Santa Cruz is a city located in Santa Cruz County California. Santa Cruz has a 2023 population of 61,352. It is also the county seat of Santa Cruz County.Santa Cruz is currently declining at a rate of -0.48% annually and its population has decreased by -1.44% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 62,251 in 2020.
The average household income in Santa Cruz is $132,353 with a poverty rate of 18.66%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in Santa Cruz is 29 years, 28.8 years for males, and 29.2 years for females.
Santa Cruz is a city located in the state of California. It serves as the county seat for Santa Cruz County, and it is also the most populous city within the county. The city has developed a reputation for its alternative lifestyles and socially liberal way of life.
Santa Cruz’s top employer is the University of California at Santa Cruz, which provides jobs to over 7,600 people. The County of Santa Cruz, City of Santa Cruz, Plantronics and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk are other top employers in the city.
Santa Cruz’s population has experienced steady growth since it was founded. The population during the 19th century rose to over 5,500 people. This number doubled in 1910. A slight population decline occurred in 1920, but by the next census, the population was on the upswing once again. The population grew to over 25,000 according to the 1960 poll and had more than doubled by the year 2000. The most recent estimates show that the community has risen by 7.5% since the 2010 census, indicating that more growth is in this city’s future.
The area that is now Santa Cruz was first inhabited by the Awaswas Natives. Many tribes resided within this area, and the Europeans called them the Costanoan people. The Europeans first came to Santa Cruz in 1602 during an expedition. It was only in the late 18th century when Father Fermin Lasuen established La Mision de la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz – or Mission Santa Cruz – as the 12th mission to be found in California. Later, Governor Diego de Borica established Villa de Branciforte at what is now Santa Cruz. This town was only one of three towns built in the state through the Spanish colonial period.
Mexico assumed control of the mission in the 1820s, and the government tried to change the name to Pueblo de Figueroa. However, this didn’t stick, and the name remained Santa Cruz. Mission lands were broken into land grants during the 1830s and 1840s. It was also during the 1840s when immigrants began coming to Santa Cruz. When the territory was ceded to the United States following the Mexican-American War, California became a state in 1850. That year, Santa Cruz County was established, and Santa Cruz was incorporated as a town 16 years later.
During the 19th century, Elihu Anthony came to the area and helped the city grow and thrive with the establishment of a Protestant church, commercial blocks, and a blacksmith foundry. In the latter half of the 19th century, the railroad lines helped boost industry and population. During the Civil War, a powder mill was an essential part of the economy. They are located along the San Lorenzo River, this mill manufactured smokeless powder used by the U.S. military. The mill was in operation through 1914.
In the 20th century, Santa Cruz began to build a reputation as being a city of social activism. The Resource Center for Nonviolence was established in 1976. In the 1990s, Santa Cruz designated itself as a nuclear-free zone, and its city council was the first to denounce the Iraq War in 2003. The city also has progressive views and supports alternative lifestyles. It was one of the first cities in the country to approve medicinal marijuana, and it has the site of many protests, rallies, and even riots in 2010 that resulted in property damages of more than $100,000.
The city is home to the University of California Santa Cruz. It is also a popular tourist destination, with people coming from all over to view such sites as the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and the redwood forests. The city’s economy primarily centers on tourism, education, technology, and agriculture.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Santa Cruz 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 70.56%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among white people with a rate of 44.94%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
73.02% of Santa Cruz residents speak only English, while 26.98% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 14.35% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Santa Cruz is Other, with 30.89% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Santa Cruz is Black, with 5.85% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 2.44%. Among those working part-time, it was 30.18%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 30.28%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, 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 Cruz
87.32% of Santa Cruz residents were born in the United States, with 62.87% having been born in California. 7.92% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Asia.