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San Mateo County, officially the County of San Mateo, is a county located in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 718,451. The county seat is Redwood City.

San Mateo County is included in the San Francisco–Oakland–Berkeley, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, and is part of the San Francisco Bay Area, the nine counties bordering San Francisco Bay. It covers most of the San Francisco Peninsula. San Francisco International Airport is located at the northern end of the county, and Silicon Valley begins at the southern end. The county's built-up areas are mostly suburban with some areas being very urban, and are home to several corporate campuses.

San Mateo County was formed in 1856 upon the division of San Francisco County, one of the state's 18 original counties established at California statehood in 1850. Until 1856, San Francisco's city limits extended west to Divisadero Street and Castro Street, and south to 20th Street. In response to the lawlessness and vigilantism that escalated rapidly between 1855 and 1856, the California state government decided to divide the county. A straight line was then drawn across the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula just north of San Bruno Mountain. Everything south of the line became the new San Mateo County while everything north of the line became the new consolidated City and County of San Francisco, to date the only consolidated city-county in California. The consolidated city-county of San Francisco was formed by a bill introduced by Horace Hawes and signed by the governor on 19 April 1856. San Mateo County was officially organized on 18 April 1857 under a bill introduced by Senator T.G. Phelps. The 1857 bill defined the southern boundary of San Mateo County as following the south branch of San Francisquito Creek to its source in the Santa Cruz Mountains and thence due west to the Pacific Ocean, and named Redwood City as the county seat. San Mateo County then annexed part of northern Santa Cruz County in March 1868, including Pescadero and Pigeon Point.

Although the formation bill named Redwood City the county seat, a May 1856 election marked by "unblushing frauds perpetuated on an unorganized and wholly unprotected community by thugs and ballot stuffers from San Francisco" named Belmont the county seat. The election results were declared illegal and the county government was moved to Redwood City, with land being donated from the original Pulgas Grant for the county government on 27 February 1858. Redwood City's status as county seat was upheld in two successive elections in May 1861 and 9 December 1873, defeating San Mateo and Belmont. Another election in May 1874 named San Mateo the county seat, but the state supreme court overturned that election on 24 February 1875 and the county seat has remained at Redwood City ever since.

San Mateo County bears the Spanish name for Saint Matthew. As a place name, San Mateo appears as early as 1776 in the diaries of Anza and Font. Several local geographic features were also designated San Mateo on early maps including variously: a settlement, an arroyo, a headland jutting into the Pacific (Point Montara), and a large land holding (Rancho San Mateo). Until about 1850, the name appeared as San Matheo.

Japanese Americans in San Mateo
The Japanese first arrived in San Mateo county and were part of a group guided by Ambassador Tomomi Iwakura back in 1872. There were a number of all male Japanese students who came to San Mateo to learn English and many other helpful skills to bring back to Japan. These students were also some of the first Japanese to join American students in the Belmont school for boys. These students had to work for their housing and food before classes and in the evenings. Many of the first Japanese immigrants were able to find jobs as gardeners and landscapers In San Mateo. Most of them had good educational background from their homelands, but their lack of knowing the English language made it difficult for them to find other jobs in the beginning.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 741 square miles (1,920 km2), of which 448 square miles (1,160 km2) is land and 293 square miles (760 km2) (40%) is water. It is the third-smallest county in California by land area. A number of bayside watercourses drain the eastern part of the county including San Bruno Creek and Colma Creek. Streams draining the western county include Frenchmans Creek, Pilarcitos Creek, Naples Creek, Arroyo de en Medio, and Denniston Creek. These streams originate along the northern spur of the Santa Cruz Mountains that run through the county. The northern and north-east parts of the county are very heavy densely populated with largely urban and suburban areas, with many of its cities as edge-cities for the Bay Area, whilst the deep south and the west central parts of the county are less densely populated with more rural environment and coastal beaches areas.

The Santa Cruz Mountains cross through San Mateo County. In comparison to the rest of the county, the area is quite rural and forested.

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San Mateo County straddles the San Francisco Peninsula, with the Santa Cruz Mountains running its entire length. The county encompasses a variety of habitats including estuarine, marine, oak woodland, redwood forest, coastal scrub and oak savannah. There are numerous species of wildlife present, especially along the San Francisco Bay estuarine shoreline, San Bruno Mountain, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and the forests on the Montara Mountain block. Several creeks discharge to the San Francisco Bay including San Mateo Creek and Laurel Creek and several coastal streams discharge to the Pacific Ocean such as Frenchmans Creek and San Vicente Creek.

A?o Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area and Greyhound Rock State Marine Conservation Area are two adjoining marine protected areas off the coast of San Mateo County. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.

Flora and fauna
The county is home to several endangered species including the San Francisco garter snake and the San Bruno elfin butterfly, both of which are endemic to San Mateo County. The endangered California Ridgway's Rail is also found on the shores of San Francisco Bay, in the cities of Belmont and San Mateo. The endangered wildflower Hickman's potentilla is found near the Pacific Ocean on the lower slopes of Montara Mountain. The endangered wildflowers White-rayed pentachaeta, Pentachaeta bellidiflora, San Mateo Woolly Sunflower, Eriophyllum latilobum, Marin Dwarf Flax, Hesperolinon congestum and the San Mateo Thornmint, Acanthomintha duttonii, are found in the vicinity of the Crystal Springs Reservoir.

In May 2014, a California condor was spotted near Pescadero, a coastal community south of San Francisco —it was the first California condor spotted in San Mateo County since 1904. The Condor, tagged with the number "597," and also known as "Lupine", is one of 439 condors living in the wild or captivity in California, Baja California and Arizona. The three-year-old female flew more than 100 miles (160 km) north from Pinnacles National Park, in San Benito County, on May 30, and landed on a private, forested property near Pescadero, on the San Mateo County Coast, where it was photographed by a motion-activated wildlife camera. Harold Heath, Professor Emeritus, of Stanford University was responsible for the 1904 sighting, 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the University campus.

Puma (Puma concolor), also known as mountain lions, roam the county.

Tule elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes) were native to San Mateo County and among the "favored foods" of the Ohlone people based on ethnohistoric and archeological evidence there. The discovery of two elk specimens made news in 1962, one a royal elk (royal elk bulls have 6 tines per antler) from a peat bog excavated in Pacifica's historic Laguna Alta, and now in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology collection. These may date from the time of Spanish settlement. Laguna Alta lay just south of the Interstate 280 and Skyline Boulevard intersection, east of Mussel Rock. The California Academy of Sciences also has an elk skull fragment collected one mile inland from the mouth of Purisima Creek in 1951. Additional coastal elk remains dating from the Middle and Late Periods in Northern California were found in at least five more late Holocene archeological sites in San Mateo County: SMA-115 (Montara State Beach site), SMA-118 (Bean Hollow State Beach site), SMA-244 (Butano Ridge site), SMA-97 (A?o Nuevo Creek site) and SMA-218 (A?o Nuevo State Reserve site). On the eastern side of the San Francisco Peninsula, elk remains were also unearthed at multiple archaeological sites along San Francisquito Creek.

National protected areas
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge (part)
Golden Gate National Recreation Area (part)
Marine protected area
Montara State Marine Reserve & Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area
County trails
See this county page for trail descriptions.

Alpine Trail
Bog Trail
Ca?ada Trail
Crystal Springs Trail
Edgewood Trail
Ralston Trail
San Andreas Trail
Sand Hill Trail
Sawyer Camp Trail
Skyline Trail
Sheep Camp Trail
Sweeney Ridge Trail
Hiking trails in San Mateo County
County parks

[Interactive fullscreen map]
San Mateo County Parks
Parks and open spaces Trails Historic sites
The County of San Mateo Parks Department operates 22 parks, trails, and historic sites spread throughout the county:

San Mateo County Parks
¹ Name Image Est. Size City Ref.
1 Coyote Point
MarinaRecreation Area
Zeppelin-ride-020100925-130 (5028699547).jpg 149 + 538 acres
60 + 218 ha San Mateo/Burlingame
2 Crystal Springs
San AndreasSawyer CampCrystal Springs
Lake San Andreas - Sawyer Camp Trail (15916868610).jpg 17.5 mi
28.2 km Burlingame
3 Devil's Slide Devil's Slide Trail, which used to be an unstable part of California Highway 1 until they built bypass tunnels and turned it into a nature reserve. (26033922316).jpg 1.3 mi
2.1 km Pacifica/Montara
4 Edgewood Monday Night Birding (14177890134).jpg 467 acres
189 ha Redwood City
5 Fitzgerald JV Fitzgerald Marine Reserve 04 (11013086134).jpg 1969 Moss Beach
6 Flood 21 acres
8.5 ha Menlo Park
7 Friendship <1 acre
0.40 ha Redwood City
8 Huddart 974 acres
394 ha Woodside
9 Junipero Serra 103 acres
42 ha San Bruno
10 Memorial 1924 673 acres
272 ha Loma Mar
11 Mirada Surf 15 + 34 acres
6.1 + 13.8 ha El Granada
12 Moss Beach 2014 467 acres
189 ha Moss Beach
13 Pescadero Creek Entering the Park (5365626915).jpg 8,020 acres
3,250 ha Loma Mar
14 Pillar Point 220 acres
89 ha Moss Beach
15 Quarry 517 acres
209 ha El Granada
16 Sam McDonald Sam McDonald County Park (16121518351).jpg 850 acres
340 ha Loma Mar
17 San Bruno Mountain Aerial view of San Bruno Mountain.jpg 2,416 acres
978 ha Brisbane
18 San Pedro Valley 1,052 acres
426 ha Pacifica
19 Sanchez Adobe S?nchez Adobe exterior 2.JPG 5 acres
2.0 ha Pacifica
20 Tunitas Creek Beach Tuitas Beach and Ocean Shore Railroad.jpg Half Moon Bay
21 Woodside Store Woodside store.jpg — Woodside
22 Wunderlich 942 acres
381 ha Woodside
149 acres of land, 538 acres underwater
Wholly contained within the Montara State Marine Reserve
Divided by State Route 1 into the 15-acre Mirada Surf West and 34-acre East.
Prior to the rebuilding of the San Mateo Bridge that began in 1996, the county had also operated Werder Pier for fishermen; it had been the western segment of the original 1929 vertical-lift bridge.

In addition to the county-operated parks, San Mateo County voters created the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District in 1972, administered by the Peninsula Open Space Trust, which owns several protected spaces within San Mateo County (as well as within Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties). San Mateo County protected spaces administered by POST include:

Coal Creek Open Space Preserve
El Corte de Madera Creek
La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve
Long Ridge Open Space Preserve (partially within Santa Clara County)
Los Trancos Open Space Preserve (partially within Santa Clara County)
Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve
Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve
Ravenswood Open Space Preserve
Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve
Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve
Teague Hill Open Space Preserve
Thornewood Open Space Preserve
Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
State parks
A?o Nuevo State Park
Butano State Park
Castle Rock State Park
Heritage Grove
Portola Redwoods State Park
Quarry Park
Burleigh H. Murray Ranch
Pigeon Point Light Station Historic State Park
Point Montara Light Station State Park
San Bruno Mountain State Park
State beaches
A?o Nuevo State Reserve
Bean Hollow State Beach
Big Basin State Beach
Gray Whale Cove State Beach
Half Moon Bay State Beach
Montara State Beach
Pacifica State Beach
Pebble Beach
Pescadero State Beach
Pomponio State Beach
San Gregorio State Beach
Thornton State Beach
As of 2012, San Mateo County had one of the largest Tongan communities outside of Tonga, with an estimated 13,000 Tongan Americans.

Population, race, and income
Places by population, race, and income
Places by population and race
Places by population and income
Historical population
Census Pop. %±
1860 3,214 —
1870 6,635 106.4%
1880 8,669 30.7%
1890 10,087 16.4%
1900 12,094 19.9%
1910 26,585 119.8%
1920 36,781 38.4%
1930 77,405 110.4%
1940 111,782 44.4%
1950 235,659 110.8%
1960 444,387 88.6%
1970 556,234 25.2%
1980 587,329 5.6%
1990 649,623 10.6%
2000 707,161 8.9%
2010 718,451 1.6%
Est. 2019 766,573 6.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015
The 2010 United States Census reported that San Mateo County had a population of 718,451. The racial makeup of San Mateo County was 383,535 (53.4%) White, 20,436 (2.8%) African American, 3,306 (0.5%) Native American, 178,118 (24.8%) Asian (9.8% Filipino, 9.0% Chinese, 1.9% Indian, 1.2% Japanese, 0.8% Korean, 0.5% Vietnamese, 0.3% Burmese, 0.1% Pakistani), 10,317 (1.4%) Pacific Islander (0.6% Tongan, 0.3% Samoan, 0.2% Fijian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian), 84,529 (11.8%) from other races, and 38,210 (5.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 182,502 persons (25.4%); 15.7% of San Mateo County is Mexican, 2.7% Salvadoran, 1.2% Guatemalan, 1.2% Nicaraguan, 0.7% Peruvian, 0.6% Puerto Rican, 0.2% Colombian, and 0.2% Cuban.

Demographic profile 2010
Population reported at 2010 United States Census

Age distribution (2000 census)
As of the census of 2009, there were 714,936 people, 258,648 households, and 174,582 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,753/sq mi (825/km2). There were 284,471 housing units at an average density of 789/sq mi (432/km2). 7.4% were of Italian, 7.1% Irish, 7.0% German and 5.3% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 46.9% spoke English, 28.4% Spanish, 6.2% Tagalog, 4.0% Chinese or Mandarin and 1.1% Cantonese, and other language 4.2%, as their first language from estimate census 2009.

There were 258,648 households, out of which 30% had children under the age of 18, 48.6% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.79 and the average family size was 4.44.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 28.6% under the age of 18, 15.9% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 21% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $69,306, and the median income for a family was $77,737. Males had a median income of $48,342 versus $45,383 for females. The per capita income for the county was $36,045. About 6.42% of families and 9.51% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.01% of those under age 18 and 8.52% of those age 65 or over.

San Mateo County has a five-member Board of Supervisors, representing five geographic districts, elected at-large until November 2012. On November 6, 2012, Measure B passed to amend the San Mateo County Charter so that each member of the Board of Supervisors will cease to be elected by an at-large vote of all the voters in the County, but is instead elected only by the voters of his or her district.

San Mateo County is split between California's 14th and 18th congressional districts, represented by Jackie Speier (D–Hillsborough) and Anna Eshoo (D–Atherton), respectively.

In the California State Assembly, San Mateo County is split between three legislative districts:

the 19th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Phil Ting,
the 22nd Assembly District, represented by Democrat Kevin Mullin, and
the 24th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Marc Berman.
In the California State Senate, San Mateo is split between the 11th and 13th districts, represented by Scott Wiener and Jerry Hill, respectively.

Voter registration
Population and registered voters
Cities by population and voter registration
Cities by population and voter registration
Historically, San Mateo County was a Republican stronghold in presidential elections. From 1892 until 1988, the only Democrats to carry San Mateo County were Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Hubert Humphrey. Like virtually all counties in the Bay Area, San Mateo today is a strongly Democratic county in presidential and congressional elections. The last Republican to win a majority in the county was Ronald Reagan in 1984.

The California Secretary of State, as of February 2019, reports that San Mateo County has 404,958 registered voters. Of those voters, 202,341 (50%) are registered Democratic, 60,045 (14.3%) are registered Republican, 15,834 (3.9%) are registered with other political parties, and 126,738 (31.3%) declined to state a political party preference. Every city, town, and unincorporated area of San Mateo County has more registered Democrats than Republicans.

On November 4, 2008 San Mateo County voted 61.8% against Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

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

Population and crime rates
Cities by population and crime rates
Cities by population and crime rates
A July 2013 Wall Street Journal article identified the Facebook initial public offering (IPO) as the cause of a change in the U.S.' national economic statistics, as San Mateo County—the home of the company—became the top wage-earning county in the country after the fourth quarter of 2012. The article revealed that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average weekly wage in the county was US$3,240, which is 107% higher than the previous year: "That’s the equivalent of $168,000 a year, and more than 50% higher than the next highest county, New York County (better known as Manhattan), which came in at $2,107 a week, or roughly $110,000 a year."

Additionally, San Mateo County hosts the headquarters of Oracle Corporation, Visa Inc, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Electronic Arts, YouTube, Genentech, and Gilead Sciences, as well as a hub of venture capital firms in Menlo Park and several other technology related companies.

In 2016, Peninsula Clean Energy began providing electricity to 20 percent of residential customers, all municipalities, and all small- to mid-size businesses in the county, as a Community Choice Aggregation program, an alternative to Pacific Gas and Electric.

The people of San Mateo county may use the services of San Mateo County Libraries along with the Peninsula Library System and its dozens of branches, bookmobile and Library-a-Go-Go machine at the Millbrae BART/Caltrain station.

The county is broken up into several public school districts in addition to the local Catholic diocese and many other private parochial and secular schools. The San Mateo County Board of Education oversees early education, special education, and the court and community schools program in the county, as well as serves as an appeal board for the adjudication of expulsion appeals, interdistrict attendance appeals, and Charter Schools.

Some students in San Mateo County's public schools attend outdoor education in La Honda. San Mateo Outdoor Education is a residential school that teaches major concepts of ecology via exploration of forest, pond, garden, tidepool, wetland, and sandy shore habitats. The center's mascot is the banana slug, a large yellow gastropod. The school uses songs from the famous Banana Slug String Band.

San Mateo County, California Schools
Major highways
I-280 (CA).svg Interstate 280
I-380 (CA).svg Interstate 380
US 101 (1961 cutout).svg U.S. Route 101
California 1.svg State Route 1
California 35.svg State Route 35
California 82.svg State Route 82 (El Camino Real)
California 84.svg State Route 84 (Dumbarton Bridge)
California 92.svg State Route 92 (San Mateo Bridge)
California 9.svg State Route 9
California 109.svg State Route 109
California 114.svg State Route 114
Public transportation
SamTrans (San Mateo County Transit District) provides local bus service within San Mateo County. Local and commuter bus routes also operate into San Francisco.

Caltrain, the commuter rail system, traverses the county from north to south, running alongside the Highway 101 corridor for most of the way.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains serve San Francisco International Airport and the northern portion of the county, terminating at Millbrae.

Caltrain, BART, and SamTrans converge at the Millbrae Intermodal station.

San Francisco International Airport is geographically located in San Mateo County, but it is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco.

San Mateo County does own two general aviation airports: Half Moon Bay Airport and San Carlos Airport.

Marine transport
The only deepwater port in South San Francisco Bay is the Port of Redwood City, situated along Redwood Creek, originally created as a lumber embarcadero in 1850. The San Mateo Harbor Harbor District manages the Pillar Point Harbor and Oyster Point Marina. Ferry connections connect Oyster Point to Jack London Square in Oakland and the Alameda Ferry Terminal in Alameda.

Notable structures

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There are a number of well known structures within San Mateo County:

Carolands Mansion, Hillsborough
Cow Palace, Daly City
Uplands Mansion, Hillsborough
Crystal Springs Reservoir, unincorporated central part of county
CuriOdyssey, San Mateo
Filoli Mansion, Woodside
The Flintstone House, Hillsborough
Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, which incorporates Ralston Hall
Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero
Point Montara Lighthouse, Montara
Pulgas Water Temple, Woodside
Sanchez Adobe, Pacifica
San Mateo County History Museum, Redwood City
San Francisco International Airport
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Menlo Park
Daly City
East Palo Alto
Foster City
Half Moon Bay
Menlo Park
Redwood City (county seat)
San Bruno
San Carlos
San Mateo
South San Francisco
Portola Valley
Census-designated places
El Granada
Emerald Lake Hills
Highlands-Baywood Park
La Honda
Loma Mar
Moss Beach
North Fair Oaks
West Menlo Park
Unincorporated communities
Burlingame Hills
Kings Mountain
Los Trancos Woods
Menlo Oaks
Palomar Park
San Gregorio
Sky Londa
Population ranking
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of San Mateo County.

† county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Daly City City 101,123
2 San Mateo City 97,207
3 † Redwood City City 76,815
4 South San Francisco City 63,632
5 San Bruno City 41,114
6 Pacifica City 37,234
7 Menlo Park City 32,026
8 Foster City City 30,567
9 Burlingame City 28,806
10 San Carlos City 28,406
11 East Palo Alto City 28,155
12 Belmont City 25,835
13 Millbrae City 21,532
14 North Fair Oaks CDP 14,687
15 Half Moon Bay City 11,324
16 Hillsborough Town 10,825
17 Atherton Town 6,914
18 El Granada CDP 5,467
19 Woodside Town 5,287
20 Portola Valley Town 4,353
21 Brisbane City 4,282
22 Emerald Lake Hills CDP 4,278
23 Broadmoor CDP 4,176
24 Highlands-Baywood Park CDP 4,027
25 West Menlo Park CDP 3,659
26 Moss Beach CDP 3,103
27 Montara CDP 2,909
28 Colma Town 1,792
29 Ladera CDP 1,426
30 La Honda CDP 928
31 Pescadero CDP 643
32 Loma Mar CDP 113
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