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San Rafael Demographics

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San Rafael: Demographics

The city of San Rafael’s demographics is a glimpse into the city’s history. In February 18, 1874, San Rafael became an incorporated city. San Rafael later became a charter city on July 1, 1913. Census records show that the population started at 841 in 1870. A century later, following double digit population growth during a time of rapid economic and technological advancements, the population was 38,977 in 1970. In 2010, the city’s population was 57,713.

San Rafael is a unique small city that is in an enviable location and offers a high quality of life. It has a lively urban environment while still retaining the charm of a small town. The city’s amenities include well-maintained public spaces, two libraries, public organizations, and community services. Visitors and residents can enjoy a wide choice of entertainment and cultural activities. Film, theatre, music, the arts, and events are only some of the choices.

With affordable housing available so close to San Francisco, the city is very attractive to families and single people. There are more than 10,000 detached, single-family homes; more than 2,000 single-family, attached homes; and more than 10,000 multifamily homes. There is an average of 2.4 persons per household indicating a mix of married families with children and married families without children.

Several public and private schools serve the city of San Rafael’s children. There are 10 elementary schools; two middle schools; three high schools; nine parochial schools and two colleges.

Community organizations include 46 churches; three recreation centers; nine childcare centers; and one baseball stadium. Public services offered by the city are a police department, 19 parks and hundreds of acres of parkland. 


The median income of the city is $70,000. Residents by age breakdown are as follows:

0-4 years: 6.8%

5-17: 11.6%

18-64: 66.5%

65 and older: 15.1%

The ethnic breakdown of the city’s demographics shows San Rafael’s diverse character and history. People of white and Caucasian backgrounds make up 59% of the population; Hispanics account for 30%; African-Americans are 1.8%; Asians 6%; American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander each 0.2%. Other ethnicities account for 0.3% and 2.6% identified themselves as coming from two or more races.



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