State of California
The Golden State[1]
Anthem: "I Love You, California"
Map of the United States with California highlighted
Map of the United States with California highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodMexican Cession unorganized territory
Admitted to the UnionSeptember 9, 1850 (31st)
Largest cityLos Angeles
Largest metro and urban areasGreater Los Angeles
 • GovernorGavin Newsom (D)
 • Lieutenant GovernorEleni Kounalakis (D)
LegislatureState Legislature
 • Upper houseState Senate
 • Lower houseState Assembly
JudiciarySupreme Court of California
U.S. senatorsDianne Feinstein (D)
Alex Padilla (D)
U.S. House delegation
 • Total163,696 sq mi (423,970 km2)
 • Land155,959 sq mi (403,932 km2)
 • Water7,737 sq mi (20,047 km2)  4.7%
 • Rank3rd
 • Length760 mi (1,220 km)
 • Width250 mi (400 km)
2,900 ft (880 m)
Highest elevation14,505 ft (4,421.0 m)
Lowest elevation−279 ft (−85.0 m)
 • TotalDecrease 39,185,605[8]
 • Rank1st
 • Density251.3/sq mi (97/km2)
  • Rank11th
 • Median household income
 • Income rank
 • Official languageEnglish
 • Spoken language
Time zoneUTC−08:00 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−07:00 (PDT)
USPS abbreviation
ISO 3166 codeUS-CA
Traditional abbreviationCalif., Cal., Cali.
Latitude32°32′ N to 42° N
Longitude114°8′ W to 124°26′ W
California state symbols
Flag of California.svg
Great Seal of California.svg
Living insignia
AmphibianCalifornia red-legged frog
BirdCalifornia quail
FlowerCalifornia poppy
GrassPurple needlegrass
InsectCalifornia dogface butterfly
ReptileDesert tortoise
TreeCoast redwood & giant sequoia[11]
Inanimate insignia
ColorsBlue & gold[12]
DanceWest Coast Swing
Folk danceSquare dance
FossilSabre-toothed cat
MineralNative gold
SoilSan Joaquin
TartanCalifornia state tartan
State route marker
California state route marker
State quarter
California quarter dollar coin
Released in 2005
Lists of United States state symbols

California is a state in the Western United States. California borders Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east, the Mexican state of Baja California to the south; and has a coastline along the Pacific Ocean to the west. With nearly 39.2 million residents[8] across a total area of approximately 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), it is the most populous and the third-largest U.S. state by area. It is also the most populated subnational entity in North America and the 34th most populous in the world. The Greater Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions respectively, with the former having more than 18.7 million residents and the latter having over 9.6 million.[13] Sacramento is the state's capital, while Los Angeles is the most populous city in the state and the second most populous city in the country. Los Angeles County is the country's most populous, while San Bernardino County is the largest county by area in the country (Alaska has some larger subdivisions, but they are not called counties). San Francisco, which is both a city and a county, is the second most densely populated major city in the country and the fifth most densely populated county in the country.

The economy of California, with a gross state product of $2.7 trillion as of 2020, is the largest sub-national economy in the world.[14] If it were a country, it would be the fifth-largest economy as of 2020 as well as the 37th most populous.[15] The Greater Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies ($1.0 trillion and $0.5 trillion respectively as of 2020, following the New York metropolitan area at US$1.7 trillion).[16] The San Francisco Bay Area Combined Statistical Area had the nation's highest gross domestic product per capita ($106,757) among large primary statistical areas in 2018,[17] and is home to five of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization[18] and four of the world's ten richest people.[19]

Prior to European colonization, California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America and contained the highest Native American population density north of what is now Mexico. European exploration in the 16th and 17th centuries led to the colonization of California by the Spanish Empire. In 1804, it was included in Alta California province within the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821, following its successful war for independence, but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. The California Gold Rush started in 1848 and led to dramatic social and demographic changes, including large-scale immigration into California, a worldwide economic boom, and the California genocide of indigenous people. The western portion of Alta California was then organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850, following the Compromise of 1850.

Notable contributions to popular culture, for example in entertainment and sports, have their origins in California. The state also has made noteworthy contributions in the fields of communication, information, innovation, environmentalism, economics, and politics.[20][21][22] It is the home of Hollywood, the oldest and one of the largest film industries in the world, which has had a profound influence upon global entertainment. It is considered the origin of the hippie counterculture, beach and car culture,[23] and the personal computer,[24] among other innovations.[25][26] The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are widely seen as the centers of the global technology and film industries, respectively. California's economy is very diverse: 58% of it is based on finance, government, real estate services, technology, and professional, scientific, and technical business services.[27] Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy,[27] California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. state.[28][29][30] California's ports and harbors handle about a third of all U.S. imports, most originating in Pacific Rim international trade.

The state's extremely diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast and metropolitan areas in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountains in the east, and from the redwood and Douglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Although California is well known for its warm Mediterranean climate and monsoon seasonal weather, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains. All these factors lead to an enormous demand for water. Over time, droughts and wildfires have been increasing in frequency and severity due to climate change and overextraction,[31] becoming less seasonal and more year-round, further straining California's electricity supply[32] and water security[33][34] and having an impact on California business and industry in addition to agriculture.[35]

  1. ^ "California". Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Chapter 2 of Division 2 of Title 1 of the California Government Code". California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference Mount_Whitney was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference USGS was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference NAVD88 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ The summit of Mount Whitney is the highest point in the Contiguous United States.
  7. ^ "USGS National Elevation Dataset (NED) 1 meter Downloadable Data Collection from The National Map 3D Elevation Program (3DEP)—National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) National Elevation Data Set (NED)". United States Geological Survey. September 21, 2015. Archived from the original on March 25, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference CaliforniaDecline2022 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ "Median Annual Household Income". The US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  10. ^ "Languages Spoken at Home". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  11. ^ "California Government Code § 422". California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  12. ^ "California Government Code § 424". California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  13. ^ "American FactFinder—Results". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 24, 2018. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  14. ^ "GDP by State | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)" (PDF). Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  15. ^ "World Population Prospects—Population Division—United Nations". Archived from the original on September 2, 2017. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  16. ^ "U.S. metro areas—ranked by Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP) 2020 | Statistic". Statista. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  17. ^ "GDP by Metropolitan Area | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)". Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  18. ^ "Largest Companies by Market Cap Today • Dogs of the Dow". Dogs of the Dow. June 17, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  19. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index". Bloomberg. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  20. ^ "Opinion: California is Still America's Future". NBC News. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  21. ^ McNamara, Melissa (October 30, 2006). "California Is A Political Trendsetter". CBS News. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  22. ^ Schwarz, Benjamin (July 1, 2009). "California Dreamers". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  23. ^ Post, Robert C. (January 1998). "Hot Rods and Customs: The Men and Machines of California's Car Culture, at the Oakland Museum of California". Technology and Culture. 39 (1): 116–121. doi:10.2307/3107006. ISSN 0040-165X. JSTOR 3107006.
  24. ^ Weller, Chris (June 8, 2017). "The most important invention from every state". Business Insider.
  25. ^ "Some People Don't Know These 10 Things Came From Southern California". OnlyInYourState. June 18, 2016.
  26. ^ "15 Things the world needs to be thanking California for". Matador Network.
  27. ^ a b "California Gross domestic product (GDP) (millions of current dollars)". U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  28. ^ Palmer, Brian (July 10, 2013). "The C-Free Diet". Slate.
  29. ^ "CDFA—Statistics". California Department of Food and Agriculture.
  30. ^ "California farms produce a lot of food—but what and how much might surprise you". Orange County Register. July 27, 2017.
  31. ^ Emma Newburger (February 14, 2022). "Western drought fueled by climate change is the worst in 1,200 years, scientists say". CNBC. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  32. ^ Meredith Deliso (September 9, 2022). "Why California has blackouts: A look at the power grid". ABC News. Retrieved September 11, 2022.
  33. ^ Boxall, Bettina; St. John, Paige (November 10, 2018). "California's most destructive wildfire should not have come as a surprise". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  34. ^ "Advancing Drought Science and Preparedness across the Nation". National Integrated Drought Information System. Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  35. ^ "Drought has already cost close to $2 billion and 14,000 jobs, and it's likely not over yet". March 14, 2022. Retrieved July 13, 2022.

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