Tulelake has an elevation of 4066 feet above sea level.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,020 people, 358 households, and 255 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,625.4 people per square mile (1,009.8/km²). There were 459 housing units at an average density of 1,181.4/sq mi (454.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.76% White, 1.08% African American, 1.27% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 16.86% from other races, and 8.73% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 45.29% of the population.
There were 358 households out of which 42.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.5% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.48.
In the city the population was spread out with 35.8% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $23,750, and the median income for a family was $27,750. Males had a median income of $28,088 versus $22,500 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,244. About 33.7% of families and 34.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 46.2% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
As of July 2005 the population was estimated to be 1,010 (a -1.0% change). There were estimated to be 509 males (49.9%) and 510 females(50.1%). The population is broke up into a variety of ethnic groups; 51.6% were White Non-Hispanic, 45.3% Hispanic, 16.9% Other, 8.7% were two or more races, 3.1% American Indian, and 1.1% African American.
In the state legislature Tulelake is located in the 4th Senate District, represented by Republican Sam Aanestad, and in the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa. Federally, Tulelake is located in California's 2nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +13 and is represented by Republican Wally Herger.
The schools of the Tulelake Basin Joint Unified School District are known for their use of technology. With ActiveBoards in all teachers' classrooms and teleconferencing units for distance learning and professional development, Tulelake schools are technologically advanced.
There are three schools in the school district, two of which are in Tulelake. Newell Elementary teaches from preschool through second grade. This school is in the town of Newell. Third through sixth grades are taught in Tulelake Elementary School. The elementary's mascot is the Goslings, reflecting the waterfowl of the area. Tulelake High School's mascot is the Honkers. The high school, also located in Tulelake, houses grades seven through twelve. All three schools offer state of the art facilities and a range of after school activities including FBLA, FFA, sports and clubs.
In spite of the area's high poverty, under-educated adult population, and dominance of Spanish-speaking families, Tulelake High School proves successful by preparing 60% of their students with a program of study that meets California's "a-g" requirements for university entrance. Consequently, more than half their high school seniors attend colleges and universities upon graduation, primarily 4-year institutions.
The district's website address is:
There are two World War II internment camps in the Tulelake area. There is an Italian and German prisoner-of-war camp to the east, located on Hill Road along Sheepy Ridge. Sheepy Ridge, also referred to as Gillems Bluff, is a small range adjacent to Tule Lake. The other internment camp housed nearly 18,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese alien residents and was in operation from May 1942 to March 1946. The Tule Lake War Relocation Center was one of ten Japanese internment camps in the United States. It is located approximately seven miles south of Tulelake. Today the western portion of the camp is occupied by the townsite of Newell.
In a recent episode of Discovery Channel's series Dirty Jobs a goose and duck processing business and pillow factory in Tulelake was featured.