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Mariposa County, California
Seal of Mariposa County, California
Map of California highlighting Mariposa County
Location in the state of California
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
California's location in the U.S.
Founded 1850
Seat Mariposa
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,463 sq mi (3,789 km²)
1,451 sq mi (3,758 km²)
12 sq mi (31 km²), 0.80%
 - (2000)
 - Density

13/sq mi (5/km²)

Mariposa County is a county in the U.S. state of California, located in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It lies north of Fresno, east of Merced, and southeast of Stockton. As of 2000, its population was 17,130. The county seat is Mariposa.

The county's eastern half is the central portion of Yosemite National Park.

There are no incorporated cities in Mariposa County; however, there are three communities recognized as census-designated places for statistical purposes.


Mariposa County was one of the original counties of California, created at the time of statehood in 1850. While it began as the state's largest county, over time territory that was once part of Mariposa was ceded to twelve other counties: Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Merced, Mono, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, and Tulare. Thus, Mariposa County is known as the "Mother of Counties".

The county took its name from Mariposa Creek, which was so named by Spanish explorers in 1806, when they discovered great clusters of butterflies ("mariposas" in Spanish) in the foothills of the Sierras. For many years, residents marked the annual arrival (in May) of migrating Monarch butterflies with a "Butterfly Days" parade.

The Gold Rush[]

Mariposa County is located at the southern end of California's Mother Lode region. During the Gold Rush great quantities of the prized mineral were found and extracted, first in local stream-beds and later in hard rock mines. One of the most notable beneficiaries of this wealth was the famed explorer and 1856 Republican presidential candidate, John C. Fremont, for whom the local hospital is named. (Jessie Street, in the town of Mariposa, is named for Fremont's wife, Jessie Benton Fremont, who came to Mariposa to live with him.)

Many aspects of the area's mining history are depicted in exhibits at two local museums: the Mariposa History Museum, located in the town of Mariposa; and the California Mining and Mineral Museum, located at the Mariposa Fairgrounds (2 miles east of Mariposa on Highway 49).

Geography and natural history[]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,789 km² (1,463 sq mi). 3,758 km² (1,451 sq mi) of it is land and 30 km² (12 sq mi) of it (0.80%) is water. Along the banks of the Merced River is found the sole habitat for the Limestone salamander, a rare species endemic to Mariposa County.


Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places

Adjacent Counties[]

Transportation Infrastructure[]

Major Highways[]

Public Transportation[]


Mariposa Yosemite Airport is a general aviation airport. The nearest airports with scheduled flights are in Fresno and Merced.


As of the census2 of 2000, there were 17,130 people, 6,613 households, and 4,490 families residing in the county. The population density was 5/km² (12/sq mi). There were 8,826 housing units at an average density of 2/km² (6/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 88.93% White, 0.67% Black or African American, 3.51% Native American, 0.71% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 2.67% from other races, and 3.38% from two or more races. 7.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 96.0% spoke English and 3.5% Spanish as their first language.

There were 6,613 households out of which 25.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.8% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.1% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the county the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 29.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 104.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.4 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,626, and the median income for a family was $42,655. Males had a median income of $31,194 versus $25,440 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,190. About 10.5% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.


Presidential election results
Year GOP DEM Others
2004 60.2% 5,215 37.6% 3,251 2.2% 192
2000 58.5% 4,727 34.9% 2,816 6.6% 531
1996 50.0% 3,976 36.7% 2,920 13.3% 1,053
1992 36.0% 2,982 36.5% 3,023 27.5% 2,282
1988 54.5% 3,768 43.4% 2,998 2.1% 144
1984 61.2% 3,989 36.8% 2,399 2.0% 130
1980 55.0% 3,082 33.7% 1,889 11.4% 637
1976 46.6% 2,012 48.5% 2,093 4.9% 212
1972 56.2% 2,122 39.3% 1,487 4.5% 170
1968 49.9% 1,496 39.6% 1,187 10.5% 314
1964 42.6% 1,264 57.4% 1,704
1960 54.0% 1,599 45.2% 1,338 0.9% 26

Mariposa is a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Mariposa is part of California's 19th congressional district, which is held by Republican George Radanovich. In the state legislature Mariposa is in the 25th Assembly district, which is held by Republican Tom Berryhill, and the 14th Senate district, which is held by Republican Dave Cogdill.

See also[]

External links[]

Coordinates: 37°35′N 119°55′W / 37.58, -119.91

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Mariposa County, California. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.