Stockton was founded by Captain Charles Maria Weber in 1849 after he acquired Rancho Campo de los Franceses. The city is named after Robert F. Stockton, and it was the first community in California to not have a name of Spanish or Native American origin. The city is located on the San Joaquin River in the northern San Joaquin Valley and had an estimated population of 315,592 as of 2016. Stockton is the 13th largest city in California and the 63rd largest city in the United States. It was named an All-America City in 1999, 2004 and again in 2015.
When Europeans first visited the Stockton area, the Yatchicumne, a branch of the Northern Valley Yokuts Indians, occupied the Stockton area. They built their villages on low mounds to keep their homes above regular floods. A Yokuts village named Pasasimas was located on a mound between Edison and Harrison Streets on what is now the Stockton Channel in downtown Stockton.
Built during the California Gold Rush, Stockton’s seaport serves as a gateway to the Central Valley and beyond. It provided easy access for trade and transportation to the southern gold mines. Stockton has been the location of the oldest university in California, University of the Pacific since 1923. As a result of the 2008 financial crisis, Stockton was the second largest city in the United States to file for bankruptcy protection. Stockton successfully exited bankruptcy in February 2015.
Stockton is situated amidst the farmland of California’s San Joaquin Valley, a sub-region of the Central Valley. In and around Stockton are thousands of miles of waterways, which make up the California Delta.
Interstate 5 and State Route 99, inland California’s major north-south highways, pass through the city. State Route 4 and the dredged San Joaquin River connect the city with the San Francisco Bay Area to its west. Stockton and Sacramento are California’s only inland sea ports. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city occupies a total area of 64.8 square miles, of which 61.7 square miles is land and 3.1 square miles (4.76%) is water.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Stockton had a population of 291,707. The population density was 4,505.0 people per square mile (1,739.4/km²). The racial makeup of Stockton was 108,044 (37.0%) White (22.1% Non-Hispanic White), 35,548 (12.2%) African American, 3,086 (1.1%) Native American, 62,716 (21.5%) Asian (7.2% Filipino, 3.5% Cambodian, 2.1% Vietnamese, 2.0% Hmong, 1.8% Chinese, 1.6% Indian, 1.0% Laotian, 0.6% Pakistani, 0.5% Japanese, 0.2% Korean, 0.1% Thai), 1,822 (0.6%) Pacific Islander (0.2% Fijian, 0.2% Samoan, 0.1% Tongan, 0.1% Guamanian), 60,332 (20.7%) from other races, and 20,159 (6.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 117,590 persons (40.3%). 35.7% of Stockton’s population was of Mexican descent, and 0.6% Puerto Rican.
There were 99,637 housing units at an average density of 1,538.7 per square mile, of which 46,738 (51.6%) were owner-occupied, and 43,867 (48.4%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 9.4%. 146,235 people (50.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 139,738 people (47.9%) lived in rental housing units.