Susanville (formerly, Rooptown) is a city in and the county seat of Lassen County, California, United States. Susanville is located on the Susan River in the south-central part of the county, at an elevation of 4186 feet (1276 m). The population was 13,541 at the 2000 census. Susanville, a former logging and mining town, is the site of the High Desert State Prison, California (not to be confused with High Desert State Prison, Nevada) and California Correctional Center. High Desert State Prison, a high-security facility, opened in 1995; the California Correctional Center, a minimum-medium security facility, opened in 1963. The prisons and their effects on the community were featured on the PBS documentary, Prison Town, USA. P.O.V..
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15.3 km²), of which, 5.9 square miles (15.3 km²) of it is land and 0.17% is water.
Eagle Lake is located 15 miles (24 km) North of the town.
Susanville was named for Susan Roop, daughter of Isaac Roop, an early settler. The present name was adopted in 1857. The Susanville post office was founded in 1860. Susanville incorporated in 1900.
Susanville has a semiarid climate with wet, cold winters and very warm, mostly dry summers. Average January temperatures are a high of 40.4°F and a low of 20.8°F. Average July temperatures are a high of 88.8°F and a low of 50.8°F. Temperatures reach 90°F (32°C) or higher on an average of 34.9 days annually. Temperatures drop to 32°F (0°C) or lower on an average of 153.8 days annually; freezing temperatures have been recorded in every month of the year and summer nighttime temperatures are usually very cool. The highest recorded temperature in Susanville was 106°F on July 25, 1928, and the lowest recorded temperature was -23°F on February 1, 1956.
Annual precipitation averages 15.26 inches. There are an average of 59 days with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was 1907 with 33.51 inches and the dryest year was 1976 with 5.33 inches. The most rainfall in one month was 12.30 inches in March 1907. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 5.04 inches on January 31, 1897. Annual snowfall averages 36.0 inches. The most snowfall in one year was 89.0 inches in 1937 and the most in one month 65.5 inches in January 1895.
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,541 people, 3,516 households, and 2,250 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,294.8 people per square mile (886.1/km²). There were 3,882 housing units at an average density of 657.9/sq mi (254.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.03% White, 12.50% African American, 3.18% Native American, 1.14% Asian, 0.89% Pacific Islander, 3.46% from other races, and 2.80% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.57% of the population.
Please note: The census figures include the state prison populations. For accurate figures on City of Susanville non-incarcerated population, you must exclude the institutional population.
There were 3,516 households out of which 37.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% were non-families. 29.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.0% under the age of 18, 13.6% from 18 to 24, 41.5% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 198.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 231.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,675, and the median income for a family was $45,216. Males had a median income of $29,973 versus $27,044 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,238. About 11.0% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.5% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Susanville is located in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cox, and in the 3rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Dan Logue. Federally, Susanville is located in California's 4th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +11 and is represented by Republican Tom McClintock.
The primary local news source is the Lassen County Times, a newspaper published every Tuesday.
Actor Danny Trejo served some time in the California Correctional Center in Susanville.
In the film Pink Cadillac, Susanville is said to be only 25 miles (40 km) from Reno, NV., not the true distance of 86 miles (138 km).
On the Vandals album The Vandals Play Really Bad Original Country Tunes is a song called Susanville, about a trucker who has been driving for so long he can't remember what his cargo is or where he is heading. He recalls a girl called named Mary in Susanville, but following the lyrics of the song this could just as well be a girl named Susan in Marysville.
Benjamin Wade, Reality Television Contestant (Survivor Tocantins).