Folsom is a city in Sacramento County, California, United States. Folsom is most commonly known by its famous Folsom Prison. As of 2007, the State of California's estimate of Folsom's population is 40,835.
Folsom is named for Joseph Libbey Folsom who purchased Rancho Rio de los Americanos from the heirs of a San Francisco merchant William Alexander Leidesdorff, and laid out the town called Granite City, mostly occupied by gold miners seeking fortune in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Though few amassed a great deal of wealth, the city prospered due to Joseph Folsom's lobbying to get a railway to connect the town with Sacramento. Joseph died in 1855, and Granite City was later renamed to Folsom in his honor. The railway was abandoned in the 1980s but later opened up as the terminus of the Gold Line of Sacramento Regional Transit District's light rail service. A few former gold-rush era towns are located within city limits of Folsom, including Prairie City, California, Salmon Falls, and Mormon Island (though these towns no longer exist).
Folsom was home to a significant Chinese American community when it was first incorporated, but arsonists burned Folsom's Chinatown in March 1886, driving Chinese Americans out of town.
Folsom Prison was established in 1880, when the Livermore family made an agreement with the state to donate land for the prison in exchange for prison labor. Their plan was to build a hydro-electric dam from the American River for a sawmill. Though the sawmill did not work out, the Livermores soon realized that the natural force of running water could provide enough power to transmit to Sacramento, and the Folsom Powerhouse, now a National Historic Landmark, was opened. At the time it was opened, it had the longest overhead run of electricity (22 miles) in the country. The powerhouse operated until 1952.
Folsom Dam was built in 1956, providing much-needed flood control and water rights for the Sacramento Valley. The creation of this dam also created one of the most popular lakes in Northern California, Folsom Lake. The dam is located on the southwest corner of the lake. The lake is an estimated 7.75 kilometers from Granite Bay to the most southern point of Folsom Lake.
Folsom is home to Folsom Lake College, Folsom Dam, Folsom Lake, Folsom High School, Vista del Lago High School and a historic district. Folsom is also home to the largest private employer in the Sacramento area, Intel.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.2 square miles (62.6 km²), of which, 21.7 square miles (56.3 km²) of it is land and 2.4 square miles (6.3 km²) of it (10.09%) is water, primarily accounted for by Folsom Lake.
As of the census of 2000, there were 51,884 people, 17,196 households, and 12,518 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,386.7 people per square mile (921.5/km²). There were 17,968 housing units at an average density of 826.5/sq mi (319.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.89% Caucasian, 5.99% African American, 0.58% Native American, 7.19% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 4.71% from other races, and 3.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.47% of the population.
There were 17,196 households out of which 39.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.7% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.2% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 39.0% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 123.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 131.0 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $87,542, and the median income for a family was $109,032. Males had a median income of $60,616 versus $42,434 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,210. About 2.6% of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Folsom is located in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cox, and in the 5th Assembly District, represented by Republican Roger Niello. Federally, Folsom is located in California's 3rd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +7 and is represented by Republican Dan Lungren.