Moss Landing (formerly, Moss) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Monterey County, California, United States. Moss Landing is located on the Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad 15 miles (24 km) north-northeast of Monterey, at an elevation of 10 feet (3 m). As of the 2005 census, the CDP population was 782. It is located on the shore of Monterey Bay, at the mouth of Elkhorn Slough, and at the head of the Monterey Canyon. It is home to the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, a multi-campus research facility of the California State University; and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, sister organization to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Moss Landing's most notable landmark is the Moss Landing Power Plant. The natural gas plant, located at the intersection of State Route 1 and Dolan Road, produces 2,538 megawatts, is wholly owned by Dynegy, and is visible from Santa Cruz, California to the north and Monterey, California to the south on clear days.
Moss Landing is also the location of the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories research facility, which is sponsored by seven California universities and offers a Masters of Science in marine science.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²), of which, 0.4 square miles (1.1 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (31.67%) is water.
Moss Landing was originally called Moss. The Moss post office opened in 1895, and changed its name to Moss Landing in 1917. The name honors Charles Moss, who with a partner, built a wharf there. The port was a busy whaling port.
As of the census of 2000, there were 300 people, 125 households, and 68 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 734.9 people per square mile (282.5/km²). There were 135 housing units at an average density of 330.7/sq mi (127.1/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 59.33% White, 3.00% African American, 0.67% Native American, 2.00% Asian, 21.67% from other races, and 13.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28.33% of the population.
There were 125 households out of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.6% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 11.7% from 18 to 24, 34.3% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 117.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 118.5 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $66,442, and the median income for a family was $66,731. Males had a median income of $41,154 versus $36,691 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $28,005. About 13.0% of families and 18.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.7% of those under the age of eighteen and none of those sixty five or over.
Moss Landing provides access to state and federal protected lands, including popular surfing destination Moss Landing State Beach, Salinas River State Beach, Zmudowski State Beach, and the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.
The Moss Landing Antique Street Fair is held annually on the last Sunday in July and hosts hundreds of antique vendors. It is widely known in the antiquing community, and brings over ten times the population of Moss Landing to the area.