San Mateo County is home to people of all backgrounds, including those who were not born in the United States, with 35.9% of our population being foreign-born, and 44.8% speaking a language other than English at home. 

Recent American Community Survey Data (2022) shows that 16.3% of residents identify as Limited English Proficient (LEP) speakers, and include those who speak Spanish (6.71%), Chinese (4.06%), and Tagalog (2.15%).

Some other interesting facts about San Mateo County include:

  • There are 21,000 veterans living here
  • Over 96% of households have a computer, and almost 93.5% of households have a broadband internet subscription
  • 90.8% of persons 25 years or older are high school graduates or higher, and 52.5% have a bachelor's degree or higher
SMC Demographics 2022 v3
2020 Race and Ethnicity Chart

Every 10 years, the federal government is required to count all residents in the United States, citizens and noncitizens alike, through a national census.  The latest national census began in April 2020. The information is used to make sure everyone is equally represented in our political system and that government resources are allocated fairly. It is also used to make important decisions about community programs and services, like where to build homes and parks, establish public transit routes, build new roads and offer language access services.

The American Community Survey, or ACS, is different than the Decennial Census. The American Community Survey shows how we live—our education, housing, jobs, and more.

The American Community Survey provides information about the social and economic needs of your community every year. The ACS:

  • Asks about topics not on the 2020 Census, such as education, employment, internet access, and transportation
  • Provides current information to communities every year.  It also provides local and national leaders with the information they need for programs, economic development, emergency management, and understanding local issues and conditions.

Language Spoken at Home by Ability to Speak English
by the Population 5 Years or Older (Total Individuals 5+ in San Mateo County = 714,511)

Language Estimate Percentage LEP % of Total Speakers
Speaks only English 394,192 55.17% -
Spanish 122,518 17.15% 6.71%
Chinese (incl. Mandarin, Cantonese) 66,286 9.28% 4.06%
Tagalog (incl. Filipino 43,951 6.15% 2.15%
Other Asian or Pacific Island 21,541 3.01% 1.01%
Other Indo-European 28,638 4.01% 0.86%
Russian, Polish or other Slavic 11,765 1.65% 0.58%
Korean 4,295 0.60% 0.26%
Arabic 5,482 0.77% 0.24%
Vietnamese 3,620 0.51% 0.18%
French, Haitian, or Cajun 5,202 0.73% 0.11%
German or other West Germanic 3606 0.50% 0.04%
Other 3,416 0.48% 0.06%

Source: American Community Survey, 2018-2022, 5-Year Estimates, Table C16001