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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Goleta Versus Santa Barbara, By the Numbers

A Comparison of Census Counts Between the Two Cities

By Silvia Uribe

As I was snooping around on the Web, I found very interesting information regarding our beautiful city. Not that this information was a secret before-it comes from the 2000 Census, but as often happens with relevant information, we usually don't know it's out there and easy to find. So, although this information will be updated in a couple of more years with the 2010 Census, it's still something that residents of Goleta-and Santa Barbara-might be interested in knowing.

We all know that the job of the U.S. Census Bureau is to provide an accurate count of the people, their origin, age, income, religion, language, and other crucial facts. Governments need to know this information in order to plan and provide the services that the population needs. That's why this information is religiously collected every 10 years. What not everyone knows, however, is that the Census counts people either by city or by CDP ("Census Designated Place"). In the 2000 Census, Goleta was not yet an incorporated city, so was classified as a CDP along with other places in the South Coast, such as Gaviota, Isla Vista, Montecito, and Summerland.

Although numbers usually appear dull to me, when they relate to people, all of a sudden they fall in a different category: a "gossipy" one, and my mental machine starts working vigorously, producing endless questions that are politically correct and others that aren't. The latter questions I will keep to myself, but in providing these numbers, I'll posit a few of the questions and thoughts that seem to be appropriate. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts too.

Here are facts, and my thoughts, from the 2000 Census:


Goleta: 55,204

Santa Barbara: 92,325

(These numbers make me think of the now infamous Bird Nest stadium at the Olympics in China. All Goletanos would be able to fit in there and almost half of the stadium would still be empty. Santa Barbarans, on the other hand, would fill its capacity and 1,325 would have to remain outside.)


Goleta: 19,954, 30.6% with children under 18

Santa Barbara: 35,605, 24.3% with children under 18

Married Couples

Goleta: 55.1%

Santa Barbara: 39.8%

(Does not include same-sex marriages, which weren't legal in 2000.)

Female Heads of Household

Goleta: 8.7%

Santa Barbara: 9.5%

Non-Family Homes

Goleta: 32.5%

Santa Barbara: 46.8%

Individual Households

Goleta: 22.5%, with 8.8% being 65 and older

Santa Barbara: 32.9%, with 11.4% being 65 and older

(I'd bet that not many Latinos are included in this category. Traditionally, Latino elders live with an adult son or daughter and their family.)

Average Family Size

Goleta: 3.18

Santa Barbara: 3.17

Age Breakdown

Under 18:

Goleta: 23.1%

Santa Barbara: 19.8%

18 to 24:

Goleta: 9.5%

Santa Barbara: 13.8%

25 to 44:

Goleta: 28.6%

Santa Barbara: 32.3%

45 to 64:

Goleta: 24.2%

Santa Barbara: 20.4%

65 and up:

Goleta: 14.6%

Santa Barbara: 13.8%

Median age:

Goleta: 38 years

Santa Barbara: 35 years

(38 is also the median age of marathon runners!)

Racial Breakdown


Goleta: 78.61%

Santa Barbara: 74.04%


Goleta: 22.33%

Santa Barbara: 35.02%


Goleta: 6.43%

Santa Barbara: 2.77%

(My observation is that, at least lately, people from many different Asian countries have been settling in Goleta.)

African American:

Goleta: 1.27%

Santa Barbara: 1.77%

Native American:

Goleta: 0.82%

Santa Barbara: 1.07%

Pacific Islander:

Goleta: 0.11%

Santa Barbara: 0.14%

Income Data

Median family income:

Goleta: $67,956

Santa Barbara: $57,880

Median male income:

Goleta: $44,770

Santa Barbara: $37,116

Median female income:

Goleta: $32,127

Santa Barbara: $31,911

Per capita income:

Goleta: $28,890

Santa Barbara: $26,466

Population below the poverty line (considered to be $10,400 for individuals):

Goleta: 6.7%

Santa Barbara: 13.4%

Families below poverty line (considered to be and under $18,000 for a family of three):

Goleta: 2.9%

Santa Barbara: 7.7%

Under 18 below the poverty line:

Goleta: 4.8%

Santa Barbara: 16.8%

65 and older below the poverty line:

Goleta: 4.4%

Santa Barbara: 7.4%


- What is surprising to you?

- Do these numbers reflect what you see or know about our communities?

- What affects these numbers?

- What are your predictions for the next census in 2010, based on these numbers?

In the meantime, enjoy life!

Silvia Uribe is a freelance writer with a Latina perspective.

Cross-posted at the

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