Nevada County, California
|County of Nevada|
|Metropolitan area||Greater Sacramento|
|Incorporated||April 25, 1851|
|Named for||Nevada City, which is named after the Spanish word for "snow-covered"|
|County seat||Nevada City|
|Largest city||Truckee (population and area)|
|• Body||Board of Supervisors|
|• Total||974 sq mi (2,520 km2)|
|• Land||958 sq mi (2,480 km2)|
|• Water||16 sq mi (40 km2)|
|Highest elevation||9,152 ft (2,790 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||100/sq mi (39/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific Time Zone)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (Pacific Daylight Time)|
|GNIS feature ID||1682927|
Nevada County (listen) is a county in the Sierra Nevada of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 98,764. The county seat is Nevada City. Nevada County comprises the Truckee-Grass Valley, CA Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Sacramento-Roseville, CA Combined Statistical Area, part of the Mother Lode Country.
Created in 1851, from portions of Yuba County, Nevada County was named after the mining town of Nevada City, a name derived from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The word nevada is Spanish for "snowy" or "snow-covered."
Nevada City was the first to use the word "Nevada" in its name. In 1851 the newly formed Nevada County used the same name as the county seat. The bordering state of Nevada used the same name in 1864. The region came to life in the Gold Rush of 1849. Many historical sites remain to mark the birth of this important region in California's formative years. Among them are the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City, the oldest theater built in California in 1865. It operates to this day and once hosted Mark Twain among other historical figures. The Old 5 Mile House stagecoach stop built in 1890, also operates to this day as a provider of hospitality spanning three centuries. This historical site still features "The stagecoach safe" that is on display outside the present day restaurant and is the source of many legends of stagecoach robbers and notorious highwaymen in the California gold rush era. The gold industry in Nevada County thrived into the post-WWII days.
The county had many firsts and historic technological moments. The first long-distance telephone in the world, built in 1877 by the Ridge Telephone Company, connected French Corral with French Lake, 58 miles (93 km) away. It was operated by the Milton Mining Company from a building on this site that had been erected about 1853. The Pelton wheel, designed to power gold mines, still drives hydro-electric generators today. Nevada City and Grass Valley were among the first California towns with electric lights. The Olympics, NASA, and virtually every television station around the country utilizes video/broadcasting equipment designed and manufactured by Grass Valley Group, founded in Grass Valley.
The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad was built in 1876 and was the only railroad in the West that was never robbed, even though its primary freight was gold. (Builder-owner John Flint Kidder's reputation made it clear that he would personally hunt down and kill anyone who tried.) The rail line closed in 1942 and was torn up for scrap.
In Grass Valley the historic Holbrooke Hotel opened in 1851 and housed Mark Twain, Bret Harte, and four U.S. presidents (Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and James A. Garfield).
The Community of Rough and Ready seceded from the Union for a time and became the Great Republic of Rough and Ready.
Nevada County is home to the Empire Mine Historic State Park, which is the site of one of the oldest, deepest, and richest gold mines in California. The park is in Grass Valley at 10791 East Empire Street. In operation for more than 100 years, the mine extracted 5.8 million ounces of gold before it closed in 1956.
The 2001 Nevada County shootings occurred on January 10, 2001, in which Scott Harlan Thorpe murdered three people in a shooting spree. Two of the victims were murdered in Nevada City and a third victim was killed in Grass Valley. Thorpe was arrested and declared not guilty by reason of insanity. He currently resides in Napa State Hospital.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 974 square miles (2,520 km2), of which 958 square miles (2,480 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (1.6%) is water. The county is drained by Middle and South Yuba rivers.
The western part of the county is defined by the course of several rivers and the irregular boundaries of adjoining counties. When the county was created, the founders wanted to include access to the transcontinental railroad, so a rectangular section was added that includes the railroad town of Truckee. What is remarkable about this is that the final shape of the county closely resembles the Deringer pocket pistol, a favorite at the time of the more urbane residents of this gold rush county.
Nevada County is one of four counties in the United States to border a state with which it shares the same name (the other three counties are Texas County, Oklahoma; Delaware County, Pennsylvania; and Ohio County, West Virginia).
The county has substantial areas of forest, grassland, savanna, riparian area and other ecosystems. Forests include both coniferous- and oak-dominated woodland types. There are also numerous understory forbs and wildflowers including the yellow mariposa lily (Calochortus luteus).
|Population, race, and income|
|Black or African American||522||0.5%|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||1,184||1.2%|
|Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander||188||0.2%|
|Some other race||1,785||1.8%|
|Two or more races||2,447||2.5%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||8,185||8.3%|
|Per capita income||$31,607|
|Median household income||$58,077|
|Median family income||$69,807|
|Places by population and race|
|Asian||Black or African
|Hispanic or Latino|
(of any race)
|Lake of the Pines||CDP||3,684||92.3%||5.0%||1.8%||0.4%||0.4%||6.4%|
|North San Juan||CDP||158||60.8%||39.2%||0.0%||0.0%||0.0%||0.0%|
|Rough and Ready||CDP||891||98.0%||1.0%||1.0%||0.0%||0.0%||0.0%|
|‡ Data for Nevada County area of this CDP|
|Places by population and income|
|Place||Type||Population||Per capita income||Median household income||Median family income|
|Lake of the Pines||CDP||3,684||$38,503||$76,816||$96,984|
|North San Juan||CDP||158||$20,051||$47,692||$24,167|
|Rough and Ready||CDP||891||$23,579||$39,037||$46,875|
|‡ Data for Nevada County area of this CDP|
|US Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Nevada County had a population of 98,764. The racial makeup of Nevada County was 90,233 (91.4%) White, 389 (0.4%) African American, 1,044 (1.1%) Native American, 1,187 (1.2%) Asian, 110 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 2,678 (2.7%) from other races, and 3,123 (3.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8,439 persons (8.5%).
|Population reported at 2010 United States Census|
(of any race)
cities and towns
(of any race)
(of any race)
|Lake of the Pines||3,917||3,669||5||20||65||7||24||127||246|
|North San Juan||269||224||1||12||11||0||0||21||9|
|Rough and Ready||963||886||3||6||16||6||11||35||56|
(of any race)
|All others not CDPs (combined)||47,493||44,080||202||529||468||53||562||1,599||2,639|
|‡ Note: these numbers reflect only the portion of this CDP in Nevada County|
As of the census of 2000, there were 92,033 people, 36,894 households, and 25,936 families residing in the county. The population density was 96 people per square mile (37/km2). There were 44,282 housing units at an average density of 46 per square mile (18/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.4% White, 0.3% Black or African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.9% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. 5.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.4% were of German, 16.3% English, 11.1% Irish, 6.8% Italian and 6.6% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 94.0% spoke English and 4.2% Spanish as their first language.
There were 36,894 households, out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. 22.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.1% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.7 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $45,864, and the median income for a family was $52,697. Males had a median income of $40,742 versus $27,173 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,007. About 5.5% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.5% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.
|Population and registered voters|
|Registered voters[note 3]||61,557||62.6%|
|Peace and Freedom||140||0.2%|
|No party preference||13,449||21.8%|
|Cities by population and voter registration|
|Democratic||Republican||D–R spread||Other||No party preference|
|Unincorporated Nevada County||66,509||67.0%||30.6%||41.8%||-11.2%||5.8%||20.3%|
According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, Nevada County has 78,736 registered voters. Of those, 24,677 (36%) are registered Democrats, 22,252 (32.3%) are registered Republicans, 9,426 (13.76%) are registered to another party and 7,845 (11.5%) have declined to state a political party. In both 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush won a majority of the votes in the county. In 2008, Barack Obama carried the county with a 51.5%–46.2% margin. 2008 marked the first time Nevada County went for a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In 2012, Obama lost by a narrow margin to Mitt Romney, turning the county red once again, only for Hillary Clinton to win it back in 2016 over Donald Trump. Joe Biden won the county in 2020, continuing its Democratic shift.
Nevada County is split between California's 1st and 4th congressional districts, which are represented by Doug LaMalfa (R–Richvale) and Tom McClintock (R–Elk Grove), respectively.
In the state legislature, Nevada County is in the 1st Assembly District, represented by Republican Megan Dahle and in the State Senate, the county is in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Brian Dahle.
On November 4, 2008, Nevada County voted for Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages by 3 votes, the narrowest margin of any county in the state.
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 (2009)|
|Motor vehicle theft||100||1.02|
|Cities by population and crime rates|
|City||Population||Violent crimes||Violent crime rate
per 1,000 persons
|Property crimes||Property crime rate|
per 1,000 persons
Gold Country Lift is the paratransit bus company providing door to door service for seniors and persons with disabilities in Grass Valley, Nevada City, and Penn Valley.
Nevada County Air Park is a general aviation airport located just east of Grass Valley.
Truckee Tahoe Airport is a general aviation airport in Truckee, partially in Nevada County and partially in Placer County.
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Nevada County.
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)|
|5||Lake of the Pines||CDP||3,917|
|6||† Nevada City||City||3,068|
|8||Rough and Ready||CDP||963|
|9||North San Juan||CDP||269|
|11||Kingvale (partially in Placer County)||CDP||143|