemberJordan Cunningham (R)[2]
 o State senatorBill Monning (D)[2]
 o Total3,616 sq mi (9,370 km2)
 o Land3,299 sq mi (8,540 km2)
 o Water317 sq mi (820 km2)
Highest elevation5,109 ft (1,557 m)
 o Total269,637
 o Estimate 
 o Density86/sq mi (33/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 o Summer (DST)UTC-7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
The entrance lobby and belfry of the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. A statue of Fray Junípero Serra stands outside the church.
Robert Jack House, built c. 1882

San Luis Obispo County, officially the County of San Luis Obispo, is a county located in the southern region of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 269,637.[4] The county seat is San Luis Obispo.[6]

San Luis Obispo County (locally, SLO County) comprises the San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. The county is located along the Pacific Ocean in Central California, between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Father Junipero Serra founded the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in 1772 and the Mission is today an active part of downtown San Luis Obispo (popularly referred to as SLO or SLO-town). The small size of the county's communities, scattered along the beaches, coastal hills, and mountains of the Santa Lucia range, provides a wide variety of coastal and inland hill ecologies to support many kinds of fishing, agriculture, and tourist activities.

The mainstays of the economy are California Polytechnic State University with its almost 20,000 students, tourism, and agriculture. San Luis Obispo County is the third largest producer of wine in California, surpassed only by Sonoma and Napa Counties. Wine grapes are the second largest agricultural crop in the county (after strawberries),[7] and the wine production they support creates a direct economic impact and a growing wine country vacation industry.

The town of San Simeon is located at the foot of the ridge where newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst built Hearst Castle. Other coastal towns (listed from North to South) include Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay, and Los Osos -Baywood Park. These cities and villages are located northwest of San Luis Obispo city, and Avila Beach and the Five Cities Region to the south which were originally: Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach (then known as Grover City), Oceano, Fair Oaks and Halcyon. Today, the Five Cities Region consists of Pismo Beach, Grover Beach and Oceano (County), basically the area from Pismo Beach to Oceano. Nipomo, just south of the Five Cities, borders northern Santa Barbara County. Inland, the cities of Paso Robles, Templeton, and Atascadero lie along the Salinas River, near the Paso Robles wine region. San Luis Obispo lies south of Atascadero and north of the Five Cities region.


The prehistory of San Luis Obispo County is strongly influenced by the Chumash people who had significant settlement here at least as early as the Millingstone Horizon thousands of years before the present age. Important settlements existed, for example, in many coastal areas such as Morro Bay and Los Osos.[8][9]

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was founded on September 1, 1772 in the area that is now the city of San Luis Obispo. The namesake of the mission, city and county is Saint Louis of Toulouse, the young bishop of Toulouse (Obispo and Tolosa in Spanish) in 1297.

San Luis Obispo County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood.

The Salinas River Valley, a region that figures strongly in several Steinbeck novels, stretches north from San Luis Obispo County. The remote California Valley near Soda Lake is the region most untouched by modernity. Travels through this area and the hills east of highway 101 during wildflower season are very beautiful and can be incorporated with wine tasting at local vineyards.


San Luis Obispo
Sand dunes - Oceano CA
Morro Bay Docks

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,616 square miles (9,370 km2), of which 3,299 square miles (8,540 km2) is land and 317 square miles (820 km2) (8.8%) is water.[10]

Adjacent counties

Areas adjacent to San Luis Obispo County, California

National protected areas

Marine Protected Areas



Places by population, race, and income


The 2010 United States Census reported that San Luis Obispo County had a population of 269,637. The racial makeup of San Luis Obispo County was 222,756 (82.6%) White, 5,550 (2.1%) African American, 2,536 (0.9%) Native American, 8,507 (3.2%) Asian (1.0% Filipino, 0.6% Chinese, 0.4% Japanese, 0.3% Indian, 0.3% Korean, 0.2% Vietnamese), 389 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 19,786 (7.3%) from other races, and 10,113 (3.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 55,973 persons (20.8%); 17.7% of San Luis Obispo County is Mexican, 0.3% Puerto Rican, and 0.2% Salvadoran.[18]


As of the census[23] of 2000, there were 246,681 residents, 92,739 households, and 58,611 families in the county. The population density was 75 people per square mile (29/km²). There were 102,275 housing units at an average density of 31 per square mile (12/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.6% White, 2.0% Black or African American, 1.0% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.2% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. 16.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.9% were of German, 11.4% English, 9.7% Irish, 6.1% American and 5.7% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 85.7% spoke English and 10.7% Spanish as their first language.

There were 92,739 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.40% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the county, the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 13.6% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 105.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.2 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,428, and the median income for a family was $52,447. Males had a median income of $40,726 versus $27,450 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,864. About 6.8% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.


Voter registration

Cities by population and voter registration


San Luis Obispo County, as a whole, leans toward the Republican Party in presidential and congressional elections; it has, however, become somewhat more Democratic during the 2000s and 2010s. In 2008, Barack Obama won the county with 51.2 percent of the vote.[25] Prior to 2008, the last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964, although Bill Clinton won a plurality in 1992. In 2012, Obama again won the county, this time with a slim plurality of the vote.

Presidential elections results

The county backed Democrat Jerry Brown during his 2014 re-election campaign after having supported his Republican opponent, Meg Whitman, in 2010. Prior to this, the last Democrat to carry the county in a gubernatorial election was Gray Davis in 1998.

With respect to the United States House of Representatives, San Luis Obispo County is in California's 24th congressional district, represented by Democrat Salud Carbajal.[27] From 2003 until 2013, the county was split between the Bakersfield-based 22nd district, which was represented by Republican Kevin McCarthy and included Paso Robles and most of the more conservative inland areas of the county, and Lois Capps' 23rd district, a strip which included most of the county's more liberal coastal areas as well as coastal areas of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

With respect to the California State Senate, the county is in the 17th Senate District, represented by Democrat Bill Monning. With respect to the California State Assembly, the county is in the 35th Assembly District, represented by Republican Jordan Cunningham.

In April 2008, the California Secretary of State reported that there were 147,326 registered voters in San Luis Obispo County. Of those voters, 61,226 (41.6%) were registered Republicans, 52,586 (35.7%) were registered Democratic, 8,030 (5.4%) are registered with other political parties, and 25,484 (17.3%) declined to state a political preference. The cities of Grover Beach, Morro Bay, and San Luis Obispo had pluralities or majorities of registered Democratic voters, whereas the rest of the county's towns, cities, and the unincorporated areas have a plurality or majority of registered Republican voters.[]


The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.

Cities by population and crime rates


Clubhair mariposa lily near SLO city, 2014

San Luis Obispo County's economy is primarily a service economy. Service jobs account for 38% of the County's jobs, government jobs accounts for 20.7%, and manufacturing jobs represent 6% of the County's jobs.


Major highways

Public transportation

San Luis Obispo County is served by Amtrak trains and Greyhound Lines buses. The San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority provides countywide service along US 101 as well as service to Morro Bay, Los Osos, Cambria and San Simeon.

The cities of San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Paso Robles operate their own local bus services; all of these connect with SLORTA routes.

Oceano County Airport in 2013

Intercity service is provided by Amtrak trains, Greyhound and Orange Belt Stages buses.




The "Five Cities" as they are known today are: Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Oceano and Pismo Beach. Some people think that Shell Beach is separate from Pismo Beach, and while it was originally developed in the County, it was annexed into the City of Pismo Beach and is part of that City. Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Pismo Beach are the only incorporated cities. Oceano is a census-designated place, and Shell Beach is part of Pismo Beach.

Census-designated places

Pair of Bat stars near Los Osos

Unincorporated communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of San Luis Obispo County.[31]

+ county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)

1 + San Luis Obispo City 45,119
2 Paso Robles (El Paso de Robles) City 29,793
3 Atascadero City 28,310
4 Arroyo Grande City 17,252
5 Nipomo CDP 16,714
6 Los Osos CDP 14,276
7 Grover Beach City 13,156
8 Morro Bay City 10,234
9 Templeton CDP 7,674
10 Pismo Beach City 7,655
11 Oceano CDP 7,286
12 Cambria CDP 6,032
13 Cayucos CDP 2,592
14 Lake Nacimiento CDP 2,411
15 San Miguel CDP 2,336
16 Avila Beach CDP 1,627
17 Los Ranchos CDP 1,477
18 Shandon CDP 1,295
19 Callender CDP 1,262
20 Santa Margarita CDP 1,259
21 Blacklake CDP 930
22 Los Berros CDP 641
23 Woodlands CDP 576
24 San Simeon CDP 462
25 Garden Farms CDP 386
26 Oak Shores CDP 337
27 Whitley Gardens CDP 285
28 Edna CDP 193
29 Creston CDP 94

See also


  1. ^ Other = Some other race + Two or more races
  2. ^ Native American = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander + American Indian or Alaska Native
  3. ^ a b Percentage of registered voters with respect to total population. Percentages of party members with respect to registered voters follow.


  1. ^ "Chronology". California State Association of Counties. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ "Caliente Mountain". Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved .
  7. ^ Settevendemie, Marty. "2012 Crop Report" (PDF). San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture.
  8. ^ Terry L. Jones and Kathryn Klar (2007) California Prehistory: Colonization, Culture, and Complexity, Published by Rowman Altamira ISBN 0-7591-0872-2, 408 pages
  9. ^ C.Michael Hogan (2008) Morro Creek, ed. by A. Burnham
  10. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B02001. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  12. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B03003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  13. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19301. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  14. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19013. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  15. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19113. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  16. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  17. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B01003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  18. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau.
  19. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015.
  20. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 2015.
  21. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015.
  22. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved 2015.
  23. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved .
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q California Secretary of State. February 10, 2013 - Report of Registration Archived November 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  25. ^ Map of Election Results, County-by-County: The New York Times
  26. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved .
  27. ^ "California's 24th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Office of the Attorney General, Department of Justice, State of California. Table 11: Crimes – 2009 Archived December 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  29. ^ Only larceny-theft cases involving property over $400 in value are reported as property crimes.
  30. ^ a b c United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, 2012, Table 8 (California). Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  31. ^

Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 35°23?N 120°27?W / 35.38°N 120.45°W / 35.38; -120.45

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