Grass Valley, California
The city of Grass Valley is the largest city in the western region of Nevada County, California, United States. Situated at roughly 2,500 feet (760 m) elevation in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, this historic northern Gold Country city is 57 miles (92 km) by car from the state capitol in Sacramento, 64 miles (103 km) from Sacramento International Airport, 88 miles (142 km) west of Reno, and 143 miles (230 km) northeast of San Francisco. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 12,860.
Many of those who came to settle in Grass Valley were tin miners from Cornwall, England. They were attracted to the California gold fields because the same skills needed for deep tin mining were needed for hardrock (deep) gold mining. Many of them specialized in pumping the water out of very deep mining shafts. This followed the disastrous fall in tin prices as large alluvial deposits began to be exploited elsewhere.
A variety of igneous and metamorphic rock supports Grass Valley. Granitic rock such as quartz diorite underlies the downtown core and extends south along Highway 49. Metavolcanic rock and diabase underlie areas around the granitic zone. Neighborhoods around Nevada County Golf Course and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital are underlain by ultramafic rock which supports infertile soils of the Dubakella series. Here the vegetation is not as luxuriant as one would expect from the high average annual precipitation, and forested areas are often dominated by several species of oaks and the crooked, thin-crowned gray pine. Straight, dense ponderosa pine inhabits the more fertile soils which include Musick series on granitic rock and Sites series on mafic or metamorphic rock.
Of the 6,077 households, 1,544 (25.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,665 (27.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 980 (16.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, and 316 (5.2%) had a male householder with no wife present, 466 (7.7%) were unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 33 (0.5%) were same-sex married couples or partnerships. About 2,605 households (42.9%) were made up of individuals and 1,415 (23.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.04. The 2,961 families (48.7% of all households) had an average family size of 2.78.
The 6,637 housing units averaged 1,399.3 per square mile (540.3/km▓), of which 2,391 (39.3%) were owner-occupied, and 3,686 (60.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 4.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.7%; 4,663 people (36.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 7,738 people (60.2%) lived in rental housing units.
Of the 5,016 households, 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.4% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.6% were not families. About 39.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.80 people.
Another significant sector of the local economy is agriculture, as the soil in Nevada County is quite fertile. Around the time of the Gold Rush, farmers planted orchards, vegetables, and other produce as ranchers brought in cattle, sheep, and other livestock. While the percentage of land dedicated to agriculture has significantly decreased over the last few decades, agriculture continues to be an important aspect of the areaĎs economy, including organic agricultural products. During the past decade, Nevada County has become known for its growing wine industry.