Sunnyvale is a city located in Santa Clara County California. With a 2020 population of 158,949, it is the 35th largest city in California and the 172nd largest city in the United States. Sunnyvale is currently growing at a rate of 1.00% annually and its population has increased by 2.02% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 155,805 in 2020. Spanning over 23 miles, Sunnyvale has a population density of 7,215 people per square mile.
The average household income in Sunnyvale is $179,798 with a poverty rate of 5.40%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $2,699 per month, and the median house value is $1.40 Mn. The median age in Sunnyvale is 35.3 years, 34.8 years for males, and 36.2 years for females.
Sunnyvale is the seventh most populous city in the Bay Area of San Francisco, California. It's also the 4th largest city in Silicon Valley behind San Jose, Fremont, and Hayward. Sunnyvale is bordered by San Jose to the north, Los Altos to the southwest, and Santa Clara to the east. As part of Silicon Valley, Sunnyvale is home to the headquarters of many tech companies and several aerospace and defense companies.
Interestingly, Sunnyvale is also one of the few cities in the United States to feature a single unified Department of Public Safety, exclusively comprising personnel who are trained as firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical responders.
About 47% of Sunnyvale's population is foreign-born, one of the country's highest foreign-born populations. Sunnyvale has an Asian-majority population. In the 1880s, Chinese workers made up roughly one-third of the farming workforce. The Asian Indian population is Sunnyvale's fastest growing group and will soon overtake the Vietnamese as the second-largest Asian population in Silicon Valley after the Chinese.
In 1920, 8 years after officially becoming a city, Sunnyvale had a population of just 1675 people. The 1950s brought a huge boom with an 18% population growth, bringing the population from 9,829 in 1950 to 52,898 in 1960.
Sunnyvale has continued year after year to rank as one of the top ten safest cities of its size in the U.S. 2018 saw SmartAsset name Sunnyvale the third safest city in the country for the third consecutive year. The city continues its modest population growth that is still behind most of California.
Upon the arrival of the Spanish in the 1770s at the Santa Clara Valley, Native Americans heavily populated the area. With the Spanish, however, came smallpox, measles, and other diseases new to the natives which greatly reduced their population. The region was under Mexican rule in the 1840s when a land grant was provided to Lupe Yñigo, one of the only Native Americans to hold a grant. By 1850, California was granted statehood in the United State.
In 1901, Sunnyvale was named in honor of its sunny region away from the fog of neighboring areas. Within a few years, Sunnyvale had its first fruit-packing factory. Today, California is the world’s largest producer of dried fruit. During WWII, however, the fruit industry started to give way to the high tech industry as workers from the fruit farms moved over to work in munitions factories.
Post-war, the farms were cleared to make way for new homes, factories and offices. Lockheed moved to Sunnyvale, and following them came numerous other high-tech companies, including AMD and Yahoo. By 2002, most remaining orchards were gone, replaced with homes and shops.