El Dorado County, California
|County of El Dorado|
|Regions||Northern California, Sierra Nevada, Gold Country|
|Metropolitan area||Greater Sacramento|
|Incorporated||February 18, 1850|
|Named for||Spanish for "the golden" and El Dorado|
|Largest city||El Dorado Hills|
|• Total||1,786 sq mi (4,630 km2)|
|• Land||1,708 sq mi (4,420 km2)|
|• Water||78 sq mi (200 km2)|
|Highest elevation||10,886 ft (3,318 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||100/sq mi (39/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)|
|Area code||530, 916, 279|
|GNIS feature ID||277273|
El Dorado County (listen), officially the County of El Dorado, is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 181,058. The county seat is Placerville.
El Dorado County is part of the Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located entirely in the Sierra Nevada, from the historic Gold Country in the western foothills to the High Sierra in the east.
El Dorado County's population has grown as Greater Sacramento has expanded into the region. In the county's Lake Tahoe area, environmental awareness and environmental protection initiatives have grown along with the population since the 1960 Winter Olympics, hosted at the former Squaw Valley Ski Resort in neighboring Placer County.
What is now known as El Dorado County has been home to the Maidu, Nisenan, Washoe, and Miwok Indigenous American nations for centuries. Because of colonization, their numbers dropped severely. Today many indigenous people in El Dorado County, like the Nissenan are telling their stories and culture, praying in their languages sharing their history; Once seen as struggling to survive to now on their way to having once broken treaties re-recognized and honored. Indigenous stories did not begin at the gold rush, and they will continue long after. According to a California census, by 1870, there were only 100 indigenous people left in El Dorado County due to violent California laws that paid white settlers a small fee for the scalps of Indigenous children and adults in an attempt to strategically wipe out the existing communities. Along with intentional genocide, excessive resource degradation such as logging, trapping bears and other animals for fur, water and soil contamination from mining played a part in the attempt to “starve out” indigenous communities. A settler looking to start a company processing cut trees found gold on the land he started using. The region became famous for being the site of the 1848 gold discovery that sparked the California Gold Rush. The County of El Dorado was one of California's original 27 counties created effective February 18, 1850 (the number has risen to 58 today). Its name is derived from the Spanish meaning "the gilded/golden".
The final segments of the Pony Express mail route ran through El Dorado County until its replacement with the telegraph service in 1861; U.S. Highway 50 follows the Pony Express route today.
The Placerville Mountain Democrat, California's oldest surviving newspaper, serves El Dorado County.
The Caldor Fire started on August 14, 2021, near Little Mountain, south of Pollock Pines in El Dorado County, about two miles East of Omo Ranch and four miles south of Grizzly Flats. It initially burned slowly, but exploded in size on August 16 due to high winds. By the night of August 16 it was 6,500 acres (2,600 ha). On August 17 the fire grew to 30,000 acres (12,000 ha) as it expanded rapidly north and east, crossing the North Fork Cosumnes River and approaching Sly Park Reservoir. By August 20 the fire had burned nearly to Highway 50, forcing a closure of the highway. Over the next few days, the fire crossed Highway 50 in the vicinity of Kyburz. Starting on August 27 winds drove the fire rapidly east towards the Lake Tahoe Basin. By August 30, it had reached Echo Summit, less than 5 miles (8.0 km) from South Lake Tahoe.
The El Dorado County Sheriff provides court protection, county jail administration, and coroner service for all of the county and provides patrol and detective services for the unincorporated areas of the county. Placerville, population 11,000, has a municipal police department, as does South Lake Tahoe, population 22,000.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,786 square miles (4,630 km2), of which 1,708 square miles (4,420 km2) is land and 78 square miles (200 km2) (4.4%) is water.
The county, owing to its location in the Sierra Nevada, consists of rolling hills and mountainous terrain. The northeast corner is in the Lake Tahoe Basin (part of the Great Basin), including a portion of the lake itself. Across the Sierra crest to the west lies the majority of the county, referred to as the “western slope.” A portion of Folsom Lake is in the northwest corner of the county.
Much of the county is public land. The Eldorado National Forest comprises a significant portion (approximately 43%) of the county's land area, primarily on the western slope. The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, formerly part of the Eldorado and two other National Forests, manages much of the land east of the crest. The Pacific Crest Trail runs through the eastern part of the county, along or roughly paralleling the Sierra crest. The county is home to the Desolation Wilderness, a popular destination for hiking, backpacking, and fishing.
|Population, race, and income|
|Black or African American||1,367||0.8%|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||1,802||1.0%|
|Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander||167||0.1%|
|Some other race||6,323||3.5%|
|Two or more races||6,106||3.4%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||21,222||11.8%|
|Per capita income||$34,385|
|Median household income||$68,815|
|Median family income||$82,930|
|Places by population and race|
|Asian||Black or African
|Hispanic or Latino|
(of any race)
|Auburn Lake Trails||CDP||3,741||97.0%||1.5%||0.2%||1.0%||0.3%||2.3%|
|El Dorado Hills||CDP||43,563||84.0%||5.4%||8.9%||1.7%||0.1%||7.3%|
|South Lake Tahoe||City||21,814||76.8%||16.8%||4.5%||0.6%||1.3%||31.3%|
|‡ Data for El Dorado County area of this CDP|
|Places by population and income|
|Place||Type||Population||Per capita income||Median household income||Median family income|
|Auburn Lake Trails||CDP||3,741||$35,522||$79,573||$92,308|
|Cold Springs (El Dorado County)||CDP||569||$30,925||$97,576||$99,286|
|El Dorado Hills||CDP||43,563||$44,920||$115,121||$123,816|
|South Lake Tahoe||City||21,814||$22,958||$41,685||$51,538|
|‡ Data for El Dorado County area of this CDP|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Census reported that El Dorado County had a population of 181,058. The racial makeup of El Dorado County was 156,793 (86.6%) White, 1,409 (0.8%) African American, 2,070 (1.1%) Native American, 6,297 (3.5%) Asian, 294 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 7,278 (4.0%) from other races, and 6,917 (3.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21,875 persons (12.1%). The largest growth in the county has come in El Dorado Hills where the population grew by 24,092 residents to a total of 42,108 since 2000.
|Population reported at 2010 United States Census|
(of any race)
|El Dorado County||181,058||156,793||1,409||2,070||6,297||294||7,278||6,917||21,875|
(of any race)
|South Lake Tahoe||21,403||15,733||182||232||1,186||39||3,230||801||6,665|
(of any race)
|Auburn Lake Trails||3,426||3,190||6||28||36||5||45||116||208|
|El Dorado Hills||42,108||35,089||615||196||3,563||71||681||1,893||3,802|
(of any race)
|All others not CDPs (combined)||56,226||51,669||242||744||712||110||933||1,816||4,111|
|‡ Note: these numbers reflect only the portion of this CDP in El Dorado County|
As of the census of 2000, there were 156,299 people, 58,939 households, and 43,025 families residing in the county. The population density was 91 people per square mile (35/km2). There were 71,278 housing units at an average density of 42 per square mile (16/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 89.7% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 1.0% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.6% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. 9.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 14.9% were of German, 13.4% English, 10.3% Irish, 6.6% Italian and 6.6% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 90.5% spoke English and 6.5% Spanish as their first language.
There were 58,939 households, out of which 34.2% had youngsters under the age of 18 living with them, 60.1% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.0% were non-families. 20.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.1% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.3 males.
The 2000 census also states that the median income for a household in the county was $51,484, and the median income for a family was $60,250. Males had a median income of $46,373 versus $31,537 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,560. About 5.0% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.
|Population and registered voters|
|Registered voters[note 3]||110,206||61.3%|
|Peace and Freedom||293||0.3%|
|No party preference||22,376||20.3%|
|Cities by population and voter registration|
|Democratic||Republican||D–R spread||Other||No party preference|
|South Lake Tahoe||21,814||42.4%||38.6%||22.8%||+15.8%||14.0%||29.0%|
El Dorado is a predominantly Republican county in presidential and congressional elections. However, from 1880 until 1952, the county was a Democratic stronghold, with Theodore Roosevelt and Warren Harding being the only two Republicans to carry the county. Since 1952, however, El Dorado has gone Democratic only three times: in 1960 narrowly for John F. Kennedy, in 1964 in a landslide for Lyndon Johnson, and in 1976 narrowly for Jimmy Carter.
|Election results from statewide races|
|2010||Governor||Whitman 56.2 - 38.6%|
|Lieutenant Governor||Maldonado 55.6 - 32.8%|
|Secretary of State||Dunn 53.5 - 37.4%|
|Controller||Chiang 46.1 - 45.7%|
|Treasurer||Walters 51.3 - 41.0%|
|Attorney General||Cooley 60.4 - 29.4%|
|Insurance Commissioner||Villines 53.6 - 33.8%|
The county is noted as a center of political concern with the United Nations non-binding sustainable development plan Agenda 21, which was on the County Board of Supervisors meeting Agenda on May 15, 2012. Concerns included the threat of U.S. Forest Service road closures and traffic roundabouts. On February 19, 2013, 14 members of the El Dorado County Grand Jury resigned, forcing Supervising Judge Steven Bailey to dissolve it.
El Dorado County is in California's 4th congressional district, represented by Republican Tom McClintock. In the State Assembly, the county is split between the 5th Assembly District, represented by Republican Frank Bigelow and the 6th Assembly District, represented by Republican Kevin Kiley. In the State Senate, it is in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Brian Dahle.
The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.
|Population and crime rates|
|Motor vehicle theft||178||0.99|
|City||Population||Violent crimes||Violent crime rate
per 1,000 persons
|Property crimes||Property crime rate|
per 1,000 persons
|South Lake Tahoe||21,586||148||6.86||544||25.20|
General aviation airports include Placerville Airport, Georgetown Airport, Cameron Park airport and Lake Tahoe Airport.
Portions of El Dorado County are known to contain natural asbestos formations near the surface. The USGS studied amphiboles in rock and soil in the area in response to an EPA sampling study and subsequent criticism of the EPA study. The study found that many amphibole particles in the area meet the counting rule criteria used by the EPA for chemical and morphological limits, but do not meet morphological requirements for commercial-grade-asbestos. The executive summary pointed out that even particles that do not meet requirements for commercial-grade-asbestos may be a health threat and suggested a collaborative research effort to assess health risks associated with naturally occurring asbestos.
In 2003 after construction of the Oak Ridge High School (El Dorado Hills) soccer field, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found that some student athletes, coaches and school workers had received substantial exposures. The inside of the school needed to be cleaned of dust.
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of El Dorado County.
† county seat
|Rank||City/town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)|
|1||El Dorado Hills||CDP||42,108|
|2||South Lake Tahoe||City||21,403|
|8||Auburn Lake Trails||CDP||3,426|
|11||Tahoma (partially in Placer County)||CDP||1,191|
|15||Shingle Springs Rancheria||AIAN||102|
Situation Summary: The Caldor Fire started August 14, 2021 near Little Mountain, south of Pollock Pines in El Dorado County.