State of California
Flag of CaliforniaState seal of California
Nickname(s): The Golden State
Motto(s): Eureka[1]
State song(s): "I Love You, California"
Map of the United States with California highlighted
Official languageEnglish
Spoken languagesLanguage spoken at home[2]
Largest cityLos Angeles
Largest metroGreater Los Angeles
AreaRanked 3rd
 • Total163,696 sq mi
(423,970 km2)
 • Width250 miles (400 km)
 • Length770 miles (1,240 km)
 • % water4.7
 • Latitude32°32′ N to 42° N
 • Longitude114°8′ W to 124°26′ W
PopulationRanked 1st
 • Total39,536,653 (2017 est.)[3]
 • Density240/sq mi  (92.6/km2)
Ranked 11th
 • Median household income$66,636 (2016)[4] (13th)
 • Highest pointMount Whitney[5][6][7][8]
14,505 ft (4,421.0 m)
 • Mean2,900 ft  (880 m)
 • Lowest pointBadwater Basin[9]
−279 ft (−85.0 m)
Before statehoodAlta California
Admission to UnionSeptember 9, 1850 (31st)
GovernorJerry Brown (D)
Lieutenant GovernorGavin Newsom (D)
LegislatureCalifornia State Legislature
 • Upper houseCalifornia State Senate
 • Lower houseCalifornia State Assembly
U.S. SenatorsDianne Feinstein (D)
Kamala Harris (D)
U.S. House delegation39 Democrats
14 Republicans (list)
Time zonesPacific Time Zone
 • Standard timePST (UTC−8)
 • Summer time (DST)PDT (UTC−7)
California state symbols
Flag of California.svg
Seal of California.svg
Living insignia
AmphibianCalifornia red-legged frog
BirdCalifornia quail
FlowerCalifornia poppy
GrassPurple needlegrass
InsectCalifornia dogface butterfly
ReptileDesert tortoise
TreeCoast redwood & giant sequoia[10]
Inanimate insignia
ColorsBlue & gold[11]
DanceWest Coast Swing
Folk danceSquare dance
FossilSabre-toothed cat
MineralNative gold
SoilSan Joaquin
TartanCalifornia State Tartan
State route marker
California state route marker
State quarter
California quarter dollar coin
Released in 2005
Lists of United States state symbols

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.5 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 8.8 million residents respectively.[12] Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County; its largest county by area, San Bernardino County; and its second most densely populated city and fifth most densely populated county, San Francisco.

California's $2.9 trillion economy is larger than that of any other state, larger than those of Texas and Florida combined, and the largest sub-national economy in the world.[13] If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world (larger than the U.K., France, or India),[14] and the 36th most populous as of 2017.[15] The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies ($1.253 trillion and $878 billion respectively as of 2017), after the New York City metropolitan area.[16] The San Francisco Bay Area PSA had the nation's highest GDP per capita in 2017 (~$99,000),[16] and is home to three of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization[17] and four of the world's ten richest people.[18]

California is considered a global trendsetter in popular culture, innovation, and politics. It is considered the origin of the American film industry, the hippie counterculture, the Internet,[19] and the personal computer, among others. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are widely seen as the centers of the global technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California has a very diverse economy: 58% of the state's economy is centered on finance, government, real estate services, technology, and professional, scientific and technical business services.[20] Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy,[20] California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. state.[21][22][23][24]

California is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south (with the coast being on the west). The state's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east, and from the redwoodDouglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Although California is well-known for its warm Mediterranean climate, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains. Over time, drought and wildfires have become more pervasive features.[25][26]

What is now California was first settled by various Native Californian tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish Empire then claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. The western portion of Alta California then was organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom.


The word California originally referred to the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico; it was later[when?] extended to the entire region composed of the current United States states of California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming.[27] Spanish explorer Francisco de Ulloa's when exploring the western coast of North America, when initially surveying the Baja California Peninsula, thought that it was an island rather than a peninsula.[28]

The name likely derived from the mythical island California in the fictional story of Queen Calafia, as recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo.[29] This work was the fifth in a popular Spanish chivalric romance series that began with Amadis de Gaula.[30][31][32][33] Queen Calafia's kingdom was said to be a remote land rich in gold and pearls, inhabited by beautiful black women who wore gold armor and lived like Amazons, as well as griffins and other strange beasts.[29][34][35] In the fictional paradise, the ruler Queen Calafia fought alongside Muslims and her name may have been chosen to echo the title of a Muslim leader, the Caliph. It's possible the name California was meant to imply the island was a Caliphate.[29][36]

Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, very close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women without a single man among them, and they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with strong passionate hearts and great virtue. The island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the bold and craggy rocks.

— Chapter CLVII of The Adventures of Esplandián[37]

The conventional wisdom that California was an island, with maps drawn to reflect this belief, lasted as late as the 18th century.[38]

Shortened forms of the state's name include CA, Cal., Calif., and US-CA.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kalifornië
Alemannisch: Kalifornien
አማርኛ: ካሊፎርኒያ
Ænglisc: California
العربية: كاليفورنيا
aragonés: California
arpetan: California
asturianu: California
Avañe'ẽ: California
Aymar aru: California suyu
azərbaycanca: Kaliforniya
Bân-lâm-gú: California
башҡортса: Калифорния
беларуская: Каліфорнія
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Каліфорнія
Bikol Central: California
Bislama: Kalifornia
български: Калифорния
Boarisch: Kalifornien
bosanski: Kalifornija
brezhoneg: Kalifornia
буряад: Калифорни
català: Califòrnia
Чӑвашла: Калифорни
Cebuano: California
čeština: Kalifornie
corsu: California
Cymraeg: Califfornia
davvisámegiella: Kalifornia
Deitsch: Kalifornie
Deutsch: Kalifornien
dolnoserbski: Kaliforniska
eesti: California
Ελληνικά: Καλιφόρνια
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Califòrgna
español: California
Esperanto: Kalifornio
euskara: Kalifornia
فارسی: کالیفرنیا
Fiji Hindi: California
føroyskt: Kalifornia
français: Californie
Frysk: Kalifornje
Gaeilge: California
Gaelg: California
Gagauz: Kaliforniya
Gàidhlig: Calafòrnia
galego: California
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: California
хальмг: Калифорния
Hawaiʻi: Kaleponi
հայերեն: Կալիֆոռնիա
hornjoserbsce: Kaliforniska
hrvatski: Kalifornija
Ilokano: California
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: ক্যালিফোর্নিয়া
Bahasa Indonesia: California
interlingua: California
Interlingue: California
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: ᑳᓖᐴᕐᓃᐊ
Iñupiak: California
isiZulu: California
íslenska: Kalifornía
italiano: California
עברית: קליפורניה
Basa Jawa: California
Kabɩyɛ: Kalɩfɔrnii
Kapampangan: California
къарачай-малкъар: Калифорния
ქართული: კალიფორნია
қазақша: Калифорния
kernowek: Kaliforni
Kiswahili: California
Kreyòl ayisyen: Kalifòni
kurdî: Kalîforniya
Кыргызча: Калифорния
кырык мары: Калифорни
Ladino: Kalifornia
لۊری شومالی: کاليفورنيا
Latina: California
latviešu: Kalifornija
Lëtzebuergesch: Kalifornien
lietuvių: Kalifornija
Ligure: California
Limburgs: Californië
Lingua Franca Nova: California
la .lojban.: kalifornias
lumbaart: California
magyar: Kalifornia
македонски: Калифорнија
Malagasy: Kalifornia
മലയാളം: കാലിഫോർണിയ
Māori: Karapōnia
მარგალური: კალიფორნია
مازِرونی: کالیفرنیا
Bahasa Melayu: California
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: California
монгол: Калифорни
Nāhuatl: California
Dorerin Naoero: California
Nederlands: Californië
Nedersaksies: Kalifornië
नेपाल भाषा: क्यालिफोर्निया
нохчийн: Калифорни
Nordfriisk: California
norsk: California
norsk nynorsk: California
occitan: Califòrnia
олык марий: Калифорний
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kaliforniya
Pangasinan: California
پنجابی: کیلیفورنیا
Papiamentu: California
Picard: Californie
Piemontèis: Califòrnia
Plattdüütsch: Kalifornien
polski: Kalifornia
português: Califórnia
Qaraqalpaqsha: Kaliforniya shtati
română: California
rumantsch: California
Runa Simi: California suyu
русский: Калифорния
саха тыла: Калифорния
Gagana Samoa: Kalefonia
संस्कृतम्: कालिफ़ोर्निया
Scots: Californie
Seeltersk: Kalifornien
shqip: Kalifornia
sicilianu: California
Simple English: California
slovenčina: Kalifornia
slovenščina: Kalifornija
ślůnski: Kaliforńijo
Soomaaliga: Kalifornia
српски / srpski: Калифорнија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kalifornija
Basa Sunda: Kalifornia
suomi: Kalifornia
svenska: Kalifornien
Tagalog: California
Taqbaylit: Kalifurnya
татарча/tatarça: Калифорния (штат)
tetun: California
тоҷикӣ: Калифорния
Tsetsêhestâhese: California
Türkçe: Kaliforniya
українська: Каліфорнія
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: Kaliforniye Shitati
vèneto: Całifornia
Tiếng Việt: California
Volapük: Kalifornän
Winaray: California
ייִדיש: קאליפארניע
Zazaki: Kaliforniya
Zeêuws: Californië
žemaitėška: Kalėfuornėjė