San Jose California

San Jose is the third-largest city in California, and the tenth-largest in the United States. It is the county seat of Santa Clara County. San Jose is located in Silicon Valley, at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area. Once a small farming city, San Jose became a magnet for suburban newcomers in new housing developments between the 1960s and the 1990s, and is now the largest city in Northern California. The official United States Census Bureau population estimate for July 1, 2006 is 929,936. The California Department of Finance estimates, San Jose's population on January 1, 2007 was 973,672.

Originally known as El Pueblo de San Josť de Guadalupe, San Jose was founded on November 29, 1777 as the first town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California, which later became Alta California. The city served as a farming community to support Spanish military installations at San Francisco and Monterey. When California gained statehood in 1850, San Jose served as its first capital. After more than 150 years as an agricultural center, increased demand for housing from soldiers and other veterans returning from World War II, as well as aggressive expansion during the 1950s and 1960s, led San Jose to become a bedroom community for Silicon Valley. Growth in the 1970s attracted more businesses to the city. In the late 1980s, after four decades of heavy development and population growth, San Jose surpassed San Francisco in population to become the third most populous city in California. By the 1990s, San Jose's location within the booming local technology industry earned the city the nickname Capital of Silicon Valley.

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San Jose lies near the San Andreas Fault; a major source of earthquake activity in California. The most serious earthquake, in 1906, damaged many buildings in San Jose as described earlier. Earlier significant quakes rocked the city in 1839, 1851, 1858, 1864, 1865, 1868, and 1891. The Daly City Earthquake of 1957 caused some damage. The Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 also did some damage to parts of the city. The other faults near San Jose are the Monte Vista Fault, South Hayward Fault, Northern Calaveras Fault, and Central Calaveras Fault.

San Jose, like most of the Bay Area, has a Mediterranean climate. Unlike San Francisco, which is exposed to the ocean or Bay on three sides and whose temperature therefore varies relatively little year-round and overnight, San Jose lies further inland, protected on three sides by mountains. This shelters the city from rain and makes it more of a semiarid, near-desert area, with a mean annual rainfall of only 14.4 inches (366 mm), compared to some other parts of the Bay Area, which can get up to four times that amount. It also avoids San Francisco's omnipresent fog most of the year.

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High economic growth during the tech bubble caused employment, housing prices, and traffic congestion to peak in the late 1990s. As the economy slowed in the early 2000s, employment and traffic congestion diminished somewhat. In the mid-2000s, traffic along major highways again began to worsen as the economy improved. San Jose had 405,000 jobs within its city limits in 2006, and an unemployment rate of 4.6%. In 2000, San Jose residents had the highest median household income of any city with a population over 300,000, and currently has the highest median income of any city with over 225,000 people.