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Foster City, California

California Cities by Incorporation Date

Foster City is a planned city located in San Mateo County, California, 94404. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 30,567. Forbes ranked Foster City #10 on their 2009 list of America's Top 25 Towns to Live Well. Money has also recognized Foster City multiple times as one of the Best Places to Live. Foster City is sometimes considered to be part of Silicon Valley for its local industry and its proximity to Silicon Valley cities.[1][2]

Foster City was founded in the 1960s on engineered landfill in the marshes of the San Francisco Bay, on the east edge of San Mateo. The city was named after T. Jack Foster, a real estate magnate who owned much of the land comprising the city and who was instrumental in its initial design. His successor firm, Foster Enterprises, run by his descendants, is still active in real estate affairs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which is land and is water. The total area is 81.07% water.



The 2010 United States Census[3] reported that Foster City had a population of 30,567. The population density was 1,540.6 people per square mile (594.8/km²). The racial makeup of Foster City was 13,912 (45.5%) White, 576 (1.9%) African American, 29 (0.1%) Native American, 13,746 (45.0%) Asian, 189 (0.6%) Pacific Islander, 575 (1.9%) from other races, and 1,540 (5.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,995 persons (6.5%).

The Census reported that 30,458 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 52 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 57 (0.2%) were institutionalized.

There were 12,016 households, out of which 4,256 (35.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 7,127 (59.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 963 (8.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 316 (2.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 531 (4.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 75 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 2,807 households (23.4%) were made up of individuals and 860 (7.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53. There were 8,406 families (70.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.04.

The population was spread out with 6,913 people (22.6%) under the age of 18, 1,526 people (5.0%) aged 18 to 24, 9,801 people (32.1%) aged 25 to 44, 8,223 people (26.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 4,104 people (13.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.3 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

There were 12,458 housing units at an average density of 627.9 per square mile (242.4/km²), of which 6,958 (57.9%) were owner-occupied, and 5,058 (42.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.5%. 18,423 people (60.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 12,035 people (39.4%) lived in rental housing units.
Demographic profile[4] 2010
Total Population 30,567 - 100.0%
One Race 29,027 - 95.0%
Not Hispanic or Latino 28,572 - 93.5%
White alone 12,829 - 42.0%
Black or African American alone 545 - 1.8%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 17 - 0.1%
Asian alone 13,691 - 44.8%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone 182 - 0.6%
Some other race alone 102 - 0.3%
Two or more races alone 1,206 - 3.9%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 1,995 - 6.5%


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 28,803 people, 11,613 households, and 7,931 families residing in the city. The 2009 median home price in Foster City was $1,025,000. The population density is 8,043.95 people per square mile (3,151.23/km²). There were 12,458 housing units at an average density of 3,195.6 per square mile (1,233.2/km²). There are 11,613 households out of which 30.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.7% are married couples living together, 7.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% are non-families. 23.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 5.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.47 and the average family size is 2.97.

In the city the population is spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 35.3% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 93.9 males.

According to Money Magazine, the median income for a household in Foster City is $135,470.[2] The median income for a family is $118,231.[6] Males have a median income of $77,916 versus $51,157 for females. The per capita income for the city is $45,754. 2.9% of the population and 1.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 1.6% of those under the age of 18 and 5.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


In the state legislature, Foster City is in the 8th Senate District, represented by Democrat Leland Yee, and in the 19th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Jerry Hill.

Federally, Foster City is in California's 14th congressional district, represented by Democrat Jackie Speier.[7]


Foster City is home to four public schools in the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District. Foster City Elementary School (which has recently been remodeled), Brewer Island Elementary School, and Audubon Elementary School serve kindergarten through fifth grades. Nathaniel Bowditch Middle School serves 6th through 8th grades. There are several private preschools and elementary schools. There is a separate High School District: San Mateo Union High School District. There is no high school located east of Highway 101 so Foster City high school students attend the public schools in the San Mateo Union High School District and other private high schools in San Francisco Bay Area.

All four public schools in Foster City (Audubon School, Brewer Island School, Foster City School, and Bowditch Middle School) have won California Distinguished School awards. In 1993, Bowditch was recognized with the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon. In 2005, Bowditch became a California Distinguished School for the second time. A third recognition was given in 2013.

Foster City has one private Jewish day school: Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School is a kindergarten – eighth grade school. It was rated the number one Jewish day school in the South Bay/Peninsula.[8]

Foster City also has one private elementary school: Kids Connection is a kindergarten – fifth grade school.

The city is served by the Peninsula Library System.


Foster City, like most of the peninsula, has a mild Mediterranean climate, with warm dry summers, and cool wet winters. The warmest month of the year is July with an average maximum temperature of 80.8 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is December with an average minimum temperature of 38.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

The annual average precipitation is 20.16 inches. The wettest month of the year is January with an average rainfall of 4.20 inches.


Metro Center, one of Foster City's largest retail/office complexes


Around 1993 Visa Inc. began consolidating various scattered offices in San Mateo, California to a location in Foster City.[9] Visa's headquarters were in Foster City, and Visa became Foster City's largest employer. Visa owns four buildings at the intersection of Metro Center Boulevard and Vintage Park Drive. As of 2009 it employed about 3,000 people at the complex. During that year Visa signed a 10-year lease agreement for the top three floors of 595 Market Street in San Francisco and moved its top executives there. Visa continued to keep employees at the Foster City offices.[10] As of 2009, after the headquarters move, the Foster City facilities remained the company's center of employment, and the post-headquarters move Foster City buildings housed 2,400 employees as of 2009.[11]

Other companies with headquarters in Foster City:

Top employers

According to the City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[12] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Gilead Sciences 2,231
2 Visa 1,435
3 Life Technologies (formerly Applied Biosystems) 1,328
4 Electronics for Imaging 1,219
5 Inovant 964
6 Sony Computer Entertainment 742
7 IBM 390
8 QuinStreet 376
9 MidPen Housing 264
10 Rearden Commerce 254


Foster City boasts 19 parks occupying more than , including many public tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts, and rollerblading/biking trails along the San Francisco Bay. Foster City has more parks per capita than any other city in California.

Foster City also boasts:

  • World Class Windsurfing and Kite-Surfing A world-class windsurfing and kite-surfing spot in the San Francisco Bay can be found within the city limits of Foster City. It is located adjacent to Mariners Point.
  • A Golf course and driving range There is one 9-hole golf course, and driving range Mariners' Point, on land owned by the City, and operated by VB Golf.
  • Dragon Boating The Bay Area Dragons and Ho'okahi Pu'uwai Outrigger Canoe clubs operate in the lagoon. In an attempt to preserve the city's waterways and reduce noise levels, only electric, wind, or man-powered watercraft are permitted in the Lagoon.[13]
  • Teen Activities Center A newly constructed $4 million center for teens that that will provide access to: TV’s, computers, video games, art rooms, homework rooms, a kitchen and outdoor basketball courts.[14]
  • Public Amphitheatre Located in Leo J. Ryan Memorial Park, is a newly constructed Amphitheatre. It serves as the location for the Foster City Summer concerts. Adjacent to the park is a boardwalk with boat tie-up facilities.

In addition, Foster City maintains an extensive ,[15] man-made enclosed lagoon system. The lagoons were initially designed as a drainage system required in order to efficiently drain the lowland city.

Items of interest

Foster City is one of the nation's safest cities. There is an average of one murder per decade.[16]

Foster City's Werder Pier is a remainder of the original expanse of the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. It is also one of the state's longest and oldest piers in existence. Unfortunately, due to much needed repair, the once popular fishing pier is no longer in operation.

A number of San Francisco professional athletes have called Foster City home. Former San Francisco Giants players Kevin Mitchell and Jeff Kent won the National League Most Valuable Player award while they were residents of Foster City.

The movie Over the Edge is based upon events occurring in Foster City, chronicled in a 1973 article titled "Mousepacks: Kids on a Crime Spree" in the San Francisco Examiner.

The music video for "Super Hyphy", a song by Bay Area rapper Keak Da Sneak, was filmed at Bowditch Middle School. R&B singer Keyshia Cole was also featured in the music video which was produced by Half-White Productions.

Sought after waterfront developments like "Bayporte" and "Whalers Island" often draw in great interest for their well manicured waterfront properties and award winning New England Saltbox style architecture.[17]

Foster City TV broadcasts a variety of programs related to operation of and life in Foster City. Foster City TV provides programming through a dedicated Government-access television (GATV) channel, and by streaming through a website .

Herb Perez, 1992 Olympic gold medalist in Tae Kwon Do, formerly served as chairman of the Foster City parks and recreation committee.[18] Perez also appeared as himself (with the nickname "Olympus") on '90s martial-arts TV series WMAC Masters. He is now a member of the city council.

See also


External links

  • Official website
  • Foster City, California at DMOZ
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