Palo Alto is a city located in Santa Clara County California. Palo Alto has a 2023 population of 63,210. Palo Alto is currently declining at a rate of -2.64% annually and its population has decreased by -7.7% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 68,486 in 2020.
The average household income in Palo Alto is $272,206 with a poverty rate of 5.02%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in Palo Alto is 41.8 years, 40.6 years for males, and 43.2 years for females.
Palo Alto is located in Santa Clara County within the Bay Area. This city is known for having one of the highest costs of living in the United States, as well as having one of the most educated populations in the nation.
Palo Alto is home to over 7,000 businesses which provide jobs to over 98,000 people. Notable businesses in the area include the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Amazon’s A9.com, HP, Houzz, and Xerox.
Palo Alto experienced substantial growth in its early years, although that growth has slowed in recent years. The population in 1920 was climbing toward 6,000 and more than doubled at the time of the next census in 1930. The population in 1950 surpassed 25,000 before doubling again in 1960. It was about this time that growth slowed before declining by 1.5% in 1980. However, the next census in 1990 showed that the population was on the rise again and has continued to grow ever since. Recent population estimates show that it has increased over 4% since the last census in 2010, indicating that while growth has slowed, it should be expected to continue.
The region that is now Palo Alto was originally inhabited by the Ohlone. The city was not explored by the Europeans until 1769, according to written records. It was in 1777 when Father Junipero Serra established Mission Santa Clara de Asis, which was under the control of Spain. After the Mexican War of Independence, Mexico was made an independent country, and the land sold or granted.
Following the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexican citizens could choose to become U.S. citizens, and their land grants count be recognized. The grant Rando Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito was granted in 1841 and was sold in 1849. A hacienda was constructed that was the site of bullfights and fiestas but was destroyed during an earthquake in 1906.
In 1855, a township by the name of Mayfield was established. The San Francisco and San Jose railroad was extended to Mayfield in 1863. In 1875, a French financier purchased land that came to be known as Ayrshire Farm. Another man, Leland Stanford, began purchasing property and established the Palo Alto Stock Farm. He also bought Ayrshire Farm, which sold to Leland Stanford St., the founder of Stanford University. Before founding the university, Stanford wanted to build the college in Mayfield but had a condition that alcohol was to be banned from the town. However, this didn’t happen and led to the establishment of Temperance Town. Stanford University was established, and a train stop was located in the area. The area was initially known as University Park but upon its incorporation in the late 1900s was named Palo Alto.
Palo Alto quickly grew to be as large as Mayfield, and in the 20th century, Mayfield was annexed to become part of Palo Alto. More land was annexed as the city continued to grow, both in terms of development and population.
Today, the city’s economy revolves around the tech industry, as it is a focal point of Silicon Valley. It also has a large student population because of Stanford University. The residents of Palo Alto are some of the most educated in the country. However, Palo Alto has become known as a city with one of the highest costs of living in the nation.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Palo Alto was:
Two or more races
Black or African American
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Average Family Size
Average Household Size
Rate of Home Ownership
Less Than 9th Grade
9th to 12th Grade
High School Graduate
High School Graduation Rate
The highest rate of high school graduation is among islander people with a rate of 100%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 78.49%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
60.5% of Palo Alto residents speak only English, while 39.5% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Asian and Pacific Island languages, which is spoken by 28.09% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Palo Alto is Other, with 37.14% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Palo Alto is Black, with 2.79% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 0.8%. Among those working part-time, it was 5.76%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 11.17%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
The age group where males are most likely to be married is 45-54, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45-54.
Second Gulf War
First Gulf War
World War II
Less Than 9th Grade
High School Graduate
Bachelors or Greater
Veteran Poverty Rate
Veteran Disability Rate
Labor Force Participation
Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.
Born in Palo Alto
65.74% of Palo Alto residents were born in the United States, with 38.31% having been born in California. 14.38% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Asia.