California Facts

Quick Facts

Official Name California
Area163,696 sq mi (423,970 km2)
Largest CityLos Angeles
Official LanguagesEnglish ( Spoken : English 57.4%, Multilingual 32.8%, Spanish 28.5%, Chinese 2.8%, Tagalog 2.2%, Vietnamese 1.43%)
Time ZoneUTC-08:00
GovernorJerry Brown
Lt. GovernorGavin Newsom
U.S. SenatorDianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer
AbbreviationCA, Calif., Cali., US-CA
Joined the UnionSeptember 9, 1850 (31st)
NicknameThe Golden State
Highest PointMount Whitney
Lowest PointDeath Valley
Official Websitewww.ca.gov

Know Where is California

The state of California is situated on the Pacific coast of southwestern United States. It is bordered by Oregon on the north, Nevada on the east, Arizona on the southeast (separated by the Colorado River), on the south by the Mexican state of Baja California Norte, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The geographic center of the state is in Madera County.

What is the capital city of California ?
The capital city of California is Sacramento; it is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the north of California's expansive Central Valley. It is the sixth-largest city in the state, covering an area of 100.105 square miles. As per the 2010 census, the estimated population of the capital is 486,488. The city is nicknamed the "river city" and is also known as the Camellia City of the World.

What is the nickname of California ?
The US state of California is nicknamed "The Golden State"; it was made official in 1968. The name refers to California's modern development that can be traced to the discovery of gold in 1848. It also suggests the fields of golden poppies that appear in spring throughout the state; it may also refer to the golden gate bridge, and the clear, golden coastal sunsets over the Pacific.

What is the largest city of California ?
Located in the southern region of the state, Los Angeles is the largest city of the US state of California, with a land area of 468.67 square miles. It is the most populous city in California, with an estimated population of 3,792,621 (as per the 2010 United States census). It is nicknamed the "City of Angels" and is a center of international trade, entertainment, science, media, fashion, education, business, and technology. The city leads the world in the creation of motion pictures, video games, television production and recorded music, and hence is rightly called the "Entertainment Capital of the World."

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How big is California ?
California is the third-largest state of the United States after Alaska and Texas. The total boundary length of the state is 2,050 miles, which includes a general coastline of 840 miles; and a tidal shoreline of 3,427 miles.

What is the population of California ?
According to the 2010 United States Census, the estimated population of the state of California is 37,253,956. It is the most populated US state.

What are the administrative divisions of California ?
The local government of the US state of California is divided into fifty-eight counties and 481 incorporated cities and towns. San Bernardino County is the largest county of the state, with an area of 20,062 square miles. It was established in 1853.

When did California achieve statehood ?
The state of California was admitted to the American Union on September 9, 1850. It is the thirty-first state of the United States.

Who are the political leaders of California ?
Governor: Jerry Brown
Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom

What is the official language of California ?
English is the most commonly used language, spoken by almost fifty-eight percent of the population of the state. It has been the official language of the state since the passage of Proposition 63 in 1986. Twenty-eight percent of the people in California speak Spanish. Chinese, Mandarin, Filipino, Korean, and Vietnamese are some of the other languages spoken in the state.

What is the religion of California ?
Roman Catholicism is the official state religion followed by thirty-one percent of the population. There are a few adherents of Protestantism as well. Twenty-one percent of the state's population do not associate with any religious sect.

What is the economy of California like ?
California has the largest economy in the United States. It accounts for thirteen percent of the GDP of the country. In terms of jobs, trade, transportation, and utilities; government; professional and business services; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality are the five largest sectors in the economy of the state. The unemployment rate in the state is 12.5% as of January 2010, which is the fifth-highest in the nation.

The service industries of California generate the highest portion of the state's gross state product. Real estate, finance and insurance are the second-ranking service industries in the state, followed by wholesale and retail trade in food products, motor vehicles and petroleum products.

Agriculture is an important sector, with major agricultural products being dairy products, greenhouse and nursery products, grapes, almonds, and cattle and calves. California ranks second in the production of livestock products; milk, beef cattle, eggs, sheep, turkeys, hogs and horses are the main livestock products. Mining and fishing are also important sectors in the Californian economy. It is the leading producer of diatomite, sodium compounds, sand and gravel and also produces gold, gypsum, magnesium compounds, molybdenum, pearlite, potash, and pumice.

What are the symbols of the state of California ?
  1. State Flower : Grown wildly throughout the state, poppy was designated as the state flower of California in 1903. It is also known as the flame flower, la amapola, and copa de oro. April 6 every year is celebrated as California Poppy Day.

  2. State Bird : Quail (Callipepla californicus) is the official state bird of California. It was given the official state bird status in 1931. The other names of the bird are California partridge, Catalina quail, Topknot quail and Valley Quail.

  3. State Animal : The California grizzly bear (Ursus californicus) is the official state animal of California. It was designated as the official state animal in 1953. The grizzly bear also appears on the state flag.

  4. State Flag : The historic Bear Flag was officially adopted as the state flag in 1911. It was designed by William Todd (nephew of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln). The grizzly bear on the flag stands for strength, the red and white colors signify courage and purity respectively; and the star at the left corner represents sovereignty.

Sports in California :
The development of sports in California does not come as a surprise, given the state's reputation as a hub of recreation in the USA. California's topography makes it the perfect destination to indulge in a mind-blowing variety of sports including surfing, skiing, snowboarding, and snorkeling. The rugged slopes of the Sierra Nevada offer a variety of adventure activities such as mountaineering, ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and rock climbing.

Lake Tahoe offers excellent downhill and cross-country skiing facilities. Skis are available here on rent here. Some of the favorite ski resorts at Lake Tahoe are Heavenly Resort, Kirkwood Ski Resort, Royal Gorge Resort, and Spooner Lake Resort.

Pro sports have huge followings in the state of California. When in Sacramento, do check if Sacramento Monarchs are playing. Football favorites in the state are the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers. In San Jose football enthusiasts cheer the Earthquakes while hokey fans swear by the San Jose Sharks.

The Olympic Games have been held in California thrice - twice in Los Angeles and once in Squaw Valley. California has a number of state-of-art stadiums where many international soccer championships have been help. The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Los Angeles hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup finals. The Spartan Stadium, San Jose, and the Stanford Stadium, San Francisco, have also hosted FIFA World Cup matches.

Los Angeles: Los Angeles is recognized as a favorite with those who follow pro sports. The Dodger Stadium, downtown Los Angeles, and Anaheim Stadium host their baseball teams, the LA Dodgers and the LA Angels respectively. Basketball enthusiasts in Los Angeles may want to watch their favorite team, the Lakers net a ball, and aspiring women basketball players will be quick to direct you to the Staples Center where the Sparks have been playing since 1997. Staples Center also hosts hockey matches played by the Kings. Orange County's home team, Anaheim Ducks consider Arrowhead Pond their home ground. Soccer fans in the Los Angeles County make a beeline to the Home Depot Center in Carson to see their favorite stars play.

Better Business Bureau, California
A non-profit business organization in California that runs on the membership money of the members is called a Better Business Bureau California. Business organizations, professional groups, individuals engaged in some business are the members of the Better Business Bureaus in California. Distributed all over California the Better Business Bureaus boost market integrity through self-regulation in business, help in settling business disputes, and eradicate abuses for the benefit of the consumers and the business enterprises.

Established in 1912 by the American Advertising Federation the Better Business Bureaus in California presently conduct programs to educate the public along with its functions of dealing with inquiries and complaints of consumers and business organizations. A Better Business Bureau California does not provide any recommendations regarding products or companies. They provide the facts and information that may help a consumer decide on the purchase. This is the principle policy of the Better Business Bureaus of California.

California Better Business Bureaus are distributed all over California with every region of the state having the BBBs (Better Business Bureaus). The presiding body of the BBBs in California comprises the local Board of Directors. The daily operations of the Better Business Bureau California take place as per the guidelines put down by the national system, Council of Better Business Bureaus. This council is the head organization of all the Better Bureaus in California.

Better Business Bureaus California has a wide range of facilities to offer to the California public. These include reports on local companies which provide detailed information about the company, assistance to resolve disputes with companies, details of national charities for free, a list of the member companies of the Better Business Bureaus, yellow pages of BBB, general counsel and tips and advertising reviews. California has BBBs in every county for the consumers and the enterprises.

California Secretary of State
The Secretary of State, California is the chief elections officer of California, and also is responsible for performing various other important administrative and legislative activities in California. California has many duties and functions, and is an important part of the politics of California. The current Secretary is Debra Bowen, whose term expires on 2011.

Like the other constitutional officers in California, the Secretary of State, California is elected for a term of four years. The official term limits restrict the tenure to a total of two terms. The functions of the Secretary of State, California are varied and important and integral to the total administration and politics of California and the US.

The most important function of the Secretary of State, California is that it functions as the chief elections officer in the city of California. It manages the accuracy and user friendliness of voting systems, and upgrades old and obsolete voting systems. It ensures the accuracy of cast votes, and conducts various programs which encourage more participation of the general public in votes.

The Secretary of State, California also charters corporations, and manages the business programs division. It sanctions, monitors and oversees most business entities operating in California, and maintains records about them.

The Secretary of State, California also supervises the maintenance and upkeep of the state archives. California has an extensive historical archive of its state government, and the archive collects and organizes these, and makes it available to the public. These are a great source of information to students, teachers, politicians and historians. It also acts as a trustee to the California State History Museum.

California Highway Patrol
The California Highway Patrol is responsible for maintenance of safety and security on the California roads. With several goals acting as the basis of their modus operandi, it ensures the safety of the people and vehicles on the highways of California. Set up in 1929 the CHP (California Highway Patrol) has the responsibilities of management of vehicles on the road and traffic regulation.This is to obtain highway security and safety. It had been provided with an authority for enforcement of traffic laws on the highways of the counties and the state. Moreover, the CHP also has the duty to assist in lifesaving cases and disaster management.

The efficiency and growth of the Highway Patrol of California has led to the increase in its responsibilities. With time the authority it carried too has been consolidated. The CHP police present on the highways have the power in their hands to punish people breaking traffic laws on the highways. Presently the Highway Patrol in California inspect trucks and buses, prevent the theft of vehicles on the highways and if stolen they investigate the theft.

Along with the California State Police, the CHP in California is responsible for the protection of properties and employees of the state of California. Besides these functions the CHP has taken it up on them to educate the public on safety rules and other matters regarding driving and highway safety. It has therefore been appreciated for its efforts for public awareness concerning driving, traffic rules and highway security measures.

Some of the programs, forces and activities of the Highway Patrol in California include Accident Investigation Unit, Crime Prevention Program, Crime Incident Reporting System, Community Assistance, Drug Recognition Evaluator Program, etc. With the headquarters at Sacramento, the CHP has its offices distributed all over the state of Cal.

California Department of Motor Vehicle
California DMV stands for California Department of Motor Vehicle, which is the 'state agency' of California. This State agency is in charge for approving the license for the automobiles and drivers in California. California DMV is responsible for carrying on investigation and trial related to deferment of driving civil liberties coming up from several state governmental set of laws. The area of hearings conducted mainly by California DMV is for the detentions for 'drunk driving'.

The California DMV or California Department of Motor Vehicle offices are categorized into several types along with their area of work as following:
  • DMV Investigation Offices
  • DMV Public Offices
  • DMV Commercial Driving Test Offices
  • DMV Safety Offices

The online services offered by DMV are:
  • Vehicle Registration Renewal
  • More Online Services
  • Change of Address
  • Driver License Renewal

The array of services related to the Driver License and ID card includes Lost or stolen ID card or License, Driver ID Fees or License, Information for New Drivers etc.The services and facilities related to Automobile Registration suggests the services like Buying or trading a vehicle, Renewals of License, Relevant information related to Vehicle registration. The spectrum of other services offered by DMV integrates the services like Car Buyer's Bill of Rights, Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, Motor carrier Services etc. Apart from these the vehicle owner of California finds very effective publications issued by California DMV as following:
  • Commercial Driver Handbook
  • California Driver Handbook
  • California Motorcycle Handbook

Department of Real Estate in California
Being a very popular place California holds an important place in property dealing. Department of Real Estate California plays a major role in this field. Department of Real Estate California provide license to agents and brokers. Individuals to be employed as salesperson must have the license. Even if the person is not immediately employed he can have he can obtain the license. If the employee is under a licensed broker, he is considered to be authorized for doing the real estate activity.

The process of getting the license includes many steps. The people have to qualify for a written examination. After passing through it he/she is given the license application. It has to be submitted to the Department of Real Estate in California and has to be approving by them. Only an adult (18 years or above) can apply for the license. Moreover he/she must be a resident of US and produce an address prove. But no experience is needed.

The person applying for the license should have completed or in the process of completing the courses, that are required to get a license from the California Real Estate Department. The courses include:
  • Real Estate Principles
  • Real Estate Practice
  • Real Estate Office Administration
  • Real Estate Management
  • Real Estate Appraisal
  • Real Estate Economics
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Legal Aspects of Real Estate
  • Business Law
  • Escrows
  • general Accounting
  • Computer Application in Real Estate
  • Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending
  • Common Interest Developments

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation incorporates and controls thirty three prisons around the Province of California. Each prison is structured and planned with several diversities of prisoner wrongdoers. California Department of Corrections was the former name of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).This department is liable for the entire system of California State prison as well as the 'parole system' of California.

In the year 2004, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, modified this Correction department of California along with California Youth authority. Thus the California Youth Authority which is known as the youth prison division of California was included in this department. Consequently the name of California Department of Corrections was changed into California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Apart from these there more than 26,900 highly efficient correctional executives, Parole Officers and Correctional psychoanalysts are appointed in CDCR or California Department of Corrections. These officers usually manage and control the safety and protections of all the divisions of CDCR.

Their arena of management includes the following divisions:
  • Gang Investigation
  • CDCR transportation sections
  • Investigative Services Unit or ISU
  • Narcotics investigations System
  • Fugitive or Escape Recovery Detail
  • Special services unit or SSU

The 'Correctional Officers' or CDCR are coached and trained by the special courses and programs conducted by the Basic Correctional Peace Officer Academy (BCPOA).This Academy is situated in the region of Galt in California. The training course is of 16 weeks duration and all correctional officer should finish training courses in a gamut of subject matters as law of California, physical powers, protective combat, prisoner restraining proficiencies and weapons.

California State Bar
The State Bar of California is proclaimed as the 'official' bar association of California. This State bar association is in charge for controlling and conducting the permission of the California lawyers in the arena of law practice. Apart from that this association is engaged in inquiring the charges of professional transgression along with arranging apposite order for that. The California State Bar was officially founded and recognized on the month of July, 1927.This took just about ten years to set up an incorporated bar in the state of California.

State Bar of California is immediately liable to the California Supreme Court. All of the legal representative right of entry and disbarments are conducted according to the proposal and counsel of the State Bar. After that these are normally sanctioned by the California Supreme Court. In the present day, the California State Bar regarded as the prime and biggest 'state bar association' of the United States of America, with more than 209,500 members as of May 2007, among whom more about 155,000 are active. Similar to the California Supreme Court, The state Bar of California owns its head office in the city of San Francisco, with local offices in cities like Sacramento and Los Angeles.

There are several specific rules and ways to become an accredited and certified attorney in the state of California. For example the approved practitioner has to attend any law school which is recognized by the 'Committee of Bar Examiners' or 'American Bar Association'. Other than that it is mandatory to pass the California bar examination to become a licensed attorney.

Location and Geography:The state of California is one of the largest in the country, taking up nearly two-thirds of the West Coast of the United States. It is perhaps the most diverse state in terms of geography and climate, encompassing many extremes of temperature, biological diversity, and altitude. The highest point in the U.S., Mount Whitney, and the lowest point, Death Valley, are both located in California.

Counties and Regions:California is divided into 58 counties, as well as a number of recognizable regions. Because California is such a long state from north to south, many people will clarify between “Northern California” and “Southern California” (the latter is sometimes truncated as “So-Cal”). The general regions that are often considered to be a part of Northern California are:

  • Northern Coast
  • Sacramento Valley (part of the Central Valley)
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Central California
  • Sierra Nevada (Mountains)
  • Upstate California

Whereas these general regions are said to make up Southern California:

  • Southern Coast
  • San Joaquin Valley (part of the Central Valley)
  • Greater Los Angeles Area
  • San Diego Metropolitan Area
  • Inland Empire
  • Imperial Valley
  • Owens Valley
  • Channel Islands

Population:California is, without a doubt, the most populous state in the nation. Because of its welcoming climate, as well as the old notion that opportunity is always to be found there, California has traditionally been seen as an ultimate destination in American culture. It is currently home to more than 37 million people.

Major Cities:A large number of the nation’s most populated cities are located in California. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Area in Southern California is the most populated area in the U.S. outside of New York City. The San Francisco Bay Area, in Northern California, also ranks in the top ten most populated areas in the country. In addition, the San Diego and Sacramento areas have impressively sized populations of their own.

Story Behind the Name:In the sixteenth century, the California region (as well as many other territories) was known to the Spanish Crown as “Las Californias.” The name likely derived from the Latin words for “hot” and “furnace,” but there are many other theories about the origin of the name. The term “California” was first labeled on the maps of Spanish explorers, who were probably inspired by a romantic tale of a savage land called California that was ruled by Amazon women. Eventually, the name they wrote down became the official one.

History and Colonization:The same traits that make California an attractive place to live today made it popular among the Native Americans, as well. When European explorers first arrived, there were many indigenous civilizations thriving along the coast. Over time, Spanish missionaries and settlers colonized the region, and by 1821 it was considered a part of the new nation of Mexico. What is now the US state of California was then known as Alta California (Upper California), while the southern part of the territory, Baja California (Lower California), remains in Mexico to this day.

Alta California was a desirable piece of land and was vied over by various European powers in the nineteenth century. Colonists and settlers arrived from England, France, Russia, Canada, and the United States, adding to the descendants of Spaniards and Native Americans that already lived there. In 1846, American settlers in Alta California rebelled against Mexico and formed an independent state, the California Republic, that lasted less than a month before surrendering to the U.S. Army that had come to fight the Mexican-American War (unbeknownst to most Californian citizens at the time). When the war concluded in two years, the United States took possession of Alta California as part of the peace treaty and divided it into several smaller territories, the westernmost of which would become the modern state of California.

In the same time period, gold was discovered in the territory and the famous California Gold Rush began, causing the non-native population to swell enormously over the next decade. Having a homestead in California came to symbolize the epitome of the American Dream, and hundreds of thousands of settlers pushed West. This led to major transportation innovations and eventually to the Transcontinental Railroad, which allowed for more immigrants than ever before to enter the state.

California became known for its agricultural produce, but in the twentieth century, other industries began to rise. Infrastructure and industrial projects became ubiquitous, with many famous dams and bridges (such as the Golden Gate Bridge) popping up in California’s central area. The state’s famous highway system was developed, making it more traversable and cementing America’s car-obsessed culture. Later in the century, California became even more desirable for the bright lights of Hollywood and the technological marvels of Silicon Valley. California was also home to one of the most envied public school systems in the world, although this situation has changed in recent decades as the state’s budget has collapsed. Still, whatever the state of its economy, California has retained its place in the American consciousness as a symbol of hope and opportunity.

California Facts & Trivia

1) California, the constituent part of the U.S., became the 31st state of the union on 9 September 1850.

2) In terms of area (after Alaska and Texas), it is the third biggest and also the most populous state of the United States.

3) California is situated on the western coast of the country and is bordered by Nevada to the east, Oregon to the north, Baja California to the south, and Arizona to the southeast. The capital of the state is Sacramento.

4) It is interesting to note that out of 50 most populated cities of the country, California alone is home to eight of them - Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, and Oakland.

5) There is a wide belief that the name California for the state has been derived from an early 16th century fictional work - Las sergas de Esplandián ("The Adventures of Esplandián"). It gives an account of a paradisiacal island rich with gold and valuable stones called California. Also, the state is nicknamed as The Golden State.

6) California is home to both the lowest and highest points of the contiguous 48 states of the U.S. - Death Valley and Mount Whitney.

7) Earthquakes are quite frequent here due to the location of the state along the Pacific Ring of Fire having an annual record of about 37,000, but mostly with a low-magnitude.

8) California's agricultural heartland is the Central Valley, which runs for 725 kilometers across the state's center, forming a channel between the Sierra Nevada to the east and the Coast Ranges to the west.

9) Industries that contribute chiefly to the economic growth of the state include agriculture, education, manufacturing, aerospace-defense, and biotechnology. On the other hand, significant natural resources comprise petroleum, natural gas, timber, and cement.

10) California possesses spectacular landscape and places to visit, namely Disneyland, Yosemite National Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, Point Reyes National Seashore, San Simeon State Park, Sequoia National Park, and others.

11) To replace Gov. Gray Davis, a special recall election was held in 2003 wherein Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Austrian-born bodybuilder-turned-actor was elected in his place.

12) In 1994, California government passed the initiative of Save our State (SOS), prohibiting social, educational, public, and health care services to illegal emigrants.

13) On the contrary, Gov. Jerry Brown sanctioned a bill in 2011 giving illegal emigrant college students financial aid from the state fund. The legislation was called the "Dream Act."

14) California has the world's biggest interconnected water system that manages more than 40,000,000 acre feet of water every year. It is centered on six main channels of infrastructure projects and aqueducts.

15) In road construction, California has been a pioneer. The Golden Gate Bridge, one of the more visible landmarks of the state, when it opened in 1937 was once the world's most spread out suspension bridge main span at about 4,200 feet.

16) Constructed in 1936, the Oakland Bay Bridge of San Francisco transports nearly 280,000 vehicles every day on two passages.

17) Los Angeles International Airport, the world's sixth busiest airport and San Francisco International Airport, the world's 21st busiest airport are central hubs for transcontinental and trans-Pacific traffic.

18) Since California is the most populous of the U.S. State, it is also one of the nation's largest energy users. The two chief nuclear power plants of the state are San Onofre and Diablo Canyon.

19) California is home to San Francisco Bay, which is the biggest landlocked harbor in the world.

20) The wine industry of California produces over 17 million gallons of wine every year.


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Last Updated on: September 28th, 2017