Ventura County is a county in the southern part of the U.S. state of California (Southern California). It is located on California's Pacific coast, and forms the northwestern part of the Greater Los Angeles Area. It is often referred to as the Gold Coast, and has a reputation of being one of the safest populated places and one of the most affluent places in the country. It is ranked as one of the top 100 highest-income counties in the country and as the 6th wealthiest county in California by per capita income. Median Home Prices range from $400,000 to around $2 million. This is partly because it is part of the Tech Coast Area, and has a large presence in technology corporations like telecommunications, healthcare, development, and especially biotech corporations, most of which are located in the Conejo Valley.
As of the 2000 census, the county had a population of 753,197. A more current California Department of Finance estimate places the population at 813,052. The county seat is the city of Ventura (formally known as San Buenaventura). Ventura County's largest city is Oxnard, with a population of about 200,000.
As of the census² of 2000, there were 753,197 people, 243,234 households, and 182,911 families living in the county. The population density was 408 people per square mile (158/km²). There were 251,712 housing units at an average density of 136 per square mile (53/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 69.93% White, 5.35% Asian, 1.95% Black or African American, 0.94% Native American, 0.22% Pacific Islander, 17.68% from other races, and 3.93% from two or more races. About one third (33.42%) of the population is Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 243,234 households, of which 39.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.5% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.8% were non-families. 18.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.04 and the average family size was 3.46.
In the county the population was spread out, with 28.4% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 99.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.5 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $59,666, and the median income for a family was $65,285. Males had a median income of $45,310, versus $32,216 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,600. About 6.4% of families and 9.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.6% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those aged 65 or over.
According to an updated 2005 US Census, median household income was $66,859, while mean was $85,032. Per capita income was up to $29,634, making it the 6th wealthiest county in California.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,208 square miles (5,719 km²), of which, 1,845 square miles (4,779 km²) of it is land and 363 square miles (940 km²) of it (16.43%) is water. Anacapa Island of Channel Islands National Park and San Nicolas Island are located in the county.
Most of the population of Ventura County lives in the southern portion of the county. The major population centers are the Oxnard Plain and the Simi and Conejo Valleys.
North of Highway 126 the county is mountainous and mostly uninhabited, and contains some of the most unspoiled, rugged and inaccessible wilderness remaining in southern California. Most of this land is in the Los Padres National Forest, and includes the Chumash Wilderness in the northernmost portion, adjacent to Kern County, as well as the large Sespe Wilderness and portions of both the Dick Smith Wilderness and Matilija Wilderness (both of these protected areas straddle the line with Santa Barbara County). All of the wilderness areas are within the jurisdiction of Los Padres National Forest.
A common flower in the area, and the official flower of the neighboring City of Los Angeles, Strelitzia reginaeThe highest peaks in the county include Mount Pinos (8831', 2697 m), Frazier Mountain (8017', 2444 m), and Reyes Peak (7525', 2294 m), all in the San Emigdio Mountains (Pinos and Frazier Mountain are sometimes assigned to the Tehachapis). The uplands are well-timbered with coniferous forests, and receive plentiful snow in the winter.
Mount Pinos is sacred to the Chumash Indians. It is known to them as Iwihinmu, and was considered to be the center of the universe; being the highest peak in the vicinity, it has a spectacular view, unimpeded in three directions.
The Santa Clara River is the principal waterway. Lake Casitas, an artificial reservoir, is the largest body of water.
Ventura County is served by Amtrak and Metrolink trains, as well as Greyhound Lines, Gold Coast Transit (formerly South Coast Area Transit), and VISTA buses. The cities of Camarillo, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks have their own small bus systems.
Click here for a list of area public transportation
Oxnard Airport, just west of Downtown Oxnard is a commercial and general aviation airport. Commercial flights are available to Los Angeles International Airport.
Camarillo Airport, formerly a US Air Force Base, is a general aviation airport located south of the City of Camarillo.
Santa Paula Airport is a privately owned airport. However, it is open to the public for general aviation.
Unlike most other areas of Coastal California, Ventura County is relatively split between Democrats and Republicans, with a slight majority tending to support the Republican Party in local and national elections. While Republicans used to win a large majority of votes throughout the 1970s and 1980s, no party has received more than 60% of votes since 1988. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
Yet, the 23rd congressional district, which includes coastal regions of Ventura County along with the cities of Oxnard and Ventura, has a Cook Partisan Index (CPI) rating of D +9, meaning that a Democrat will on average defeat a Republican by a 9 percentage point margin. It is currently represented by Democrat Lois Capps. Most of the county's area, including the inland areas and cities of Thousand Oaks as well as Moorpark, is in the 24th district, which is held by Republican Elton Gallegly. In the State Assembly, Ventura is in the 35th, 37th, 38th, and 41st districts. The 35th and 41st districts are held by Democrats, Pedro Nava and Julia Brownley, respectively; the 37th and 38th districts are held by Republicans, Audra Strickland and Cameron Smyth, respectively. In the State Senate, Ventura is part of the 17th, 19th, and 23rd Senate districts, which are held by Republicans George Runner, Tom McClintock, and Democrat Sheila Kuehl, respectively.
Current county supervisors are Steve Bennett, Linda Parks (Chair), Kathy Long, Peter Foy, and John Flynn. Bob Brooks is the sheriff of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. Bob Roper is the chief of the Ventura County Fire Department.
Ventura County typically has limited housing inventory making it a consistently expensive location in Southern California where it is usually the third most expensive county behind Orange and Los Angeles counties. The county was not on track as of March 2018 to meet its state-mandated housing goals. Individual cities are responsible for meeting their assigned housing goals, while the county government is responsible for housing goals in unincorporated areas. Several affordable housing groups that are actively working on building housing for veterans and low income people have long waiting lists. Farmworker housing also has waiting lists though designated units continue to be built.
Ventura County has a considerable range in climate because of differences in topography between one part of the county and another. Rainfall is limited in summer and crops have to be irrigated. The average annual temperature is near 60 °F at low elevations near the ocean, in the 50s over most of the northern two-thirds of the county, and less than 45 °F in the Topatopa Mountains. The annual range in temperature is between 70 °F and 80 °F on the Coastal Plain and as much as 100 °F in the interior. For July, the average maximum temperature is between 70 °F and 80 °F on the Coastal Plain but exceeds 90 °F in the upper part of the Ventura- and Cuyama River Valleys. For January, the average minimum temperature is near 40 °F on the coast but in the lower 30s and upper 20s in the northern parts of Ventura County. No temperature data are available for the highest point in the county, Mount Pinos. The length of the growing season ranges more than 300 days near the coast to less than 175 days in the coldest part in northern Ventura County. In both the northern and southern ends of the county, the annual precipitation totals between ten and fifteen inches. In the Topatopa Mountains, the annual total is more than thirty-three inches. The drier parts of the county get less than five inches of rain annually, and the higher and wetter parts get more than 60 inches annually. Measureable amounts of rainfall in Ventura County are reported on thirty to thirty-five days annually, and half an inch or more on six to twelve days annually. In the northern parts of Ventura County, snowfall averages five inches or more per year, and along the northern border and Mount Pinos, more than twenty inches.
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