Santa Barbara is a city located in Santa Barbara County California. Santa Barbara has a 2023 population of 87,381. It is also the county seat of Santa Barbara County.Santa Barbara is currently declining at a rate of -0.5% annually and its population has decreased by -1.48% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 88,695 in 2020.
The average household income in Santa Barbara is $130,408 with a poverty rate of 12.87%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in Santa Barbara is 39.1 years, 38 years for males, and 40.2 years for females.
Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, which is in the state of California, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains.
Females make up 49.9% of the population residing in the city of Santa Barbara. 85% of the population has earned their high school diploma, while only 48% have earned their Bachelor's degree or higher.
Santa Barbara's population declined 1,200 or 4.2% between 2000 and 2010. This was the only time the census has reported negative growth in the city as far back as the record goes (1880). Santa Barbara has since bounced back, and its population is now growing slowly but steadily.
The Santa Barbara area has been inhabited for at least 13,000 years with evidence of Paleoindians, Chumash people, and several villages, including Amolomol, Mispu, and Swetete. The first European to reach the area was João Cabrilho, a Portuguese explorer who sailed through the Santa Barbara channel in 1542. It was Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino who named the channel Santa Barbara in 1602. Gaspar de Portola led the first land expedition in 1769.
The first permanent European residents in the region were Spanish soldiers and missionaries who were sent to fortify the area and convert native peoples to Christianity. The Santa Barbara Mission was established in 1786. As the indigenous Chumash people were converted, a village was built on the grounds of the mission, although many died from smallpox and other diseases. Spain's claim on the area ended not long after when the Mexican War of Independence ended in 1822, effectively ending 300 years of colonial rule.
The flag of Mexico flew over the area for another 24 years. Santa Barbara fell to American soldiers in 1846 during the Mexican-American War and became part of the United States. Between 1850 and 1860, the population of Santa Barbara doubled. It was during this time that a land surveyor named Haley designed the city's famous street grid, complete with misaligned streets and poor measurements.
Just before the turn of the 20th century, oil was discovered nearby, and the beach outside Santa Barbara became the first offshore oil development in the world. Most of the downtown region was destroyed by a massive earthquake in 1925, although the city rebuilt around the Spanish Colonial style. Later during WWII, many service members chose to stay in the city with the population surging by more than 10,000 between the war's end and 1950. Santa Barbara has continued its steady growth since.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Santa Barbara 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 white people with a rate of 84.11%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among white people with a rate of 56.86%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
67.61% of Santa Barbara residents speak only English, while 32.39% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 26.92% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Santa Barbara is Islander, with 74.19% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Santa Barbara is Native, with 5.77% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.08%. Among those working part-time, it was 20.58%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 19.7%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
The age group where males are most likely to be married is 55-64, 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 Santa Barbara
79.8% of Santa Barbara residents were born in the United States, with 54.96% having been born in California. 13.27% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.