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Government Center at DuskBeautiful Ventura County is one of 58 counties in the State of California.  Geographically, the county offers a stunning 42 miles of coastline and the Los Padres National Forest, which accounts for 46% of the county’s land mass in the northern portion of the county.  Fertile valleys in the southern half of the county make Ventura County a leading agricultural producer.  Together, farming and the Los Padres National Forest occupy half of the county’s 1.2 million acres.

A mild year-round climate, along with scenic geography makes the area attractive to the 850,000 culturally and ethnically diverse people who call Ventura County home.  The unincorporated areas, along with the ten incorporated cities of Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, and San Buenaventura (Ventura) ranks Ventura as the 11th most populous county in the State.

Ventura County has a strong economic base that includes major industries such as biotechnology, agriculture, advanced technologies, oil production, military testing and development, and tourism.

The United States military, which includes two naval bases and the Air National Guard base, is the largest employer in the county with more than 16,000 employees.  The County of Ventura (government) is the next largest employer with nearly 8,000 employees located throughout the county.  Port Hueneme is California’s smallest but only deep water port between Los Angeles and San Francisco and plays a major role in the local economy.

Home to two universities (California State University Channel Islands and California Lutheran University), and three Community Colleges (Oxnard, Ventura, and Moorpark), multiple university extensions, institutes, and adult schools, the county enjoys a strong structure for workforce development.

The County of Ventura was formed January 1, 1873, when it separated from Santa Barbara County.  It is a general law county, governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors, elected at-large for a staggered four year term in their respective districts, and the chairmanship rotates annually.  The Board of Supervisors is responsible for providing policy direction, approving the County budget, and representing the County in a number of areas including special districts.  The Board actions can apply countywide or only in unincorporated areas.

Other County elected officials include the Auditor-Controller,  Assessor, Clerk/Recorder, District Attorney, Treasurer-Tax Collector, and Sheriff. The County Executive Officer advises, assists, and acts as an agent for the Board of Supervisors in all matters under the Board’s jurisdiction.

Under the guidance of the Board of Supervisors, the approved County annual budget of $1.8 billion serves to assist vulnerable adults and children, enforce the law, ensure justice, protect public health, and improve our quality of life.  In alignment with key focus areas established in the County Strategic Plan, services are provided to residents by nearly 8,000 dedicated public servants working in 23 different agencies, departments and special districts.

County Demographics

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Types of counties

The California Constitution recognizes two types of counties:

  • General law counties.
  • Charter counties.

General law counties adhere to state law as to the number and duties of county elected officials. Charter counties have a limited degree of "home rule" authority that may provide for the election, compensation, terms, removal, and salary of the governing board; for the election or appointment (except the sheriff, district attorney, and assessor who must be elected), compensation, terms, and removal of all county officers; for the powers and duties of all officers; and for consolidation and segregation of county offices. A charter does not give county officials extra authority over local regulations, revenue-raising abilities, budgetary decisions, or intergovernmental relations.

A county may adopt, amend, or repeal a charter with majority vote approval. A new charter or the amendment or repeal of an existing charter may be proposed by the Board of Supervisors, a charter commission, or an initiative petition. The provisions of a charter are the law of the state and have the force and effect of legislative enactments. There are currently 45 general law counties and 13 charter counties.

County History

The original 27 counties in California were Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba.

  County Type
County Name County Seat General Law Charter
Alameda County Oakland   X
Alpine County Markleeville X  
Amador County Jackson X  
Butte County Oroville   X
Calaveras County San Andreas X  
Colusa County Colusa X  
Contra Costa County Martinez X  
Del Norte County Crescent City X  
El Dorado County Placerville   X
Fresno County Fresno   X
Glenn County Willows X  
Humboldt County Eureka X  
Imperial County El Centro X  
Inyo County Independence X  
Kern County Bakersfield X  
Kings County Hanford X  
Lake County Lakeport X  
Lassen County Susanville X  
Los Angeles County Los Angeles   X
Madera County Madera X  
Marin County San Rafael X  
Mariposa County Mariposa X  
Mendocino County Ukiah X  
Merced County Merced X  
Modoc County Alturas X  
Mono County Bridgeport X  
Monterey County Salinas X  
Napa County Napa X  
Nevada County Nevada City X  
Orange County Santa Ana   X
Placer County Auburn   X
Plumas County Quincy X  
Riverside County Riverside X  
Sacramento County Sacramento   X
San Benito County Hollister X  
San Bernardino County San Bernardino   X
San Diego County San Diego   X
San Francisco County San Francisco   X
San Joaquin County Stockton X  
San Luis Obispo County San Luis Obispo X  
San Mateo County Redwood   X
Santa Barbara County Santa Barbara X  
Santa Clara County San Jose   X
Santa Cruz County Santa Cruz X  
Shasta County Redding X  
Sierra County Downieville X  
Siskiyou County Yreka X  
Solano County Fairfield X  
Sonoma County Santa Rosa X  
Stanislaus County Modesto X  
Sutter County Yuba City X  
Tehama County Red Bluff   X
Trinity County Weaverville X  
Tulare County Visalia X  
Tuloumne County Sonora X  
Ventura County Ventura X  
Yolo County Woodland X  
Yuba County Marysville X  



NOTE: As a convenience to our visitors, this page may contain links to external websites that are not managed or controlled by the County of Ventura.