Santa Clara is located in the center of Silicon Valley and is home to the headquarters of several high-tech companies such as Intel. It is also home to Santa Clara University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of California, which was built around Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Levi's Stadium, the home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, the site of Super Bowl 50, The Pac-12 Football Championship Game and the site of the 2018 College Football Playoff title game, is located in the city. It is bordered by San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino.
The first European to visit the valley was José Francisco Ortega in 1769. He found the area inhabited by Native Americans, whom the Spanish called the Costanos, "coast people", later known as the Ohlone. The Spanish began to colonize California with 21 missions and the Mission Santa Clara de Asis was founded in 1777.
In 1846, the American flag was raised over Monterey and symbolized the transfer of the sovereignty of the California Republic over to the United States of America. In 1851, Santa Clara College was established on the grounds of the original Mission. In 1852, Santa Clara was incorporated as a town; it became state-chartered by 1862.
For the next century the economy centered on agriculture since orchards and vegetables were thriving in the fertile soil. By the beginning of the 20th century, the population had reached 5,000 and stayed about the same for many years.
In 1905, the first public high-altitude flights by humans were made over Santa Clara in gliders designed by John J. Montgomery. The semiconductor industry, which sprouted around 1960, changed the city and surrounding Valley of Heart's Delight; little of its agricultural past remains.
Santa Clara's first medical hospital was built in 1963. This structure, on Kiely Boulevard, was replaced in 2007 with the new Kaiser Permanente medical center located on Lawrence Expressway at Homestead Road.
Santa Clara was also home to a major mental health facility, Agnews State Hospital. According to the National Park Service, more than 100 persons were killed at this site in the 1906 earthquake. The site is the former home to Sun Microsystems and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Santa Clara is drained by three seasonal creeks, all of which empty into the southern portion of San Francisco Bay; these creeks are San Tomas Aquino Creek, Saratoga Creek, and Calabazas Creek.
There are some significant biological resources within the city including habitat for the burrowing owl, a species of special concern in California due to reduction in habitat from urban development during the latter 20th century. This owl uses burrows created by ground squirrels and prefers generally level grasslands and even disturbed areas.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city covers an area of 18.4 square miles (48 km2), all of it land.
Despite being located only 45 miles from San Francisco, Santa Clara's climate is rather distinct—particularly during the summer, when it is generally warm and sunny, as opposed to the foggy and cool conditions one normally finds in San Francisco. The average daily temperatures in July range from 82 °F (28 °C) to 53 °F (12 °C). Winters are mild, with the mean daily temperatures in January ranging from 58 °F (14 °C) to 38 °F (3 °C). Most of the annual rainfall comes in the winter months; the summer months are generally rainless.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Santa Clara had a population of 116,468. The population density was 6,327.3 people per square mile (2,443.0/km²). The ethnic makeup of Santa Clara was 52,359 (45.0%) White, 3,154 (2.7%) African American, 579 (0.5%) Native American, 43,889 (37.7%) Asian (13.6% Indian, 6.9% Chinese, 6.2% Filipino, 3.9% Vietnamese, 3.0% Korean, 1.5% Japanese), 651 (0.6%) Pacific Islander, 9,624 (8.3%) from other races, and 6,212 (5.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22,589 persons (19.4%); 14.6% of Santa Clara's population was of Mexican ancestry.
The Census reported that 113,272 people (97.3% of the population) lived in households, 2,860 (2.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 336 (0.3%) were institutionalized.
There were 43,021 households, out of which 14,477 (33.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 21,817 (50.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,081 (9.5%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,038 (4.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,146 (5.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 312 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 10,906 households (25.4%) were made up of individuals and 2,945 (6.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63. There were 27,936 families (64.9% of all households); the average family size was 3.18.
The age distribution of the population was as follows: 24,774 people (21.3%) were under the age of 18, 12,511 people (10.7%) aged 18 to 24, 41,876 people (36.0%) aged 25 to 44, 25,628 people (22.0%) aged 45 to 64, and 11,679 people (10.0%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.1 years. For every 100 females there were 102.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.9 males.
There were 45,147 housing units at an average density of 2,452.7 per square mile (947.0/km²), of which 19,747 (45.9%) were owner-occupied, and 23,274 (54.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.6%. 53,694 people (46.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 59,578 people (51.2%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there are 102,361 people, 38,526 households, and 24,117 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,149.1/km² (5,566.2/mi²). There are 39,630 housing units at an average density of 832.0/km² (2,155.0/mi²). The ethnic makeup of the city is 55.59% White, 2.29% African American, 0.53% Native American, 29.27% Asian, 0.43% Pacific Islander, 6.94% from other races, and 4.95% from two or more races. 15.99% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 38,526 households out of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.14.
In the city, the population was spread out with 19.9% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 39.1% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 103.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.9 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $75,687, and the median income for a family was $98,977. Males had a median income of $58,641 versus $43,131 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,755. About 4.5% of families and 7.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.3% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.
Santa Clara owns and operates an electric utility called Silicon Valley Power. In 2005 Silicon Valley Power brought online the Donald Von Raesfeld (DVR) Power Plant. The new combined cycle gas turbine plant produces 147 megawatts of electricity for the city and its residents. As a result, the going rate for electricity in Santa Clara is considerably cheaper than that offered by Northern California's dominant utility, Pacific Gas and Electric.
Affymetrix, Agilent Technologies, Applied Materials, Arista Networks, Atheros, Chegg, Coherent, Extreme Networks, FileMaker, Hortonworks, Intel, Intevac, Marvell, McAfee, Move inc, National Semiconductor, Nvidia, OmniVision, Ooyala, Palo Alto Networks, PMC-Sierra, Rovi, Synaptics and Trident Microsystems are among the companies headquartered in Santa Clara. Namco Bandai Games's United States office is in Santa Clara.
According to the City's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top private employers in the city are:California Governor
United States Senators
United States Representative
California State Assembly Representative
Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
Santa Clara has two major train stations: the Santa Clara – Great America Station and the Santa Clara Station. The former is served by Amtrak's Capitol Corridor train and Altamont Commuter Express, while the latter is served by Caltrain, Amtrak's Capitol Corridor train, and Altamont Commuter Express. Santa Clara is located adjacent to Mineta San Jose International Airport, in fact a small portion of the airport is in Santa Clara. Some other nearby major airports include San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport. Most public buses in the city are operated by Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. There is a light rail system in Santa Clara and the rest of the county which is also operated by Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority(VTA).
Santa Clara Unified School District serves Santa Clara and small portions of Sunnyvale and North San Jose. The city is home to nineteen K–8, elementary, and high schools. Many of the schools are named for former farmers, ranchers, and other notable Santa Clara residents such as Bowers and Bracher elementary schools, Buchser Middle School, Wilcox High School, and Santa Clara High School. A small part of the city however is served by Cupertino High School and its feeder schools in the nearby town of its namesake. Jesuit college Santa Clara University, junior college Mission College, and Golden State Baptist College are among the city's higher education facilities.
The city is also home to the Santa Clara City Library.
The Santa Clara Broncos are the Division I NCAA athletic programs of Santa Clara University. Santa Clara sponsors 19 different teams, most of which compete in the West Coast Conference. The red and white of the Santa Clara Broncos is featured on the flag of the city, as is the Mission which lies at the heart of the campus. Santa Clara has long benefited from support from the local community, and the Broncos have achieved a bevy of intercollegiate success, notably in Men's Basketball, Baseball, and both Men's and Women's soccer. Santa Clara's Leavey Center, Buck Shaw Stadium, and Stephen Schott Stadium are all noted as some of the finest facilities of their size on the West Coast. Santa Clara University and its athletic programs play heavily into the culture and history of Santa Clara.
Beginning in the 2014 National Football League season, the San Francisco 49ers play their home games at Levi's Stadium, which opened on July 17, 2014. The stadium hosted WWE's WrestleMania 31 on March 29, 2015 and Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016. The 49ers were founded by Tony Morabito, a Santa Clara University alumnus who chose the red and white of his alma mater for the football team. As a result, the return of the 49ers to Santa Clara is something of a homecoming.
The San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer no longer play their home games at Buck Shaw Stadium, located at Santa Clara University. At one point the entire team and management moved to Houston and formed the Houston Dynamo. Recently the Earthquakes have fielded a new team, with new management in the Silicon Valley. Both teams have been highly successful.
The George F. Haines International Swim Center is home and host to numerous local, regional, and international competitive swimming matches as well as the Santa Clara Aquamaids synchronized swimming team.
The Santa Clara Vanguard, a competitive marching music organization, has been headquartered in Santa Clara since its inception. The organization runs and operates a winter guard, an indoor percussion ensemble, and two drum and bugle corps, all of which compete across the country every year. All four ensembles have been very successful competitively, especially the two drum corps, one of which has won 3 Open Class titles and the other 6 World Class titles. The latter is the only drum corps that has made finals every year since the beginning of Drum Corps International.
Santa Clara is also home to California's Great America, an amusement park currently operated by Cedar Fair, L.P.. Nearby is the Santa Clara Convention Center, one of Silicon Valley's largest event and meeting venues. Santa Clara also offers several museums such as the Intel Museum, Triton Museum of Art, and the Harris – Lass historical house. Near the above-mentioned Mission College is the Our Lady of Peace Shrine notable for its thirty-two foot tall statue which is viewable from Highway 101 in a manner similar to the statue of Junípero Serra in Hillsborough, California. The Mission City Center for Performing Arts is the city's venue for theatrical productions and entertainment.
The San Francisco 49ers NFL football team has its headquarters and practice facilities in Santa Clara. On Wednesday, November 8, 2006, the 49ers announced their intention to move the team to Santa Clara in time for the fall 2014 season, after negotiations failed with the city of San Francisco to build a new stadium.
In 2011, Santa Clara voters approved a plan to build a 68,500-seat stadium for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League. The groundbreaking for the stadium, located 45 miles southeast of San Francisco, occurred on April 19, 2012. The stadium is located between the Great America park (to the south) and the Convention Center. The official ribbon cutting took place on Thursday, July 17, 2014. The first professional sporting event hosted at the stadium was a Major League Soccer (MLS) match between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders on August 2, 2014. The first professional football event hosted at the stadium was a pre-season game between the 49ers and the Denver Broncos, played on August 17, 2014.
The stadium hosted Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016, between Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers – the Broncos won the game 24-10.
As of May 2015, Santa Clara has three sister cities: Coimbra, Portugal
Izumo, Shimane, Japan
Limerick, Ireland, since 2014