Del Norte County, California
Del Norte County (/dɛl nɔɹt/) is a county at the far northwest corner of the U.S. state of California, along the Pacific Ocean adjacent to the Oregon border. As of the 2010 census, the population was 28,610. The county seat and only incorporated city is Crescent City. Del Norte was pioneered and settled by Azorean Portuguese explorers and dairy farmers, which may account for the local pronunciation of the county name. Residents pronounce the county name as Del Nort, not Del Nor-teh as would be expected in Spanish.
Del Norte County
|County of Del Norte|
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
|Incorporated||March 2, 1857|
|Named for||Its location, "Of the North" (Spanish: Del norte), in California|
|County seat||Crescent City|
|Largest city||Crescent City|
|• Total||1,230 sq mi (3,200 km2)|
|• Land||1,006 sq mi (2,610 km2)|
|• Water||223 sq mi (580 km2)|
|Highest elevation||6,415 ft (1,955 m)|
|• Density||23/sq mi (9.0/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)|
|GNIS feature ID||1682074|
Del Norte County comprises the Crescent City, CA Micropolitan Statistical Area.
The rural county is notable for forests containing giant Coast Redwoods, with some attaining heights over 350 feet (110 m). This northernmost county on the California coast also has scores of unique plants and flowers, dozens of species of coastal birds and fish, rocky primitive beaches and sea stacks, pristine rivers, and historic lighthouses. Del Norte is also known among Bigfoot enthusiasts as the location of the famous Patterson–Gimlin film, as well as being the location of some of the forest scenes used in Return of the Jedi.
The area that is now known as Del Norte was and still is inhabited by the Yurok (Klamath River Indians) and Tolowa Nations of indigenous peoples. The first European American to explore this land was pioneer Jedediah Smith in the mid-19th century. He was the first European American to reach the area overland on foot in a time before the European Americans knew anything about such a distant territory. For him it was literally "Land's End" — where the American continent ended at the Pacific Ocean. In 1855 Congress authorized the building of a lighthouse at "the battery point" (a high tide island on the coast of Crescent City) which is still functioning as a historical landmark.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,230 square miles (3,200 km2), of which 1,006 square miles (2,610 km2) is land and 223 square miles (580 km2) (18%) is water.
The mountainous terrain associated with the Coastal Range and the Klamath Mountains dominates Del Norte County's geography. Elevation ranges from sea level to over 6,400 feet. Although much of the county is made up of steep terrain, there are small patches of flat terrain along the coast and in isolated mountain valleys. There are 37 miles of coastline in the county, forming a coastal zone that covers approximately 51,000 acres (80 square miles). A broad coastal plain can be found in the northwest portion of the county with the western edge of the Klamath Mountains as its easterly boundary. Rising abruptly from the coastal plain, the Klamath Mountains extend north into Oregon and are situated between the Cascade Range to the east and the Coast Range to the north.
Flora and fauna
There is a diversity of flora and fauna within Del Norte County. Vegetative plant associations feature several forest types including mixed oak forest. The California endemic Blue oak, Quercus douglasii is at the northernmost part of its range in Del Norte County. The Black Oak and Douglas-fir are also found in Del Norte County.
Places by population, race, and income
|Places by population and race|
||Asian||Black or African
||Hispanic or Latino|
(of any race)
|Places by population and income|
|Place||Type||Population||Per capita income||Median household income||Median family income|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Del Norte County had a population of 28,610. The racial makeup of Del Norte County was 21,098 (73.7%) White, 993 (3.5%) African American, 2,244 (7.8%) Native American, 965 (3.4%) Asian, 32 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 1,980 (6.9%) from other races, and 1,298 (4.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5,093 persons (17.8%).
|Population reported at 2010 United States Census|
(of any race)
|Del Norte County||28,610||21,098||993||2,244||965||32||1,980||1,298||5,093|
(of any race)
(of any race)
(of any race)
|All others not CDPs (combined)||15,924||12,477||76||1,158||523||22||941||727||2,008|
As of the census of 2000, there were 27,507 people, 9,170 households, and 6,290 families residing in the county. The population density was 27 people per square mile (11/km²). There were 10,434 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 78.9% White, 4.3% Black or African American, 6.4% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.9% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. 13.9% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.2% were of German, 11.3% English, 9.1% Irish and 7.4% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 91.6% spoke English and 6.2% Spanish as their first language.
There were 9,170 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.08.
The age distribution was 25.1% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 123.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 130.3 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $29,642, and the median income for a family was $36,056. Males had a median income of $40,072 versus $22,212 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,573. About 16.4% of families and 20.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.7% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.
Del Norte County has one of just five combined county office of education-unified school district learning educational agencies (LEA) in the state of California, with one elected Board of Trustees that serves both agencies, and one superintendent overseeing both the County Office of Education, and the Unified School District.
The Del Norte County Unified School District provides public education to the children of Del Norte County through the twelfth grade. The only high school in Del Norte County is Del Norte High School, whose school mascot is the Warrior. There are also five K-5 elementary schools (Bess Maxwell, Joe Hamilton, Margaret Keating, Mary Peacock, Pine Grove), three K-8 elementary schools (Mountain, Redwood, Smith River), and one middle school (Crescent Elk).
The County Office of Education provides special education services to the county, as well as alternative learning options that includes Community Day and juvenile detention. Alternative educational facilities are Del Norte Community Day, Elk Creek detention center, and Sunset Continuation High School.
Del Norte is traditionally a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Jimmy Carter in 1976; even so, Bill Clinton received a plurality in 1992.
|2014||50.4% 3,539||49.6% 3,488|
|2010||41.2% 3,373||50.0% 4,093|
|2006||54.9% 3,639||38.2% 2,531|
|2003||55.0% 3,522||25.5% 1,634|
|2002||45.8% 3,093||43.3% 2,922|
|1998||41.5% 3,087||51.3% 3,820|
|1994||61.8% 4,626||31.7% 2,372|
|1990||53.2% 3,615||40.0% 2,717|
|1986||65.8% 4,213||31.6% 2,026|
|1982||51.3% 3,355||44.9% 2,934|
|1978||49.9% 2,933||41.7% 2,451|
|1974||46.1% 1,921||51.6% 2,149|
|1970||57.1% 2,755||41.0% 1,977|
|1966||64.0% 3,409||36.0% 1,918|
|1962||45.9% 2,418||52.0% 2,741|
The county has almost an even split in Democratic and Republican voter registration. As of May 2008, approximately 67% of eligible voters are registered to vote in Del Norte County, with approximately 38% registered as Democrats and approximately 38% registered as Republicans, with the State of California reporting 32 more Republicans than Democrats on April 7, 2010. Third party affiliation accounts for approximately 6% of all registered voters in the county.
In the State Assembly, Del Norte County is in the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Democrat Jim Wood. In the State Senate, the county is in the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Mike McGuire.
Voter registration statistics
Cities by population and voter registration
|Cities by population and voter registration|
||Democratic||Republican||D–R spread||Other||No party preference|
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|
|Motor vehicle theft||73||2.56|
Cities by population and crime rates
|Cities by population and crime rates|
|City||Population||Violent crimes||Violent crime rate
per 1,000 persons
|Property crimes||Property crime rate|
per 1,000 persons
Local public transit is provided by Redwood Coast Transit, which provides access to Amtrak passenger train (via Amtrak bus) service.
Contour Airlines conducts passenger flights to and from Jack McNamara Field Airport, operating one daily jet flight to Oakland International Airport. Flights are operated under a Federal Alternative Essential Air Service subsidy. The flights continue to/from Santa Barbara CA.
The Crescent City Harbor serves as a commercial fishing port for salmon, shrimp, tuna, cod, and dungeness crab commercial fishing boats. Nearly 50% of all dungeness crab served in California restaurants is off-loaded in this harbor. The harbor is also home to multiple fishing and non-fishing related businesses and harbor governmental offices. The harbor also has several pleasure boat docks.
Other unincorporated communities
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Del Norte County.
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)
|1||† Crescent City||City||7,643|
|3||Yurok Reservation (partially in Humboldt County)||AIAN||1,238|
|9||Smith River Rancheria||AIAN||113|
|10||Elk Valley Rancheria||AIAN||99|
- Other = Some other race + Two or more races
- Native American = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander + American Indian or Alaska Native
- Percentage of registered voters with respect to total population. Percentages of party members with respect to registered voters follow.
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- Only larceny-theft cases involving property over $400 in value are reported as property crimes.
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