The city of San Mateo is a part of San Mateo County and is one of the largest communities in the area. Vibrant and with a diverse population, this city of 98,000 residents offers the benefits of a large city with the perks of a small-town community. Incorporated in 1894, San Mateo, which was named for Saint Matthew, is a great city known for its multitude of activities and close proximity to San Francisco, which is only 20 miles to the north. The city is also near Burlingame, Foster City, Belmont, Highlands-Baywood Park and Hillsborough.
While the land that makes up San Mateo was first occupied by the Oholone Indians before Spanish missionaries arrived, the city’s history doesn’t really start until after Mexico declared its independence from Spain in 1822. When Mexico became independent, mission lands were secularized and granted as great ranchos, which led to San Mateo’s current land being part of the San Mateo Rancho and Rancho las Pulgas. Then, California became a state in 1850 and the land was sold to Mellus and Howard, an American mercantile firm. Howard of this firm was the one responsible for its development, building the first grand estate in the future city and leading other wealthy San Franciscans to follow during a time marked by decades of growth in the city. It was at this time that the stagecoach came to San Mateo, followed by the railroad and dam, which brought both wealthy and working-class people to the area. When the estates began selling subdivisions, the middle class moved in and the city was incorporated.
San Mateo has continued to grown since this time. In the past 10 years, the city has grown by 5 percent. Other aspects of San Mateo demographics provide more insight into the community. The city’s population is 47 percent white, 27 percent Hispanic, 19 percent Asian and less than 3 percent black, which means that the area is fairly diverse. This is helped by the fact that 34 percent of all residents is foreign-born. In addition to a diverse population, San Mateo has a more educated community than average, with 43 percent having attained a bachelor’s degree or higher. This higher education level is reflected in the median income of the area, which is $82,000, 35 percent higher than California’s median household income.
Aside from being more affluent and more educated than the state’s average, San Mateo is a great community for its focus on education. Home to many high-achieving schools, the community is a great place for families and those with aspirations of going to institutions of higher learning. Many of the schools have received high marks on the Academic Performance Index, and the city’s schools as a whole have received a score of 6 out of 10.
All of these aspects have contributed to San Mateo’s high quality of life, which is protected by a thorough and accessible system of emergency services. With both city-ran services, including the fire and police departments, and citizen training programs, such as CERT, San Mateo is a great place to live.