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Grass Valley, California

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Census Data for Grass Valley ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2017 and it gives Grass Valley a population of 12,987 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Grass Valley a population of 12,860 people.

The city of Grass Valley is located in Nevada County. The 2010 Census gave Nevada County a population of 98,764 people. This means that Grass Valley had 13.02% of the county's total population, making it Nevada's 2nd most populous community.

At the same time, California had a population of 37,253,956 people, meaning that Grass Valley had 0.03% of the total population of California - making it the state's 342nd most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Grass Valley, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this is called a sampling area (or a polygon). The shape of the sampling area can be quite complex and it's important to keep in mind that the boundaries of the sampling area may or may not match the recognized boundaries of the city.

Things like the population, area and housing for Grass Valley reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Grass Valley might be slightly different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau if you need precision.

The 2010 Census shows that the sample polygon for Grass Valley has a total area of 4.74 square miles [12.3 km²].

Nevada County has a land area of 957 square miles [2,480.6 km²]. At 4.74 square miles [12.3 km²], Grass Valley has 0.5% of the county's total land area.

Not only does the sampling area define boundaries, it also has a GPS location (latitude & longitude) that indicates a point within the sampling area (usually at the center of the polygon). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:

Lat:   39° 13' 25"   (or 39.22°)             [Map]

Lon:   -121° 3' 18"   (or -121.06°)

More information on this topic and the changes between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census can be found in the section for our Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Population Density ...

Using the population (12,860 people) and land area (4.74 square miles [12.3 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Grass Valley had a population density of 2,711 people per square mile [1,046 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Grass Valley had a population of 10,922 people and a land area of 4.11 square miles [10.6 km²]. This gives a population density of 2,660 people per square mile [1,027 people/km²]

NOTE: Be aware that when comparing population density between the 2000 and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Grass Valley. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to an incorrect comparison. More information about the nature of these changes can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Grass Valley had 6,637 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 12,860 people, this averages 1.94 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Grass Valley had a land area of 4.74 square miles [12.3 km²]. This translates to 1,399 Housing Units per square mile [540 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Grass Valley had 5,266 Housing Units, a population of 10,922 people and a land area of 4.11 square miles [10.6 km²]. This gives a density of 2.07 people per Housing Unit and 1,282 Housing Units per square mile [495.2 housing units/km²].

NOTE: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2000 and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Grass Valley and you need to be careful when comparing numbers between the censuses. More information about the nature of these the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Nevada County ...

Grass Valley is located in Nevada County.

The county had a population of 98,764 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 12,860 people, Grass Valley represented 13.02% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Grass Valley has a population density of 2,711 people per square mile [1,046 people/km²], Nevada County averages 103.1 people per square mile [39.81 people/km²].

For more information, please visit our Census Page for Nevada County.

Population Rings for Grass Valley ...

To help identify the number of people who live in Grass Valley and the surrounding area, we have drawn concentric rings centered on Grass Valley. We counted the number of communities within each ring and summed their populations.<4>

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]216,123+1.22%
20 mi   [32 km]318,128+1.32%
25 mi   [40 km]683,641+7.93%
30 mi   [48 km]9169,723+5.47%

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Grass Valley, they start by specifying the boundaries of the area to be counted. This area (or sampling area) is a polygon and its shape can be quite complex - it may or may not match the geographical boundaries of Grass Valley. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change. If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Area ...

The sampling area (or polygon) given for the 2010 Census is 15.52% larger than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Grass Valley was 4.74 square miles [12.3 km²]. Of this total, only a minor amount of the area is covered by water.

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 4.11 square miles [10.6 km²]. Of this total, only a minor amount of the area is covered by water.

Location ...

While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Grass Valley, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Grass Valley.

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   39.223686°   (or 39°13'25" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -121.055004°   (or -121°3'18" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   39.219215°   (or 39°13'9" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -121.058414°   (or -121°3'30" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 1,893 feet to the northeast<5> of the location that was used in the 2000 Census.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) have assigned a unique GNIS identifier (#2410651) to Grass Valley. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Grass Valley. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   39.223638°   (or 39°13'25" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -121.055020°   (or -121°3'18" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 18.07 feet to the north<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Grass Valley. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Grass Valley.

Miscellaneous Information for Grass Valley ...

The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has referenced one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either Nevada County or the city of Grass Valley:

The GNIS Codes ...

The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Grass Valley:

GNIS ID for Grass Valley: 2410651

GNIS ID for Nevada County: 1682927

GNIS ID for California: 1779778

The FIPS Codes ...

An earlier (and largely obsolete) identification method was called the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS):

State Code: 06 (California)

County Code: 057 (Nevada County)

Place Code: 30798 (Grass Valley)

State & County Code: 06/057 (California / Nevada County)

State & Place Code: 06/30798 (California / Grass Valley)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Grass Valley is located in Census Region #4 (the West Region) and Division #9 (the Pacific Division).

US Postal Service ZIP Codes ...

While some people have used ZIP codes to identify a community, the ZIP codes were actually created to make mail delivery more efficient by grouping addresses together. Although a ZIP Code doesn't specifically identify a city like Grass Valley, they do identify addresses that are in (or near) the city. It's important to remember that the boundaries of the ZIP Code can be changed, re-assigned, eliminated or overlapped with other ZIP Codes.

Our list of ZIP codes for Grass Valley :  & .<7>

Census ZCTA Codes ...

The US Census Bureau created statistical entities that they call ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) and these ZCTAs are frequently confused with the ZIP codes that come from the US Postal Service (USPS).

ZCTAs were first created for the 2000 Census and at that time, they were based upon the USPS ZIP codes. While largely covering the same areas, the boundaries of a ZCTA do not necessarily match the boundaries of a postal ZIP code with the same number. For example, while a postal ZIP code can cross a county or state line, a Census ZCTA can not. They should be treated as separate entities with no correlation between them.

For more information about the various Federal identification codes, please visit our Misc Page for Grass Valley.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Search for a Community located in California

About Nevada County

About California

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website for Grass Valley:

The official website for Nevada County:

The official website for State of California:

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Footnotes ...

<1>Every year, the US Census Bureau creates a population estimate for the preceeding year. Keep in mind that this value is an estimate and not an actual count. The most recent Census estimate is for the year 2017.

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<2>Every 10 years (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010), the US Census Bureau conducts a Constitutionally-mandated count (or enumeration) of people living within the United States. This count is called a Decennial Census. The last Decennial Census was the 2010 Census, with the next one planned for 2020.

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<3>A Housing Unit is a broad term for those places where people live (whether occupied or temporarily vacant), such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or an area that is considered as a separate living quarter. Separate living quarters (consisting of one or more rooms) are considered to be those places where people live, sleep and eat separately from others and that have access to the outside (either directly or by a shared hallway).

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<4>The communities in our count are those provided by the 2010 Census, so keep in mind that our population rings will only include the people living in those communities. Smaller communities usually don't participate directly in the Census and therefore they won't be included. While our count is a close approximation, it shouldn't be considered as a complete or accurate count.

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<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2010 Census location is 329 degrees and a distance of 1,893 feet.

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<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 345 degrees and a distance of 18.07 feet.

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<7>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Grass Valley or elsewhere, it's always best to check the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

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This page was last modified: 04 Nov 2018
By John Hall