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.
Santa Barbara Age and Education Demographics
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 Population Growth
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.