California Counties
California County map
Click Image to Enlarge

California Counties

The state of California is divided into fifty-eight counties. On January 4, 1850, the California constitutional committee recommended the formation of 18 counties. They were Benicia, Butte, Fremont, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Monterey, Mount Diablo, Oro, Redding, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and Sutter. The last California county to have been established is Imperial County in 1907.

Alameda County, California

Alameda County Education, Geography, and HistoryAlameda County, Califronia Courthouse

Alameda County is a county in the state of California. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 1,510,271, making it the 7th-most populous county in the state. Its county seat is Oakland. Alameda County was formed on March 25, 1853. The county name is derived from the Spanish name for the cottonwood or poplar tree alamo, and means a grove of poplar trees.

Etymology - Origin of Alameda County Name

The word Alameda is derived from alamo the Spanish name for cottonwood or poplar tree, and means a "grove of poplar trees." The name was applied both to the southern portion of the county (La Alameda) and to the stream running through it (Rio de la Alameda) as early as 1795.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Alameda County History

Alameda County was organized in 1853, under act of March 25, that year, by being set off from Contra Costa, of which it had previously formed a part. Alvarado became the first seat of government, as it was the most central among the available settlements, and with a good shipping place, to which Mission San Jose and other points were tributary. But political influence gained the privilege soon afterward for San Leandro, a town with similar advantages but more attractive in site and appearance, which had to surrender it twenty years later to its more powerful neighbor, Oakland. The change to San Leandro was made by popular vote in the latter part of 1854, and the erection of county buildings immediately begun. These were completed in 1855 at a cost of about $1,200. Alvarado did not submit quietly to being deprived of its honors, and litigation was the result, and for a little while the county seat was ambulatory between the two points, being fixed in San Leandro only in 1856. In this and the following year new county buildings were erected, at a cost of $30,000. The erection of a county hospital at San Leandro was begun in 1869 and completed in 1870, but, proving unsatisfactory, another building was erected later which, with additions, will accommodate about 200 patients. In 1873 the county-seat was removed to Oakland, by popular vote, and the construction of a court house and jail, and building for hall of records, county clerk and treasurer's offices, on opposite sides of Broadway, was undertaken, at a cost of about $200,000.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 821 square miles (2,127 km2), of which, 738 square miles (1,910 km2) of it is land and 84 square miles (216 km2) of it (10.18%) is water.

The San Francisco Bay borders the county on the west. The crest of the Berkeley Hills form part of the northeastern boundary, and reach into the center of the county. A coastal plain several miles wide lines the bay; it is home to Oakland and the most populous regions. Livermore Valley lies in the eastern part of the county.

The Hayward Fault, a major branch of the San Andreas Fault to the west, runs through the most populated parts of Alameda County, while the Calaveras Fault runs through the southeastern part of the county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Contra Costa County
  • Northeast: San Joaquin County
  • East: Stanislaus County
  • Southeast: Santa Clara County
  • Southwest: San Mateo County
  • West: San Francisco Bay
  • Northwest: San Francisco city & county


The Alameda County Office of Education oversees seventeen K-12 school districts and one K-8 district in Alameda County. In all, there are approximately 10,000 teachers serving 225,000 students. The ACOE also services three community college districts with a total enrollment of approximately 55,000 students.

The Alameda County Library operates libraries in the cities of Albany, Dublin, Fremont, Newark and Union City and the unincorporated communities of Castro Valley and San Lorenzo. The cities of Alameda, Berkeley, Hayward, Livermore, Oakland, San Leandro, and Pleasanton have their own library systems.

Colleges and universities

Alameda County is home to the University of California, Berkeley, the flagship campus of the University of California system, and one of the largest and most prestigious research universities in the world.

Other colleges and universities located within Alameda county include:

  • Berkeley City College
  • California State University, East Bay, one of the campuses of the California State University system
  • Chabot College, a two-year community college, part of the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District
  • College of Alameda, a two-year community college, part of the Peralta Community College District of northern Alameda County
    Ex'pression College for Digital Arts
  • Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of several Bay Area seminaries, affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley.
    Holy Names University
  • Laney College, a two-year community college, part of the Peralta Community College system
  • Las Positas College
  • Merritt College, a two-year community college, part of the Peralta Community College system
  • Mills College, a private 4 year women's college and coeducational graduate school
  • Ohlone College, part of the Ohlone Community College District
  • Samuel Merritt University

School districts (K-12)

  • Alameda Unified School District
  • Albany Unified School District
  • Berkeley Unified School District
  • Castro Valley Unified School District
  • Dublin Unified School District
  • Emery Unified School District
  • Fremont Unified School District
  • Hayward Unified School District
  • Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District
  • Lammersville Joint Unified School District
  • New Haven Unified School District
  • Newark Unified School District
  • Oakland Unified School District
  • Piedmont Unified School District
  • Pleasanton Unified School District
  • San Leandro Unified School District
  • San Lorenzo Unified School District
  • Sunol Glen Unified School District

Compare More Colleges and Universities
Find the Right School

Find more schools to match to your needs.

County Resources
US Counties
Click Image to Enlarge