Chester is a census-designated place (CDP) in Plumas County, California, United States. The population was 2,316 at the 2000 census. The town is located along State Route 36 and on the shore of Lake Almanor. The US Postal Service ZIP code for the community is 96020.
The primary industries in Chester are lumber manufacturing and tourism. Chester serves as the retail center for the Lake Almanor region of California, and derives a significant portion of its economy from the tourist trade, and to a lesser degree from construction to service new residents and businesses.
Chester is located at(40.302395, -121.234672).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 18.9 km² (7.3 sq. mi). 18.7 km² (7.2 sq. mi) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 sq. mi) of it (1.23%) is water.
As of the 2000 census, there were 2,316 people, 956 households, and 647 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 320.5 people per square mile (123.7/km²). There were 1,130 housing units at an average density of 156.4/sq mi (60.3/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 92.62% White, 0.22% Black or African American, 2.12% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 1.55% from other races, and 2.89% from two or more races. 6.04% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 956 households out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 4.6% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.2 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $33,413, and the median income for a family was $45,195. Males had a median income of $33,417 versus $26,164 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $17,569. About 9.6% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.7% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.
The primary industries in Chester are lumber manufacturing and tourism. Collins Pine (a division of The Collins Companies) has been in operation since the 1940s under a truly "sustained yield" management plan using selective harvesting. The company's forest management practices have been certified as FSC sustainable by Scientific Certification Systems, which designated it a "state-of-the-art well-managed forest." Collins no longer maintains the distinction of Chester's dominant employer, though it remains the single business with the most employees.
Other logging companies operating in the area are Roseburg Forest Products, and Sierra Pacific Industries, the latter of which locally utilizes clear-cutting, rather than more environmentally sound practices.
Lake Almanor has developed as a vacation/tourist destination and Chester serves as the retail center for the area. Four of the Almanor basin's six gas-stations are located in Chester, as well as the Almanor basin's only full-sized grocery store.
The primary local news source is the Chester Progressive, a local newspaper published every Wednesday.
Chuck Norris, whose wife Gena Norris is a Chester native, has a vacation home in Chester and is known to frequent the local "Pine Shack Frosty" and "Duval's Smokehouse" eating establishments.
In the state legislature Chester is located in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cox, and in the 3rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Rick Keene. Federally, Chester is located in California's 4th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +11 and is represented by Republican John Doolittle.