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San Francisco, Calif.

Mayor: Edwin M. Lee (to Jan. 2015)

2010 census population (rank): 805,235 (13); Male: 408,462 (50.7%); Female: 396,773 (49.3%); White: 390,387 (48.5%); Black: 48,870 (6.1%); American Indian and Alaska Native: 4,024 (0.5%); Asian: 267,915 (33.3%); Other race: 53,021 (6.6%); Two or more races: 37,659 (4.7%); Hispanic/Latino: 121,774 (15.1%). 2010 percent population 18 and over: 86.6%; 65 and over: 13.6%; Median age: 38.5.

2012 population estimate (rank): 825,863 (14)

See additional census data

Land area: 47 sq mi. (122 sq km);

Alt.: Highest, 925 ft.; lowest, sea level

Avg. daily temp.: Jan., 51.1° F; July, 59.1° F

Churches: 540 of all denominations;

City-owned parks and squares: 200+;

Radio stations: 29;

Television stations: 10

Civilian Labor Force (PMSA) June 2012: 2,296,8001;

Unemployed: 196,3001,

Percent: 8.51;

Per capita personal income 2010: $45,478

Chamber of Commerce: San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, 235 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94104

1. San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont, Calif.

San Francisco, the fourth-largest city in California, is coextensive with San Francisco County. It is located in the northern part of the state between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay on a narrow arm of land that embraces San Francisco Bay, the largest land-locked harbor in the world.

A Franciscan father who was sailing with Sebastián Rodríguez Cermeño named the bay San Francisco on Nov. 7, 1595. In 1776, the Spaniards established a presidio, or military post, and a Franciscan mission on the end of the beautiful peninsula. In the following year, a little town was founded around the mission. It was called Yerba Buena, Spanish for “Good Herb,” because mint grew in abundance there. In 1846, during the Mexican War, Yerba Buena was taken over by the United States. It was renamed San Francisco in 1847 and became incorporated as a city in 1850.

When gold was discovered in California in 1848, the city's population jumped to 10,000, and it experienced turbulent years until order was established by Vigilance Committees, first in 1851, and again in 1856. Then followed a period of more orderly growth, and the foundations of the great commerce and industry of today were laid.

In 1906, San Francisco experienced the nation's most destructive earthquake, which, together with the fire that followed, practically destroyed the city. The city was quickly rebuilt and grew rapidly as a leading transportation, industrial, and cultural center. In the 19th century, the American explorer and soldier John C. Frémont, known as The Pathfinder, named the entrance to the bay the Golden Gate, and the famous bright orange Golden Gate Bridge was dedicated in May 1937.

A vital part of the economic and cultural fabric of northern California, the port of San Francisco covers 71/2 mi of waterfront. The port is home to a broad range of commercial, maritime, and public activities. Its major shipping terminals serve shipping lines from around the world. Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz, Hyde St. Pier, and Pier 39 all make the port of San Francisco one of the world's leading visitor destinations.

The electronics and biotechnology industries are well represented throughout the Bay Area. With nearly 30% of the worldwide biotechnology labor force and 360 biotech firms, the Bay Area has been appropriately called “Bionic Bay.”

Tourism is one of San Francisco's largest industries and the largest employer of city residents. In 2000, more than 17 million people visited San Francisco, and visitor spending was $7.6 billion, providing 82,000 jobs.

San Francisco is also the banking and financial center of the West and is home to a Federal Reserve Bank and a United States Mint. More than 60 foreign banks maintain offices there.

See also Encyclopedia: San Francisco.

Selected famous natives and residents:

  • Gracie Allen comedienne;
  • Luis Walter Alvarez Nobel Prize winner in physics;
  • David Belasco dramatist and producer;
  • Mel Blanc actor and voice specialist;
  • Rosemary Casals tennis player;
  • Isadora Duncan dancer;
  • Clint Eastwood actor;
  • Robert Frost poet;
  • Rube Goldberg cartoonist;
  • William Randolph Hearst publisher;
  • Bruce Lee actor;
  • Mervyn LeRoy director;
  • Jack London novelist;
  • Johnny Mathis singer;
  • Lloyd Nolan actor;
  • O. J. Simpson football player;
  • Robert G. Sproul educator;
  • Irving Stone novelist;
  • Natalie Wood actress.

  • Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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