San Mateo County is a very diverse community, with 35.1% of our population being foreign-born, and 43.2% speaking a language other than English at home. 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

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.

The data presented on this page comes from a variety of sources, mainly though from the U.S. Census Bureau Decennial 2020 Census, the American Community Survey 2017-2021 5-Year Estimates, or the American Community Survey 2021, 1-Year Estimates.

SMC Race and Ethnicity Graphic
Sex make up

Language Spoken at Home by Ability to Speak English
by the Population 5 Years or Older (Total Individuals 5+ in San Mateo County = 699,990)

Language Estimate Percentage Speaks English less
than "Very Well"
Speaks only English 397,346 56.76% - -
Spanish 109,981 15.71% 42,518 6.07%
Chinese (incl. Mandarin, Cantonese) 68,883 9.84% 30,639 4.38%
Tagalog (incl. Filipino 39.905 5.7% 15,483 2.21%
Ilocano, Samoan, Hawaiian,
or other Austronesian languages
8,321 1.19% 2,641 0.38%
Arabic 6,974 1.0% 3,242 0.46%
Russian 6,669 0.95% 2,518 0.36%
Hindi 6,147 0.88% 650 0.09%
Japanese 5,463 0.78% 2,443 0.35%
Other languages of Asia 4,439 0.63% 2,585 0.37%
Korean: 4,163 0.59% 1,587 0.23%

Source: American Community Survey, 2021, 1-Year Estimates, Table B16001