Berkeley, California

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Berkeley, California

Introduction to Berkeley, California

Berkeley, located in northern California's San Francisco Bay Area just north of Oakland and 10 miles north of San Francisco, is one of the country's hippest cities and one of the best places for educational pursuits. Berkeley claims arguably the best public university in the nation, the University of California at Berkeley, which has existed since 1872. Both the city and the university are famous for a tradition of free thinking, cultural diversity and activist politics. In the 1960s, Berkeley was the site of Vietnam War protests and was the backdrop for the film The Graduate. In the 1970s, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) linked Berkeley to San Francisco and Oakland. Today, Berkeley remains a socially conscious, politically active city, with a young, diverse population of around 105,000. Sharing the Cal Berkeley campus is the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which conducts scientific research within 15 divisions and 76 buildings. Also known as Berkeley Lab, it has 4,000 employees. Over the years, nine of its researchers have won the Nobel Prize.

Berkeley Culture

Although San Francisco is a nearby cultural hub that rivals any on the planet, Berkeley has a distinct cultural presence of its own. It has gourmet and specialty foods shops (Scharffen Berger chocolates, anyone?) that rival San Francisco's, it's closer to the Napa and Sonoma wine regions than San Francisco, and it has bragging rights to one of the finest restaurants in the country, Chez Panisse, a leader in what is known as California cuisine. It is home to the Berkeley Art Museum, with eleven galleries and an emphasis on historic and contemporary films. Other cultural attractions include Aurora Theatre Company, the Berkeley Opera Company, and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Berkeley Sports and Leisure

Some of the country's best college athletics can be seen right in the city. The Cal Berkeley Golden Bears play football at Memorial Stadium and basketball at Haas Pavilion. For big league action, there are six pro sports teams just a short ride away within the Bay Area: major league baseball's San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics, the NFL's San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, the NBA's Golden State Warriors and the NHL's San Jose Sharks.

Berkeley Outdoors

A comfortable climate, a superb park system and access to ocean and mountains make Berkeley a great city for outdoor recreation. Aquatic Park offers boating, bird watching and biking/hiking trails around the lake. Caesar Chavez Park has 90 acres of land, paved trails and wildlife. Berkeley Rose Garden has over 3 acres of roses, plus tennis courts and hiking trails. For rock climbing, there's Contra Costa Rock Park, Cragmont Rock Park, Great Stoneface Rock Park, Grotto Rock Park and Mortar Rock Park. Briones Regional Park, a few miles northwest of the city, has more than 5,000 acres of wilderness, wildlife and trails for hikers, runners, and horseback riders. For a winter getaway, skiing and snow sports are available within a 2-hour drive at a Lake Tahoe and other Sierra Nevada Mountain resorts.

Berkeley at Night

With 30,000 students in the city and a young population (its median age is 32), Berkeley has a very upbeat nightlife. Plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs are available within Cal Berkeley area, along Shattuck Avenue and along San Pablo Avenue heading south toward Oakland. And there's always San Francisco just across the Bay.

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High Points

Berkeley strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in California):

Category Trophy
Walking and Biking to Work
(vs. Peers)
Top 1% trophy Berkeley Walking and Biking to Work
College Educated Adults
(vs. Peers)
Top 2% trophy Berkeley College Educated Adults
Public Transportation Use
(vs. Peers)
Top 2% trophy Berkeley Public Transportation Use
Well-Paid Single Women
(vs. Peers)
Top 10% Berkeley Well-Paid Single Women
Well-Paid Single Men
(vs. Peers)
Top 15% Berkeley Well-Paid Single Men

Comparative Profile of Berkeley, California

Comparing Berkeley to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in California (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Well-Paid Single Women 10 9
Well-Paid Single Men 9 8
Racial Diversity 9 7
Male Share of the Population 7 5
Female Share of the Population 4 6
Senior Citizens 4 5
Age of the Population 3 4
Children Under 5 Years Old 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Average Household Size 1 1
Portion of People Married 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
College Educated Adults 10 10
Median Family Income 8 8
People in Middle Class or Better 4 5
People Above Poverty 2 3

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Walking and Biking to Work 10 10
Working at Home 10 9
Public Transportation Use 10 10
Short Commute Times 3 4


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 10 10
People Living Alone 10 10
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 8 7
Affordability of Rents 4 6
Affordability of Property Taxes 2 2
Housing Recently Built 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Low Violent Crime 3 3
Low Property Crime 1 1

Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Berkeley, Graduate Schools in Berkeley
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Berkeley Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 4 miles N of Oakland, California
County Alameda
Standard Zip Codes 94702, 94703, 94704, 94705, 94706, 94707, 94708, 94709, 94710
P.O. Box Zip Codes 94701, 94712
Company Zip Codes 94720
Phone Area Codes 510
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 37.871
Longitude -122.271

Berkeley Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Distance 0.4 miles
Jan Temp 44 to 56 F
Apr Temp 49 to 64 F
Jul Temp 55 to 70 F
Oct Temp 54 to 70 F
Annual Precip 25.4 inches
Distance 5 miles
Jan Temp 45 to 57 F
Apr Temp 51 to 66 F
Jul Temp 57 to 73 F
Oct Temp 55 to 72 F
Annual Precip 22.9 inches
Distance 9.3 miles
Jan Temp 42 to 58 F
Apr Temp 46 to 67 F
Jul Temp 54 to 75 F
Oct Temp 52 to 73 F
Annual Precip 26.3 inches
Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Berkeley, Graduate Schools in Berkeley
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Berkeley Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 102,743 100%
Male 50,456 49.1%
Female 52,287 50.9%
Under 18 14,513 14.1%
18+ 88,230 85.9%
65+ 10,484 10.2%
Median Age 32.5
Average Family Size 2.84
White 60,797 59.2%
African-American 14,007 13.6%
Asian 16,837 16.4%
American Indian & Alaskan 467 0.5%
Other 4,764 4.6%
Mixed Race 5,725 5.6%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 10,001 9.7%

Estimated Berkeley Population Growth 2000-2005

Category Value
Est. 2005 Population 100,744
Growth -1,999
Growth % -1.9%

Berkeley Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 44.4%
German 7.3%
English 7.2%
Irish 6.3%
Russian 3.6%
Italian 3.6%
European 2.6%
Polish 2.2%
French (except Basque) 1.8%
Scottish 1.8%
US/American 1.5%
African 1.2%
Swedish 1.2%
Norwegian 1.2%
British 1.1%
Eastern European 1.1%
Scotch-Irish 1.1%
Dutch 0.9%
Iranian 0.7%
Hungarian 0.5%
Greek 0.5%
Swiss 0.4%
Austrian 0.4%
Danish 0.4%
Welsh 0.4%
Portuguese 0.4%
Northern European 0.3%
Israeli 0.3%
French Canadian 0.3%
Lithuanian 0.3%
Ukrainian 0.3%
Armenian 0.3%
Scandinavian 0.3%
Czech 0.3%
Ethiopian 0.3%
Canadian 0.2%
Belgian 0.2%
Lebanese 0.2%
Brazilian 0.2%
Australian 0.2%
Romanian 0.2%
Finnish 0.2%
Arab/Arabic 0.2%
Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Berkeley, Graduate Schools in Berkeley
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Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Pop. Median Family
Income (2000)
Berkeley 102,743 $70,434
Albany 16,444 $64,269
El Cerrito 23,171 $69,397
Emeryville 6,882 $57,063
Oakland 399,484 $44,384
Orinda 17,599 $132,531
Piedmont 10,952 $149,857

Berkeley Public Libraries

Berkeley Public Library
Berkeley, California
(510) 981-6100
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Berkeley Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(510) 204-4444
Emergency Service: Yes

Starbucks in Berkeley

(As of 2005)
2128 Oxford Street
2224 Shattuck Avenue
Shattuck & Cedar
1600 Shattuck Avenue
Solano Avenue
1799 Solano Avenue
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Berkeley High Schools (2004)

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 2,981 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 22.2

A Non-traditional School
Serves 127 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 12.2

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Limit Results to One State?

City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. Seattle, Washington 93.4   40.8% 12% 47.2% 26 $62,195 4.7% 29.9% 563,374 11.8% 76 0.7% 6.7
2. San Francisco, California 91.5   38.6% 13.7% 45% 32 $63,545 4.1% 50.3% 776,733 11.3% 46.2 1.1% 7.4
3. Morristown, New Jersey 86.5   38.6% 12.4% 39.3% 25 $66,419 5.5% 32.9% 18,544 11.5% 39.5 1% 7.1
4. Decatur, Georgia 86.2   39.4% 13.3% 56% 27 $65,064 5.8% 34.4% 18,147 11.7% 41.3 0.3% 3.9
5. Fredericksburg, Virginia 85.5   39.3% 12.8% 30.5% 25 $47,148 5.8% 26.8% 19,279 15.5% 52.3 0.5% 5
6. South Miami, Florida 84.4   31.2% 13.6% 38.1% 29 $57,791 5.9% 30.2% 10,741 17.1% 82.9 0.6% 7.9
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