San Andreas is an unincorporated census-designated place and the county seat of Calaveras County, California. The population was 2,615 at the 2000 census. Like most towns in the region, it was originally founded during the California Gold Rush. The town is located on State Route 49 and is registered as California Historical Landmark #252.
Settled by Mexican gold miners in 1848 and named after the Catholic parish St. Andrew, the town has been a noted mining camp since early days. The gold from the initially discovered placers gave out after a few years, but the discovery of gold in an underground river channel in 1853 revitalized the camp and it soon became a town. Mining of the channels was lucrative enough for the town to completely rebuild after fires in 1858 and 1863. The gold discovered here contributed greatly to the success of the Union during the Civil War. In 1866, San Andreas became the seat of Calaveras County. It was said to be a rendezvous location for Joaquin Murietta. Notorious highwayman Black Bart was tried here and sent to prison.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.8 square miles (22.7 km²), of which, 8.7 square miles (22.6 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.23%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,615 people, 1,097 households, and 652 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 299.4 people per square mile (115.5/km²). There were 1,167 housing units at an average density of 133.6/sq mi (51.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 92.08% White, 0.08% Black or African American, 1.53% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 1.95% from other races, and 3.63% from two or more races. 6.35% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,097 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.5% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 21.6% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 23.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.9 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $32,500, and the median income for a family was $37,969. Males had a median income of $39,583 versus $24,500 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $16,813. About 14.4% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.5% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature San Andreas is located in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cox, and in the 25th Assembly District, represented by Republican Tom Berryhill. Federally, San Andreas is located in California's 3rd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +7 and is represented by Republican Dan Lungren.
According to the local newspaper, the Calaveras Enterprise, the San Andreas Merchants Association has been alarmed over the popularity of the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game, which may cause the public to associate the trademark "San Andreas" with inner-city mayhem and violence instead of a peaceful small town in the Sierra foothills. However, when they contacted Take Two Interactive, Take Two's attorneys at Blank Rome LLP explained that their client was on firm legal ground.