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Foster City, California
—  City  —
City of Foster City
Aerial view of Foster City and the San Mateo Bridge

Location of Foster City in San Mateo County, California.

Foster City, California is located in San Francisco Bay Area
Foster City
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 37°33′5″N 122°15′59″W / 37.55139, -122.26639Coordinates: 37°33′5″N 122°15′59″W / 37.55139, -122.26639
Country United States
State California
County San Mateo
Incorporated April 27, 1971[1]
 • Mayor Sam Hindi[2]
 • City manager Jeff C. Moneda[3]
 • Total 19.84 sq mi (51.39 km2)
 • Land 3.80 sq mi (9.83 km2)
 • Water 16.05 sq mi (41.56 km2)  81.07%
Elevation[5] 7 ft (2 m)
Population (2010)[6]
 • Total 30,567
 • Estimate (2016)[7] 34,175
 • Density 9,002.90/sq mi (3,476.26/km2)
  United States Census Bureau
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 94404
Area code 650
FIPS code 06-25338
GNIS feature IDs 1659723, 2410534

Foster City is a planned city located in San Mateo County, California. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 30,567. Foster City is sometimes considered to be part of Silicon Valley for its local industry and its proximity to Silicon Valley cities.[8][9] Foster City is one of the United States’ safest cities, with an average of one murder per decade.[10]


Foster City was founded in the 1960s on engineered landfill in the marshes of the San Francisco Bay, on the east edge of San Mateo. The city was named after T. Jack Foster, a real estate magnate who owned much of the land comprising the city and who was instrumental in its initial design. His successor firm, Foster Enterprises, run by his descendants, is still active in real estate affairs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Forbes ranked Foster City #10 on their 2009 list of America's Top 25 Towns to Live Well. Money has also recognized Foster City multiple times as one of the Best Places to Live.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.8 square miles (51 km2), of which 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) is land and 16.1 square miles (42 km2) is water. The total area is 81.07% water.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1970 9,327
1980 23,287 149.7%
1990 28,176 21.0%
2000 28,803 2.2%
2010 30,567 6.1%
Est. 2016 34,175 [7] 18.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]


The 2010 United States Census[12] reported that Foster City had a population of 30,567. The population density was 8,138.2 people per square mile (3,141.8/km²). The racial makeup of Foster City was 13,912 (45.5%) White, 576 (1.9%) African American, 29 (0.1%) Native American, 13,746 (45.0%) Asian, 189 (0.6%) Pacific Islander, 575 (1.9%) from other races, and 1,540 (5.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,995 persons (6.5%).

The Census reported that 30,458 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 52 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 57 (0.2%) were institutionalized.

There were 12,016 households, out of which 4,256 (35.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 7,127 (59.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 963 (8.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 316 (2.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 531 (4.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 75 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 2,807 households (23.4%) were made up of individuals and 860 (7.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53. There were 8,406 families (70.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.04.

The population was spread out with 6,913 people (22.6%) under the age of 18, 1,526 people (5.0%) aged 18 to 24, 9,801 people (32.1%) aged 25 to 44, 8,223 people (26.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 4,104 people (13.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

There were 12,458 housing units at an average density of 3,316.8 per square mile (1,280.5/km²), of which 6,958 (57.9%) were owner-occupied, and 5,058 (42.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.5%. 18,423 people (60.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 12,035 people (39.4%) lived in rental housing units.

Demographic profile[13] 2010
Total Population 30,567 - 100.0%
One Race 29,027 - 95.0%
Not Hispanic 28,572 - 93.5%
White alone 12,829 - 42.0%
Black or African American alone 545 - 1.8%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 17 - 0.1%
Asian alone 13,691 - 44.8%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone 182 - 0.6%
Some other race alone 102 - 0.3%
Two or more races alone 1,206 - 3.9%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 1,995 - 6.5%


As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 28,803 people, 11,613 households, and 7,931 families residing in the city. The 2009 median home price in Foster City was $1,025,000. The population density was 7,668.5 people per square mile (2,960.5/km²). There were 12,458 housing units at an average density of 3,316.8 per square mile (1,280.5/km²). There are 11,613 households out of which 30.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.7% are married couples living together, 7.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% are non-families. 23.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 5.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.47 and the average family size is 2.97.

In the city, the population is spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 35.3% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females, there are 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 93.9 males.

According to Money Magazine, the median income for a household in Foster City is $135,470.[9] The median income for a family is $118,231.[15] Males have a median income of $77,916 versus $51,157 for females. The per capita income for the city is $45,754. 2.9% of the population and 1.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 1.6% of those under the age of 18 and 5.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


In the California State Legislature, Foster City is in the 13th Senate District, represented by Democrat   Jerry Hill, and in the 22nd Assembly District, represented by Democrat   Kevin Mullin.[16]

In the United States House of Representatives, Foster City is in California's 14th congressional district, represented by Democrat   Jackie Speier.[17]

As of December, 2017, Foster City's Mayor is Sam Hindi and its Vice-Mayor is Herb Perez. Mr. Hindi is the first Palestinian-American Mayor in the history of California.


Foster City is home to four public schools in the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District. Foster City Elementary School (which has recently been remodeled), Brewer Island Elementary School, and Audubon Elementary School serve kindergarten through fifth grades. Nathaniel Bowditch Middle School serves 6th through 8th grades. There are several private preschools and elementary schools. There is a separate High School District: San Mateo Union High School District. There is no high school located east of Highway 101 so Foster City high school students attend the public schools in the San Mateo Union High School District and other private high schools in San Francisco Bay Area.

All four public schools in Foster City (Audubon School, Brewer Island School, Foster City School, and Bowditch Middle School) have won California Distinguished School awards. In 1993, Bowditch was recognized with the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon. In 2005, Bowditch became a California Distinguished School for the second time. A third recognition was given in 2013.

Foster City has one private Jewish day school: Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School is a kindergarten – eighth grade school. It was rated the number one Jewish day school in the South Bay/Peninsula.[18]

Foster City also has one private elementary school: Kids Connection is a kindergarten – fifth grade school.

The city is served by the Peninsula Library System.


Foster City, like most of the peninsula, has a mild Mediterranean climate, with warm dry summers, and cool wet winters. The warmest month of the year is July with an average daytime temperature of 80.8 degrees Fahrenheit and an average nighttime of 55 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is December with an average daytime temperature of 57 degrees Fahrenheit and an average nighttime temperature of 38.6 degrees Fahrenheit.[19]


Metro Center, one of Foster City's largest retail/office complexes


Around 1993 Visa Inc. began consolidating various scattered offices in San Mateo, California to a location in Foster City.[20] Visa's headquarters were in Foster City, and Visa became Foster City's largest employer. Visa owns four buildings at the intersection of Metro Center Boulevard and Vintage Park Drive. As of 2009 it employed about 3,000 people at the complex. During that year Visa signed a 10-year lease agreement for the top three floors of 595 Market Street in San Francisco and moved its top executives there. Visa continued to keep employees at the Foster City offices.[21] As of 2009, after the headquarters move, the Foster City facilities remained the company's center of employment, and the post-headquarters move Foster City buildings housed 2,400 employees as of 2009.[22]

Other companies with headquarters in Foster City:

  • Acxiom Digital
  • Applied Underwriters
  • Conviva
  • Electronics for Imaging
  • GridGain Systems
  • Gilead Sciences
  • Guidewire Software
  • Imperva, Inc.
  • Navigenics
  • Philips (manufacturing facility)
  • QuinStreet Inc.
  • Sling Media
  • Truviso
  • Zuora

Top employers[]

According to the City's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[23] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Gilead Sciences 5,535
2 Visa 1,651
3 Inovant LLC 1,347
4 Guidewire Software, Inc. 613
5 CSG Consultants, Inc. 524
6 IBM 417
7 CyberSource 353
8 Sledgehammer Games, Inc. 313
9 City of Foster City 311
10 Brightedge Technologies Inc. 300


Shells Dirt Jumps at the Beach Park

Foster City boasts 24 parks occupying more than 200 acres (0.8 km2), including many public tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts, and rollerblading/biking trails along the San Francisco Bay.

Foster City also boasts:

  • World Class Windsurfing and Kite-Surfing A world-class windsurfing and kite-surfing spot in the San Francisco Bay can be found within the city limits of Foster City. It is located adjacent to Mariners Point.
  • A Golf course and driving range There is one 9-hole golf course, and driving range Mariners' Point, on land owned by the City, and operated by VB Golf.
  • Dragon Boating The Bay Area Dragons and Ho'okahi Pu'uwai Outrigger Canoe clubs operate in the lagoon. In an attempt to preserve the city's waterways and reduce noise levels, only electric, wind, or man-powered watercraft are permitted in the Lagoon.[24]
  • Teen Activities Center A newly constructed $4 million center for teens that will provide access to: TV’s, computers, video games, art rooms, homework rooms, a kitchen and outdoor basketball courts. The center is also known as "The Vibe" and has a concrete skatepark adjacent to it.[25]
  • Public Amphitheatre Located in Leo J. Ryan Memorial Park, is a newly constructed Amphitheatre. It serves as the location for the Foster City Summer concerts. Adjacent to the park is a boardwalk with boat tie-up facilities.
  • Community Theatre The historic Hillbarn Theatre was founded in 1941 and provides the community with a robust calendar of events as well as performance classes.

In addition, Foster City maintains an extensive 218-acre (0.9 km2),[26] man-made enclosed lagoon system. The lagoons were initially designed as a drainage system required in order to efficiently drain the lowland city.

Items of interest[]

Foster City's Werder Pier is a remainder of the original expanse of the San Mateo–Hayward Bridge. It is also one of the state's longest and oldest piers in existence. Unfortunately, due to much needed repair, the once popular fishing pier is no longer in operation.

A number of San Francisco professional athletes have called Foster City home. Former San Francisco Giants players Kevin Mitchell and Jeff Kent won the National League Most Valuable Player award while they were residents of Foster City.

Peter Thiel,founder of PayPal was raised in Foster City.

Norman Hsu, the Hong Kong born convicted criminal (Ponzi scheme scam artist) and political activist is a former resident of Foster City.

The movie Over the Edge is based upon events occurring in Foster City, chronicled in a 1973 article titled "Mousepacks: Kids on a Crime Spree" in the San Francisco Examiner.

The music video for "Super Hyphy", a song by Bay Area rapper Keak Da Sneak, was filmed at Bowditch Middle School. R&B singer Keyshia Cole was also featured in the music video which was produced by Half-White Productions.

Foster City TV broadcasts a variety of programs related to operation of and life in Foster City. Foster City TV provides programming through a dedicated Government-access television (GATV) channel.

Herb Perez, 1992 Olympic gold medalist in Tae Kwon Do, formerly served as chairman of the Foster City parks and recreation committee.[27] Perez also appeared as himself (with the nickname "Olympus") on '90s martial-arts TV series WMAC Masters. He was the city mayor and is now a member of the city council.

See also[]

  • Foster City Marina
  • Leo J. Ryan Memorial Park


  1. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Archived from the original on November 3, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ "City Council". City of Foster City. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ "City Manager's Department". City of Foster City. Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 19, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Foster City". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  6. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  8. ^ Woolsey, Matt. "In Depth: America's Top 25 Towns To Live Well". Forbes. 
  9. ^ a b "Best places to live 2008". CNN. 
  10. ^ Foster City, California (CA 94404) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Foster City city". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Demographic Profile Bay Area Census". 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ U.S. Census Bureau: Foster City
  16. ^ "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  17. ^ "California's 14th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
  18. ^ Teach the Children | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California. (2006-08-08). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  19. ^ "Intellicast - Foster City Historic Weather Averages in California (94404)". 
  20. ^ "Visa Finds a Passport to the Future San Mateo Company Bets on 'Smart' Cards That Will Exchange Information, Not Just Money." San Jose Mercury News. Monday August 7, 1995. 1F Business. Retrieved on February 2, 2011. "Then, two years ago, it began consolidating scattered sites throughout San Mateo in nearby Foster City with[...]"
  21. ^ "Week in review." The Daily Journal. January 3, 2009. Retrieved on February 2, 2011.
  22. ^ "Visa joins The Chronicle 200 at No. 20." San Francisco Chronicle. April 19, 2009. Retrieved on February 2, 2011.
  23. ^ "City of Foster City CAFR 2017"
  24. ^ Water Activities, City of Foster City
  25. ^ "Building a Better VIBE". San Mateo Times Article
  26. ^ Built to Withstand a "100 Year Flood" Script error: No such module "webarchive".. City of Foster City.
  27. ^ Herb Perez for Foster City Council, 2011. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.

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