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Santa Barbara, CA, City and Higher Education Facts

Santa Barbara, California, is about 100 miles west of Los Angeles on the Pacific Coast. Known for the red-tiled roofs of its Spanish buildings, its beautiful natural setting and thousands of yearly tourists, Santa Barbara is also home to several postsecondary institutions. Find out about Santa Barbara, including its population, attractions, economy and schools.

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Information about Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California, is a small coastal city about 100 miles west of Los Angeles. It is bordered by mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Because the city is built on a portion of the coastline that runs east to west, local beaches offer both sunrise and sunset views.

Located off Highway 101 between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Santa Barbara has nearly 92,000 residents as of 2014 U.S. Census estimates. About 75% of residents are white, 3.5% are Asian and 38% are Hispanic. About 43% of residents have at least a bachelor's degree, and the median household income is $65,916, higher than the state median of $61,489, according to 2010-2014 census info.

Residents of Santa Barbara have access to beaches, but they're also not far from mountain ranges, vineyards and deserts where hiking, skiing and other activities are easily available. The weather in Santa Barbara is ideal for participating in outdoor activities; temperatures are mild year-round, and residents enjoy an average of 300 days of sunshine each year. Santa Barbara also has museums of history, art and natural history, performing arts venues and a magazine dedicated to the local area.

Higher Education

Santa Barbara has seven institutions of higher education within its city limits. Among these is the University of California at Santa Barbara, one of U.S. News and World Report's top 50 universities in the nation in 2016 (#37) and a well-known research center. UCSB has five schools and a graduate program, and students can choose from more than 200 programs. Five members of its faculty have won Nobel Prizes.

Santa Barbara City College is also found here. A 2-year school, it offers associate's degrees and certificate programs to about 18,000 students. Other educational institutions in the area include Westmont College, Antioch University and Fielding Graduate University.

Economy and Industries

Tourism, education, healthcare and business services are the primary drivers of Santa Barbara's economy. Employers in the food service and accommodations industry provide the largest number of jobs in Santa Barbara, followed by the healthcare and social assistance and retail trade industries. Many people are also employed in manufacturing. The high level of educational attainment within the local population means that professional and scientific workers also make up a considerable portion of the workforce.

Top employers include the University of California at Santa Barbara, Cottage Health System, Mission Linen Supply Inc. and Four Seasons.

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