San Jos is the third-most populous city in the U.S. state of California, and is the county seat of Santa Clara County. While recently becoming the tenth-most populous city in the USA, San Jose has also held the title of The Safest Big City in America for the past several years.
The city is located at the south end of the San Francisco Bay within the informal boundaries of Silicon Valley, and is the largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area. As of 2005, it reported an estimated population of 945,000 making it the most populous city in Northern California (it surpassed San Francisco in 1989) and third most populous city in the state, after Los Angeles and San Diego. The Census Bureau update for 2004 indicates San Jose has overtaken Detroit as the United States' tenth most populous city. All of these figures refer to the area within the city limits, which is the sense in which the word "city" is normally used in the U.S. -- not to the "greater-", "metropolitan-", or urban area.
San Jose was the first town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California (later Alta California), founded in 1777 as a farming community to provide food for nearby military installations. It served as the first capital of California after statehood was granted in 1850. After over 150 years as an agricultural center, increased demand for housing from soldiers and other veterans returning from World War II and starting families, as well as aggressive expansion during the 1950s and 1960s led first to San Jose being a bedroom community for Silicon Valley in the 1970s, then attracting businesses to the city; by 1990 the city was calling itself the Capital of Silicon Valley.
On April 3, 1979, the city council adopted San Jos as the spelling of the city name on the city seal and official stationery; however, the name is still more commonly spelled without the diacritic mark. The official name of the city is The City of San Jos.
Based on statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Jose is the nation's safest city with population of 500,000 or more. The designation is based on crime statistics for 2004 in six categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft.
San Jose is located at 37°18'15" North, 121°52'22" West (37.304051, 121.872734).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 461.5 km2 (178.2 mi2). 452.9 km2 (174.9 mi2) of it is land and 8.6 km2 (3.3 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 1.86% water.
San Jose lies near the San Andreas Fault; a major source of earthquake activity in California. The most serious earthquake, in 1906, damaged many buildings in San Jose as described earlier. Earlier significant quakes rocked the city in 1839, 1851, 1858, 1864, 1865, 1868, and 1891. The Daly City Earthquake of 1957 caused some damage. The Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 also did some damage to parts of the city. The other faults near San Jose are the Monte Vista Fault, South Hayward Fault, Northern Calaveras Fault, and Central Calaveras Fault.
The Guadalupe River runs from the Santa Cruz Mountains (which separate the South Bay from the Pacific Coast) flowing north through San Jose, ending in the San Francisco Bay at Alviso. Along the southern part of the river is the neighborhood of Almaden Valley, originally named for the mercury mines which produced mercury needed for gold extraction from quartz during the California gold rush as well as mercury fulminate blasting caps and detonators for the U.S. military from 1870 to 1945.
The lowest point in San Jose is at sea level at the San Francisco Bay in Alviso; the highest is 4,372 feet (1,333 m) at Copernicus Peak, Mount Hamilton. Due to the proximity to Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton, San Jose has taken several steps to reduce light pollution, including replacing all street lamps with low pressure sodium lamps. To recognize the city's efforts, the asteroid 6216 San Jose was named after the city. Some residents object to the deep yellow color of the streetlights, saying they are distracting because they are the same shade of yellow as traffic lights and other illuminated traffic warnings.
As of the census of 2000, there are 894,943 people, 276,598 households, and 203,576 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,976.1/km2 (5,117.9/mi2). There are 281,841 housing units at an average density of 622.3/km2 (1,611.8/mi2). The racial makeup of the city is 47.49% White, 3.50% African American, 0.77% Native American, 26.86% Asian, 0.40% Pacific Islander, 15.94% from other races, and 5.04% from two or more races. 30.17% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 276,598 households out of which 38.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.0% are married couples living together, 11.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 26.4% are non-families. 18.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 4.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.20 and the average family size is 3.62.
In the city the population is spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 35.4% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 103.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 102.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $70,243, and the median income for a family is $74,813. Males have a median income of $49,347 versus $36,936 for females. The per capita income for the city is $26,697. 8.8% of the population and 6.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 10.3% of those under the age of 18 and 7.4% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
San Jose considers itself "the Capital of Silicon Valley." As such, its economy rises and falls with high-tech employment in the Bay Area. During the peak of the tech bubble, employment, housing prices, and traffic congestion peaked, but all eased as the economy slowed during the first few years of the 21st century. As of 2003, the city reported 355,000 jobs within the city limits and an unemployment rate of 8.7%. San Jose had the highest median household income of any place with a population over 300,000 in 2000.
The city lists 25 companies with 1,000 employees or more, including the headquarters of Adobe Systems, BEA Systems, Cisco, and eBay, as well as major facilities for Flextronics, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Hitachi and Lockheed Martin. Sizable government employers include the city, Santa Clara County, and San Jos State University.
The cost of living in San Jose and the surrounding areas is among the highest in California and the nation. Housing costs in the city are the primary reason for the high cost of living, although the costs in all areas tracked by ACCRA are above the national average. Despite the high cost of living, San Jose households have the highest disposable income of any large American city. San Jose residents produce more U.S. patents than any other city, the average worker productivity in San Jose is double the national average, and 35 percent of venture capital funds in the U.S. are invested in San Jose and Silicon Valley companies.