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Orange County, California

With a population of 2,846,289 (2000 census), Orange County is the second most populous county in the state of California and the fifth most populous in the United States. It is a part of the Greater Los Angeles Area. The county is well-known for its wealth and political conservatism.

It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the north by Los Angeles County, on the northeast by San Bernardino County, on the east by Riverside County, and on the south by San Diego County. It was named after the citrus fruit that was prevalent in the region, although it is no longer the case in recent years. The county seat is Santa Ana.

The area's warm weather and year-round beaches attract millions of tourists annually, many come to visit Disneyland in Anaheim or Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park. Some of the most exclusive (and expensive) neighborhoods in the U.S. are located here. Other Orange County attractions include Mission San Juan Capistrano, and shopping in Costa Mesa or Newport Beach. It is home to the University of California, Irvine and the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda. Surfing is also a favorite pastime. The county's Major League Baseball team, the Anaheim Angels, won the World Series in 2002. The county's National Hockey League team, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, lost the Stanley Cup finals by one game out of seven.

In recent years, the county has been characterized by conflict between the older northern and newer southern cities over development, the building of new toll roads, and a recently defeated proposal to build an international airport at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station to supplement the crowded John Wayne Airport.

In U.S. Politics, Orange County has long been typified as a bastion of conservative Republicanism, however changing demographics have split the county more evenly between the two major parties as the traditionally pro-Democrat Hispanic population continues to grow although Republicans continue to hold a 3-2 voter registration margin over the Democrats. In 1996, Democrat Loretta Sanchez defeated long-time Republican Congressman Robert Dornan. Republicans have since made more explicit efforts to appeal to Hispanics. Sanchez and five Republicans currently represent the county in the House of Representatives. A plotline in the popular TV drama The West Wing involves a Democrat unexpectedly winning a seat in the United States House of Representatives from an Orange County district. Four of Orange County's five State Senators are Republicans while seven of its nine State Assemblymembers are Republicans. The California State Legislature is composed of 40 State Senators and 80 State Assemblymembers.

Table of contents
1 Orange County in literature and popular culture
2 History
3 Geography
4 Demographics
5 Cities and Towns
6 External Links

Orange County in literature and popular culture

Orange County is the place in which Kim Stanley Robinson's Three Californias Trilogy is set. These books depict three different futures of the Orange County (survivors of a nuclear war in The Wild Shore, a developers dream gone mad in The Gold Coast, and an ecotopian utopia in Pacific Edge). It is the setting of the 2002 movie Orange County. It is also the setting of the 2003 Fox Network shows The O.C and Arrested Development.


Orange County was created in 1889 from parts of Los Angeles County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,455 km² (948 mi²). 2,045 km² (789 mi²) of it is land and 411 km² (159 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 16.73% water.


As of the census of 2000, there are 2,846,289 people, 935,287 households, and 667,794 families residing in the county. The population density is 1,392/km² (3,606/mi²). There are 969,484 housing units at an average density of 474/km² (1,228/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 64.81% White, 1.67% African American, 0.70% Native American, 13.59% Asian, 0.31% Pacific Islander, 14.80% from other races, and 4.12% from two or more races. 30.76% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 935,287 households out of which 37.00% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.90% are married couples living together, 10.70% have a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% are non-families. 21.10% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.20% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.00 and the average family size is 3.48.

In the county the population is spread out with 27.00% under the age of 18, 9.40% from 18 to 24, 33.20% from 25 to 44, 20.60% from 45 to 64, and 9.90% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 99.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 96.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $58,820, and the median income for a family is $64,611. Males have a median income of $45,059 versus $34,026 for females. The per capita income for the county is $25,826. 10.30% of the population and 7.00% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 13.20% are under the age of 18 and 6.20% are 65 or older.

Cities and Towns

External Links

The Orange County government maintains a web site at: